Family crisis Counseling Available to Southwest Families

Fort Myers, FL – Times are certainly stressful for parents – layoffs, virtual school and heighten anxiety are just some of the side effects coronavirus is causing among families in Southwest Florida.

Families can connect with Lutheran Services Florida (LSF), a nonprofit supporting families in crisis who have found creative ways to connect with clients remotely and offer strategies through our family crisis counseling and mental health programs.

Stop Now and Plan program (SNAP) is our program dedicated to children’s mental health and teaches kids to stop and think before they act. The safe at home measures put in place leaves children with idle time, which can be hard for parents dealing with challenging behaviors.

“We understand the challenges parents, youth and families are facing during these uncertain times.  Lutheran Services Florida is open and here to assist our community with the struggles and challenges the community may be facing,” Shareet Pennino Director of LSF Southwest Region said. “As of now, our counseling, case management, and Oasis runaway and homeless youth shelter are in full operation.  We are ready and here to  guide you in these troubling times in the right direction.”

SNAP is a preventative model that intervenes before kids enter the juvenile justice system. LSF partners with and accepts referrals from local law enforcement agencies, the Juvenile Assessment Center and all schools in District 20 as well as directly from parents in need.

To learn more about SNAP and crisis counseling services provided by LSF in Southwest Florida, please contact the administrative office at 239-278-1030.


Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Associate VP of Communications




Please follow and like us:

Social distancing and Alcohol/substance abuse

The mounting stress from self-isolation and social distancing — combined with the recent announcement that Florida bars and night clubs will be closed for 30 days — has many experts concerned about a potential spike in alcohol and substance abuse.

Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows that alcohol consumption typically increases dramatically during and after catastrophic events like September 11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO of LSF Health Systems and clinical psychologist, shares her concerns that the coronavirus could trigger a similar uptick in alcohol use disorders as well as share signs that you or a loved one may be consuming alcohol at unhealthy levels.

The connection between an increase in drinking and drug use following national catastrophes:

    • Very similar to the links we’ve seen between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans and drug abuse, studies show a significant link between Alcohol Use Disorder and disasters — both natural and man-made.
    • More families are working from home and balancing homeschooling and related childcare issues, which has the potential to increase stress levels even further. Not to mention the financial stresses this may put on local families.
    • All these factors can increase stressors and lead those prone to alcoholism or drug abuse to lean more heavily on those substances.
    • State officials made the decision to close bars and nightclubs for 30 days. This may limit alcohol consumption among social drinkers, but those with tendencies related to alcohol and drug abuse may become even more vulnerable.
    • For these individuals, drinking at home — often alone — can be even more dangerous than drinking at a bar or nightclub. That’s because bartenders and waitresses are trained to stop patrons from drinking too much.
    • Drinking alone at home is also often associated with depression and other related problems.

The body reacts to stress and alcohol can compound that stress:

    • Physically, when the body is challenged by stressful events, it responds by shifting normal metabolic processes into high gear. The brain directs key changes in the levels of hormones in the body.
    • These changes target specific organs, preparing the body to fight stress factors.
    • The hormone cortisol increases available energy by increasing blood sugar levels and mobilizing fat and protein metabolism to help the body respond quickly and efficiently to whatever is stressing it out.
    • Heavy drug and alcohol use exacerbate the hormone imbalances and impact how the body responds to stress. It can create a vicious downward spiral.

If your drinking, or the drinking of someone you know, shows signs of becoming a problem?

There are many organizations in our area that offer help to those fighting alcohol or drug use problems. If you prefer to try self-help strategies before you take the step of seeking professional help, there are many proven strategies.

