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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

9/22/2016: Bob Graham And Chris Hand; Teach For America; Sactuary On 8th Street


Former Senator and Governor Bob Graham and Chris Hand, former Mayor Alvin Brown’s chief of staff, joined host Melissa Ross to talk about their new book “America, the Owner’s Manual — You CAN Fight City Hall And Win.” We also heard from Teach for America-Jacksonville Executive Director Darryl Willie about 60 new teachers from the program in Duval County. Ross also spoke with Sanctuary on 8th Street’s Executive Director Vicky Watkins and Karin Tucker of Biscotti’s in Avondale about an upcoming fundraiser and 5K for the organization. 


Graham and Hand

In 2016, primary voters turned conventional wisdom on its ear. Anti-establishment candidates surged in the polls. Much of the frustration expressed by voters was directed toward elected officials. Graham and Hand told Ross there are ways for concerned citizens to get involved and help bring about change.

Teach for America  

There are 60 new teachers in Duval County this year thanks to the Teach for America program. That’s on top of 70 second-year teachers hired last year. There are more than 180 alumni from the program working throughout  Jacksonville. Under the program teachers promise to work in low-income neighborhood schools for at least two years. Willie told Ross many of the program’s graduates dedicate themselves to a career in education long after departing.

Sanctuary on 8th Street

The Sanctuary on 8th Street is a safe haven for kids in Springfield providing after-school programs, summer camp and a home school. Watkins and Tucker spoke to Ross about Friday’s Shindig fundraiser at the Jacksonville Garden Club and a 5K run the next morning in Springfield.    

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax