Operation New Hope

Outside of City Hall, large building with steps leading to the entrance, a couple of palm trees out in the front
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Ahead of the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, local state representatives and senators held their annual Duval Legislative Delegation Meeting to hear the concerns of organizations and community stakeholders.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at Operation New Hope in Jacksonville.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he has created a new organization to help reduce the state’s recidivism rate through increased investment in career readiness training and community re-entry programs for inmates.

Vice President Mike Pence and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump
The White House

Vice President Mike Pence and Advisor to the President and daughter of President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump will be visiting Operation New Hope in Springfield Friday and participating in a roundtable with the nonprofit’s clients.

Tiffany Salameh

Springfield’s Henry L. Brown Kooker Park is getting a facelift thanks to grants from ESPN and the NFL totaling $125,000.

Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Operation New Hope president and CEO Kevin Gay (01:03) on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session’s order for federal prosecutors to get tougher on drug crimes and how it could triggers more people receiving long terms in prison under mandatory minimum guidelines. Then we then spoke with President and CEO of Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center Mike Howland (34:09) about May being Better Speech and Hearing Month. Concert on the Green President Lauren Hoffman (41:52) stopped by to talk about Sunday’s concert with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Kerry Speckman (44:20) told us about all the other events this weekend.   

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Nonviolent ex-offenders now have a school designed to quickly train them for jobs at the JaxPort.

The school, called the Jacksonville Port Academy, was created by the nonprofit Operation New Hope, Florida State College at Jacksonville and JaxPort.

Monday on “First Coast Connect,” guest host Jessica Palombo was joined by Darnell Smith, incoming co-chair of the JAX Chamber, and Project New Hope President and CEO Kevin Gay. They talked about the Chamber’s Project Open Door. Cole Pepper talked about the Florida Gators’ winning the SEC Eastern Division and another frustrating loss by the Jaguars. And WJCT Music Director David Luckin and WJCT’s Karen Feagins stopped by with a preview of our holiday programming, starting with “Swamp Radio” on Thanksgiving morning at 9. 


Blake Allen / WJCT News

A mixed-income apartment complex was unveiled Wednesday in the historic neighborhood of Springfield.

Two First Coast organizations received federal grants Thursday to help them find jobs for people getting out of jail or prison.

First Coast Workforce Development in Fleming Island received more than $1 million to support its work with juvenile offenders.

And Jacksonville’s Operation New Hope is getting more than $1.1 million for its efforts to help adult ex-offenders.


Stark and somber on the outside, FreshMinistries' Eastside Resource Center inside is a bright and bubbling wellspring of hope in a Jacksonville neighborhood more often seen as afflicted with poverty and crime.