Invite us to speak to your church, group or organization regarding a wide variety of topics related to our work, or invite us to lead your regular worship service as pulpit supply; we have several ordained ministers on our staff. Our speakers can present a program on our services, on the social issues that necessitate the existence of a Children’s Home, or on ways one could help.

Request a Speaker

If you are interested in having us come speak, contact us today!

The following speakers are available:

Statewide

Jerry T. Haag, Ph.D., CFP®

President

Dr. Jerry Haag serves as President of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart and The Porch Light. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baylor University and earned a Ph.D. in finance and real estate in 1995 from the University of Texas at Arlington. He served from 1995 to 1997 as an assistant professor at Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS, where he was named the Mortar Board Top Professor in 1995 and 1996. From 1997 to 1998, he taught at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, before joining Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham as administrative pastor from 1998-2000. He also has corporate work experience with AT&T and is a Certified Financial Planner. From 2000-2007, Dr. Haag served as President and CEO of the South Texas Children’s Home in Beeville.

In 2007, Dr. Haag joined the staff at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes as the ninth president in the 110-year history of the Homes. During his tenure as president, he has led efforts that expanded the number of ministry sites from nine to 18 locations across Florida, launched a successful international childcare ministry to help children in countries around the world and established numerous partnerships with churches and nonprofit organizations. These efforts have increased the number of children and families served by more than 900 percent.

Dr. Haag has been appointed by both Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council, which serves as a formal policy council to the governor and the Florida legislature and is administered by the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection. He currently chairs the Child Welfare Workgroup Subcommittee. Dr. Haag serves as a member of the Citizen Review Panel for Florida Department of Children and Families, which was formed as mandated by the Federal Child Abuse and Treatment Act of 1996. He also chairs the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) National Foster Care Initiative – Faith and Foster Care Research Team.

In summer 2009, Dr. Haag was selected to participate in a special summer seminar on Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy, sponsored by the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University. The seminar focused on how beliefs, values and lifestyles affect economic and political developments worldwide, with special attention paid to the role of religion in world affairs. Participants for the seminar were selected from leaders in academia, government, religious institutions, media and nongovernmental organizations, both from the United States and foreign countries.

Dr. Haag has led and participated in humanitarian aid, emergency relief, child care and ministry to children and families in countries around the world. He has preached in churches across Florida and Texas. He and his wife, Christi, also speak at marriage and family seminars.

Additionally, he has authored, presented and published academic articles relating to his business expertise and has been honored several times for his business, professional and civic achievements. He was named an Outstanding Young Alumnus by the Baylor Alumni Association in 2005. He was named Baylor University’s Vice President for University Development in 2011, where he served before returning as President of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

Dr. Haag and his wife live in Lakeland, Florida, where Christi is a popular speaker with “Women of Purpose Speak.” They have two sons, Ben and Brady, who both attend Baylor University. They are members of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland.

Christi Haag

Christi Haag

Wife of Dr. Jerry T. Haag

Christi Haag’s contagious smile and joyful personality connect her in a personal way to every person in the room. Christi is the wife of Dr. Jerry Haag, President of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart & The Porch Light. Christi has a deep passion for children and adults both domestically and internationally. Having grown up at a children’s home in Texas where her father worked for over 35 years, she knows firsthand about children and childcare needs. Christi is a witty speaker with a fun sense of humor. Christi loves “her man,” who she has been married to for 25 years. She has two incredible sons, Ben and Brady, both of whom are also on fire for the Lord. Ben and Brady have traveled the world sharing Christ. Most recently, Ben traversed south Asia with three other men sharing Christ.

Christi has led and participated in Christian orphan care, humanitarian aid, emergency relief, medical missions, child care and ministry to children and families in Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, Uganda, Russia, Latvia, Switzerland and Honduras. She has traveled to Bosnia, Turkey, Spain, France, Hawaii, Bahamas, Italy, England, Mediterranean, China, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Finland and Japan for recreation, mission work and educational purposes. Christi is an advocate for orphans, homeless and the hungry and speaks passionately about her call to reach out to “…the least of these.”

