Newsletter June 2020

Building Resilience Early in Life Helps Children Cope with Trauma

Children who come to live on All Star’s campus have endured abuse and neglect that increases the risk of multiple health problems throughout their lifespan and hinders healthy brain development. All Star’s model tackles this problem head-on. An important component is building resilience – preparing children to handle past and future trauma and grow into healthy adults.

How do we do it?

  • Through loving, trauma-informed caregiving by foster parents who have a heart for our mission and parenting skills learned through our Resource Parenting Class.
  • Creating an environment that promotes a child to relax with soothing interior colors, natural greenspaces, a colorful vegetable garden, and canopies of live oak trees.
  • By introducing children to a big, colorful, inviting world.

Welcome to Our First Foster Parents Chip and Lindsey!

We welcomed our first set of foster parents into their brand-new home this week! Chip and Lindsey Caffelle are now residents of the Campus of Hope and Healing. We are thrilled to welcome them to the All Star family. The Caffelles bring a powerful commitment to children and we are so happy they are joined by two toddlers who are in their care. The children bring smiles to our faces to see them out and about. “We love the work we do,” says Chip. “For us, this is all about the children. We know the All Star model will build resilience in them and the experiences they have here will open them up to a bright new world.”

Giving Challenge Is a Huge Success!

Wow! We were bowled over by your support during the Giving Challenge! Nearly 200 generous individuals who care about the well-being and welfare of at-risk children gifted All Star with $48,765 during the 24-hour period. “We are overwhelmed and deeply grateful to all of you who believe in All Star’s mission to help our area’s most vulnerable children recover from the devastating effects of trauma,” says Dennis McGillicuddy. “It’s wonderful to have such dedicated champions. Vision is the foundation of our community of family—and you are a valuable part of the All Star family.”

A Grateful Farewell

Our executive director, Lucia Branton, has been with All Star since its very beginning. In four short years, she has been pivotal in transforming All Star from the dream it began as to the powerful reality it is today. Thanks to Lucia, All Star continues to evolve and grow. So, it’s bittersweet that we have to say goodbye as Lucia has decided to take a step back and pursue new challenges. We are so grateful for her service and dedication and wish her all the best in the future. Lucia, you will always be a part of the All Star family!

Dennis McGillicuddy, co-founder and vice chair of the board, has stepped in as interim CEO.

Junior League of Sarasota Creates Cozy Comfort for Children

Thanks to the Junior League of Sarasota, foster children and parents living on the All Star campus will soon cuddle deep into soft new sheets on freshly made beds. To create that nurturing comfort, the Junior League purchased $5,000 worth of linens for the 42 beds on campus (with enough left over for extra sets) and provided 12 sustaining members to make the beds. It was all part of the Junior League Sustainer’s “Done in a Day” program.

“We are enormously thankful to the Junior League of Sarasota for helping All Star create safe and snuggly havens for the children in our care,” says Graci McGillicuddy. “Many of these children have never experienced the pleasure of sleeping in their own bed—let alone in a bed outfitted with beautiful new sheets and comforters.” The Junior League’s hardworking volunteers made up 36 children’s beds and six foster parent beds in one day. According to Graci, it was a heart-warming sight to behold.

“Each volunteer poured so much love into each fold and hospital corner,” she says. “My heart overflowed with love watching these supremely dedicated people. Thanks to their generosity, All Star’s children and foster parents will have sweet dreams every night.”

Restoring a Child’s Hope with the Help of Community Collaborations

When a child lives in an abusive environment, all their emotional, intellectual and physical resources are invested in keeping themselves safe. It is a full-time, unrelenting and exhausting job. When every ounce of reserve is utilized, it is impossible to take in a big, beautiful world. A world that is full of opportunity.

A vital component of the All Star model is to restore a child’s spirit with hope and wonder that is their birthright. Children will experience the power of live theater, listen to classical music masterpieces, and witness the glories of the living seas—thanks to partnerships with local organizations, including Florida Studio Theatre, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and Sarasota Orchestra. Imagine the lasting impact of these programs in the minds and hearts of our young children. We couldn’t be more grateful—and excited!

In the months ahead, we will be partnering with these organizations to develop a host of enrichment programs, both on and off campus. We hope to find other creative collaborators! If you represent an organization that wishes to open the door to a child’s world, please contact Sally Dickinson, All Star’s volunteer coordinator, at 941.259.3701.

All Star Adds Staff While Adapting Clinical Treatment During Pandemic

Since beginning trauma-informed outpatient clinical services on April 1, 2019, All Star Children’s Foundation has treated more than 96 at-risk children and their families. Kimberly Treharne, All Star’s clinical director, explains that the organization adapted quickly to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We restructured how we offer our vital services. This population is extremely susceptible to the stressors this pandemic brings. It’s All Star’s goal to continuously work on family engagement to support the growth these families have realized even while temporary circumstances are working against them.”

To keep up with the growing need, All Star welcomed two new specialists with expertise in childhood trauma to its clinical team. Lisa Anaya, LMHC, has joined as the organization’s fourth full-time clinician. Child welfare and behavioral health manager Jolee Grobleski has joined to serve as clinical support coordinator and develop the targeted case management program. All Star clinicians are trained in several evidenced-based treatment protocols, including PCIT, CPP, TF-CBT and ARC.