Florida’s Children First (FCF) will recognize Palm Beach County individuals for their tireless efforts to advocate for the state’s most vulnerable citizens at its annual Palm Beach Reception on Oct. 28 at the National Croquet Center Point Club in West Palm Beach. FCF is a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting foster children and other at-risk youth. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Register and learn more at Florida’s Children First.
Dozens of Palm Beach County’s prominent business and community leaders, as well as people concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned and neglected children and youth, will be in attendance.
This year, Kathleen Kroll will be presented with the Champion for Children award. Kroll has served the Palm Beach community for over 29 years. First elected by the voters in 1984 to serve on the County Court bench, she was then appointed by the Governor to the circuit bench where she has served since 1994. In her early career, she was a general litigation attorney, then with the Public Defender’s office. She also worked for the Department of Justice. Kroll is the recipient of the Gladstone Award for her service to and the improvement of the lives of children in Florida. She is being honored for her dedication to children, and her lifetime of leadership in the community.
In addition to Kroll’s award, Attorney Abigail Beebe will be recognized as Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Beebe is known for her extraordinary work as a pro bono attorney and her willingness to take long and difficult cases. Beebe serves on the Executive Council of The Florida Bar Family Law Section and was recently named Secretary for 2015-2016. She is also the immediate past-chair of the Family Law Section Legislation Committee, as well as serving in many roles with the Palm Beach County Bar Association.
The children across Florida always need someone to look up to, and they turn to Jeff DeMario who will be presented with the Outstanding Youth Mentor Award. DeMario’s official title is CEO of Vita Nova, Inc., an independent living facility for youth aging out of foster care. However, to hundreds of kids all over the state DeMario is known as “Dad”. DeMario has a heart for the kids and served as the Chapter mentor in Palm Beach for over five years. DeMario brings over 26 years of experience working with youth and young adults in the child welfare system. He is being recognized as the Florida Youth SHINE “Outstanding Youth Mentor” and advocate for children because his commitment, passion and love for the children make him stand out even among the finest chapter mentors across Florida.
Janice Goldsberry, while young in years, has done a lot for the children of Florida and will be awarded Youth Advocate of the Year. Goldsberry is 22 years old, a member of the Vero Beach Chapter of Florida Youth SHINE and serves as the FYS statewide membership chair. Goldsberry entered care at the age seven along with her older brother and her younger sister but was separated from her siblings almost immediately. Over the course of the next 12 years, she was in 17 foster homes (including group homes), attended four elementary schools, eight middle schools and three high schools. Goldsberry became an advocate to make an impact in the system and to help others still in care. She attends Indian River State College and is studying nursing.
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