Christi is a women’s Bible study teacher, has been a guest on Christian radio and has been featured in magazines and newspapers. The wisdom and application Christi shares will forever change your perception of Jesus and your daily relationship with Him.

Julie Boyd

Vice President of Church Relations

Julie Boyd loves people, and she loves to talk … especially about Jesus! She has been entertaining and inspiring audiences since the age of 10. She began her formal ministry after receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology from William Carey University in 1981 and a master’s degree in Religious Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1984.

Combining humor with compelling stories of changed lives, Julie is gifted in communicating the message of hope through Christ. She is an accomplished ventriloquist! Julie’s talent and humor through ventriloquism often features “BC Homes” or “Miss Mildred,” a favorite at women’s ministry events! Whether you choose to use her ministry through ventriloquism or her unique gift as a compelling communicator, Julie will provide your audience with a challenging and memorable experience.

Julie developed her call to ministry out of a love for people and a desire to be used to encourage others in their faith journey. In 1996, Julie joined the staff of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. This tender ministry captured her heart! Her current position is Vice President for Church Relations. Her duties include encouraging and providing opportunities for the body of Christ to engage in orphan care domestically and internationally.

Her love for the Lord and His children compels her to be a voice for those who have no voice — abused, abandoned and neglected children. In 2006, she received the Jim Strayer Leadership Award from the Florida Coalition for Children for excellence in child care administration. In 2012, she was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council.

Julie and her husband, Charles Boyd, have been married over 30 years. Charles is a full-time youth ministry consultant and President/Founder of Student Ministry Essentials. They have two grown sons. Jarred and his wife, Megan, live in Gadsden, Alabama, where he serves as a youth pastor. Jay and his wife, Lauren, and their son, Brayden, live in Birmingham, Alabama. Jay serves with Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes.

Julie and Charles enjoy serving on mission trips and being empty nesters! They are members of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida.

Averitt Ennis

Vice President of Development

As Vice President of Development at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes and Orphan’s Heart, Averitt serves as the chief fundraising strategist to help meet the needs of children and families throughout Florida and the developing world through philanthropy. His passion is to ensure our organizations remain fiscally strong and continue to meet our goal of always helping one more child.

A graduate from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in medical record administration and a master’s degree in health sciences, Averitt has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership.

Prior to joining FBCH, Averitt was employed by Orlando Health where he was Vice President within their Foundation and provided oversight for the capital campaign, annual fund program, donor relationships and policy development. He is noted for his visionary, effective and results-driven leadership. Averitt was instrumental in the development of the Orlando Health Foundation’s vision and mission, and he is a known mentor in philanthropy throughout the Southeast.

Averitt is a graduate of the Fund Raising School of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University where he received a certificate in fundraising management. Prior to taking on the Vice President role at the Orlando Health Foundation, he served as the Capital Campaign Director and the Development Director.

Averitt has been a member of First Baptist Church Orlando for more than two decades and has served in multiple roles including deacon, teacher and member of the finance committee. He and his wife, Renee, have three daughters: Whitney, Kristen and Sarah.

Averitt believes his role at FBCH is a unique way to love and serve those in the most vulnerable positions and to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Ron Gunter

Vice President of International Childcare

Ron currently serves as Vice President of International Childcare for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes and coordinates the work of Orphan’s Heart. Ron was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and grew up in Clarksville, TN, where he received his bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University. In 1989, he received his master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.

Prior to joining Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in 2008, Ron served as a Southern Baptist pastor in Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. He and his wife, Cynthia, and their three sons, Samuel, Lee and Andrew, served with the International Mission Board in Eastern Europe. Ron was the Strategy Associate for the Central Europe Field, overseeing work in Romania, Hungary, Moldova, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. After returning from the mission field, Ron served with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, first as Regional Associate for the Greater Houston Area, and then as COO/Associate Executive Director.

