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River Region Marks National Prevention Week With Suicide Prevention Event

River Region Human Services will be hosting a  Suicide Prevention Awareness event at  the Jacksonville Suns game on Thursday, May 22nd as part of National Prevention Week 2014. National Prevention Week is dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.

National Prevention Week echoes a key message of the U.S. Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy, emphasizing that prevention should be woven into all aspects of our lives — including where and how we live, learn, work, and play — and that everyone has a role in creating a healthier nation. domain list . At the Suns event, River Region staff will share information about preventing suicide to those attending the game, and be on hand to answer questions.

River Region recognizes that the choices people make and the conversations they have in their everyday lives are key to healthy communities and futures. To encourage healthy living and decision-making, River Region is partnering with the Jacksonville Suns to host this event.  In addition, River Region staff will be sharing messages about preventing underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and marijuana use with local high school students during the week.

River Region Human Services is proud to be one of many organizations around the country that are encouraging people to make a difference in their communities and lives as part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Prevention Week 2014. During this week, River Region will recognize important prevention successes, focus on areas that need improvement, and build bridges to partners who care deeply about creating a better community.


River Region Human Services, Inc. 2013 Annual Report

2013 Annual Report

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ACTS Joins River Region to Sponsor Bowling Fundraiser

ACTS, an Enterprise IT consulting firm, is pleased to announce it will sponsor the River Region Human Services’ annual ‘Let’s Roll’ bowling event on April 4, 2014.

Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) April, 2014

ACTS is pleased to announce it is the title sponsor for the River Region Human Services’ second annual ‘Let’s Roll’ bowling event to be held on April 4, 2014, at the Batt Family Fun Center (located at 1838 Cassat Avenue, Jacksonville, FL). Participants at this year’s event will enjoy three hours of unlimited bowling from noon until 3:00 p.m., a delicious lunch, great prizes and souvenirs. Proceeds from the event will benefit River Region’s children programs and services.

River Region Human Services has been supporting families and communities for more than 40 years in the Jacksonville, FL region, licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services since 1972. Funds raised from the 2013 event were used to purchase computers, furniture and other materials to transform River Region’s Beachwood Community Center. ip analysis . The computers and furniture helped improve and enhance the Center’s afterschool programs for younger children, creating a safe and comfortable interactive study area.

The Community Center also provides afterschool programs and activities for children ages 12 -18 who regularly utilize the computers for educational purposes. One patron of the center stated, “We don’t have a home computer, so it’s helpful knowing my children can visit the Beachwood Community Center to complete school projects, reports and study without distractions. I cannot express the gratitude I have for the help this center has offered, not only to my children, but to me as a parent as well.”

“River Region Human Services is an upstanding and valued organization in the Jacksonville community,” says ACTS CEO, James Farhat. “We are excited to contribute to River Region’s efforts to provide opportunities for the next generation by sponsoring this fun community event.”

ACTS is a Jacksonville-based technology solution provider working with businesses to leverage technology for competitive advantage. Grounded in a business outcome methodology with a focus on helping clients drive better business results, ACTS provides both applications and infrastructure solutions – deployed on-premise, hosted or in the cloud – including managed services with 24/7 support.

River Region Human Services Marks National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Free Screenings and Awareness Events Scheduled in Jacksonville

Jacksonville, FL — River Region Human Services is joining a national effort to inform women and girls about their risk of contracting HIV and AIDS with a series of free HIV testing events in Jacksonville. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is March 10, and River Region is amping up awareness through social media and the screenings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25% percent of teens and adults diagnosed with HIV in the United States each year are women — and thousands of women and girls do not know they are infected with the disease. This is the ninth year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health has sponsored National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and encouraged women and girls to get tested, share information to educate their peers, and participate in related events.

River Region has scheduled the following events:

Free HIV Testing

Friday, March 7 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

1300 N Broad St.

Jacksonville, FL 32202


Monday, March 10 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

1393 Kings Rd

Jacksonville, FL 32209


Awareness Day Celebration at Hilltop Village

Saturday, March 8, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

1646 W. 45th St

Jacksonville, FL 32208

Free HIV and STD Testing


Soulful Sundays: A Celebration of Womanhood 

Sunday, March 9, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

9726 Touchton Rd Suite 105

Jacksonville, FL 32246

Includes HIV Education and Information

For more information, visit the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day website at http://womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/ or River Region’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RiverRegion.

River Region Human Services, Inc. Awarded Grant for National Social Media Pilot Project

Jacksonville, FL, February, 2014 River Region Human Services has been awarded a federal grant for a pilot program that uses social media to reach targeted populations with messages designed to aid in the prevention of substance abuse and HIV infection.

