Author Archive

Behind the Smiles: Meet Dennis

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Dennis was the very first resident after the completion of Protected Harbor 2. As such some view him as the “mayor” of the home! He’s been a resident since February 1st of 2018.

Being a very friendly person, Dennis has adapted well to this setting and has quickly made lasting friendships. He enjoys the comradery and the activities he can engage in, in a social setting. The staff members are an integral part of his life also, as they help him complete daily chores such as getting himself ready in the morning, doing laundry, and cooking.

Outside of the home, Dennis enjoys helping out at Goodwill, where he has also made friends. Additionally, he likes playing baseball and basketball and especially going to church on Sundays. Taking long walks is another activity he enjoys, particularly in good weather.

Dennis loves to spend time with his family and joins them for dinner at Perkins where he habitually orders his favorite meal: cheeseburger, French fries, and a diet Coke. He also indulges himself with helpings of cake and ice cream whenever he gets the chance.

The highlight of the past year has been participating in the Trailways Spiritual Camp, which took place last October. He went fishing and caught a large fish, making him very proud. He’s looking forward to the next opportunity to attend again.

His favorite thing about going to church is learning about Jesus through the Bible stories. He loves church where he can participate in worship and learning.

Dennis is a great asset to the Protected Harbor family.

Board Member Spotlight: Peter Hone

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Peter Hone exemplifies the breadth of experience existing in the collective backgrounds of our various board members. He joined the board three years ago and also serves on the fundraising committee. His vast business background and his past role as a  CEO is a valuable asset. He brings personal knowledge from his previous positions in order to help when making business and financial decisions. These decisions are deemed to be an integral part of a mission such as ours. He also describes himself as being “vision-driven” which aligns perfectly with the trajectory Loretta Mottram has embarked on.

Peter admits that watching our clients learn to achieve realistic goals and grow into amazing productive adults puts a smile on his face. Peter stated that “as the residents grow, they just become such a huge blessing to the people around them”. Peter adds that he loves working with a Board that shares his commitment and vision.

He joined our organization after being introduced to it by Jeff Buckholz. Once he learned about the purpose and goals of Protected Harbor, he joyfully agreed to get involved personally. He stated that “Protected Harbor is an example of a ministry that loves and gives to others and enables others to be familiar and involved with these special people”.

One of his fondest memories, after joining the Board, was being able to volunteer and participate in the Olympics held last year. He found it wonderful to see so many volunteers help make it a special day for our residents. He confessed to smiling all the way through that day. Peter wishes more people would be interested in learning more about what Protected Harbor does and would love to see them becoming involved by volunteering in some way.

He is very excited about our future prospects and goals, adding “the fact that our ministry has developed a very specific skill set of serving our residents and that we are going to take that skill set out into that community to help in a larger way.”

John 14:6 is Peter’s favorite verse “I am the way and the truth. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Staff Spotlight: Robin Antone

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We are pleased to introduce the newest member of our team at Protected Harbor. Robin Antone joined us in January in the new role of Senior Director of Community Supports.

Robin has twenty years of experience working with persons with disabilities. Most recently she worked twelve years for Goodwill. Before that, she worked with foster families and was a foster parent herself for ten years. Robin hails from Ohio but has lived in Southwest Florida for thirty-seven years. She is a trained professional and used her experience in data analysis and quality assurance, to work for the State of Florida. She and her husband Mike have been married 35 years and have 4 adopted children, 3 boys and one girl ages twenty-five, twenty-one, twenty, and seventeen.

Robin brings with her a unique set of skills, including her knowledge of compliance with state programs that will help Protected Harbor build community support. Her relationship with Trailways Camp is also very valuable and will help bring our organization to the next level.

Robin’s previous experience with Goodwill has given her an insight into the state requirements for many programs in Florida. She also had a role in opening an adult training center at Goodwill.

Robin is also a CARF surveyor, an important accreditation that agencies must receive demonstrating compliance with required standards. As Protected Harbor grows her expertise will be extremely valuable. Robin is also involved in Family Initiative and does scholarship reviews for the Collaboratory of Ft. Myers. Her knowledge and extensive Florida network will be a huge benefit to us.

Robin was inspired to join the team of Protected Harbor by Loretta Mottram, as well as some Board Members and the staff. Especially after having met some of our clients, she feels the organization is doing amazing things for this unique population. We are grateful she has vowed to use all her energies to insure everything she does enhances the success of our clients and the mission of Protected Harbor.

