Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Committee Member Spotlight: Cindy Weiner

Posted by

Meet Cindy

Cindy Weiner was introduced to Protected Harbor by her neighbor and friend, Joe Gandolfo, who serves on the Protected Harbor Board. Cindy’s strong background in the media is an excellent fit for the Marketing Committee. She is a valuable addition and has served on the committee for two years.

Before retiring, Cindy ran radio stations nationwide, including Rochester, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Kansas City. Upon retiring from broadcasting, she joined the Children’s Miracle Network. While there, she assisted in various activities, including fundraising, promotional campaigns, and marketing.

Cindy became most interested in Protected Harbor after attending a camp with some of our clients. There, everyone was excited and fully engaged. She spoke with Pat Kappenman, a Direct Support Professional with Protected Harbor. His love for the clients and the care he and other staff provided inspired her. His enthusiasm when speaking confirmed her belief that this was an organization she wanted to be involved with. Cindy is passionate about Protected Harbor because it is committed to its mission and does an outstanding job filling a community need.

When sharing about Protected Harbor, Cindy stresses the assistance she believes it also provides to families. Everyone at Protected Harbor has a commitment that is intense and deep. One must witness it themself to understand fully. Cindy is excited about the goals for future growth and the ability to assist more individuals and families with special needs.

In her spare time, Cindy likes to golf, travel with her husband, and spend time with her grandkids. Although she does not have a favorite bible verse, she feels she is a spiritual person. “That is one thing I love about Protected Harbor; they accept you as you are.”


Behind the Smiles: Meet Paul

Posted by

Meet Paul

Paul is the newest member of our residential “family.” Although he has been part of the Protected Harbor family for some time, he received Supportive Services while living independently. Paul realized he would benefit from more support, so he recently moved into one of our residential homes. This decision was difficult because he knew he would give up some of his freedom. However, adjusting well to his new surroundings and routines relieved Paul’s initial fear and anxiety. He is comfortable with his new environment, continuously thanking everyone for their help.

Paul appreciates the training and assistance he receives in managing his life. He particularly enjoys being with other housemates, reading the Bible, attending church, and their help keeping him on track with his schedule. He likes eating out with everyone, decorating his room, and working at Publix. Paul has worked for Publix in Bonita Springs for 19 years and is still excited to go to work every day. Now, he also has a “family” to come home to.

With his parents gone, Paul would like to continue their ministry in Haiti one day. He continues to fulfill the nursing home ministry his father started at Terracina Grand for Senior Living in Naples in coordination with Covenant Church. Each Thursday, Paul plays the keyboard for the residents. This activity is a highlight of his week. He does not have a particular Bible verse; however, his favorite book of the Bible is Revelation.


Behind the Smiles: Meet Kim

Posted by


Kim is a joyful resident of Protected Harbor who keeps herself busy doing daily chores, interacting with her housemates, and volunteering outside the home. Her favorite thing about living at Protected Harbor is the fun she has goofing around with her friends and staff, participating in many of the activities offered, and volunteering at her church, where she serves meals to students.

One of her favorite recent activities was attending the annual “Night to Shine” event allowing her to dress up and dance with her friends. She also enjoys seeing old friends there and catching up by sharing personal stories.

Additionally, Kim loves bowling, shopping, and doing chores like mopping the floors and cleaning up. She’d like to learn to sew and make jewelry, a talent some of her friends have. She is grateful to have help from the staff with her finances, learning new skills, and managing her daily chores and activities.

Kim’s heroes are her mom, dad, and brother. She would love to travel to Arizona to visit family members there. She has an eclectic taste in food, her favorites being Shepard’s Pie and Tiramisu. She also has an affinity for rabbits; they remind her of a pet she once had called “Snowball.”

Kim delights in re-reading Psalm 23. She finds daily inspiration in the words it contains.

Staff Spotlight: Meet David & Sandy Zigler

Posted by

David and Sandy

David and Sandy Zigler joined the staff of Protected Harbor this past March. As our newest Direct Support Professionals, they work with the residents in our home on Briarcliff Road in Ft. Myers.

Their eclectic backgrounds are a perfect fit as they serve our clients. For 28 years, David worked as a Chiropractic Physician, subsequently transitioning to a job in property management and real estate. Meanwhile, Sandy was employed as an educator, during which time she taught and held the role of Principal. Within those 46 years in education, Sandy worked with students with emotional disabilities. Once David and Sandy retired, they moved to Hungary, where they taught English. It is a blessing that they recently relocated to Florida to join our team.