    • Keep track of how much you drink. Find ways that work for you. Make check marks on a kitchen calendar or enter notes in a mobile phone notepad.
    • Find alternatives. If drinking occupies a lot of your time, then fill that time by developing new, healthy activities, hobbies, and relationships.
    • Avoid “triggers.” If certain people or places make you drink even when you don’t want to, avoid them. If certain activities, times of day, or feelings trigger the urge, plan something else to do instead of drinking.
    • Know your “no.” You’re likely to be offered a drink at times when you don’t want one – even at home. Have a polite, convincing “no, thanks” ready. The faster you can say no to these offers, the less likely you are to give in.

LSF Health Systems works with several partner organizations in Northeast Florida that can provide help for people in need of mental healthcare and substance or alcohol abuse issues.

Call our crisis line at any time at 1-877-229-9098 

Please follow and like us:

LSF COVID-19 Response

Safe Children

Child protection and ensuring child well-being in Florida is done through a community-based care approach. Through our local partnerships we provide crucial counseling services for youth and families in crisis, through LSF Grace Place encompassing four youth shelters, 7 group homes and three Case Management Organizations supporting the child welfare system.

  • While it is imperative that caseworkers continue to ensure the well-being of children in care, that imperative must be balanced against the health of caseworkers, children in care, and all of the people with whom they come into contact. The monthly caseworker visit requirement remains in place, but we are modifying our policy to permit such visits to be conducted by videoconferencing in these current extraordinary circumstances.
  • In our shelters, we are reuniting families where it is safe to do so while also taking the temperature of kids daily and checking for fever symptoms. All non-essential visits have been limited.
  • Our development staff is working on securing entertainment and enrichment options for our youth outside of social media and video games, while also adhering to social distancing.

Strong Families

Every family deserves the opportunity to succeed, no matter their circumstances. We serve more than 6,000 children and families each year in Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties through our Head Start and Early Head Start programs by working to close the achievement gap and serve the family as a whole.

  • Each of our classrooms are closed to in alignment with the school systems to children and families. However, our staff is still working. Our teachers and staff may not be in the classrooms, but they are still connecting with parents and serving as a resource. Our educational leaders are designing remote learning plans and strategizing around the challenges that brings for families without computers, the internet and food while they are out of the classrooms.

Vibrant Communities

In the Northeast corner of the state, our LSF Health Systems program serves a 23-county region of more than 50 providers helping those who are uninsured or underinsured struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.

  • Our priority is ensuring the providers are ready to handle the increased need this pandemic is causing and planning for any capacity issues that may arise. Dr. Christine Cauffield is an expert in this field and is making media appearances sharing tips and coping strategies for dealing with isolation and fears, among other timely topics.

We are privileged to be on the front lines assisting refugees seeking a brighter future in South, Southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area and by creating a welcoming environment and acclimating them to their new homes.

  • We recognize this population is possibly the most riddled with fear. They are living in a country they are unfamiliar with while facing an unknown pandemic. We are connecting them to seasonal job opportunities and encouraging them to seek medical care if they feel sick.

LSF Adult Advocacy Services serves indigent people with limited means as well as those with means to pay for services in Southwest Florida and in the Panhandle. The program provides protection, advocacy and financial management for those who are unable to care for themselves.

  • The elderly is the most at-risk population if they contract coronavirus. With 95 percent of the clients we serve in nursing homes, our top priority is to protect them while maintaining remote services. We have suspended face-to-face visits between our case managers and clients, but virtual meetings are taking place so we can continue to address loneliness, isolation and other fears.
Please follow and like us:

Sarasota veteran gets a surprise of a lifetime

“This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever had.” Jay, a Vietnam veteran born and raised in Sarasota, said as he put his feet up on his new couch. “I just can’t believe anyone would do this for me!”

Today is moving day for Jay, a Vietnam Veteran born and raised in Sarasota suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). LSF Adult Advocacy Services has handled Jay’s finances for nearly 20 years. He was living in deplorable conditions for some time, but wouldn’t move because of anxiety and triggers from his PTSD. He is also legally blind and did not want to leave his current trailer park because it is familiar to him with his limited eye sight.

