This is an archived article about The Reed Center for Girls. The Jacksonville section of National Council of Negro Women want to continue the work of our past Executive Director and matriarch Mrs. Gertrude Hoffman-Peele. During an interview published May 10, 2011 our very own Mrs. Gertrude Hoffman-Peele shared the following:
Is a home-style facility that’s designed for tween girls, so they can have a safe place to come every day. And even on Saturdays. It is not a place for just playing games. They have to study and they have to do their work. We offer academic courses, language arts and reading, math and science. We have a mental health counselor. He’s also a school psychologist, so he’s able to help them with their thinking and their behavior in and out of school, because some of them come from chaotic backgrounds. We have the nutritionist. We have yoga. We’re getting a photography class. We have found that some of our girls come to us looking down. Always looking down, can’t look in anybody’s eyes. That photography class is going to help them to look up and see the beauty. They might come from an area that to them, there is no beauty. We’re going to teach them they can find it in their own community.
They are here Monday through Thursday and on Saturday. We have health sessions, that’s provided to us by the University of Florida College of Medicine. They send their pediatricians in here once a week. Our girls are able to talk to a doctor as long as they want to and it’s a personal thing with them. They have questions and they might not have anybody at home to answer those questions. But they’re comfortable talking to the pediatricians about it. We have other role models coming through all the time. They can capture a vision of what they can become. We treat them like family. We treat them with love and if there’s a problem, we try to find out what it is.
We’re in our sixth year. Our core number of girls is 13, but we really have 24. We brought them in here in third grade, to keep them till the fifth grade. Some of them went into middle school and they’re all right, and some of them are not. They come back every day, because they feel comfortable coming back, and they serve as mentors for the little girls. This summer’s going to be particularly challenging, because we have so many who are saying they want to come, and I don’t think we’re going to have the space. We seriously need to expand.