Pam Whitaker

Vice President of Programs

Pam Whitaker has been at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes since 1999, serving in roles such as the Director of Campus Ministries and Central Florida Administrator. She has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor since 1997 and is a Qualified Supervisor for counselors seeking licensure. Pam is currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Leadership and a minor in Conflict Resolution and graduates in June, 2015.  She has a long history working with children, youth and families in crisis. Pam is a member of Kathleen Baptist Church and teaches 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School. She has been married to Gary Whitaker since 1986 and has an adult daughter, Tierney.

Speaking Topics: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Resident/Group Care, Grief/Loss in Children/Youth, Trauma Informed Care (effects of abuse and neglect on children/youth), Emotional and Spiritual Needs of Children, Conflict Resolution, Volunteer Opportunities for FBCH campuses.

Vickie Belcher

Administrator of Statewide Programs

Vickie Belcher joined the ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in 1999. For more than eleven years, she served as the residential counselor for the Lakeland Campus — providing for the therapeutic needs of the children and families served. She transitioned into a role with the state office in 2011 as a programs analyst, working to research and develop new program expansion across the state while enhancing existing programs for FBCH. She worked closely with the Vice President of Programs, and in 2014, Vickie assumed a new role within Florida Baptist Children’s Homes ministry as the Administrator of Statewide Programs.

In her role, Vickie provides oversight for statewide programs including The Porch Light, adoption services and Caring Families. Vickie is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida and is a qualified supervisor for counselors seeking licensure. Vickie has more than 20 years of experience working with children, youth and families in crisis. She has received specialized training working with young children, obtaining credentials as a Registered Play Therapist, and she is certified as an Adoption Competent Professional. Vickie is a member of First Baptist Church in Fort Meade and volunteers and teaches in both the preschool and children ministries there. She has been married to her husband since 1988 and they have two biological sons and an adopted daughter.

Sorrell Fields

Campaign Director

Sorrell has been with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes since November of 2009. She currently serves as the Campaign Director were she is responsible for leading statewide campaign efforts. Prior to this role, Sorrell served for 5 years as the Director of Major Gifts in the Panhandle.

Sorrell is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and leadership development. She also received a master’s degree in theological studies from Liberty University. Prior to joining the FBCH team she served as the Assistant Director of Field Services for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation.

She and her husband, Garret, have one son Grayson. They attend Bay Life Church in Brandon, Florida. In her spare time she enjoys boating with her family, traveling around the world and reading a good book.

Leon Battle

Director of Compassion Ministries

Leon Battle serves as the Director of Compassion Ministries, a program that serves families in crisis statewide. He graduated from Southeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in theology and a minor in business. Leon served as a Youth Pastor throughout his college career and accepted a pastoral job in Albany, New York, shortly after graduation.

During his time in Ministry, Leon saw the great amount of trauma that families were being confronted with and desired to get a deeper look into the dependency system. He changed career paths and started working for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). During his time with the department, he investigated abuse within families, institutions and later became the Human Trafficking Specialist for Polk County. While there, Leon helped children get out of abusive homes and also helped rescue children from human trafficking rings. He received multiple recognitions from Governor Rick Scott during his time with DCF. Leon is confident that the job experiences that he has received in the church and in the world will equip him to be an effective director at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

Leon is currently a part of a church plant in South Tampa called Radiant Church. He is the point person for hospitality and also leads a life group in Lakeland, Florida. He has a deep passion for intervention. He desires to see Christ’s love and restoration brought to families during their times of hurt and crisis. Leon believes that the local church is the greatest asset for families in need and desires to empower the local church to step into the call of Christ, which is to help the widow, the orphan and the hurting families in their time of need.

Rebecca Rothman

Director of Development

Rebecca Rothman serves as the Director of Development for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. She is responsible for the statewide strategic direction and management of fundraising initiatives essential to developing, expanding and stewarding annual fund support for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Rebecca also manages all foundation proposals and mail appeals.

