Last week, the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services spent three days reflecting upon a year of work, accomplishment and progress. Held in Orlando, this year’s annual meeting was a celebration of the Network and its member agencies, shelters and stakeholders. We were honored to invite back familiar faces and host guests such as Department of Juvenile Justice Sec. Christina Daly, Sen. Arthenia Joyce (D – Tampa) and motivational storyteller D.J. Vanas.
The meeting kicked off on Wednesday, May 25 when the advocacy and communications board of directors met to discuss vision and ideas for improvement and sustainment of our programs and resources.
Thursday, May 26 was the highlight of our annual meeting, with a packed schedule featuring our annual awards ceremony.
After the attendees checked in and enjoyed breakfast together, the program began. Christian Moore, founder of WhyTry, kicked off the day with an introductory speech. What began as a lighthearted story of an embarrassing moment in his early childhood quickly became an inspiring story of the challenges he faced while growing up and how he overcame the obstacles he faced in school and at home. He went on to explain WhyTry’s initiatives, programs and tactics for helping troubled youth facing learning disabilities and difficult-to-lead lives. He posed the question, “Why try in life?” To this, he explained that trying leads to opportunity, freedom and self-respect. He explained that in order to help troubled youth, we must embrace the three R’s: relationship, relevancy and resilience.
“Many of the social problems these kids have, we don’t have any magic wand to get rid of these challenges,” remarked Moore. “But we need to realize one of the most important things we have to teach these children is how to bounce back – how to be resilient.”
Watch Moore’s presentation:
After an inspiring presentation, it was time for Florida Network President and CEO Stacy Gromatski and the Florida Network board members to take the stage and present their committee reports.
The committee reports given by Florida Network’s staff and board of directors highlight the past year’s accomplishments toward improving the lives of the youth and families of Florida.
Following the committee reports, Department of Juvenile Justice Sec. Christina Daly gave the DJJ Update Report. She shared that Florida is at the lowest juvenile crime rate in over 30 years and is seeing lower numbers in arrest rates. She then answered engaging questions from the audience.
Watch Daly’s presentation:
Following the report presentations, Florida Network reminisced on the 2015 year with a “Year in Review” video.
Following the video, WhyTry presented the Resilience in Action award to Florida Network Program Services Director John Robertson. We are proud of John’s hard work at the Florida Network and are thrilled to see him honored through this prestigious award.
Following the award presentation, Immediate Past Chairman Chris Dudley presented the slate of officers. Congratulations to our newly elected 2016-2017 Florida Network officers.
– Chairman: Sheriff Don Eslinger
– Vice Chairman: Wansley Walters
– Treasurer: David Griffin
– Secretary: Carl Weinrich
– Immediate Past Chairman: Chris Dudley
See the full list of our board members.
After enjoying lunch, Board Member Jim Pearce welcomed our guest speaker, D.J. Vanas. Vanas delivered a motivational speech that focused on attitude and time. Speaking to a room full of service providers, D.J. spoke on the importance of willingly choosing to carry oneself and serve others in a positive way. He went on to emphasize the value of time, something that we give but cannot get back. In regards to service providers, he stressed that prioritizing and taking the time to care for oneself is the stronghold to a successful and happy career. In conclusion of his inspiring and uplifting speech, D.J. advised to, “take care of each other, take care of whom you serve and take care of you.”
Watch D.J.’s presentation:
At 1:30 p.m., our awards ceremony began. Eleven awards were presented to outstanding community leaders, senators and member agencies throughout Florida. Congratulations to the following award recipients.
- Agency of the Year 2016 – Nehemiah Educational and Economic Development, Inc. (Orlando)
- Agency of the Year 2016 – Youth Crisis Center (Jacksonville)
- Chairman’s Leadership Award 2016 – Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D – Tampa)
- Counselor of the Year 2016 – Abraham Greene, Urban League of Palm Beach County (West Palm Beach)
- Counselor of the Year 2016 – Amber Minton, Orange County Youth and Family Services (Orlando)
- Legislator of the Year 2016 – Sen. Joe Negron (R – Stuart)
- Manager of the Year 2016 – Stepheny Durham, Youth Crisis Center (Jacksonville)
- Network Executive of the Year 2016 – Andrew Coble, Youth and Family Alternatives (New Port Richey)
- Networker of the Year 2016 – David Ulloa, Arnette House (Ocala)
- Program of the Year 2016 – “Family Place,” Capital City Youth Services (Tallahassee)
- Youth Care Worker of the Year 2016 – Carlos Childs, Family Resources (Pinellas Park)
- Youth Care Worker of the Year 2016 – Jason Kasten, Arnette House (Ocala)
Watch the awards ceremony:
Following the awards ceremony, Florida Network wrapped up the day with a networking event and reception in honor of the awardees.
To conclude the Annual Meeting on Friday, May 27 the Florida Network board of directors toured the Orange County Youth and Family Services youth shelter and schoolhouse. It was a wonderful opportunity to truly see how #TheNetworkWorks!
Thank you to our sponsors, WhyTry, Lewis Digital and Forefront LLC for your generosity and assistance in putting on a successful annual meeting. We can’t wait to see what the next year holds and what our network of individuals and organizations will accomplish!
See our Facebook album for more photos.