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A Success Story for Thousands of Children, Parents and Job Seekers

The Better Together story began in 2015, when Megan Rose took the helm of a Chicago-based nonprofit that hadn’t yet taken hold in the Southwest Florida community. After 10 years of working in the Florida child welfare system, she brought real-world experience and a heartfelt desire to prevent child abuse and neglect with an alternative to foster care.

Megan modified the program, shifting from a state-funded approach to one that is 100% privately funded. As a result, she was able to inspire volunteerism at new levels and assure families that their children wouldn’t be taken away just because they needed help.

Soon, she recognized that what at-risk parents need most is jobs. So, Better Together began the Better Jobs program, partnering  with churches and employers to restore people’s income and dignity. Thus, Better Together families and many others in the community have overcome significant barriers to employment and become self-sufficient, thriving members of society.

Since its inception, Better Together has provided temporary homes to more than 2,750 Southwest Florida children. And they are successfully helping parents who wish to keep their families together. They have also helped more than 28,000 Job Seekers find employment in 12 different states.

“We’ve innovated, grown and perfected our own model, learning what really works,” said Megan. “Now, we want to take what we’re doing with Better Families to all of Florida. And we plan to continue expanding Better Jobs by partnering with hundreds of churches across the country.”

To learn more about our impact, check out our most recent Annual Report.

One Mission, Two Programs

Together, Better Families and Better Jobs provide a powerful platform for people who are ready to enact positive change. They are 100% privately funded and community driven, implemented by faith-based organizations and a caring volunteer force.

Learn more about each of these highly successful programs:

Meet the Better Together Team

Under the leadership of Megan Rose – and with the help of an amazing volunteer force – this small, yet deeply dedicated, team connects families and job seekers to the help they need.

MEGAN ROSE

Chief Executive Officer

LORA BOSTICK

Executive Assistant and Development Connector

TRISTAN STARBIRD

Better Jobs Executive Director

ISIS LAROSE

Better Families Executive Director

Mellissa Foster

Church & Volunteer Engagement Director

Paola Rendon

Community Outreach Director

Brittnie Steinmetz

Family Care Coordinator

CHRISTY SANCHEZ

Better Jobs Church and Training Specialist

GISELA ESTRADA

Better Jobs Project Manager

Meet the Better Together Board

Generosity underpins everything Better Together accomplishes on a daily basis. In addition to the hands-on volunteers in the field, we have an exceptional board of directors. These leaders lend a diverse array of knowledge and expertise. They graciously walk alongside and support the Better Together team!

TARREN BRAGDON

Founder and Board President

DOUG CAMPBELL

Board Director

LEE WYATT, JR.

Board Director

DR. ALISE G. BARTLEY

Board Director

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Better Together Team
Megan Rose
Chief Executive officer

Megan came to understand the value of empowering families with support and resources through her own journey. When she was young, her father went through recovery and the family was split apart. He was able to get healthy, while strangers came alongside her family and showered them with support. Soon, her parents and family reunited. Those powerful lessons of compassion were the early inspiration for a life and career dedicated to the calling of strengthening families and reminding people of their dignity, worth, and value.

In addition to her passion for her helping families, Megan has a wealth of education, over ten years of dedicated experience in social services. She holds an undergraduate degree from Liberty University in Psychology and a Master’s in Human Services with a dual concentration in Executive Leadership and Family and Group Dynamics. After college, Megan worked abroad as a nanny, then returned to Florida where she worked for four years as a child welfare case manager before becoming director for a foster care agency. In 2015, she joined Safe Families for Children, then branched off in 2018 to start her own organization, Better Together.

Megan was the recipient of the Manhattan Institute Civil Society Award in 2018 and was accepted into their Fellowship in 2020. In October 2020, Megan was featured on the cover of Grandeur Magazine for her work at Better Together and also earned the Cape Coral Community Foundation’s Rising Organization of the Year Award.

