Community Impact Awards
The Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County, in coordination with the St. Lucie Chamber of Commerce, presents the Community Impact Award each month to an outstanding individual working with children and families in St. Lucie County. The Children’s Services Council is committed to recognizing the good work being done in our community by those who dedicate their lives to helping others. The most recent award winners are listed below.
You can also watch interviews with our winners on All In, (shows linked below) a partnership between Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County and the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce to highlight individuals in our community who are "All In". On each episode, hosts Terissa Aronson and Sean Boyle will recognize a Community Impact Award winner as well as introduce local non-profits with opportunities for residents to get involved.
If you'd like to nominate someone who works in a Children's Services Council funded program for a Community Impact Award, please click here to submit your nomination.
New Horizons of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast
Deanna has provided substance abuse and bullying prevention services in St. Lucie County schools since August 2018. Deanna possesses the ultimate "can do" attitude while taking on tasks with positive energy. Her upbeat personality and calming presence have made her a go-to for students in need of a caring adult, and for school staff members when they need support or have had a difficult day. Deanna takes care to provide high quality work and is a source of encouragement for everyone around her.
Grace Education & Business Community Center
GEBCC is a hidden gem in our community. Joann and her team work to provide a safe, fun learning environment for students in our community. They offer tutoring, an engaging afterschool program and an amazing summer learning program for children in the Fort Pierce community.
The Arc of St. Lucie County
In her short time at The Arc, Athary has brought excitement and visibility back to their program. The Arc is one of only a few programs in our area that serves children with special needs and she has worked hard to expand their outreach into the community.
Lorina Lee Beniamino
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Lorina was nominated by her supervisor and Program Director Samantha Taylor. Her nomination is shared below:
Lorina started as Program Associate in February 2020. She got roughly 3ish weeks of "normal" before our whole world was turned upside down in regards to how we ran our BBBS Reads program. Lorina has not let that hinder her and has flourished in her position. She helped me create a new way of serving for our members and has shown so much patience for our members who are seasoned and some just now learning the ways of technology. She has been my right hand gal and I don't know how I would have been able to transition to Program Director and keep this program running during the pandemic without her.
Congratulations, Lorina on an amazing first year in your position at Big Brothers Big Sisters. We look forward to more years with your dedication and determination.
Pastor Kenny Mills, Sr.
Save Our Children, Inc.
Pastor Kenny Mills is not unknown to most folks in the Fort Pierce Community. His work at Save Our Children, Inc. has been a cornerstone for the area for more than 30 years. Recently, with his help, a memorial was unveiled at Dreamland Park that honors the victims of gun violence in our community. His hope is that we never have to add another name to that wall.
Through Save Our Children, Pastor Mills and his wife, Donna, have raised a generation of children. Some former program participants are now sending their children to the program, and even though COVID hit their program hard, they are finding ways to stay engaged with their families. A new one-to-one virtual tutoring program has just launched as a way for them to help their students stay on track academically during these very challenging times.
Thank you, Pastor Mills, for always keeping the community's kids top of mind and ensuring that they have a safe, positive place to be themselves. Congratulations!
Mr. Joseph Richardson is the founder of Future Generations, Inc. - a music oriented afterschool program serving students in Fort Pierce. When students attend Future Generations, they not only get the typical tutoring, homework help and guidance you'd expect at an afterschool program, but they also learn to play multiple musical instruments Mr. Richardson has a way of teaching students that gets them excited about the prospect of music as they learn and builds their confidence to pursue even greater goals.
The work he and his team put in to the program does not go unnoticed and we are proud to honor him as one of our Community Impact Award Winners.
END IT, Corp.
I am writing this letter to nominate Simone Dupree for the Community Impact Award. Let me tell you a little about Simone Dupree.
Simone is the graphic designer, videographer/editor and also dance instructor on our team. She is also one of our phenomenal instructors, teaching our youth the art of graphic designing, the art of videography/editing and the art of dancing. She is currently a full-time student at Indian River State College and will receive her Bachelor Degree in Graphic Designing this winter.
Earlier this year, COVID-19 hit causing almost everything to shut down, including our program. The pandemic did not cease Simone to establish different ways to make our online presence relevant, attractive and engaging for our youth. Simone put in countless hours working on different projects, challenges for our youth to enjoy with each other while they are home during the pandemic shutdown. She has gone above and beyond to ensure we were still interacting with our youth via social media.
Despite the immense amount of work that she does, Simone consistently finds ways to interconnect with our youth, that she not only teaches them graphic designing, videography/editing and dance, but they are also comfortable to come to her as a compassionate adult/mentor. Her willingness to assist others is unequaled.
Not once since I have been working with Simone Dupree have I heard one negative comment from youth and/or staff about her. It is with great pleasure that I respectfully submit this nomination for Simone to be recognized as the Community Impact Award.
