Crosswinds’ Mission statement, Crosswinds Youth Services creates opportunities for young people to succeed, embodies our organization’s primary goal of helping young people strengthen skills, develop leadership abilities, and reach their full potential.
Crosswinds began in the 1970’s with a group of concerned community leaders who came together to discuss how Brevard County, Florida could respond to the increasing number of runaway and homeless youth in the community. The tragic results of not helping these young people had become apparent when several graves were unearthed in the county. These graves contained the bodies of children who had run away from home and had been murdered.
The initial group of community leaders responding to this terrible tragedy included judges, a county commissioner, and Dr. Robert Lehton, a psychologist, who brought to the table his experience counseling runaway youth and establishing the first youth shelter in the state of Louisiana. Dr. Lehton is the Past Chair of Crosswinds’ Board of Directors, and the long-standing volunteer for whom Crosswinds’ shelter facility is now named. Out of the efforts of this group of volunteers, the organization now known as Crosswinds opened an emergency youth shelter in 1974.
Over the years, Crosswinds has grown to include a wide range of programs and services for young people and their families. In early 2002, Crosswinds opened a new and expanded emergency shelter in Cocoa, Florida, moving the program from Merritt Island, where it had been located for nearly 30 years. Crosswinds administrative offices and other programs were also consolidated on the Cocoa campus to maximize resources and provide better accessibility to services for youth, families, law enforcement, and other community organizations.
Crosswinds is committed to providing quality services and has been recognized nationally, regionally, statewide and locally. For example, Crosswinds was named 2003 Agency of the Year by the National Network for Youth, 2003 Organization of the Year by Brevard County’s major newspaper, FLORIDA TODAY, and recipient of the Melbourne – Palm Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit of the Year Award in 2008.
For additional information about Crosswinds Youth Services, please call 452-0800 ext. 100.