Robin’s favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 40:31, explains her philosophy of life quite well: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”

Behind the Smiles: Meet Kim

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Meet Kim

Kim is a loving and lovely lady who has resided at Protected Harbor for the past ten years. Her family has lived in Florida for over forty years; she is very happy that they all reside in the same state. Kim has made friends in many places over the years who give her a reason for waking up each morning to spend fun time with them. She is thankful for the staff because they offer training in ways she can understand and patiently explain how to resolve personal situations that invariably come up. Kim volunteers at her church five days a week, serving lunches to the students at the school. She also adds her beautiful voice in the church choir on Sundays.

Kim’s favorite hobby is fishing, but also bowling, puzzles, and taking walks with her friends. However, her most gratifying activity is what she does with her friend and fellow resident, Janie. Together they belong to a “Prayer Shawl Ministry” where they create prayer shawls for people with cancer. Kim is proud of her volunteering and when she talks about it, her face lights up. She believes her role is to put others’ needs before her own.

On a more personal level, her favorite TV shows are The Amazing Race, Survivor, and NCIS; her favorite chore is laundry! Kim loves Italian food (who doesn’t!) and enjoys all holidays. Her drinks of choice are Coke Zero and sparkling water. Kim’s future goal is to one day be able to join other church members on a Missions trip, and she continues to pray daily for that to become a reality.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Amy

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We are excited to welcome Amy as the newest member of Protected Harbor’s residential family. Amy’s mom was introduced to Protected Harbor by the church’s mission leader at United Methodist Church in Estero. The leader was well acquainted with the ministry and our CEO, Loretta Mottram. Amy joined as a permanent resident at the end of November 2021 and is living at our Camino Road home.

Amy and her parents had visited Protected Harbor and participated in previous social activities. Then, in October, they joined the residents, board members, and volunteers at the three-day Trailways Spiritual Camp. Amy’s mom, Paula, expressed that Amy was “walking on air” after attending the camp. She loved canoeing and acquiring new friends while having lots of fun. Behind her smile was a desire to join this new family. Her experience confirmed Protected Harbor is the right place for their daughter.

The following month the decision was made, as Amy officially embraced this new chapter of her life.  Amy’s favorite thing about this transition is that God is a priority in the home, mirroring the environment in which her parents raised her. Amy loves her new family and friends and particularly appreciates the staff who treat her with love and respect. She keeps busy by socializing, reading, working on puzzles, and horseback riding.

Amy’s favorite verse (I Corinthians 6:19-20) exemplifies her complete surrender to her Savior. She describes herself as being blessed with a great sense of humor, enabling her to make friends quickly by breaking the ice in social situations. Her fellow residents enjoy her humor and embrace her with joy.

Amy’s arrival is especially notable as an example of the growth and influence Protected Harbor is experiencing. It is one more step to fulfilling our vision to continue reaching an increasing number of God’s Special People through our mission.

Staff Spotlight: Meet Clarissa Miller

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Clarissa with friend Tara and boyfriend Arlen

On October 25th this past year, we had the pleasure of welcoming Clarissa Miller to our staff. As an AmeriCorps Vista Resource and Data Development volunteer, Clarissa will be with us for twelve months. She is currently a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University, majoring in Social Work while in the Honor’s program.

Clarissa hails from Oswego, NY but happily moved to southwest Florida where she has lived since high school. Her immediate goal, after receiving her bachelor’s degree, is to work in elementary education while completing her master’s degree. Once that goal is achieved, she is open to whatever opportunities may present themselves. Her hope is to establish her own non-profit organization one day. She is therefore grateful for the opportunity of working alongside our staff to learn firsthand what work is entailed in growing such an organization.

On a personal level, some of Clarissa’s interest was sparked by having a brother on the autism spectrum. This gives her a heightened sense of the need for support in this population. Because of this, she started “Active Minds” at FGCU which is a mental health advocacy club for college students.

Clarissa is also part of Project Help in Naples where she is currently training to be a crisis helpline volunteer. Currently, however, her focus is her service to AmeriCorps and Protected Harbor, where she is working to help clients improve their financial stability, as well as making them aware of available housing and program resources.

Clarissa has little free time, but when she does, she enjoys playing the guitar, singing, dancing, and playing with her cat Piper. She also loves to spend time with her boyfriend Arlen, at the beach, and walking in parks. When asked about her favorite Bible verse, her response was John 1:16 “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given”.

Friend of the Board Spotlight: Beth Burgham

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Beth and Family

                                                                          Beth, Spouse David, and Son Simon

Being a “Friend of the Board” at Protected Harbor is as important as any other position within this ministry. Each person brings their unique abilities, point of view, and talent.

