Hibiscus Children’s Center Receives $2,000 Grant

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Hibiscus Children’s Center Receives $2,000 Grant from Darden Restaurants

Foundation to Support Youth

Vero Beach, FL – Hibiscus Children’s Center, a non-profit that protects and enhances the lives of abused children, announced it has been selected by Olive Garden in Vero Beach and LongHorn Steakhouse in Stuart to receive a $2,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Restaurants Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants. The annual grants program empowers each of the Olive Garden and LongHorn locations to help award a grant to support local community programs.


This generous donation will help to fund the Career Pathways to Independence Program for abused youth. This program helps alleviate some of the stresses these youth face as they approach 18 and helps set the stage for lifelong success. This creative youth education program provides foster youth ages 13 – 17 at the Hibiscus Children’s Village in Vero Beach with innovative support, structure, and guidance they need to receive a high school diploma or GED and to provide them the best possible future.  Additionally, the program will prepare foster youth for independence. Youth ages 15 – 17 will participate in forward-thinking career exploration, testing and assessments, along with opportunities for internships in local businesses, mentoring, and seminars on topics including completing college and job applications, resume writing, creating a budget and more.


The staff at Olive Garden in Vero Beach helped to present the Darden Restaurants Foundation grant check to Hibiscus Children’s Center.  The grant was received by (far right) Lou Boccabella, Hibiscus Director of Development.  Next to Lou is Olive Garden General Manager, Jeremy Connell.  Thank you to Darden Restaurants Foundation and the Olive Garden team for your wonderful support of the Hibiscus youth.

Michael Waninger, Hibiscus CEO, shared “The Darden Restaurant Foundation has been a generous supporter of Hibiscus and the youth we serve for many years. They have helped to impact the lives of these teens and we are deeply grateful for their continued partnership to help build a strong future”.


“We’re proud to be able to support Hibiscus Children’s Center through our Restaurant Community Grants program,” said Stephanie Ghertner, Director of the Darden Foundation. “Our team members are incredibly passionate about getting involved in their local communities, and this program enables them to do just that.”


For more information about Hibiscus Children’s Center and our services, please visit us at



Hibiscus Children’s Center

Hibiscus Children’s Center, founded in 1985 by LaVaughn Tilton, is a non-profit organization serving Martin, Indian River, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. The mission of Hibiscus Children’s Center is to maintain a safe shelter for children who are abused, abandoned, and neglected by providing prevention, residential, assessment, and recovery programs. Hibiscus Children’s Center also prepares our children for their future by constructing programs so that our children acquire an education, attain emotional and physical well-being, achieve career readiness, and gain independent living skills.


In addition, Hibiscus addresses the problem of abuse with mental health services, prevention services for families in crisis, sexual abuse services for victims and their families, and provides enhanced services for children including literacy, educational and enriching activities. The Thrift Store, located in Stuart, helps to offset costs for the programs. The Village and Shelter are funded, in part, by the Florida Department of Children and Families through Devereux Community Based Care of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast. An additional $2.5 million must be raised each year by community donations, special events and grants. Hibiscus is also a United Way affiliated organization. Hibiscus speakers are available to present to your group. For more information, please contact us at (800)403-9311 or visit HibiscusChildrensCenter.org.
The Darden Foundation The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Darden Foundation’s mission is to maintain a spirit of service and community engagement as defining characteristics of Darden’s family of restaurants – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $71 million in grants to leading nonprofit organizations that align with its mission and community priorities: Recipe for Success®, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor grants. Through the Darden Harvest program, Darden Restaurants has also donated more than 77 million pounds of food to hunger relief agencies across the U.S. and Canada. In 2011, the Darden Foundation introduced the Restaurant Community Grants program that is dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities where we live and serve. For more information, please visit www.dardenfoundation.com.


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