Rebecca earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. She went on to receive her master’s in business administration from Saint Leo University. Prior to joining the staff at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Rebecca was an accountant at Raulerson & Co., where she was responsible for client communications as well as nonprofit tax issues and audits. She also created, developed and led the homeless ministry at Plant City’s First Baptist Church from 2012-2014.

As an adopted child herself, Rebecca has a passion for giving hope and worth to hurting children through the life-changing love of Christ.

Rebecca and her husband, Mark, have been married for nine years and reside in Plant City. They have three children, Layla, Rex and Jacob. In her spare time she enjoys competitive running. She is an active member at Plant City’s First Baptist Church as a youth leader, deacon’s wife and homeless ministry volunteer.

Erica Hall

Director of Major Gifts for Central and East Florida

Erica Hall serves as the Director of Major Gifts for Central and East Florida. She is responsible for the cultivation of partnerships through donor relations, fundraising events, sponsorships and speaking engagements to enhance the impact of the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart and the Porch Light.

Erica also serves as the staff coordinator for the Shine a Light Gala benefiting The Porch Light, a ministry to renew and restore childhood victims of sex trafficking.

Erica is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and leadership development. Prior to joining the Children’s Homes, Erica served as the Grassroots and Coalitions Coordinator for a statewide political campaign and, most recently, served as the Education Liaison for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

She is an active member of First Baptist Church Plant City where she serves as a fifth-grade Sunday School teacher and is involved in evangelism outreach. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, canning and traveling. She and her husband Jarrett reside in Plant City.

Manny Hernandez

Manny Hernandez

Director of Quality Improvement

Manny joined Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in December 2013, and currently serves as the Director of Quality Improvement, where he is contributing to the quality of care for abused, neglected and abandoned children. Prior to joining FBCH, he served seven years with the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program of the 12th Judicial Circuit — first as a child advocacy coordinator and then as team leader for the Manatee County office. He has also served on the board of directors for Youth for Christ and on the advisory board for Manatee County Children’s Services. Manny has a passion for child advocacy and reaching the community for Christ.

Manny received his bachelor’s degree in communication and organizational leadership from Trinity International University and continued his education with New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Manny is also an ordained Southern Baptist Minister, having served as an Associate Pastor for 10 years at West Hialeah Baptist Church in Hialeah, Florida, which is a bilingual/multicultural church. Manny was born in Esperanza, Cuba, came to the United States at the age of two and is fluent in Spanish.

Manny is a member of Woodland Community Church in Bradenton, a Life Group Leader and an active member in their new Woodland Parrish Campus, which is reaching out to the Parrish, Ellenton and Palmetto communities. Manny has also been active in Woodland’s OASIS Center, a community outreach in the low socioeconomic area of Samoset and also The Coffee Loft in Sarasota, which ministers to the college community. Manny is married to Gerry, and together they have five daughters, four sons-in-law and nine grandchildren, who are all a big part of their lives.

Mary Lou Hendry

Director of Sanctity of Human Life

Mary Lou Hendry works with pastors, community groups, lobbyists, Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs), and others to save lives both spiritually and physically for those facing unplanned pregnancies.  She joined Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in September 2008; during the previous nine years, she was Director of Life Choice Care Center in Inverness, FL.

Mary Lou teaches on a variety of issues including the Sanctity of Human Life, The Option of Adoption, Passion for Purity and Abortion Recovery.

Mary Lou earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Education and Music from The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, FL, and is certified with Focus on the Heart for Biblical counseling.

Mary Lou’s husband, Byron, is the pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Lakeland, FL. The couple has two children and three grandchildren.

Michele M. Newsome

Director of The Porch Light

Michele M. Newsome serves as the Program Director for The Porch Light, a program to rescue and restore child victims of domestic sex trafficking. She is responsible for the oversight of the victims, staff and volunteers of the program’s safe home, as well as education and prevention efforts.