The Ziglers’ decision to work with our clients while still healthy and able is gratifying because Protected Harbor is a faith-based organization. It provides a desired “ministry” position, allowing them to share their deeply held beliefs and a chance to talk openly about the love of Jesus while on the job. They appreciate that Protected Harbor is an organization that strives to meet each client’s physical, intellectual, and emotional needs while providing important spiritual guidance.

Sandy and David experience many rewards here. The latest is witnessing Matthew’s and Crystal’s joy after receiving their baseball awards. There is also the added reward of seeing the residents express love toward one another. They see friendship, forgiveness, playfulness, and support as they happily share their daily lives.

During their occasional free time, the Ziglers enjoy fishing and relaxing on the water. Sandy’s favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:10-13, while David’s is Matthew 11:28.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Dennis

Posted by


Dennis became the very first resident at our Briarcliff home after the grand opening on February 1st, 2018. He will always welcome you with a bright smile that outwardly expresses his feeling of total contentment since living with his new “family”.

He enjoys hanging out with his housemates, engaging in hands-on cooking chores in the kitchen, and doing laundry. One of the chores he likes most is keeping his living quarters neat and clean.

Living in Florida affords Dennis the pleasure of taking long walks outdoors year-round. He also takes daily bus rides to his day program, where he joins other housemates serving food to kids at his church.

Some favorite and memorable events he has participated in are “Night to Shine”, providing the opportunity to dress up and party, and going to Sea World, allowing him to see his favorite mammals, dolphins.

Dennis enjoys visiting his mother on weekends and eating at Perkins, his favorite restaurant. His favorite book in the Bible is the Book of Psalms; he draws inspiration from reading and hearing them.

Staff Spotlight: Meet Cindy & Pete Garritt

Posted by

Cindy-Pete and Daughter

Cindy and Pete Garritt joined Protected Harbor two years ago as Direct Support Professionals. They began living and working at our Briarcliff home and moved to the El Camino residence in March 2022.

The couple is originally from Colorado. Until her retirement in 2020, Cindy worked as a coordinator opening new Walmart stores, then as a flight attendant for a major airline. Meanwhile, Pete worked for the city of Denver, a job he kept for 25 years. They made the move to Florida five years ago.

Their involvement with Protected Harbor has personal meaning. They lost a son with special needs in 2019. This gave them the impetus to become involved with the adult population having the same needs as their deceased son. They feel purposeful and fulfilled in contributing to the lives of this very special group of people.

The Garritts were introduced to our ministry by other Protected Harbor staff members who attended the same Bible study in Lakeland. The minute an opening occurred at Protected Harbor, they jumped at the opportunity to join us. Since then, they have learned to love both the residents and their co-workers.

The opportunity to see the smiles generated during special activities, such as the sunset cruise offered by Freedom Waters, created an unforgettable memory that will remain with them forever. Another activity that created smiles and joy was the group visit to Orlando, where they spent four days exploring new and exciting locales.

Cindy says that the residents have taught her that we are all human, despite our differences, and that God cares for and loves us all equally. Everyone involved works together for the betterment of God’s special people, fulfilling the ministry’s mission.

During their free time, Pete and Cindy enjoy spending time with their daughter and son-in-law, who live in Tennessee. Their favorite Bible chapter is John 15.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Janie

Posted by


Protective Harbor provides a loving home for our residential clients, and once familiarized with their new surroundings they settle in assured that they will be treated like members of a wonderful new family.

Janie is one of our residential “family” members. She loves the warmth she receives from staff and residents alike. Janie embraces and enjoys Protected Harbor’s many group activities both in-house and during the many outings offered. She especially loves going to the beach. When asked where she would most like to travel, she answers, “Where there is a beach.” Protected Harbor strives to create full meaningful lives for its clients. A trip to Sea World late last year was memorable for Janie and seeing the animals and performances was something she will never forget.

Janie appreciates the help she receives managing her life, particularly having someone help keep her current with her medications and help her complete household tasks that she finds difficult to accomplish. She set major a goal for herself: learning to manage her finances without outside help.

Janie embraces the simple things in life, wishing for things within her grasp; a dish of pasta, petting a puppy, time to exercise, and going for a walk on the beach. Living in Florida is ideal with the pleasant weather and the opportunity for spending time outdoors year-round.

Her favorite Bible verse is “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1

Board Member Spotlight: Meet Kerry Kubacki

Posted by

Kerry and family

Kerry Kubacki’s decision to join Protected Harbor was a true act of faith. In 2020 he was infected with a severe case of Covid, sending him to the ICU and leaving him hospitalized for 21 days. During this harrowing time, he was left with only prayer and self-reflection, which convinced him he was needed in the ministry of Protected Harbor. Before that Kerry had attended meetings as a “friend of the board” introduced to us by his longtime friend and Board President Jeff Buchholz with whom he attends Bible study.

