FFCR Named Outstanding Non-Profit Champion for Children by Florida’s Children First

On Tuesday, May 16th, Florida Foster Care Review received the Outstanding Non-Profit Champion for Children from Florida’s Children First (FCF). Most of the staff and several board members were on hand for a lovely evening of celebration at the Coral Gables Museum. The award was presented by FCF’s Vice President, Lauren Reich, Esq., who shared that she was mentored by several of FFCR’s founding board members at the start of her legal career. FFCR’s Executive Director, Candice Maze, received the award on behalf of the organization saying, “We truly appreciate and admire Florida’s Children First’s work uplifting and amplifying the voices of youth impacted by the child welfare system. We are honored to be recognized by such an impactful statewide advocate for children and young adults.”

Candice expressed FFCR’s gratitude for the many enduring relationships the organization has developed and depended on for more than three decades – the hundreds of volunteers, donors, foundation and corporate partners, community organizations, child welfare system stakeholders and the juvenile court judiciary and administration.

Candice also praised FFCR’s team, many of whom participated in the event, stating that it was her personal privilege to work alongside a team of professionals whose passion, grit, creativity and irrepressible sense of hope drives FFCR’s mission forward. She proclaimed, “You are the heartbeat of our organization, and I am so grateful for each one of you!”

Along with many of the evening’s speakers, Candice recognized Marissa Leichter, Esq., FFCR’s Training & Engagement Manager, who has volunteered for almost 10 years as an adult mentor for FCF’s youth advocacy branch, Florida Youth SHINE, and who, in her “spare” time, is the supportive adult/mentor for a number of young adults formerly in foster care.

Candice ended her remarks by congratulating FFCR’s fellow awardees – Esther Jacobo, of Citrus Family Care Network and Dominique Rosario, a young adult who was formerly in foster care and now works at Casa Valentina supporting young people who are transitioning from the system. Both Esther and Dominique shared inspirational messages and acknowledged FFCR’s important role in improving children’s lives.

FFCR’s Marissa Leichter presenting the Outstanding Youth Advocate award to fellow honoree Dominique Rosario with Florida Children’s First Executive Director Geori Seldine.