Michele graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Saint Leo University and served in law enforcement as a police officer and detective for 24 years. She worked as a patrol officer, school resource officer and as a detective investigating crimes against children to include emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Michele retired from law enforcement after her tenure in the Office of Professional Standards Internal Affairs Unit.

A graduate of Webster University, Michele has a master’s degree in mental health counseling. She is a registered intern working toward licensure. She has a history of working with victims of sexual abuse, offenders and those with sexual addictions.

Michele is a member of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland and is a member of the F.A.I.T.H. Riders motorcycle ministry. She and her husband, Buddy, are co-founders of F.A.I.T.H. Riders. Michele and Buddy have been married 18 years and have 3 grown children and 5 adopted children they sponsor in Moldova.

Michele and Buddy enjoy traveling and serving orphaned children in Moldova by partnering with Justice and Mercy International to sponsor orphaned and abandoned children into transitional living. Transitional living affords these children hope and the opportunity to succeed while keeping them from entering a life of crime and trafficking.

Central

Stephen Robert

Administrator of Central/South Florida

Stephen Robert serves as the Administrator for Central and South Florida Regions. In this role, Stephen provides oversight for three Residential Campuses, eight Foster Care Ministry offices and two Foster Family Home locations. Previously, Stephen has served as FBCH’s Area Administrator for South Florida in Miami, FL, and Central Florida’s Director of Development.

Prior to joining Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in 2010, Stephen worked in the furniture industry for 10 years. He was the General Manager for an independently owned Badcock & More furniture dealership overseeing multiple retail store locations.

Stephen graduated from Florida State University with a degree in economics and earned a master’s degree in Christian studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephen has been ordained into the Gospel Ministry by his home church, Plant City’s First Baptist Church.

He and his wife, Laura, have three children, Rileigh, Landen and Hannah, and they reside in Lakeland, FL.

Angel Bates

Director of Church Relations

Angel Bates has known from the age of eight that she would grow up to serve children in need. She graduated from Nova University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and taught underprivileged children in elementary school, as well as children with special needs, for 20 years. During that tenure, Angel served as a classroom and district resource teacher, helping others in the profession rise to their full potential. Angel was also the recipient of the Chappie James Most Promising Teacher Scholarship, acknowledged as Teacher of the Year and listed in the “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” publication.

Angel also has a heart for teenage mothers and serves on the leadership team of the First Baptist Church at the Mall’s Teen MOPS program. It was the decision of allowing a 26-year-old mother who had an 18-month-old child to live with her family for 10 weeks that the Lord used to bring her to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes to successfully launch the Caring Families program in Central Florida in August of 2012. Angel saw firsthand how being the hands and feet of Christ to others in need could radically change lives for eternity.

In Angel’s new role as director of Church Relations, she is able to do just that — and on an even broader scale. Angel is a mentor-minded leader who is responsible for enlisting and providing individualized and comprehensive services tailored to churches primarily in the Central and South Florida regions. Through speaking engagements and meeting with church staff, Angel utilizes her gifts and talents to help churches catch the vision of changing the life of ONE MORE CHILD both across the state and around the world through FBCH and Orphan’s Heart.

Angel and her husband, Andy, have been married for 25 years and have four children and one grandchild. The Bates have been members of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida, for more than two decades.

Joe Hesson

Joe Hesson

Director of Maintenance

Joe has been with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes for approximately 10 years in several roles. He first started as a house parent with his wife, working with the children, then he and his wife moved to our Son Shine residence as house parents working with developmentally delayed women. For the past seven years, he has been the Director of Maintenance & Grounds at our Lakeland Campus.

Joe has been married for 33 years, has one daughter and one grandson. He has a bachelor’s degree in theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary.

Topics: Bible and the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes

Dawn Stark

Orphan Care Coordinator (Sarasota County)

A lifelong resident of the St. Louis area, Dawn’s advocacy journey brought her to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in September 2015 and she serves as the Orphan Care Coordinator for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.

Dawn is a project manager and marketing professional with 30+ years experience in corporate and non-profit environments, including involvement with community-driven organizations, family-owned regional companies and international corporations.

