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Phoenix Rising Project
A new type of community effort that will teach young adults valuable job skills and provide a local family with a new home will kick off at 10 a.m. on Feb. 17.
OCALA, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2011) – A new type of community effort that will teach young adults valuable job skills and provide a local family with a new home will kick off at 10 a.m. on Feb. 17.
Spearheaded by the Ocala Police Department, the “Phoenix Rising” project will provide 16 young adults an income as they undergo training and construct a home for a local couple.
“We believe this is one of those opportunities where different segments of the community can come together to achieve something that is very positive,” said Police Chief Sam Williams, who first proposed the project.
The 16-week program will provide qualified young adults ages 18-21 the opportunity to work toward their GEDs or high school diplomas, and learn job life skills that will prepare them for employment or college. It also will serve the community by providing affordable housing.
The program’s goal is to provide the participants with a sense of accomplishment, instill the importance of learning job skills, as well as experience the reward of helping others.
The program is modeled after “Youth Build,” which is funded through grants from the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and city officials are hoping that a successful community-based initial effort will open doors for federal funding for subsequent projects.
The group will be building a home for Kerry and Sabrina Cook at 1560 NW 14th St. The couple was selected by Habitat for Humanity of Marion County.
The Cooks were accepted into the Habitat program in May 2010 and have earned nearly 220 “sweat equity hours.” Mr. Cook has worked at Vend Services inc. as an order puller for the past four years. Mrs. Cook currently is unemployed.
A number of public, private and service agencies have stepped forward to make this program possible.
“A $30,000 gift from DeLuca Toyota to Habitat is what really made this program a ‘go,’” Chief Williams said. “But the contributions of all or our partners are indispensible.”
Following are a group of participating agencies and the role they play:
- City of Ocala – Donated land, providing services through their building department and waiving fees
- Ocala Police Department – Coordinating the project and providing crime prevention dollars
- DeLuca Toyota providing $30,000 for building costs
- Habitat for Humanity – Providing building services and family for home
- Home Depot – Providing $7,500 toward building cost
- Workforce Connection and Henkel & McCoy are providing workforce services and wages to the participants
- Yandle Building Supply – Provided discounted materials
- Veolia Environmental – Providing dumpster and related services
- Zion United Methodist Church - Providing space for training classroom
Note to Editors:
The Feb. 17th event will include the traditional “wall raising,” and remarks from dignitaries.
Photo opportunities will include the young adults “swinging a hammer,” a rendition of the finished house and the wall raising. We also can make available the students in a classroom setting.
In addition to the main story line, we will make available participants who can talk about what the training program will mean to them. Also, Chief Sam Williams will be available to discuss what motivated him to bring this program to our community and representatives of partnering agencies will be happy to discuss their role.

Contacts: Sonny Allen
Public Information Officer
City of Ocala
151 S.E. Osceola Ave.
Ocala, FL 34471
Phone: (352) 401-3978
Fax: (352) 629-8391
Sgt. Chas Maier, PIO
Ocala Police Department
402 S. Pine Ave.
Ocala, FL 34471
Phone: (352) 369-7131
Fax: (352) 369-7216
Cell: (352) 427-6723

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