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Corporate: 772-460-9918 School Admin: 772-409-4491
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VOICES! was created to provide additional support to young people ages 11 – 18 who are faced with daily challenges that consistently affect their behavior — physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Our Youth Development Advocates (YDA) are specially trained to guide and empower youth in their journey to understand and enhance their life skills to reduce their risk of engaging in drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors.

VOICES! is funded by:
St. Lucie County Children’s Services Council

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Program Structure:

  • All participants are existing BGC members, who are referred to the VOICES! program by the Club Director based on noticeable disruptive behaviors within the club that are keeping them from participating effectively in daily programming.
  • Advocates meet with referred members one-on-one bi-weekly. During this time a Personal Goals Sheet, Life Skills Assessment, and Mentoring Action Plan is completed and reviewed regularly assuring participants remain on task of completing their goals.
  • Group sessions are conducted alternate weeks. Advocates facilitate evidence-based programs, such as BGC SMART programming, Overcoming Obstacles (this is a free, research-based, award-winning K-12 life skills curriculum. All programming includes Pre/Post tests to measure outcomes.

Measurable Outcomes:

  • 90% of all VOICES! participants will gain knowledge of the programs’ designated topics measured through Pre/Post test results. (Quarterly outcome)
  • 80% of VOICES! Participants will successfully complete the VOICES! Program. (Annual measure – this will be determined based on participants’ needs. Not all participants will need continuous services.)
  • All participants will complete 75% of their personal goals by their designated target date.
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Linda Soto headshot

Linda Soto
Vice President of Specialized Programs

Maria Maar headshot

Maria Marr, MSW
Youth Development Advocate (YDA)
Garden Terrace, Infinity, and Westside

Maria has worked with many populations in my career, veterans, domestic violence victims, special needs individuals, individuals who are detoxing/ in recovery, individuals struggling with mental health inpatient and outpatient settings.  She has worked in hospitals, high schools, and in a hospice setting, providing support before and after death to individuals and their families.

Throughout Maria’s college education, she was a program specialist with Boys & Girls Clubs at many of the school sites in port St. Lucie and always felt like the members could benefit from group and individual education and support for substance prevention and mental health struggles.

Maria has always been passionate about helping youth as they are our next generation and the only ones who can make our world better. She has always had a special place in her heart for Boys & Girls Clubs, so returning to help launch the VOICES! program is special to her because she is able to bring to life the much-needed services offered to its members.

Many teens Maria has worked with in the past have expressed that they don’t feel like they have a voice and she believes this program will help them find theirs.

Shanelle Redden Headshot

Shanelle “Nelle” Redden
Youth Development Advocate (YDA)
Chuck Hill, Ken Pruitt, and Percy Peek

Nelle earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology CJ, Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Forensics Psychology and is currently in school working towards earning her Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) degree.

Nelle’s background consists of structure, integrity, democratic and transformational style leadership.  She has previously worked for the United States Navy as a Non Commissioned Officer; Private Protection Services; done an Internship with the Palm Beach Sheriff Office in forensics/crime scene, aviation, drugs & traffic; Probation (Juvenile); and worked for the Department of Children & Families /CCkids as a case manager.

Nelle loves working with kids and adolescence because they are our future.  If they excel in life then so would the rest of us!

VOICES! holding child's hands

The three C’s:
Concentration, Creativity and Communication.


We share laughs and frustration while expressing ourselves through art.  We learned effective communication skills (LISTENING AND FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS) along the way.

“Art therapy uses creative materials to help children explore their thoughts and feelings. Art therapy allows children to process the things that have happened to them and helps reduce stress and anxiety as they work through these challenges. By providing kids a safe place to express their negative feelings and emotions, art therapy has been shown to improve a child’s mental, emotion, and physical well-being.”

The direct benefits of art therapy may not be immediately noticeable, but over time it can:

  • Improve self-awareness
  • Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Help a child deal with feelings associated with sickness, trauma, and grief
  • Improve problem-solving skills
  • Improve communication skills
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Allow children to see problems from a different point of view


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