CRESTVIEW — A local charity that works with at-risk youth is undergoing major changes this month. The Belief Foundation recently hired a new director and is looking for a new building to meet growing demand.
The Belief Foundation announced May 7 that Darlene Haynes-Scheuermann will take over as director.
Haynes-Scheuermann also serves as the founder and pastor of Kingdom Life Worship and Training Center. She said the Belief Foundation will move its operations to the church facilities for now, until a larger building can be found to house the foundation.
“I’m looking forward to whatever we can do to impact the city and make a difference in the city,” Haynes-Scheuermann said.
Rosa Rivera, the previous director, started the foundation in 2016 with her son, Jeremias Rodriguez. Rodriguez died in 2017 after going to the hospital with pneumonia. Rivera continued as director of the foundation, but had recently been looking for someone to take over the charity.
The program focuses on students who are at risk of failing school due to poor grades or disciplinary issues, or have had run-ins with the juvenile justice system.
“We provide them a place to be able to come and get their GED testing done, as well as a homeschool program,” Haynes-Scheuermann said.
The foundation currently has 21 students enrolled in a GED preparation program and another 16 enrolled in virtual school. Haynes-Scheuermann said there are another 109 students on the waiting list and they are hoping to increase their capacity soon to meet the demand.
Along with educational programs and mentoring, the foundation has programs for athletics, music, performing arts and basic life skills like cooking and sewing.
“If we don’t give them the tools that they need to be successful, then we’re looking at homeless people,” Haynes-Scheuermann said. “This is what’s going to happen with them if we don’t get them completing their education and furthering it and seeing themselves as people that can be productive citizens.”