Once released from the hospital, Kerry communicated with Jeff his intention to join as a Board member. He believed that his prior experience with real estate and building could be of help as our organization expands with its plans for future development.

Kerry Kubacki has served on the Board of Protected Harbor for almost two years. He originally hails from Chicago but has been a Floridian for over forty years. His career as Director of Sales and as a Real Estate Broker began in 1987. He also worked in Real Estate for 15 years in Naples prior to retiring in 2008.

Kerry feels that Protected Harbor is a “hidden gem” of an organization. The population served is appreciative of the help they receive, evidenced by their contagious smiles. He has seen the impact of Protected Harbor’s work firsthand, attending Trailways Camp, volunteering at the Olympics, and helping at our yearly luncheons. He has seen that God’s special people are indeed “special!”

Kerry enjoys spending time with his wife Trish and their two sons, as well as cycling several times a week with a group of friends. Always selflessly ready to lend a hand wherever and whenever a need presents itself, Kerry’s favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 43:5 “Fear not, for I am with you…”

Behind the Smiles: Meet Kimber

Posted by

Kimber and Friends

Meet Kimber, a young lady who loves the outdoors. She especially enjoys living in Florida and the opportunity to spend many hours gardening outside her home. She enjoys pulling weeds and picking up palm fronds; both are plentiful all year round.

Kimber was curious about her heritage. She took a DNA test, revealing she is 97% Korean. This revelation piqued her interest in enjoying Korean food and researching travel there. She would love to have her housemate, Tiffany, teach her how to write in Korean. She considers Tiffany very proficient in it.

Kimber’s hero is her older sister who also has a disability. Her sister’s disability didn’t stop her from attending college, getting a degree in deaf education, and adopting a foster child. Kimber looks up to her and admires her success in life.

Kimber’s favorite reason for living in the PH community is her new-found family. The staff and fellow residents have become just that. She finds joy in interacting with everyone and especially being able to approach staff whenever needed. They are always there for her.

The staff helps her arrange doctors’ appointments, takes her shopping, reminds her of daily chores she needs to complete, and is always working on teaching her new skills. She also enjoys volunteering in her church’s kitchen and going horseback riding.

One exciting event Kimber is looking forward to is the Mighty Mussels baseball game on June 3, 2023, in Ft. Myers. The minor league facility hosts an annual Faith & Family Night event featuring local non-profits in the community. Last year, Protected Harbor supporters bought over 100 tickets, showed up to spend time with our clients, enjoyed a great game, and watched Kimber throw the first pitch! Tickets will be available for purchase through our website soon.

Kimber’s favorite Bible chapter is I Corinthians 14 which begins, “Follow the way of love”.

Board Member Spotlight: Meet Alyssa Hayes

Posted by

Alyssa Hayes and Family

Alyssa Hayes has been a Board Member at Protected Harbor for the last twelve years. She is also on the Fundraising Committee and is a valuable member who is selfless in giving of her time, talent, and experience.

Born and raised in New York she moved to Naples in 2005 with her late husband and three sons. As a single mom for the past 16 years, it has not always been easy, but she has found joy in her volunteer work with Protected Harbor. She is a Speech Language Pathologist having worked in that field for the last 31 years. Alyssa currently works in the Collier County Public Schools, where she just completed 17 years of service. Her role mirrors the needs of our adult clients, but her students are typically 3-12 years old in elementary school. They are children with severe cognitive and communication disorders, dyslexia, and various other speech and language disorders. She also has a background in assistive technology, feeding and swallowing as well as behavioral interventions.

When she was introduced to Protected Harbor, her background, particularly that of a Speech Pathologist, was a perfect fit for the needs of our clients. She has since worked one-on-one with several residents, by helping to enhance their communication skills. She enjoys the annual pool day at her home when the residents of the two houses spend the day swimming, playing pool games, and eating some of their favorite foods. It gives her great joy to serve them and watch them enjoy splashing in her pool and lounging in the sun.

Alyssa looks forward to the time when the vision of a complete campus will become a reality. Working on the Fundraising Committee has recently become an even more important assignment, as funds are needed to achieve our lofty goals. She additionally serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors, taking detailed notes at all the meetings. Attention to detail and effectiveness in communication certainly helps the organization.

Believe it or not, Alyssa does carve out some personal time for herself, taking time to enjoy her three adult sons, gardening, and going on walks. Her favorite verse: is Isaiah 58:11(NLT) “The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.”