Hibiscus Children’s Center Career Pathways Program Helps Provide Successful Futures


If you are a local business in Vero Beach, you can help improve the lives of abused youth and give them a brighter future.  Hibiscus Children’s Center invites you to partner with our Career Pathways to Independence Program, a youth skill development and career preparation training program located at the Hibiscus Village.  Hibiscus is looking for local businesses to provide internships to youth, ages 15-17. Through local grants, Hibiscus is able to provide youth a small stipend throughout their time as interns.  Community business partners provide internships for the teens at local sub shops, cleaners, pet stores, and more.  Other career choices or fields of interest shared by youth include athletics, cosmetology, counseling, culinary, engineering, fashion, forensics, finance, law, medical, performing arts, and various trades.  Youth also attend seminars on a variety of career and independent living topics and are provided the opportunity to participate in various work experiences including job shadowing and on-site internships in the Hibiscus Graphic Design Impact Center and Culinary Center. 

Career Pathways was launched in 2011 through a generous Indian River Impact 100 grant.  The program helps alleviate some of the stresses foster care youth face as they approach 18. This creative youth education program provides youth with innovative support, structure, and guidance they need to receive a high school diploma or GED and to prepare youth for independence.  The teens participate in forward-thinking career exploration, testing, and assessments related to career interests, self-esteem, and work-related personality.  Local internships are a crucial part of this development and growth process and help build a solid foundation for the future of the teens.  In addition, teens prepare for college by visiting local and state schools.  This summer, Career Pathways Program Director Frank Avilla (aka Mr. Frank), took six youth on three separate college tours visiting schools in Orlando, Ft. Pierce, and West Palm Beach!

When Caitlin (name changed) was placed at the Hibiscus Village at 15 years old, she had been in foster care for three years and was very angry and defiant.  The staff and mental health counselor began working with Caitlin and she began to flourish.  Caitlin obtained her GED diploma and then college followed, with the hopes of obtaining a nursing degree. This resilient teen said, “Hibiscus provided me freedom and structure. Career Pathways has helped me fill out job applications, obtain and keep a job and complete a resume.  This program has given me motivation to work.”

For more information, please contact Frank Avilla, Director of Career Pathways Program, at or 772-299-6011, ext. 387.

Candice Ambrister, Asst. Vice President & Branch Manager at PNC Bank, spoke to youth in Career Pathways Program.