Better Together, a nonprofit dedicated to families and children, recently honored members of Collier and Lee counties who have gone above and beyond to serve the mission of Better Together.
“Our donors, volunteers, partners and supporters help families to overcome devastating crises and to rise up stronger than ever,” said Megan Rose, CEO of Better Together. “While all of our supporters have a vital role in our success, we were honored to recognize several individuals and organizations for their tremendous generosity and support.”
Better Together recognized supporters for their impact in Collier County during the Doing Good Together appreciation reception held May 23 at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples. Honorees include:
- Host Family of the Year was presented to Spencer and Adriana Adkins for hosting three children and building a strong relationship and bond with the children’s mother to build self-sufficiency.
- Doug Campbell Generosity Award was presented to John and Kelly DeAngelis for generously supporting Better Together for years.
- Community Partner of the Year was presented to Healthcare Network for introducing Better Together to many families and impacting their lives.
- Church of the Year was presented to Grow Church for being a supportive partner of Better Together on multiple levels, hosting church launches and volunteer trainings, while providing volunteers for events and more.
- Department of Children and Families Partner of the Year was presented to Lisa Meszaros for always being available and willing to go the extra mile. She has connected Better Together to multiple families, impacting many within the region.
- Mentor of the Year was presented to Mika Paz for connecting with parents, being relatable and loving and meeting mothers exactly where they are. Not only does she mentor families, but she also volunteers at Better Together events.
- Champion for Strong Families was presented to Senate President Kathleen Passidomo for being an advocate and supporter of Better Together’s program.
Better Together also recognized Lee County supporters during a reception held May 30 at the Collaboratory in Fort Myers, sponsored by Gaea Landscaping and Lady Cakes Bakery. Honorees include:
- Host Family of the Year was presented to Cory and Jackson Burton for their tremendous help during Hurricane Ian recovery efforts, providing food and other items to families without transportation.
- Doug Campbell Generosity Award was presented to Norman Love for creating and selling 1,214 #SWFLStrong boxes online and in chocolate salons with 50% of every purchase going to Better Together. These efforts raised nearly $40,000 to support Better Together in helping families hardest hit by Hurricane Ian.
- Community Partner of the Year was presented to Lee Health Social Workers for partnering and impacting lives by introducing Better Together to many families.
- Church of the Year was presented to Christ Community Church for hosting church launches, volunteer trainings and supporting Better Together.
- Department of Children and Families Partner of the Year was presented to Lutricia Burney for assisting the team and connecting them to Child Protective Investigators as they work from their office on a weekly basis.
- Mentor of the Year was presented to Mirline Sheridan for connecting with parents, being relatable and meeting parents exactly where they are, in addition to volunteering at Better Together’s Parents’ Night Out.
- Champion for Strong Families was presented to Suncoast Beverages for being a dedicated partner of Better Together and delivering truckloads of water to families in the days following Hurricane Ian.
- DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris was also recognized as a champion for families in the wake of Hurricane Ian, when she joined Better Together in walking door-to-door to meet the needs of families across the community.
Better Together is made up of two programs – Better Families and Better Jobs – that help parents who are going through a hard time to keep their kids out of foster care, find work and address the root causes of their struggle so that they can reunite as a family with the tools and support system to thrive.
With the help of donors and hundreds of volunteers and church communities, Better Together builds lasting support systems that help families cope with hardships – such as job loss, substance abuse, homelessness and jail time – and ensures that children are cared for in a safe home until the family can be reunited. To date, the program has served over 5,400 children and kept 98% of families together, while helping 39,000 job seekers across 22 states find employment.
ABOUT BETTER TOGETHER:
Better Together is a nonprofit organization that helps parents going through a hard time keep their kids out of foster care, find work and address the root causes of their struggle so that they can reunite as a family with the tools and support system to thrive. A privately funded and professionally supported organization, Better Together is made up of volunteers who believe helping people help themselves is the best way to restore dignity and bring families together. Through the Better Families program, families are offered a preventive alternative to foster care while they get the help they need. To date, the program has kept 98% of children served out of foster care. The Better Jobs program was created to address the 76% of families that come to Better Together because of economic hardship tied to unemployment. In addition to community job fairs, the program offers job seekers coaching, guidance, support and encouragement through local church partners. For more information, visit BetterTogetherUS.org.