Dawn is also an aspiring author working on her first book, a blogger and a social media marketer.  She earned a B.A. in Government/ International Relations from Regent University.

As a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife, Dawn is no stranger to the local church or a life of ministry. Through her 23-year infertility battle Dawn learned to worship her way through life’s challenges and heartbreaks. Eventually God granted Dawn and her husband Tim the desires of their heart and they are proud parents to three biological children, including a set of twins, and two adopted children from Guatemala.  Their five children are a testimony of God’s faithfulness and His unwavering ability to weave “all things together for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)

During the family’s adoptions of two children from Guatemala Dawn’s eyes were open to the sobering status of global child welfare.  Personally stuck in the adoption process for years, she dedicated the rest of her working years to be an advocate and voice for children in need.  Dawn began volunteering with the Both Ends Burning Campaign in 2013 and joined the team full-time in January 2014, running faith-based initiatives and outreach for the organization.  It was during this period she became connected with Christian Alliance for Orphans, (CAFO) which led her to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

Dawn is passionate about the rights of children without parents, both in the U.S. and internationally.  Dawn’s passion is to make a real and tangible difference in the lives of children who have been abandoned, neglected or abused.

Joe Hesson

Lisa Smith

Orphan Care Coordinator (Brevard County)

Lisa was born and raised in Melbourne, Florida. She graduated as the Valedictorian of Eau Gallie High School in 2002 and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006. Growing up, Lisa had a heart for ministry and children. God impressed on her during her senior year of college a passion to work with children who were abandoned, neglected and abused.
She turned that passion into a career with ministry and non-profit organizations.

She has been married to her husband Josh since 2008. Josh is currently the Lead Pastor of True Life Church, a church plant where he began as the Worship Pastor. In their 7 years of marriage, Lisa and Josh have lived in 3 different cities, following God’s lead for Josh to serve at different churches. They are thrilled to be back in their hometown and close to their families.

They have two dogs, Molly and Baxter, who are like children to them. They have a strong desire to have children and continue to seek God’s will as they faithfully walk through a season of infertility.

Lisa is thrilled to be a part of the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes as the Orphan Care Coordinator for Brevard County and is thankful for the faithful congregation at First Baptist Melbourne for helping fund her position. She is excited to engage the local congregations in orphan care ministries and can’t wait to come alongside individuals and families to bring hope and the love of Jesus to One More Child!

Gloria Morrow

Gloria Morrow, Ph.D.

Residential Counselor

Gloria Morrow has worked in the social services field for over 20 years. Her employment experience includes adolescent psychiatry, welfare reform and residential care of youth. She has a passion for teens and their needs, since she came to know the Lord in her adolescent years. She also loves people and enjoys working with those in need. Currently, she is a Residential Counselor at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

Gloria is from upstate New York and currently resides in Central Florida. She has been married to her best friend, Steve, since 1989. They enjoy working in church ministry and serving those in need. They have two teenage children at home, Michael and Tabitha, along with Rocky, their miniature pinscher and Belle, their cat.

In 1990, Gloria graduated from Southeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She also holds a master’s in human services, with counseling specialization from Capella University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in psychology. Gloria has experience in church (pastoral) counseling and leading altar ministry. She is also an instructor for Human Services courses at Southeastern University.

“All extremes are dysfunctional” is one of Gloria’s favorite quotes, and she has a passion to help others learn balance in how God has created us spirit, soul and body.

Topics

Counseling Teens – how to recognize where teens are developmentally and work with them through their metamorphosis of identity

Crisis Intervention of Youth – what is the best way to help a teen or young child get through crisis

Group Care Living – what it is like to live in a group home and how to minister to the youth who live there

North

Melissa Poole

Administrator of North Florida

Melissa Poole has been back at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes as the North Florida Administrator since January of 2013. She previously worked for the Children’s Homes for eight years as the Director of Community Ministries. Melissa has been a Certified Behavior Analyst in the state of Florida since 1993 and has also been a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida since 1995. Additionally, she is a qualified supervisor for counselors seeking licensure. Melissa has more than 20 years of experience, working with children, youth and families in crisis and has received specialized training in trauma-informed care as well as infant mental health. Melissa is a member of Chets Creek Church and volunteers in both the preschool and children ministries there. She has been married to Ray Poole since 1991 and has a young daughter, Hannah, a stepson, Blake, and two grandsons, Addison and Colton.