LSF employees Tammy and Renee wouldn’t give up on Jay. They convinced him now was the time. The two women found a newer, cleaner mobile home in the same park then got busy finding local donors, nonprofits and businesses to make this Jay’s very own home.

Thanks to Heroes Welcome Home, Shelby Estate Sales, Wal-Mart, Knights of Columbus, Tom Latronica, Sarasota Senior Advocacy Council, Debbie Cole, Community Resources Council, Sarasota County Aging Network, Manatee Habitat for Humanity Jessup’s Appliances and many others, this has now become a reality!

Today was certainly a day of celebration. Jay’s former mobile home was about 100 sq feet with no air conditioner. It was so small and cluttered that he literally had to shimmy around furniture to move from the kitchen to the bedroom. His new mobile home is a sprawling 1000 sq feet with an outside patio decked out with furniture. A place for him to relax in the fresh air.

“This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever had,” Jay said as he put his feet up on his new couch.

“I just can’t believe anyone would do this for me,” Jay exclaimed!

Every time someone new showed up to install appliances, set up cable or bring food, you would hear, “Tammy!” That’s Jay yelling for the one person in the world he trusts – his Case Manager.

“He doesn’t understand the enormity of the fact that this home and everything in it is his. He owns it,” said Renee, Community Liaison for LSF in Sarasota.

A New beginning

Please follow and like us:

LSF Palm Beach Head Start Parent Meets with Tallahassee Legislators

By Tamar Belizaire
Head Start Parent from LSF Palm Beach Head Start 

As a Head Start parent here in Palm Beach, Florida I was honored and excited to meet with local legislators while in Tallahassee, for Children’s Week. We had a great discussion about the need to support our Head Start programs.

Thanks to LSF Head Start, I am happy and proud to say that in a few months I will be graduating with my AA and I will have the opportunity to enter the Nursing program this year.

I spoke about the positive impact Head Start has on so many families across the country, including my own. Two years ago, my life took a difficult turn because of family issues. I had to make sacrifices to meet the obligations for my son and me like leaving him with babysitters who were nearly strangers, working two jobs and neglecting my studies. But since my connection with LSF, once again my life changed but in a positive direction.

Now my son goes to a place where I know that he is protected, educated and watched by good people. I finally have the peace of mind that I needed to work on my personal development. Thanks to LSF Head Start, I am happy and proud to say that in a few months I will be graduating with my AA and I will have the opportunity to enter the Nursing program this year.

My story helped me to emphasize the transformational impact Head Start has on Palm Beach County’s children, and how critically we need support.

Our leaders in Washington must continue to step up on behalf of our most vulnerable early learners. Every child deserves the Head Start advantage!

Please follow and like us:

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is Human trafficking awareness month, shining light on an issue impacting some of the most vulnerable communities in our nation and state.  According to the Human trafficking Hotline, Florida ranks third in U.S. in human trafficking cases reported. LSF’s Trafficking Victim Assistance Program works with trafficking victims to help them rebuild their life and get a new start, like was the case for J.M. – a survivor of human trafficking here in Florida who we first met three years ago. (We are using the survivor’s initials to protect his anonymity.)

Every day J.M.’s heart ached with regret. He would have done anything to see his family again.

J.M. came to the United States in 2011 under a legal work visa, lured by morally bankrupt traffickers using the promise of higher wages and a better life for his family. He was told that he’d be able to send money home to them in Honduras, and that eventually they would be able to join him for a new, prosperous future in America.

The promise of prosperity given to J.M. turned out to be a living nightmare.

For five years, he was forced to work abusively long hours for meager wages while being restricted from communication with outsiders. He was housed in the unsanitary conditions of an overcrowded trailer with no AC or shower, sleeping on the floor without pillows and blankets. Any objections were met with threats to his family back home in Honduras. Every day J.M.’s heart ached with regret. He would have done anything to see his family again.

Miraculously, J.M. was able to escape after making sure that his family had moved to another area of Honduras, safe from the traffickers.