Tricia Goulet, RN
Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County
As the Senior Community Health Nursing Supervisor at the local department of health, part of Tricia Goulet's role is to supervise the nurses who work in St. Lucie County Public Schools. School Health Nurses are dedicated professionals who work to advocate for the health and safety of the children in our community. These nurses require expertise in pediatrics, public health and mental health. Health promotion, assessment and referral skills are also an integral component of the role.
Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, Tricia and her team of nurses have worked diligently to ensure the health and safety of our students. We are grateful for the support she gives to her nurses, to our school district and most importantly to the children in our community.
Inner Truth Project
Jessica is an amazing peer advocate and certified nursing assistant with exceptional administrative and communication abilities. Working as the Outreach Coordinator for the Inner Truth Project, Jessica has helped that relatively new organization expand throughout our community while bringing knowledge about sexual abuse to our residents. Jessica has volunteered for many local organizations in the community, assisting the homeless and working with substance abuse clients. She was born and raised in Parkland, FL and is the mother to an incredible little girl.
Helping People Succeed
Oralea Marquardt, MSW
Treasure Coast Hospice
Oralea Marquardt is a Grief Counselor at Treasure Coast Hospice in their Youth Grief Program. She lover her work with grieving children and their families and always strives to do the best for each person that she works with. She has presented to Universities and the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care organizations on supporting grieving children as well as working with parents who have lost children.
She is a creative therapist who works hard to connect with children, even creating grief specific games and art modalities to work with kids. She is a shining example of someone who takes difficult situations and turns them in to something meaningful. Learn more about Treasure Coast Hospice's programs and their Camp Good Grief here on their website.
Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County
When COVID hit, Kaitlyn Spera jumped into action. Kaitlyn is the Club Director at the Garden Terrace Center for the Boys & Girls Club and when her kids could no longer come to the club, she and BGC found a way to bring the club to them by way of virtual workouts, mental health check-ins and reading groups. Kaitlyn also helped organize a tea party with Love Shack Fancy for girls in her club. The tea party focused on more than just fun, though. In her role as the Social and Emotional Learning and Trauma Informed Liaison with BGC, she found a way to incorporate those lessons into the tea party as well. Kaitlyn enjoys working with children to help them overcome behavioral barriers and reach their full potential.
IGNITE Youth Alliance
In 2015, Darcy McFolley was the first street outreach worker hired through Restoring the Village Youth Initiative (now IGNITE Youth Alliance). He quickly stood out as a leader among his peers and was soon promoted to lead outreach worker, and finally to Supervisor for the whole street outreach team. With solid street credibility and innovative ideas, Darcy has had a huge impact on the street outreach component of IGNITE. He is a positive adult and advocate for hundreds of youth in the community, as well as a mentor to the rest of the outreach workers at IGNITE. In addition to his job at IGNITE he also works full-time as a behavior technician at a drug rehab facility and is active in his church, (often seen in the streets of Fort Pierce, delivering meals to the homeless.) Darcy is married and has three children.
St. Lucie Public Schools
As the school district’s Homeless Student Liasion, Kylee works hard to ensure that the homeless students in our community have every available opportunity to access school and school resources. The work she does never goes unnoticed.
The Lindsay School of the Arts
Cindy Bridges is a Florida native, and is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University. Her background and love for dance and the performing arts started at a very young age. Cindy has worked in human services and education for over six years and has devoted her life to helping children and their families. She is extremely passionate about the children and homeless community in St. Lucie County.
Inner Truth Project
Mindi Fetterman founded the Inner Truth Project with a goal to offer a safe place for sexual assault survivors to heal and grow.
Mindi works tirelessly to ensure that survivors who visit her center have every opportunity to heal in their own way. She is a true champion for survivors in our community and beyond.
Jessica Drew - Annual Community Impact Award Winner
PACE Center for Girls
Jessica Drew is a hidden gem at PACE Treasure Coast. She is a passionate advocate for the girls that she serve on a daily basis. Every year she prepares them for an annual poetry event, encouraging them to use the traumatic situations they have gone through as their testimony.
Jessica once picked up a student every day because she lived within a 2 mile radius of the school and she could not get a bus assigned by the district. Jessica wanted to ensure that the girl attended school daily because she was close to graduation, so she added this student to her "Magic School Bus" route.
Jessica ensures that the girls remain connected to the community keeping them involved in the Youth Leadership and the Mentorship Program. She advocates tirelessly for the girls in the program ensuring that all of their academic and social/emotional goals are met. There isn't a battle or a neighborhood tough enough to keep Jessica Drew out of, when it comes to serving our girls.
Guerline Gabriel works closely with young women in our community at risk of having teen pregnancies in the Teen Choices program.
Helping People Succeed
Ms. Stephens is Helping People Succeed’s Community Mom and was actually nominated for this award by a colleague. Ms. Stephens advocates for children and their families and consistently goes the extra mile to find services for families in need.
Save Our Children, Inc.
Kids at Hope
Ms. Reid works hard to ensure that every adult in our community knows how to find the talents and treasures in our children by teaching and supporting the Kids at Hope mantra that All Kids Are Capable of Success, NO EXCEPTIONS!