Children & Families

As a church which began so that a child and her family might have a community of faith, Palms has long dedicated itself to responding to the needs of children in our community.

Palms Preschool Scholarships

Palms Presbyterian is proud to house an outstanding preschool on the church property. Operating independently, the preschool serves approximately 80 children, with more than 50 in the extended day program. The Palms Preschool also runs a nine-week summer camp for more than 50 children. Open since September of 1985 with 25 children, the preschool has loved, taught and served children within this particular Christian community. The church sets apart some of the annual pledge funds to provide scholarships to children who wish to attend the preschool but are unable to pay the tuition. A typical year sees between five and ten children on scholarship.

Kids Connection with Beaches Elementary Schools

Palms Presbyterian supports quality public education for all children. Palms has a partnership with two elementary schools in the beaches area – Joseph E. Finegan in Mayport and Seabreeze Elementary in south Jacksonville Beach. These partnerships take many forms, from providing an appreciation lunch for the faculty, a monthly check that the schools can use to provide critical unmet needs of many students, as well as tutors and mentors. The monthly support can provide lunch money for a child, a new pair of glasses, some necessary but not provided art supplies. Both elementary schools have been partners in the Angel Tree Christmas giving program. Both schools appreciate this unique partnership with the church and welcome individual volunteers. To tutor or help out in a public school, volunteers are required to fill out a form and have a background check completed. It is easy to do! Palms Session members have the form and will be happy to process it for you. Just contact a member of the Outreach Ministry.

The Gail Baker & Carver Centers

Located in Donner Park in Atlantic Beach and in Jacksonville Beach, these recreational and educational centers have summer camps and after school programs. The Gail Baker (formerly Donner) and Carver Centers serve children and senior adults from families in the area. Palms disciples are very active in the Gail Baker and Carver Centers working alongside long time staff and the Center’s directors. Throughout a many year partnership, Palms has donated Christmas gifts, some years including bicycles, to more hundreds of children. Other activities have included tutoring, youth activities, the distribution of summer meals and meeting the needs of families. For more information, please visit:

Angel Tree Giving during Advent

Consider taking part in the Annual Angel Tree project. At the beginning of Advent, a tree is set up in Patten Hall covered with more than 250 paper angel ornaments. Each angel identifies a gift desired by a local area child. Each year, Palms partners with various agencies and schools at the beach to reach the children and their families with the most need. Past partners have included the Donner Center in Atlantic Beach, military families through the USO, as well as the Palms two elementary school partners, Finegan and Seabreeze. All you have to do is to select an angel, purchase the gift described on the angel, wrap the gift and attach the angel to the gift. Return the gift under tree for distribution. Gifts may be brought to Patten Hall and placed under the tree through mid-December. There has been very generous support of the Angel Tree in years past beginning in 2007. Thank you for considering making this an angel-filled year for hundreds of the Beaches area children who will wake up to a special Christmas delight.

The Duvall Home

Located in Glenwood, Florida, the Duvall Home is a place where more than 140 individuals with developmental disabilities live in a private countryside setting allowing each and every resident to lead an independent and fulfilling life. Founded in 1945, Mr. And Mrs. A.H. Duvall began to operate a home for their own child, Choppy, who was born with Down syndrome. The first home had 17 children in their care, and a need so great that in 1952 they moved to the current location in Glenwood, near Deland, Florida. As the Duvalls aged, they established a not-for-profit organization with a strong affiliation to the Presbyterian Church. The Duvall Home has a covenant with the Synod of the South Atlantic, as well as covenants with many Presbyteries in the southeast, including the Presbytery of St. Augustine. Each Sunday the children of Palms Presbyterian Church bring their gifts to God’s mission in the “Smiley Bank”. These gifts are added to financial support from the church’s yearly budget to support the efforts of the Duvall Home. Palms children bring a “smile” to other children like the Duvall’s son Choppy. The Duvall Home also provides services to developmentally disabled adults with round the clock resident care, activities and religious services.

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The Sanctuary on 8th Street

The Sanctuary on 8th Street is a place of welcome and safety located in the midst of the inner city. The ministry provides an enriching, affirming environment for children living in marginalized neighborhoods. This is accomplished through after school activities, and an eight-week summer camp program, as well as a small home school. Academic support, enrichment activities and positive relationship by caring staff and volunteers helps to accomplish positive outcomes for the children. The Presbytery of St. Augustine and the former Springfield Presbyterian Church opened the doors of Urban Ministries of Springfield in 1992. In 2002, the name was changed to The Sanctuary on 8th Street when the agency moved to that address – 120 E. 8th Street, into a building that once was a post office. Palms Presbyterian financially supports this ministry. Support also comes from the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, the Jaguar Foundation, the Monique Burr Foundation, and the Bridge. There are numerous volunteer opportunities listed on the website. Please contact a member of the Outreach Ministry for more information or to notify the church is you do volunteer for The Sanctuary

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