Beth Burgham is one such person; she has always had a giving spirit and heart for those in need. For the past twenty-two years, Beth has taught middle school students with various disabilities. She has combined compassion with professionalism to bring out the best in each circumstance.

Beth became aware of Protected Harbor through her friendship with board member, Tanya Croy. As a result, we are thrilled to welcome her as a new Friend of the Board. The special friends who join that group enhance our mission through their generous service, support, dedication, and commitment.

Students with learning disabilities benefit from Beth’s guidance and support as she teaches alongside general education teachers. Tanya appreciated how skillfully Beth worked and how she loved the students. Nearing retirement, Beth had begun to look for ways to serve others now and remain active in the future. When the opportunity arose, Tanya eagerly shared the mission and vision of Protected Harbor knowing Beth would be a perfect fit.


We are so grateful for Beth and her willingness to come alongside our residents, staff, and board. She is excited to participate in the growth and future she sees for Protected Harbor. We are doubly fortunate that her husband, Dave, has also embraced our residents and has volunteered in some of their social activities. We also look forward to their son Simon joining us when he has time between work and college classes.


Beth’s favorite Bible verse is from James 2:26, “Faith without works is dead”. As she continues to commit herself to serving others, Beth prays her faith and work will continue to bring glory to God.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Matthew

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Matthew is a native New Yorker who has been a resident of Protected Harbor since May 2019. It’s no surprise, that he picks Matthew as his favorite book in the Bible!

Before arriving in Ft. Myers, Matthew was a resident of Sunrise Group Home in Miami. Once his mother learned of Protected Harbor, the choice was made to have Matthew come live with us.

With staff guidance and support, Matthew has embraced new independence. You may have seen recent announcements featuring him completing a 5k run as well as throwing out the first pitch at a local Mighty Mussels minor league game! He loves running as it gives him an independent feeling of freedom and energy. However, interacting with fellow residents and staff also gives him joy.

Besides running track, Matthew enjoys group sports such as baseball, basketball, and activities like bowling, exercise classes, companion services, STARability functions, and PTO. He has the appreciation, shared by the other residents, of enjoying a private room and bathroom, giving him further feelings of independence. It is never a dull moment when Matthew is around. Behind his smile is the joy of living and sharing in a loving and caring “family”.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Ken

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Ken is one of the more recent arrivals at Protected Harbor. He joined us in August 2020 after living in a group home in Michigan, where the weather in winter is definitely not as balmy as Florida!

Since arriving, Ken has adjusted well to his surroundings and new roommates but particularly enjoys the privacy of having his own room and bathroom. He is an enthusiastic participant in all things sports-related and will try anything at least once, including baseball, basketball, bowling, golf, and vigorous walks with others. Mosaic art, STARability opportunities, and shopping trips with the staff have also become favorite activities.

Ken is very proud of having been a member of the Boy Scouts in his youth, which allowed him opportunities to participate in sports activities and socialize. His move to Protected Harbor has proven to be a huge success. He and fellow resident, Dennis have become best friends and his new home with us has given Ken the extra impetus to become more involved in social activities, studying, reading the Bible, and generating genuine smiles from those around him.

A year into his new beginning, Ken has settled in and considers Protected Harbor his true home. We are blessed to have him in the family!

Marketing Committee Member Spotlight: Marissa Godlewski

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Marissa, Kamil and Coco

We are very blessed at Protected Harbor to have an eclectic group of people who are Board Members, Friends of the Board, volunteers, members of our staff, committee members, educators, and much more.

All of these people contribute using their backgrounds, their life experiences, and their professional titles. They all work together with joy, serving the residents in this ministry, whose appreciation is evident in their smiles.

Our latest addition to the Marketing Committee is Marissa Godlewski. She came to us last year in May after moving with her family from New York City. Relocating to Florida, Marissa joined Gulf Bay Group of Companies, a real estate development company, as a Principal overseeing administration and operations. Before this, Marissa worked for the Colgate-Palmolive Company in numerous management positions both in North America and Europe. Prior to Colgate-Palmolive, Marissa worked in Digital Marketing at Bloomberg Businessweek and The New York Times. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Cornell University.

Marissa was introduced to Protected Harbor by her mother Tanya Croy, and her brother Nicholas Ferrao who both serve on the Board.  Marissa’s goal is to help to implement more efficient, robust marketing strategies and tactics that will attract increased awareness of Protected Harbor.

While adjusting to life in Southwest Florida, Marissa enjoys spending time with her husband, Kamil, and their two-year-old daughter. Outdoor activities not easily available in New York like swimming, walking the beach, and visiting the zoo year-round are also great fun for the family.

Marissa’s focus in life is exemplified by her favorite Bible verse: “Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4