Each month, Ocala Magazine features a local charity that uplifts our community.
This month’s charity is The Pearl Project, based in Ocala.
ORGANIZATION NAME: The Pearl Project
LEADERSHIP: Joy Zedler, director of inspiration, and Jessica Blagdon, director of awesome
LOCATION: We have chapters in Ocala, Niceville and Winter Garden, but started here in Ocala. Our address is 625 NE 12th Ave Ocala, FL 34470. We also have been given space at Highlands Church in Ocala.
MISSION STATEMENT: We help vulnerable children discover their value.
WHAT WE DO: We educate, encourage and equip foster and adoptive families in trauma-informed practices so that they can bring healing to their children with a history of trauma. We provide evidenced-based training (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) for caregivers and professionals who serve children. We host therapeutic camps for foster/adoptive families and retreats for foster/adoptive moms. We train cuddlers for substance-exposed newborns at Advent Health’s NICU in Ocala. We provide a free foster closet for foster/adoptive families to get clothes, shoes, diapers and baby gear as needed. We also contract with the Early Childhood Court in Marion County to provide Circle of Security Parenting Classes for biological caregivers who are working on reunification.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE OF YOUR TIME AND TREASURE: You can partner by praying (we send prayer requests in our newsletter), giving (monthly partners fuel this work! Even $10 a month helps so much!) or volunteering (we train buddies to work with children during our events). You can sign up to do any or all of these things through our website: thepearlproject.org