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Better Together honors Tampa Bay community partners at Doing Good Reception

Better Together, a nonprofit dedicated to families and children, recently honored Tampa Bay community partners who have made a significant impact on the organization and its mission.

“Our Better Together team is so grateful for the donors, volunteers, partners and advocates who support us in fulfilling our mission of helping families overcome crisis,” said Megan Rose, CEO of Better Together. “These groups and individuals are the reason we are able to change lives and help our community flourish. It was an honor to recognize them for their generosity and unwavering support this year.”

Better Together recognized several honorees for their impact during the reception held April 24 at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club in Tampa. Honorees include:

  • Host Family of the Year was presented to Eric and Madeline Barnes for always being eager to help and for reaching out to the Better Together team regularly. Recently, the family hosted baby Jade while her mom got back on her feet. They are also valued members of the community, as church members and friends often share how impressed they are with them.
  • Doug Campbell Generosity Award was presented to Troy and Elizabeth Fowler of The Triad Foundation for their dedication and generosity. They embody the belief that true change starts at the community level and thanks to their support, Better Together was able to grow into the Tampa Bay region and help families flourish.
  • Business Partner of the Year was presented to Suncoast Credit Union for its support of Better Together. Suncoast Credit Union has provided support in many ways, from toy drives to financial literacy initiatives. Alexa Fisher, who accepted the award on Suncoast’s behalf, initiated a diaper drive at the St. Petersburg satellite campus.
  • Champion for Strong Families was presented to Florida Representative Traci Koster for her unwavering support. She is a genuine champion for children and families and has reshaped countless lives through her work in Tallahassee. Her dedication has helped thousands of families across Florida.
  • Community Partner of the Year was presented to Directions for Living for its partnership with Better Together. With the help of Directions for Living, Better Together has been able to provide respite services for multiple families to give parents a much-needed break. Kelsey Riquelme, who accepted the award on behalf of Directions for Living, works tirelessly to make sure families served get the help they need.
  • Church Partner of the Year was presented to Faith Life Church for its support of Better Together. Faith Life Church has hosted several events for Better Together families, and they always make sure the space is set up perfectly. At Christmas, the church hosted an event full of activities, food and even the Grinch. Because of the partnership, Better Together has been able to serve nearly 80 children in the Tampa Bay area.
  • Department of Children and Families Partner of the Year was presented to Temoy Petty for being a beacon of hope for families. Last year, he worked with a mom who was experiencing a medical emergency but had no one to take care of her son. Petty connected her with Better Together, helped with transportation and made sure mom received the care she needed.
  • Mentor of the Year was presented to Isaiah Chavez for his continuous support. A child of the foster care system, he understands the impact that living in foster care can have on a person’s life. He especially has a heart for helping dads navigate crises.
  • Super Volunteer of the Year was presented to Fred and Deborah Perkins for always being there to help support families. The Perkins are a host family for the nonprofit and even on short notice, they will gladly open their home and their hearts to children.
  • Staff Appreciation Award was presented to Ruth Pierce for her kindness, helpfulness and unwavering positivity. Pierce joined the Better Together team in September 2023 as the outreach director for the Tampa Bay region. She brings over 15 years of education experience and a heart for families informed by roles as a Guardian ad Litem and foster care volunteer.

Better Together helps 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 9,000 children and kept 98% of families together, while helping 42,000 job seekers across 22 states find employment.

To learn more about Better Together and its mission, visit BetterTogetherUS.org.

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