Florida’s Children First (FCF) will recognize and honor Tampa area child advocates and former foster care youth at an awards reception and fundraising event Thursday, June 19, 2014, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the law offices of Shook Hardy & Bacon. FCF is a statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children.
FCF’s Executive Director Christina Spudeas and FCF Deputy Director Robin Rosenberg will lead the event, along with Host Committee Chairs Rosemary Armstrong and Jennifer Voss. It is expected to draw more than 100 child advocates, elected officials, judges and community and business leaders.
This year’s Tampa honorees include:
• Jessica Rae, Esq., Child Advocate of the Year: Jessica Rae began volunteering her services to Florida’s Children First in January, 2011 by taking on some very intricate and contentious pro bono cases. In addition, Ms. Rae helped FCF develop a training program for lawyers who were willing to represent children in dependency proceedings at the Tracey McPharlin Pro Bono Initiative with Broward Legal Aid.
• Jessica Overstreet, Youth Honoree: Jessica spent three years in the foster care system before being adopted at the age of 17. She has volunteered countless hours with Foster Angels and helped shape the Hillsborough Youth Empowerment Board, a chapter of Florida Youth Shine.
• Daniel Pettus, Youth Honoree: Daniel is currently serving as the Statewide Chair of Florida Youth SHINE and has dedicated countless hours to testifying, speaking and advocating to statewide committees, legislators, and media. After entering care, Daniel was separated from his two sisters. He transitioned in and out of care many times until he turned 18 due to his mother’s substance abuse.
• Shadai Simmons, Youth Honoree: Shadai has an amazing story of overcoming a long history of physical & drug abuse, neglect, and abandonment. In spite of a very difficult start, the Shadai of today is a very strong, healthy, and motivated young adult. She works at Ready for Life 20 hours a week where she is role model to youth who are in foster care or have already aged out.
A $100 contribution is suggested, with all proceeds to benefit FCF. To RSVP, please call 954-796-0860, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.floridaschildrenfirst.org. Shook Hardy & Bacon is located at 100 N. Tampa Street, Suite 2900, Tampa, FL 33602.
About Florida’s Children First:
Florida’s Children First is the leading statewide child advocacy program, serving as a “watchdog” agency, holding DCF and others accountable, and helping them do a better job at protecting the children who need their services. A nonprofit organization, FCF seeks meaningful and sustainable improvements in all child-serving systems, with a special emphasis on the foster care system. The organization is based in Coral Springs and has offices in Tampa and Jacksonville, and works all over the state.