110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Faith-based counselors will use Harris B. Saxon Community Center
By Al Everson
posted Jan 30, 2013 - 1:14:13pm
A private group from Orlando will offer family counseling to help prevent domestic violence in Deltona.
On Jan. 21, the Deltona City Commission approved Nuevo Sendero’s request to provide counseling and crisis intervention at the Harris B. Saxon Community Center two or three times a week.
The name, in English, means “new path.”
“I’m fully convinced they will offer something this community desperately needs,” Vice Mayor Zenaida Denizac said.
Nuevo Sendero’s chief officer, Bishop Elias Colon, told commissioners there is a demand in Deltona for the services his counselors provide. He said the Orlando group already receives five or six calls for help each week from Deltona.
“We are a nonprofit organization,” Colon said. “We are a faith-based ministry that is helping the cities and counties that are open to us.”
“There are a lot of people that we want to help,” Colon said.
City Commissioner Chris Nabicht expressed reluctance to endorse the group’s request.
“I don’t think Harris Saxon is the right place,” Nabicht said.
He said he was concerned about offenders showing up when their spouses are at the center and committing acts of violence. Because the Harris Saxon Center is in a neighborhood, nearby residents could be in danger if an armed aggressor showed up, Nabicht said.
On the other hand, Deltona Parks and Recreation Director Steve Moore recommended the commission allow Nuevo Sendero to provide the counseling services.
“I’ve thoroughly checked this organization out. I’ve checked their references,” Moore said. “Every bit of information I’ve received is positive.”
“Have you ever had any security issues?” Nabicht asked Colon.
“We’ve never had any security issues in the city of Orlando,” Colon said.
“How do you get your clients? Do you work with the Sheriff’s Office?” Nabicht asked.
“We work with the Sheriff’s Office. We work with [the Florida Department of] Children and Families,” Colon said.
He said Nuevo Sendero also gets referrals from churches and other groups.
Commissioner Nancy Schleicher asked if the City of Deltona would be liable if anyone is injured at the Harris B. Saxon Center while Nuevo Sendero is using the facility.
“There wouldn’t be any more liability than with other organizations,” City Attorney Becky Vose said.
The City Commission voted 6-0 to allow Nuevo Sendero to use the community center without charge for one year. The standard fee for the facility is $30 per hour.
At Nabicht’s request, however, the City Commission asked for a report after the first 90 days, showing any security concerns or problems.
“God bless you for what you are doing,” Mayor John Masiarczyk told Colon and those who had come with him to the meeting.
The seventh City Commission member, Fred Lowry, did not attend the meeting because of illness.
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