New Media, New Messages (NM2) is a grant awarded to nine agencies in the U.S. by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant provides funding to conduct outreach to specific minority populations using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. The NM2 program aims to decrease prejudice and discrimination by giving those at risk of contracting HIV the opportunity to share their stories online, allowing positive interaction with others in their community and encouraging healthy behaviors.  

The grant, which launched October 1, 2013, targets those at highest risk for substance abuse and HIV infection, including African American heterosexuals over the age of 15, and African American men who have sex with men (MSM) over the age of 18. Both heterosexual and MSM populations within the African American community carry a significant burden of HIV/AIDS, as well as co-occurring risk factors that contribute to the disproportionate growth of substance abuse, mental health, and HIV/AIDS cases in Duval County.  

River Region has developed two social media sites for the identified populations: Wats Da T Jax to target African American men who have sex with men (MSM) over the age of 18, and Wats Da Play Jax to target African American heterosexuals over the age of 15. Each of the two populations are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messaging, email and other methods of outreach to share information regarding free testing, preventing STDs, and avoiding at-risk behaviors. The project team is working with Deppe Communications to develop and monitor the social media communications strategy.

Vince Evans, River Region’s Project Director for NM2, says the innovative pilot program has already reached thousands of people. “This is such an important message and social media is a critical way to reach the individuals identified by the program. The inherent anonymity of social media helps us reach populations that are either not consuming traditional media, or are reluctant to engage in activities where they would be identified. We have a team of social media specialists drawn from the target populations who are building a level of trust. Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the incidences of STD’s, substance abuse and HIV infections in our community.”

African Americans at Higher Risk for HIV in Duval County

African Americans represent 30.5% of the population in Duval County; nearly double that of the entire state of Florida (15%). Despite their minority status, African Americans account for 49% of total reported HIV cases; 40% of all adult male and 69% of all adult female cases.  Newly reported adult HIV infection case rates are five times higher among African American men than white men and 15 times higher among African American women than white women.  For 22 consecutive years (1988-2010), HIV/AIDS had been the leading cause of death for African Americans ages 25-44 in Florida.  While HIV/AIDS dropped to the 4th leading cause of death for African American men and 2nd leading cause of death for African American women in Florida in 2011, African Americans still represented 60% of AIDS deaths for that year (FDOH, 2012, Black Fact Sheet).

MSM is the largest population group unaware that they are infected with HIV, with 54% being uninformed of their HIV status (Florida Department of Health [FDOH], 2012, MSM Fact Sheet). An estimated 7.5% of Florida adults are MSM, accounting for a population of approximately 32,000 in Duval County. While HIV prevalence is disproportionately high for African Americans in the United States, it is even more disproportionate for MSM. MSM represent approximately 2% of the United States population, but accounted for more than half of new HIV infections between 2008 and 2010 (CDC, 2013). Young, African American MSM, ages 13-34, are especially affected by HIV. 

Internet Use is High

Studies reveal that younger adults and minorities are the most frequent users of internet access via smartphones. Fifty one percent of African Americans use their smartphones for internet access, compared to 24% of whites. A 2012 survey of HIV-infected individuals indicated that 81% text extensively and more than 50% access the internet through smartphones or tablets. The NM2 project team uses these communication tools to reach the targeted populations to share information and engage in conversation. The team is partnering with similar agencies and organizations to reach as many individuals as possible in the region.

For more information or to follow the NM2 social media sites, visit:

WatsDaTJax on Facebook www.facebook.com/WatsDaTJax

WatsDaTJax on Twitter www.twitter.com/Wats_Da_T_Jax

WatsDaTJax on Instagram www.instagram.com/wats_da_t_jax

Wats Da T Jax targets African American MSM age 18 and older.


WatsDaPlayJax on Facebook www.facebook.com/WatsDaPlayJax

WatsDaPlayJax on Twitter www.twitter.com/watsdaplayjax

WatsDaPlayJax on Instagram www.instagram.com/watsdaplayjax

Wats Da Play Jax targets African American heterosexuals age 15 and older.


CONTACT: Vince Evans, NM2 Project Director

904.899.6300, ext. 4120

Kim Deppe, Deppe Communications


© 2014 River Region Human Services | Employee Webmail | Careers
Some programs are funded in part by federal, state, and local government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Center for Disease Control, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Florida Department of Health, and the City of Jacksonville. In additional, many of our services are sponsored in part by the State of Florida Department of Children and Families Services.