Nathalya Reyes

As we all know, hurricane Irma left a devastating mark on Florida. Millions of Floridians lost their homes, power, and water. It has now been over a week since Irma touched land and we are still trying to recover from her destruction. M.E.G.A. Monday, which is a voluntary organization of faculty and students at CF, decided to take action.

On Monday Sept. 18 many people gathered to discuss the actions they could take to help the community and anyone in desperate need of supplies, food, and shelter. Karla Wilson, one of the cofounders of the M.E.G.A. Monday project, was one of many speakers who provided everyone with vital information and sources for supplies. Everyone who attended received multiple flyers with countless phone numbers and addresses where volunteers were providing various items to those who needed them.

“We provided a resource guide; we again collaborated with our many organizations on campus to see what sort of resources might there be and how can we help put them in a single place for our students.” Wilson said. “We just wanted to provide a form for our students and our faculty and our staff to be able to get together outside of the traditional academic setting.”

Many brochures and flyers were placed in the front of the room giving students information for free counseling services. Renee Proctor and Jackie Turner were among many of the speakers who provided information and resources for anyone who has mentally suffered from Hurricane Irma. They stressed that all of their services were free and anonymous and very accessible.

Proctor is the counseling assistant in the counseling department at CF. She provided the students with the name on the licensed mental health counselor, Madelyn Ballard, Ext. 1760, and the website in which you can find all of the information that you would need to start your free counseling. She also provided everyone with the knowledge of our on-campus support group by the name of P.R.E.P., which meets every Tuesday in building 5 room 203 from 2p.m.-3:30 p.m.

“We have an open-door policy for our students.’” Proctor said. “We would like you to come and meet us and greet us and we would like to find out what we can do to help you, we really care for our students who want to get the help they need whether it’s with us or BayCare.”

Turner provided the attendees with a student assistant program by the name of BayCare which provides them with a real live counselor that you can speak with and set up three free appointments per year. Again, this program is anonymous, meaning that all of your information is protected and not even the school can gain access to it. They do this so the students feel safe and comfortable knowing that whatever they say is confidential to their matched therapist.

“We want to help students who are in need of counseling,” Turner said. “It’s free, you don’t have to pay anything.”

President James Henningsen made an appearance and spoke for a brief moment about what he and the school are doing as a whole to provide each and every student with what they need, whether it be with classes or helping them get through their tough times due to Irma.

“We’re working as a unit to provide our students and our community with help they need to recover from this hurricane.” Henningsen said.

CF is working hard to make sure their students are safe and have access to resources in order to get them through this ordeal. We can all overcome this event and help one another through sharing and volunteering. All of the useful information will be listed below for any and everyone who is looking for a place to start to get help.


CF Patriots Fund 352-854-5470 ext. 1250

CF Counseling Department 352-854-2322 ext. 1760

BayCare Behavioral Health 800-878-5470 BayCare.org/SAP

Marion County Emergency Management 352-368-8100

FEMA Disaster Assistance 1-800-621-3362

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition/ Assistance 352-330-5803

Interfaith Agency 352-369-8100


Story and Photos by: Nathalya Reyes