On March 4, 2013, NCJW Palm Beach Section honored Michelle Suskauer at our Women in Power luncheon at Mirasol Country Club, attended by more than 150 women. A fabulous boutique enhanced the afternoon experience.
Michelle was honored for her work in the areas of domestic violence and juvenile justice. Her passion for social justice and her efforts in our community, such as her "Breakfast and Books" mentoring program, in which female attorneys mentor incarcerated young females, expand her reach into areas which have not been previously addressed. Michelle is highly regarded by judges, prosecutors and law enforcement personnel for her compassionate and caring work with those less fortunate.
Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families David O. Wilkins met personally with members of the Section Board and leaders and shoppers of the Vita Nova LIFT Project when he was in West Palm Beach late last month. He expressed his appreciation for the outstanding new community service providing household essentials for adolescents aging out of foster care.
The Palm Beach Section of the National Council of Jewish Women received the PARTNERS FOR PROMISE AWARD from the FL Department of Children and Families for its newest community service GIVING A LIFT ON THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE to Palm Beach County adolescents aging out of foster care on their 18th birthday.
In-home foster care terminates on an adolescent’s 18th birthday and each one must assume the responsibilities of an adult: apartment rental and furnishing, payment for utilities, transportation, food, money management, etc. Those who stay in school full time get a monthly stipend from the state; some choose not to complete high school or higher education and seek employment; some, regrettably, live “on the streets.”
Vita Nova, Inc is the local agency that has a contract from the FL Department of Children and Families to work with teens from age 16-23, and has transition specialists who work individually with teens from 16 to 18 years old to prepare them for their need to be independent on their 18th birthday. NCJW is working with Vita Nova and their transition specialists to provide a LIFT on their ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE.
Linda Geller-Schwartz at Villaggio
Presenter Dorothy Fadiman
Some of the most fragile youth in our community are those who enter the foster care system because of abuse, neglect or abandonment, and are never adopted. They spend the time from initial court ordered removal from their home to their 18th birthday living in foster home after foster home until, on their 18th birthday, they are removed from their foster home and told they are now on their own - without a car, without a checking account, without a roof over their head.