Flight of Hope 5

Florence Crittenton Gives Girls 
the Chance to Soar

Safety. Hope. Opportunity. These are the core values of Florence Crittenton, an organization dedicated to giving girls who have been through traumatic situations care, education, and most importantly, hope. Young women from all walks of life—including the child welfare system, the juvenile justice system and the behavioral healthcare system—come to Florence Crittenton seeking a place of refuge where they can heal, learn and grow into the unique individuals that they were destined to be.

For CEO of Florence Crittenton, Dr. Kellie Warren, it was the organization’s mission that first caught her attention in 2010. Since then, Dr. Warren has been passionately devoted to fulfilling that mission and giving these girls a second chance.

“Florence Crittenton has been known for over 120 years in this state for its advocacy and support of these girls, and I found that it just really resonated with my personal philosophy and mission,” says Dr. Warren. “Every day that I’m here I feel purpose driven. I’m able to see girls change and become more hopeful and empowered.”

Each girl that enters one of Florence Crittenton’s programs is treated as an individual, and each is given the opportunity to share their story to ensure that they get care tailored to their specific needs.

“Over the years, as the needs of girls have changed, so have our services,” says Dr. Warren. “We are constantly listening to the girls’ voices and consulting resources so that we can really establish a system of care that continues to meet their needs.”

When it comes to establishing programs for the girls, Florence Crittenton really does seem to have it all.

The Therapeutic Group Home, located in Phoenix, houses girls ages 10-18 for 4-6 months, focusing on providing education through credit recovery, GED and career exploration; while the Girls Ranch Program centers more on independent living and life-skills. Then there’s the UPLIFT program, which is specifically designed to support young women with mental illness, providing them with a safe place to reside and access to the the services they need.

In Scottsdale, the organization’s Girls Ranch gives young mothers the opportunity to have a safe place to raise their children and learn how to be self-sufficient. Florence Crittenton also has the only public all-girls high school in Arizona, Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona, for girls grades 9-12, which focuses on leadership, empowerment and college preparation.

“When you look at our mission, it speaks to opportunity. Without an education, it’s very difficult for these girls to reach the dreams that they have; so we try to empower them through education,” says Dr. Warren.

However, all these programs do have a cost, and that’s where Heels for Healing comes into play. The event is one of the organization’s major fundraisers and gives them the opportunity to raise community awareness for the girls’ needs.

“It’s just nice to see how the whole community comes together for Heels for Healing,” says Dr. Warren. “I don’t think Florence Crittenton would be alive for so long and able to fulfill its mission without the hearts of the community involved.”

This year, the event will take place on September 24th, kicking-off at 8 a.m. with the famed Diva Dash, where both men and women compete in a thrilling high-heeled obstacle course, followed by shopping at Flo’s on 7th with 100-percent of the proceeds going back to the girls.

“The best part of what I do every day is seeing these girls transform, feel hopeful and good again, and get through some of the tragic situations they have experienced,” says Dr. Warren.

In all, the Florence Crittenton experience can be summed up with a simple metaphor: that of the butterfly. These girls come to the organization shrouded in a cocoon of gray, hardened by the harsh realities of life. However, through the care and support they receive at Florence Crittenton, they are able to emerge as vibrant bright individuals ready to share their talents with the world—a true gift to us all.

For more information on Florence Crittenton, or to host a donation drive, please contact Jamie Hobbs at jhobbs@flocrit.org or 602.288.4581