We are happy to share that J.M was reunited with his family and was able to celebrate the holiday season together for the first time in almost 10 years.


To report a trafficking tip, call the
National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888
a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

If you suspect someone is in immediate danger, please call 911.


Learn how to recognize potential human trafficking victims and how to report it.


Would you like to request an LSF representative to come speak on how to prevent human trafficking or provide on-site training?

Please follow and like us:

On this Parent’s Day

Parent’s Day is celebrated on the 4th Sunday of July. It’s a day that commemorates parenthood and appreciates all parents including mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers, stepmothers and stepfathers, adoptive parents and foster mothers and fathers, as well as their contribution to society.

On this special day, we want to celebrate those who chose to open their hearts to some of the most vulnerable children within our communities– foster parents.

Hattie Parsons, LSF Foster Parent.

“Parent’s Day as a foster parent to me means being an active mother in their lives.  I treat every child as my own,” said Hattie Parson, an LSF foster parent. “I work very well with birth parents, even taking them on vacation with me.  They know that I have an open-door policy. We all have a goal of reunification.”

Lutheran Services Florida served 4,600 children in foster care in 2018 and foster parents provided love, comfort, guidance and reassurance to foster children as they worked with the families to be reunited.

Dyecol and Taneasha Walker, LSF foster parents, shared a little more of their experience as foster parents.

What does Parent’s Day mean to you as a foster parent?

Parent’s Day is a special day on the calendar of foster parents because it is a grand occasion where parents are venerated and appreciated for their hard work, love and dedication that they have meted out to children that have come under their care.

How is it working with birth parents?

For the most part we have had a harmonious relationship with the biological parents. There is always an open line of communication to ensure that all the parties involved are able to maintain an optimal level of civility, thus reducing the shock on the child.

Dyecol and Taneasha Walker, LSF Foster Parents.

What would you say to encourage others to become foster parents?

Children are our future and sometimes dysfunctionalities threaten the potential spark that these children are capable of. Hence, every potential foster parent has a critical role in ensuring the best outcome of each child. It is gratifying knowing that for a period of time you are able to offer care and to positively impact the life of a child.

Becoming a foster parent


Fill out the information below and an LSF representative will be in touch with you with more information.

Please follow and like us:

Thank you, Head Start dads!

Father engagement is a vital and integrated aspect of parent, family, and community engagement work. LSF Head Start and Early Start staff engage fathers as advocates, lifelong educators, and first teachers of their children. Male family members and father figures serve key roles in the healthy development of their children and families and have much to add to their Head Start communities.

This Father’s Day we celebrate our Rock Star fathers throughout our LSF Head Start and Early Head Start programs!

Mr. nicolas

LSF PEPPI Head Start

Mr. Billy

A New Beginning Child Care 2 LCC

Duval Early Head Start Childcare Partnership:  A New Beginning Child Care 2 LLC spotlights “Mr. Billy Little”

“Mr. Billy” is a dedicated father who shows a high level of concern regarding his child’s education. We love having his son at A New Beginning Child Care 2 LCC! Mr. Billy looks for activities to assist his son with learning at home and does not depend solely on the teachers for his child’s education. Initially apprehensive, Mr. Billy made a 360 degree turn around with the Director of the Child Care Center as he came to trust that his child was in a safe place that offers the kind of quality care that every parent should expect.  Mr. Billy can be spotted participating at the parent meetings and helping out around the center.

Mr. Billy volunteers and gets into the trenches to help keep the center clean.  Mr. Billy is an inspiration to the child care team and a dependable father.  He is a shining example for the other fathers.

Happy Father’s Day Mr. Billy! We appreciate you.

-Submitted by Bridgette Carter, Owner/Director for A New Beginning Child Care 2 LCC

Mr. Gregory

Superior Christian Academy


Mr. Gregory is a phenomenal dad and I want to recognize him on Father’s Day!  He supports his daughter’s early learning experience at 100 percent.  He loves to stick around in the classroom to see the teacher’s interactions with his daughter and the children.

