St. John’s County School District (SJCSD) Family Services Coordinator Joann Johnson with Scholarship Recipient Francesca Brown and SJCSD Homeless Liaison Chris Stone.

Winner of Haven Hospice Scholarship to

Attend St. Johns River State College Full Time in the Fall

St. Augustine, Florida (June 16, 2014) – Francesca Brown was awarded the first Haven Hospice Academic Scholarship of $500 and was recognized for this achievement on May 27 at the St. Augustine High School Student Awards Night. Francesca will use the monies for educational costs when she attends St. Johns River State College full time in the fall of 2014.

“When I think about being awarded the scholarship, I just smile. I am beyond words,” said Francesca who is looking forward to earning a degree in physical therapy. “I am really excited for the fall and hopefully will start choosing classes soon.”

While finishing up her high school education, Francesca was enrolled in classes at St. Johns River State College. She plans to continue with pre-requisite classes at St. Johns and go on to the University of North Florida to earn her bachelor’s degree. “I love anything to do with fitness. I work out every day and take my dog Bentley everywhere I go,” said Francesca who currently works as a restaurant hostess and is seeking a second job this summer to help pay for college expenses.

The Haven Hospice Academic Scholarship required that the scholarship was awarded to one deserving student who is enrolled in the ASSIST (Aid & Support for Students in Sudden Transition) program in St. John’s County School District and has been accepted into St. Johns River State College for the 2014-2015 school year. Haven Hospice became involved with ASSIST when Haven Hospice Director of Community Engagement Linda Scaz attended the first annual dinner in August 2013 and later became a member of the ASSIST Task Force for Accompanied Youth.

“This opportunity for a scholarship brings value to ASSIST students because they don’t think college is a viable option for them,” said Joann Johnson, a family services coordinator of St. Johns County School District Student Services Department. “Scholarships give our students an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and to plan their future.”

The ASSIST program through the St. Johns County School District is a response to the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. According to the U.S. Department of Education website,Each year, over 800,000 children and youth in the United States experience homelessness. Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is intended to ensure that homelessness does not cause these children to be left behind in school.” 

“I want to thank everyone for their encouragement,” said Francesca. “After having met Ms. Johnson, everything came together. I wouldn’t have anything right now if it weren’t for her.”

For more information on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act or the St. Johns County School District Assist program, please go to or