We are Better Together!

We received a call from the Department of Children and Families. A mom they were working with was facing a crisis, she had recently become a single mom of 6 children. She lacked the community and resources to support her family. Our team immediately jumped into action and worked hard to identify several volunteer host families to temporarily care for her children. This gave Alma four days to make safety improvements to her home and work through this difficult situation. We partnered with City Furniture and they graciously donated 6 beds to this mom for each of her children. Our host families wrapped around Alma and were able to get donations of bedding sets, pillows and items to ensure mom’s home was safe and ready to receive her children. One of the host families also assisted with ensuring the children were entered into an after care program that assisted with homework and care, while Alma finished up her daily work hours. The families that cared for her children continue to be a support to her in our family friend program. The Department of Children and Families even took notice and provided a letter sharing their gratitude. The generosity of our host families in partnership with our work, kept six children out of the foster care system. We kept a family together and each of those children and Alma will forever be grateful! This story has a happy ending instead of a tragic one and we couldn’t have done it without the generosity and support from our community.

Last year, the inaugural Better Together gala exceeded our wildest expectations. We raised more than $200,000 from nearly 200 guests, including several young families. We received generous media coverage, and NBC2’s Rachel Pierce and ABC7’s Annie Hubbell emceed the celebration.
Guests marveled at circus entertainment and songs from the Oscar-nominated film “The Greatest Showman.” They also heard emotional stories of redemption made possible by Better Together programs.
Shurlyn, a pregnant mother of two, was staying at a shelter due to a domestic violence situation. She needed to find a home for her young girls while she delivered her baby at the hospital. A Better Families volunteer hosted her children and helped them move into a new home.
Alyssa entered a Better Work job fair with a history of opiate addiction and a criminal record. After hearing her story, a local HR manager whose company had policies on the books prohibiting Alyssa from working there made an exception and hired Alyssa on the spot.
The gala is called the “Night of a Million Dreams” because everyone dreams differently. For Alma, her dream was to keep their family together. Shurlyn, the dream was a safe home for her children. For Alyssa, the dream was to find honest work and maintain sobriety. With the help of Better Together programs, all dreams became a reality.
With your support, we can transform society one community, one person, and one dream at a time. With the generosity of our gala sponsors, hundreds of Florida children will have full stomachs in safe homes, parents will achieve self-sufficiency, and families will find lasting stability. There is still time to be a sponsor of this event and be able to help more families like Alma, Shurlyn , and Alyssa right here in SW Florida.

This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.