On his off day, he will pick his daughter up early to spend extra quality time with her. He is always asking her about the day and if there is anything she needs. He also offers help for other children who may not be able to afford at home supplies to enrich at home learning.

This dad wants to be informed on different strategies and ways to help him work with his daughter at home. We appreciate Mr. Gregory’s honesty and his hard work to provide a safe and caring place for his daughter.

He is LSF Duval Early Head Start’s champion dad!

-Submitted by Linda Reid, Owner/Director for Superior Christian Academy

Anel Nicolas is a father of two young children and recently took on the responsibility of adopting his wife’s niece. Anel is a hard-working father who generously helps others. Anel has been involved with our Head Start program for two years. Anel started out by attending every training/parent meeting that was offered to parents. Each time we had a parent meeting he would translate to the Creole parents and made sure they had a ride to the meetings.

Anel not only help the parents at PEPPI but throughout the Glades community. He was a part of our “Bikes Give-away” and he also passes out food to homeless in the community. He stated that his goal is for everyone in PEPPI and the Glades Community to come together and make a better future for our kids.

Mr. Nicolas is one the most dependable parents we have in our program. What more can I say about Anel Nicolas besides Happy Father’s Day and we are happy to have him as part of our program!

-Submitted by Shirley Coney, Director of LSF PEPPI Head Start


is a fatherhood involvement initiative program for the male staff, fathers or male figure that have a positive impact within our Head Start families.

The purpose of this initiative is to increase parent/guardian involvement in the Head Start program through center and local program activities that encourages positive child development. This initiative will also help the families by providing resources to participants and their families while helping them understand the importance of father involvement in a child’s life especially in the early development stages.

If you desire to join one of our parent engagement programs, please contact the main LSF Head Start office in your county or contact your Family and Community Engagement Specialists.

Please follow and like us:

21st annual Good Samaritan Awards

On June 2nd, around 200 people gathered in Miami, FL to honor good Samaritans who are making a positive impact in their communities. The event was hosted by the Christ the King Lutheran and was the 21st annual Good Samaritan event put together by Lutheran Services Florida.


Bay Shore Lutheran

These two Christian young men glorify God with their life and their service.

They currently serve at Bay Shore as acolytes, cross bearers, and lecterns. They have sung in the Sunday School choir, performed in the Christmas program, and they continue to participate in all youth related activities.

They help their father, Gabriel, with a community basketball camp.  This basketball camp has even gotten visits by Miami Heat players!

Both Daniel and Javier maintain a GPA even higher than a 4.0!  Chess anyone?  They are also chess champions.  They continue to enjoy and participate in High School sports at Columbus High School.

There’s no doubt about it, “the Twins” are fine examples.  They are visible signs of the Holy Spirit working in our youth of today for the future of the Church.

Kim Derr and Dennis Derr

Christ The King Lutheran

Kim and Dennis have something in common. They do not like to boast!  The Serving Commission at Christ The King has decided to do it for them!

  • Dennis was a steady hand on the recent Call Committee for a new Pastor
  • Dennis and Kim bake cookies for the Homeless facility Chapman Partnership
  • As a member of the ELCA, they faithfully participate in the “Gods’ Work. Our Hands” weekend of service. They work on the Habitat for Humanity Faith House one day and come back the next day to play bingo with the Vets at St. Michaels….. all while making homemade brownies and collecting and sharing clothes for the Vets!
  • Both Kim and Dennis serve on the Altar Guild
  • The participate in all the CTK Players plays and skits
  • Kim is Treasurer for the Miami Dade Monroe Conference and Dennis is the past chair.
  • They are a couple that you can count on whenever the need for a volunteer or support is presented!


