Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning non-profit organization that advocates for positive systemic changes to improve children’s lives, has appointed Geori Seldine to Executive Director. She has worked at FCF for nearly a decade, previously serving as the Florida Youth SHINE Statewide Director. She brings a broad range of experience to the organization including program development, fundraising, leadership, and advocacy skills expertise in child welfare policy and leadership in the non-profit sector.
Seldine takes the reins from FCF’s longtime Executive Director, Christina Spudeas, who retired earlier this year after devoting most of her personal and professional life to public service, helping and advocating for children, and ensuring their voices are heard and respected.
“I am truly honored to take on this new role at a critically needed, child-centered organization that always puts children first and ensures children’s voices are heard, valued, and respected,” Seldine noted. “FCF celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. I am so proud of the transformational work that has been accomplished, and the impact we have made on so many children’s lives. However, we have so much more to do to help these kids. As we move into our next decade, I am committed to advocating for these children as if they are my own, and to working with advocates, leaders, the community, and youth that have experienced the child welfare system to make sure children and youth are protected, supported, and can thrive.”
Seldine has dedicated her career to fearlessly advocating for children and youth, ensuring they are put first when making policy decisions. She has worked to make meaningful, sustainable changes to the child welfare system to transform children’s lives. In her role with Florida Youth SHINE (FYS), a statewide youth advocacy organization for current and former youth involved in the child welfare system, she organized, expanded, and developed it into a national model for youth advocacy best practices. A recipient of the Janet Knipe Exceptional Adult Ally Award, she has served on numerous statewide and national committees, and workgroups focused on child-welfare issues.
“Geori was the first person in the advocacy world to make me feel proud to be an advocate in helping me find my voice when it comes to helping others,” said Rebekka Behr, FYS Statewide Chair. “Her moving into the Executive Director role is only natural as she has worked to create a community that is diverse, inclusive, strong, and outspoken. I am extremely happy to see Geori in this role and cannot wait to see what she does next.”
Prior to joining FCF, Seldine worked in the field of Student Affairs in leadership, social justice, and student programming where she developed innovative programs to arm students with the tools and support needed to be successful change-agents and leaders. Additionally, she worked with the Enough is Enough Anti-Violence Campaign, The Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and began her career in Child Welfare with Americorps, where she worked at Boystown.
“Geori has been one of the most reliable and supportive people I have ever met in my life. Since I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with her, I have felt less alone, more important, and more secure,” said Tee Legend, FYS Statewide Board Delegate. “She has played a huge role in providing me and others in the foster care system with opportunities to use our experiences in order to help ourselves and our peers. She also taught us the importance of not only advocating for others, but for ourselves.”
Seldine received her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from University of the Pacific and her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Sociology from Florida Atlantic University. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida’s Connect program and has served as a National Officer to Theta Phi Alpha, a Conference Delegate for the National Panhellenic Council, and as a member of the Junior League of Boca Raton.
Florida’s Children First advocates to make positive systemic changes to improve children’s lives. Its primary focus is on impacting the lives of children in foster care. Its work also impacts children with disabilities, those who are homeless, are immigrants, or have juvenile justice involvement. The Florida Youth SHINE program was developed to educate, empower, and support youth from foster care to become passionate advocates who amplify their voice for systemic changes.
About Florida’s Children First
Florida’s Children First, Inc. (FCF) is an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at–risk children and youth, especially those in Florida’s foster care system.