Doing Good Together in Tampa Bay

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We’re so grateful for the Tampa Bay community coming together for the 2024 Doing Good Together reception Tuesday, April 23 at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club in Tampa.

(See photos from the event below!)

The annual receptions, held in each region we serve, are a way to thank our volunteers, donors and community partners.

At the Tampa Bay reception, we heard from Angelee, who shared her story of struggle and redemption. While the video rolled, every eye watched the screen, every tongue fell silent.

We were thrilled to welcome Florida Rep. Traci Koster, the teams from Suncoast Credit Union and the Department of Children and Families, as well as folks from many other organizations and areas of the community.

One of the most moving moments of the night belongs to Jennifer Fischer, a young single mom who connected with our Host Family of the Year. The Barnes hosted Jennifer’s baby, Jade. At the reception, Jennifer presented the award to the Barnes, and her tribute brought tears and love across the room.

This year, we introduced the DOie awards. That’s “do,” as in the recipients are doing good. In the tradition of prized baseball cards, we commemorated the contributions of several of our Tampa Bay community members through these DOie awards, each card featuring images from our work together and a personalized quote.

This year’s DOie award honorees in the Tampa Bay area are:

Community Partner of the Year

Directions for Living

Kelsey Riquelme accepted the award for Directions for LIving. She works tirelessly to make sure families we serve together get the help they need. With the help of Directions for Living, we have been able to provide respite services for multiple families to give parents a much needed break.

DCF Partner of the Year

Temoy Petty

Temoy Petty, a child protective investigator for Circuit 13 of the Department of Children and Families, is a beacon of hope for families. Last year, he connected us to a mom who was experiencing a medical emergency but had no one to care for her son. Temoy introduced us, helped with transportation and made sure mom received the care she needed.

Church Partner of the Year

Faith Life Church

Faith Life Church has hosted several events for Better Together families, and they always make sure the space is set up perfectly. At Christmas, they hosted an event that was packed with activities, food, and even the Grinch. Their partnership has allowed us to serve nearly 80 children in the Tampa Bay region.

Business Partner of the Year

Suncoast Credit Union

Suncoast Credit Union has provided support in many ways, from toy drives to financial literacy initiatives. Alexa Fisher, who accepted the award on Suncoast’s behalf, had initiated a diaper drive at the St. Petersburg satellite campus.

Doug Campbell Generosity Award

Elizabeth and Troy Fowler

The Triad Foundation

Troy and Elizabeth Fowler embody the belief that true change starts at the community level, and thanks to their dedication and generosity, Better Together was able to grow into the Tampa Bay region and help families flourish.

Champion for Strong Families

Florida Rep. Traci Koster

Rep. Traci Koster is a genuine champion for children and families, reshaping countless lives through her unwavering support in Tallahassee. Her dedication has helped thousands of families across Florida.

Super Volunteer of the Year

Deborah and Fred Perkins

Deborah and Fred Perkins are one of our amazing host families. Even on short notice, they gladly open their home and their hearts to children.

Host Family of the Year

Madeline & Eric Barnes

Madeline & Eric Barnes are eager to help and reach out to our team regularly. They recently hosted baby Jade while mom got back on her feet, and they continue to keep in touch with them. Their community values them as well. Church members and friends often tell our team how impressed they are with the Barnes.

Mentor of the Year

Isaiah Chavez

A child of the foster care system, Isaiah Chavez understands the impact that living in foster care can have on a person’s life. He especially has a heart for helping dads navigate crises.

Staff Appreciation Award

Ruth Pierce

Ruth Pierce joined the Better Together team in September 2023 as the outreach director for Tampa Bay. She embodies helpfulness, kindness, and unwavering positivity. Ruth also brings with her more than 15 years of experience in education and a heart for families that is informed by roles as a Guardian ad Litem and foster care volunteer.



You’ll find upcoming Doing Good Together receptions in our online calendar.

Coverage of past receptions can be found in our blog.

Posted April 24, 2024

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