Concordia Lutheran

Christopher Schur may only be 22 years old, but he has been one of the most active members at Concordia Lutheran Church for many, many years. He has helped with so many projects and activities at our congregation, it’s almost impossible to count.

He has led technology classes (some call him “Techie”), headed Vacation Bible School games and activities, and operated our sound system and laptop for worship services on Sundays and during the week. He has taught Sunday School, led “Trivia Night” activities, and has set up and taken down more tables and chairs than maybe anyone else in town!  Sometimes he does this as early as 4:00 in the morning!

He is always present at work parties doing yard work, power washing, and other tasks. He organized our shed and built shelves for it. He has visited people’s homes where help was needed with a variety of things such as cleaning and computer technology help.

He has participated in and assisted with several National Youth Gatherings. He helps regularly at our school. So many other things not listed here—and he does them all faithfully and never complains. His mother and father have also been Good Samaritan winners and he certainly follows in their tradition of service!  He is such a blessing to our Concordia family. We love you Christopher!


Grace Lutheran

Which hat does Susan have on now?

Susan has served as our Music and Worship Coordinator for over 8 years and Grace keeps begging her to stay on in this important position.  She has trained acolytes, given children’s sermons, provided altar guild services, ordered and delivered Christmas Poinsettias and Easter Lilies and she has even led the liturgical portion of our service when no pulpit supply was available.

Susan is always ready for more.  This year she became the Coordinator of the Diakonia Program.  This program is two years in length and provides training for Lay members in service ministries of the church.

She is also quick to join the fun of the numerous social events held at Grace.  Whether is it a musical needing a soloist, a banquet needing a cook or server, or a Bingo night needing a caller, she is an enthusiastic member of the team!

Did we mention her “real job”?  She is a Senior Training & Development Officer in Banking.  They are lucky to have such a knowledgeable, trustworthy professional!  So is Grace Lutheran.

Michael  Soltis

Lord of Life

We are honored to have Michael Soltis receive the Good Samaritan Award for Lord of Life Lutheran Church. Michael volunteer as a Liturgical Assistant, an Usher and he serves on the Church Council.  Michael completed the 2 year Diakonia program and graduated on May 19, 2019.  We know he will use what he has learned in this program to minister to those in need.

While his service to Lord of Life is a relatively new direction in his path, his path has always been one of service.  As the oldest sibling in a row house in a coal mining town, Michael has always had a hand in leading and counseling others.  That characteristic intrinsic personality also guided him in his decision to serve his country in the United States Army.  He did so, honorably, for many years.

His compassion and leadership forged his way in life towards becoming a good father.  This family path that was undertaken by he and his wife, Margaret, allowed him to once again serve others through his children.  He spent many hours as a youth sports coach and he ascended to become the President of a local Optimist Club chapter for many years.  This chapter serves many kids and their families in many positive ways.  His selflessness was further demonstrated day in and day out as he cared for his ailing wife, seeing to her every need.  His priority at this time was someone other than himself.  As is customary for him, he would have it no other way.

These are just a few of the many examples of Michael’s character and can only help to show what type of person he is and how his ascension into religion and the Lutheran Church came so easily.  Difficult in study but easy in the character needed to accomplish.  So many types of service over so many years has led him to this well-deserved award.


Lord of Life Latino Mission

We proudly select Myrna for the first Lord of Life Latino Mission Good Samaritan Award.

Myrna has been a member of Lord of Life Church for over 15 years, and part of the Latino Mission since 2017. Her educational background is in Clinical Nutrition and Food Safety, which she uses to help people in need of the basic knowledge on the topics, for their own wellbeing.

She dedicated 41 years to working in hospital settings in the active and tender care of patients. Her immediate plans include becoming a volunteer at West Kendall Baptist Hospital and to support the Lord of Life Community Group Assistance Program.

