Recently Peace River Center honored Nan Langston, our previous Director of Children’s Services, with a therapeutic garden at our renovated Children’s Resiliency Campus at Williamsburg Square.
Nan started working at Peace River Center in 1992 and rose to be the Director of Children’s Services during her tenure. Not only did Nan supervise multiple programs, she also played an instrumental role in helping many PRC staff grow by mentoring and supervising them through the licensure process required to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Both Candace Barnes, LMHC CBHCMS-AC who currently serves as PRC’s Chief Operations Officer and Tiffani Fritzsche, LMHC, CBHCMS, PRC’s current Director of Children’s Services are products of Nan’s efforts to grow the next generation of Human Services Professionals.
After deciding to step back from full time work in 2014, Nan never left Peace River Center, but happily agreed to stay on in a Special Project Capacity. She continues to do licensure supervision with those working to become licensed mental health counselors to this day.
A Vision for the Future
While discussing complicated cases of families the team was serving, one vision Nan kept returning to over and over again was her dream of having a “Children’s Center of Excellence.” This would be where all of the children’s services programs were located, offering a continuum of care and meeting needs at many levels. It would be a place of healing for our most vulnerable population.
Realizing Nan’s Vision
In 2021, Peace River Center was working to expand programming in Children’s Services as well as several other areas. The organization was out of space in all its locations. When PRC’s leadership team started to explore the prospect of Williamsburg Square, they realized it was uniquely suited to house all the Children’s Services programs, which had been spread between Bartow and Lakeland. After purchasing and renovating the building, then moving in, it occurred to Candace and Tiffani that the organization was realizing the dream that Nan had planted the seeds of all those years ago.
The organization felt it was very important to dedicate some area of the Children’s Resiliency Campus to Nan and to honor the immense amount of dedication she has given not only to the children and families of our community, but also to those professionals who she helped shape and mold.
Tiffani came up with the idea of a therapeutic garden to dedicate in Nan’s honor, to memorialize those seeds of a dream that Nan planted, which had finally become a reality.
PRC’s Morgan Whitaker-Smith, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and FACT Team Leader who also specializes in therapeutic horticulture planned and carried out the vision for the garden. Members of our Junior Advisory Board and their parents also work alongside Morgan to plant the therapeutic garden. On September 21, 2023 following a ribbon cutting of the renovated Peace River Center Children’s Resiliency Campus, the therapeutic garden was dedicated in honor of Nancy P. Langston.
Recognizing Our Generous Donors
It goes without saying that much of what Peace River Center accomplishes for our community would not be possible with many generous donors. We would especially like to thank the Tampa Bay Area Credit Union for Kids, Inc. for their support of the Children’s Resiliency Campus renovation. We look forward continuing to honor Nan’s legacy and provide many more children, teens, and their families with this center of excellence.