Melissa is a wonderful speaker and topics for your group include: Trauma Informed Care (effects of abuse and neglect on children/youth), Infant Mental Health, Discipline/Behavior Modification, Emotional and Spiritual Needs of Children, Adoption-Related Issues, Foster Parenting, Volunteer Opportunities on FBCH campuses

Sundy Goodnight

Director of Church Relations

Originally from Central Oklahoma, Sundy Goodnight graduated college with a degree in communications and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to work in the entertainment business. After three years in the music industry, Sundy’s desire to make a difference in the lives of youth led her to the Graduate School of Campus Ministry in Los Angeles, California. Sundy served on staff at her local church for 10 years. She pioneered Every Nation’s Graduate School of Youth Ministry and served as a director for that institute.

In 2005, Sundy joined Mercy Ministries in St. Louis, Missouri, a nonprofit organization committed to helping young women with life-controlling problems such as eating disorders, drug addiction, self-harm and child abuse. During her time as a counselor at Mercy, she also became involved in orphan ministry. She has served short-term missions in the Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine and Colombia, as well as volunteered for various humanitarian organizations.

This passion for the broken and hurting children of the world brought her to the anti-trafficking organization, Stop Child Trafficking Now, where she served five years as the National Director. Sundy loves her big, blended family of eight siblings. Two are adopted internationally.

Panhandle

Jonathan Hasel

Administrator of Panhandle

Jonathan Hasel returned to the Children’s Homes as Panhandle Administrator in November of 2013. He had previously worked for five years with the Children’s Homes. Jonathan received a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Sciences from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Human Services and Executive Leadership from Liberty University. Jonathan has worked and supervised in various child welfare fields, including foster care recruitment and licensing, adoptions and residential services. Jonathan is a member of Thomasville Road Baptist Church, where he leads the children’s worship ministry. Jonathan is married to Melissa (Missy) and they have two children, Hailey and Westin.

Speaking Topics: Foster Parenting and Adoption, Residential/Group Care, FBCH Campus Volunteer Opportunities

Nancy Grigsby

Nancy Grigsby

Board Member

Nancy Grigsby has lived in the Florida Panhandle for 25 years with her husband Bill and her two sons, Parker who is 17 and Taylor who is 21. Nancy has been a medical social worker for 22 years and has a heart for teaching in her church as well as speaking to women’s groups throughout the south.

Nancy has a passion for missions and has gone on several mission trips around the world as well as within the U.S.

Nancy has a joy for life as she is a cancer survivor for the past seven years and continues to do chemo on a weekly basis. Her theme in life is “I am not just surviving, BUT THRIVING IN THE LORD!!!”

Nancy has a zest for life and captures her audiences attention with her humor and energy.

She loves the opportunity to share with women about her faith and joy in life as she has faced many obstacles and hurdles, but with the Lord’s help she continues to THRIVE!

Topics:

Be a part of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes and change YOUR LIFE
International Missions Trips Can be Addictive: Handle with Care!

Tania Wilson

Tania Wilson

Director of Regional Ministries

Tania has been with Florida Baptist Children’s Homes for approximately seven years in several roles. She started as the Residential Counselor, then moved to the role of the Family Support Counselor and is now the Director of Regional Ministries for the Pensacola Campus. Tania holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in music from Wingate University and a master’s degree in psychology from Walden University. She has worked as a social worker in North Carolina and Florida. She has also worked with elementary school-age children who are in Special Education classes in different areas. Those children have an array of diagnoses ranging from learning disabilities to severe autism.