Since Myrna joined the Lord of Life Latino Mission, she has demonstrated strong faith.  She continuously responds generously to the needs of others.  By using her bilingual skills, she has become a leader in assisting with the Mission Development goals.  She assists the Program Director, Vicar Ignacio Estrada, in all activities as needed. She also represents the Latino Mission in the Lord of Life Church Council.

In the spirit of love, Myrna offers her daily service.  She is generous to all with whom she comes in contact. She strives to be kind and she is quick to help fellow members. She lives life to the fullest every day through her positive ways and in her thoughtful deeds.



Mision Luterana Sagrado Corazon

Mayra Aguilar is the first Good Samaritan winner from Mision Luterana Sagrado Corazon! Mayra stays very busy assisting their new pastor, Rev. Moises Carrasquillo, with all the needs of a new mission.

Mayra Aguilar is originally from Cuba. She came to the US at the age of 6 and Miami has always been her home. Mayra has been married to Carlos Aguilar for 17 years and they enjoy traveling to the Keys and the West Coast of Florida. They also like spending time with family and close friends.

Mayra keeps the Mission office running smoothly—she’s the person behind the friendly voice that greets you when you call. She has been with Mision Luterana Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart Lutheran Mission) since it began in August of 2018 and has been an integral part of its administration.

She’s not only the Secretary/Bookkeeper at the Mission, but she also makes sure that everything is ready for Sunday morning service.

She has been an integral part of getting the Good Samaritan Banquet ready this year and for many years. Getting our banquet hall set up, or our name tags ready, or our table assignments made or our themed table markers made, she does it all with a smile. That is just Mayra!

Ana Maria Alfonzo

San Pablo Apostol

Ana is a good Samaritan in and outside the church.

In the church she uses her musical ability to glorify God by playing the piano for our services. She is a warm and friendly member.

Outside the church she sends packages to the underprivileged in Cuba and in Peru. She aided in building a house for a needy family in Peru.  It was so appreciated by that family that the owner calls her “daughter” and she calls him “Papa Jose”. She also paid for his grandchildren’s studies.

She provides transportation to a group of ladies for their medical appointments. She took one lady to her dialysis for some time. Upon the death of this lady, her family donated the lady’s car to Ana.  She has provided such needed service to so many.

Eventually Ana donated this gently used car to a niece recently arriving from Cuba with no transportation options.  She gives, she receives, and she gives again.

For the gifts that God has given Ana, for her graciousness in sharing those gifts and for her love for those around, her we proudly nominate Ana as our 2019 San Pablo Good Samaritan.


South Miami Lutheran

In just two years of involvement, Katie Snyder has become a leader and integral member of South Miami Lutheran Church.  Katie is a lifelong Lutheran from Portland, Oregon and has been engaged in servant ministries in Central and South America since high school.

She did undergraduate and graduate studies in the engineering field before serving in the Peace Corps in Panama for three years. While serving there, she worked on water distribution, sanitation and hygiene, and AIDS awareness.

Katie became active at South Miami Lutheran after relocating to Miami in 2017 to work for an engineering firm involved in wastewater projects in Florida and Latin America.

She sits on the church council, serves as an assisting minister, and oversees many of the outreach projects of the congregation.  Her work has ranged from sandwich making, to hygiene kit assembly, to the crocheting of cancer caps.

She is a Good Samaritan in the community as well through her membership in Engineers without Borders and her mentorship of University of Miami student teams.

Whether working alongside people in need, organizing compassion ministries, serving at church, or offering her engineering expertise to bring hope and new life to others, Katie is a true gift from God to the community.

South Miami Lutheran Church is thrilled to have such a worthy recipient of the Good Samaritan Award.


St. John Lutheran

Nikye Joseph has long been a powerhouse among the congregation of St. John Lutheran Church of Miami Shores. However, she has now also become the powerhouse of the Miami-Dade/Monroe ELCA Conference as its Chairperson. It is for her extraordinary work with the Conference that we nominate her.

She has tirelessly made sure that all the ELCA churches in the Conference have the most up-to-date information on upcoming events by her use of email blasts, bulletin inserts and personal visits.