Family is everything to Megan, and she counts her husband Mason and their three precious children, Brady, Ellie, and Emma, as her greatest blessings in life. Megan and her family approach this ministry together, and routinely host children in their home. They are a team, and her family continually supports her wonderful adventure as the leader of Better Together. She feels blessed to have her family’s support behind her and to be a part of a team of talented, passionate individuals who love people and want to help equip the faith community to grow the Better Together mission.

Better Together Team
Lora Bostick
Executive Assistant and Development Connector
Lora’s desire to help others and her passion for children is what brought her to Better Together. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from West Virginia University. Lora previously worked for the government as an operations specialist.  Her husband Chris ‘professional baseball career brought them to Florida where they started as a volunteer host family with Better Together. She feels blessed and excited to remain a part of the organization as the Executive Assistant and Development Connector.

Lora and Chris have two children, Jay and Nia. She enjoys attending church, hosting gatherings with friends and family, cooking, and game nights.

Better Together Team
Tristan Starbird
Better Jobs Executive Director
Tristan is excited to join the Better Together Team. Tristan comes to Better Together following a position with the Christian Civic League in Maine, where he implemented Better Together job fairs as a part of his service to the state of Maine and its churches. He brings valuable experience as executive director of a Christian summer camp that went from the brink of closing its doors when he arrived, to 7 years later a thriving ministry that serves children in the community daily with an after-school program.

With his M.A. in Christian Leadership from Liberty University and recent induction into the University of Maine Augusta’s Athletic Hall of Fame, he brings strong servant leadership skills that will be crucial as he seeks to grow Better Together’s reach here in Southwest Florida. Tristan is passionate about seeing families thrive and meeting the needs of people who are unemployed.

Tristan and his beloved wife Robyn were married in 2008 and he is the proud dad of four children, Calysta, Jett, Dashiell, and Armadeus. When Tristan is not in the office he likes to play with his children and sneak in a little golf.

Better Together Team
Isis LaRose
Better Families Executive Director 
Isis started on the team as our Outreach Director in 2017 and was promoted to the Better Families Executive Director role in the beginning of 2020. Prior to joining Better Together, Isis worked in the medical field for 16 years. She has always had a passion for helping others, but it wasn’t until being introduced to Better Together, and becoming a host family, that she realized her passion for helping families in need.

Over the last three years, her family has hosted 18 children. Her husband and children are just as committed as she is in this ministry and share in the joy of being able to care for children while their families maneuver through crisis. Better Together is a way her whole family serves together.

Isis loves spending time with her husband, Danny and their two boys, Asher and Ayden. She always has something planned to do with them, including Disney, Universal, and Islands of Adventure. She also loves to party plan, and everyone enjoys her get-togethers, even when her husband says she is “going overboard!”

Better Together Team
Mellissa Foster
Church & Volunteer Engagement Director
Mellissa has a heart to serve and love people exactly as they are and to connect them to a local body of Christ for encouragement and relational support. She comes to the Better Together team with a background in marketing and development and uses these skills along with her passion to serve and love others. Prior to joining the Better Together team, Mellissa worked in ministry for over ten years serving local churches in the Family and Children’s Ministry. She also serves as a Youth Leader at a local church in Bonita Springs, where her husband, Jonathan, works as the Worship and Creative Arts Director.

Mellissa, her husband, and her children Jad, London, and Barrett have served as a host family and mentors for several Better Together families and look forward to continuing to do this as a family unit. Mellissa is passionate about the Better Families program because of the life changes she has seen by helping families in crisis. Mellissa believes serving as a family gives her children the opportunity to learn to love others with action in a tangible way.

Better Together Team
Paola Rendon
Community Outreach Director 
Paola serves as Community Outreach Director for Better Together and is passionate about bringing innovative and restorative services to children and families who need them most. She believes the local church has the greatest opportunity to love and engage in what the Lord calls us to do through this program: help the widows, the orphans, and the hurting in their time of need. For the past ten years, she has worked within the child welfare system, providing intervention, tangible resources and the hope of Christ to at-risk youth.