Tania is married to Chip, and they have two teenage daughters, Kayla and Erika. Her family lives in Pace, Florida.

Topics: Residential Care, Foster Care, Prevention Ministries

South

Stephen Robert

Administrator of Central/South Florida

Stephen Robert serves as the Administrator for Central and South Florida Regions. In this role, Stephen provides oversight for three Residential Campuses, eight Foster Care Ministry offices and two Foster Family Home locations. Previously, Stephen has served as FBCH’s Area Administrator for South Florida in Miami, FL, and Central Florida’s Director of Development.

Prior to joining Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in 2010, Stephen worked in the furniture industry for 10 years. He was the General Manager for an independently owned Badcock & More furniture dealership overseeing multiple retail store locations.

Stephen graduated from Florida State University with a degree in economics and earned a master’s degree in Christian studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephen has been ordained into the Gospel Ministry by his home church, Plant City’s First Baptist Church.

He and his wife, Laura, have three children, Rileigh, Landen and Hannah, and they reside in Lakeland, FL.

Curt Simmons

Curt Simmons

House Parent

Curt Simmons and his wife, Bunny, are the permanent House Parents at the Fort Myers Campus of Florida Baptist Children’s Home. They are the parents of six children, and the proud grandparents of 14 grandchildren. Curt was born in Victorville, CA. He is the son of a Southern Baptist Pastor/Director of Mission and spent his life in church. Curt surrendered to full-time ministry at Mt. Baker Baptist Assembly youth camp in 1973, attended Oklahoma Baptist University, and became licensed /ordained in the gospel ministry. Curt has been serving the Lord in a ministerial capacity ever since. For the past 20 years of his pastorate, Curt has been focusing on church planting and reaching broken families, families and children in crisis, and the unchurched across the North Pacific, Midwest and North Florida. He and Bunny came to FBCH in 2012.

TOPICS: House Parenting, Ministering to Broken Families, Pulpit Supply

Scott Lufbery

Scott Lufbery

Residential Counselor

Scott Lufbery is the Residential Counselor at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in Miami. Scott has a heart and a passion to work with young people to see their lives changed through coming to know Christ and the love He offers. Scott has many years experience working with young people, in the arenas of youth ministry and counseling.

Scott was raised in Miami, where he currently resides with his wife, Ellie. They have been married for almost four years. Scott has served as Youth Director for various churches, leading middle and high school students.

Scott graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He also earned a master’s in counseling psychology from Trinity International University. Scott’s counseling experience includes working with adult women with substance abuse and mental health disorders. He also has experience working with children and adolescents providing individual therapy and counseling at various counseling centers.

Scott’s heart for children and counseling, and a desire to see others bring about change in their lives, led him to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes to be the Residential Counselor. He believes that as Christ was the great Counselor. Scott wants to help others through counseling using biblical perspectives to bring about positive change in their lives.

Topics

Substance Abuse Among Teens: Identification, Prevention, and How to Cope

Crisis Intervention: How to Help Kids Deal with Meltdowns

Biblical Counseling: How to Incorporate the Bible into Counseling

Youth Ministry 101: How to Work with Teens in the Church

Terry Hartz

Terry Hartz

Regional Director for the Fort Myers Campus

Terry Hartz is currently the Regional Director for the Fort Myers Campus. She has been with Florida Baptist Children’s Homes for six years. Before coming to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, she worked as a Child Welfare Case Manager and in Child Placements. In 2005, Terry received her certification as a Child Welfare Professional. Terry has been recruiting and training foster parents for the past six years. Terry has a bachelor’s degree in human services from Florida Gulf Coast University. In 2011, Terry was the recipient of the Heart of Excellence award for the South Florida Region. She is very passionate about the ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

She is married to Brian, and they have two children, Karsen, 5, and Parker, 2. Terry has been a member of First Baptist Church Naples for over twenty years.

Topics: Foster Home Recruitment, Foster Home Licensing, Child Placement, Foster Parent Support