She shares her Sundays by traveling to the various Conference Churches and she listens to their needs.

She has launched numerous new events throughout the year and seems to never run dry of ideas to bring the churches together.

She has been a significant help to Pastor Marc-Charles at St. John, who serves as the Dean of the Conference.

Nikye is a gem which the St. John Congregation is happy to be able to share with the whole Conference, the community and with you tonight!


St. Paul Lutheran

Angelica Agosto, known as Angie, started attending St Paul Lutheran School when she was in the fourth grade.  Angie has since been a faithful, young servant of the Lord in our church and is always willing to be the acolyte for the day.

While attending college, Angie worked part-time at St Paul’s in the Before and After School Care Program.

She willing shares her many talents of crafting, baking and cooking with all her friends and with the children.

A few weeks ago, Angie graduated from FIU with her Bachelor of Science in Education and looks forward to serving children as a good Christian example and as a special teacher.  Angie always sets a great example for our young adults.

She has a loving smile and her laugh is infectious. It is with love that St. Paul Lutheran nominates Angie as our 2019 Good Samaritan award winner.

God Bless you always Angie!

Beverly Roy

St. Thomas Lutheran Church

Beverly Roy has been a member of St. Thomas Lutheran Church since 2003. Currently she is an usher, lay reader, and she serves on the Altar Guild.   She recently served as the Call Committee secretary and is a member of the Outreach Committee. Prior to joining St. Thomas, Beverly was a VBS teacher for 10 years and assisted with the children’s handbell choir at Cutler Ridge Lutheran Church.

Beverly has participated in many outreach programs and has dedicated her time, talents and treasures to the following: Habitat for Humanity, Lutheran World Relief and the Homeless Assistance Center in Homestead. As the Outreach Committee liaison for the Miami Southridge Senior High, she incorporated a food and toiletry pantry for the homeless students as well as a card ministry.

As the liaison for the Outreach Committee at St. Thomas, she has helped over 250 homeless teens at Miami Southridge Senior High which includes buying gift cards for hot meals, donating non-perishable items and providing especially needed personal toiletry items during the summer months. Recently she directed generous gifts given in her son’s memory to assure that homeless students had tickets to their prom.

Beverly is a 5th grade special needs teacher at Gulfstream Elementary School and is very dedicated to going above and beyond for the sake of the children. Some of her class projects include:

  • Christmas Cards and care packages to troops deployed and to wounded soldiers.
  • Whale and Dolphin Conservation Adoption Project.
  • Food, school supplies, clothing, and senior breakfast sponsorship money for the homeless students at Miami Southridge Senior High.

Beverly’s fingerprints are on all sorts of programs that live out Jesus words “Let the children come to me…”  Here are some:  2015 Alpha Delta Kappa Florida Lambda delegate at the International Convention in Salt Lake City,  Alpha Delta Kappa Altruistic Projects participant, Toys for Tots, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital,  Alzheimer’s Association, Branches, Samaritan’s Purse– Operation Christmas Child, Fundraising for scholarships for women pursuing a degree in education, providing Christmas stockings for homeless students at local schools and for children undergoing chemotherapy at Baptist Hospital, Autism Speaks Walk Volunteer, and  Past PTA board member.  Wow!

LSF Advisory Board:

Mayra Aguilar, Melissa Albury-Fernandez, Keith Berman, Olga Bostick, Emily Gomez, Donna Hennessy, Laurel Marc-Charles, Meredith Mills, Rev. Kit Robison, Rev. Alan Sielk & Tamara Thomas


Rev. Jean-Pierre & Laurel Marc-Charles

St. Paul Lutheran Church

Thrivent Financial, Keith Berman
Financial Sponsorship

Emily Gomez
Good Samaritan Flowers

Please follow and like us:

10 Things to Do on Easter

Please follow and like us:
1 2 3 5
Call Now Button