Paola graduated from Southeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and she continued to earn her master’s degree in education with a concentration in counseling. She loves spending time with her husband Jared and their sweet girl, Ellie Grace. She loves to watch sunsets and eat ice cream.

Better Together Team
Brittnie Steinmetz
Family Care Coordinator
As a former foster child herself, Brittnie holds inherent love and empathy for the children and families that Better Together serves. She brings years of experience to the Better Together team, having worked as a Child Protective Investigator with the Department of Children and Families. This invaluable experience helps her to understand the crucial delineation between government and non-profit sectors and gives her an appreciation for the “neighbor-helping-neighbor” model. Brittnie is passionate about Better Together’s drive to keep children out of foster care as well as prevent its need entirely. Brittnie holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and Sociology as well as a master’s degree in Social Work.

Better Together Team
Christy Sanchez
Better Jobs Church and Training Specialist 
Christy began her journey with Better Together working with local churches in Southwest Florida before moving with her family to Milwaukee. Now, she is our Church and Training Specialist assisting our Work Ministry nationally. She feels blessed to be a part of the Better Together team and is thrilled to help equip and inspire churches to reach their community by providing employment opportunities to unleash their full potential. Christy’s husband Diego is the Worship Director at a local church in Milwaukee, where they are raising their daughter Adelina.

Better Together Team
Gisela Estrada
Better Jobs Project Manager
Gisela was born and raised in Southwest Florida, so naturally, she has a strong passion and desire for helping people in this community. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University. She previously worked in the non-profit sector supporting foster children but then decided to pursue a corporate career. Gisela quickly learned that her heart belonged to serving those in our community through non-profit work, and this led her to Better Together. Gisela is excited to join the Better Together team and help lead our mission of keeping families together and children out of foster care.

Gisela loves spending time with her family, fiancé, and her precious dog Obi. When asked, others would describe Gisela as thoughtful, optimistic, and persistent. When Gisela is not in the office, she enjoys volunteering, watching the Hallmark Channel/reruns of her favorite shows, and making memories with her family and friends.

Better Together Board
Doug Campbell
Board Director

Doug Campbell’s life is now consumed by trying, through Better Together to keep families together and kids out of foster care and, through Friends of Foster Children Forever, to do for abused and neglected children what neither the state nor any other agency does to make their lives closer to normal. He serves on the board of Healthcare Network of SWFL that provides primary medical, behavioral and dental health care to over half the children in Collier County and, he has been a Guardian ad Litem for 20 years. Doug is a central Kentucky native and was an oil and chemicals industry executive, a career that included 17 moves and more than 20 jobs.

Doug and his wife Nancy have lived in Naples since 1997 but have had family in the area since 1966. They have two children Mary and Jim, and three grandchildren. They periodically visit them in Boulder and Chicago, and the rest of the time he spends doing as instructed by Nancy, his wife of 50 years.

Doug is motivated by Better Together, Friends of Foster Children, Healthcare Network and his involvement as a Guardian ad Litem. All have taught him the glaring unfulfilled needs of children who, through no fault of their own, become dependent on the government. His philosophy is to make money, have fun and do all you can to keep the government from destroying what you worked to earn, including working within the system to see that tax dollars do as much good as possible.

Doug believes that this is a valued venture since Better Together works with volunteer families to help families at-risk who want to stay together, thrive and avoid foster care. Friends of Foster Children meet the unmet needs of kids in the dependency system who have become wards of the state with little to no explanation. It’s for these children that he spends most of his time working to meet their needs that the state does not.

In Collier County, more than 700 abused, abandoned and neglected children are removed from their homes each year. Doug dreams that through volunteer initiatives such as Better Together, the need to remove these children from their homes and place them in foster care will no longer exist.