Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Behind the Smiles: Meet Dennis

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

Staff Spotlight: Meet Pat & Debbie Kappenman’s

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Pat and Debbie Kappenman joined Protected Harbor in August 2020 serving as Direct Support Professionals in one of our group homes. Even at a time of worldwide turmoil and pandemic, God heard our prayers and sent the Kappenman’s who embraced their new roles with enthusiasm despite the challenges.

The calling to embrace our ministry came naturally to them. They were acquainted with former staff members who told them about the amazing work being done here for God’s special people. Since joining our organization, the Kappenman’s have bonded with the residents and reached out to other clients in the community through friendship and care. Their leadership provides valuable life-skills training and spiritual growth. This couple enjoys fun events, such as the annual Night to Shine and parties at the homes as well as being there to console residents when they are going through difficult times. The clients are examples every day that all human beings, despite their circumstances, are created in God’s image.

Before joining Protected Harbor Debbie worked as a bookkeeper for a church, but her main role was being a full-time mom for her children. Pat, meanwhile, came from a career in finance and marketing and served as the pastor of a church. Now they are busy helping our clients live their best lives while sharing their enthusiasm about this mission and the growing demand by thousands of others who need our services in southwest Florida. The love Pat and Debbie have for others is exemplified in their message that we should never avoid people with perceived disabilities because we are missing out on the joy of knowing some truly amazing people.

During the rare times, they have to relax, the Kappenman’s enjoy reading, spending time with each other, and traveling. Their favorite book of the Bible is Romans 8. We are truly blessed with this couple as part of our staff.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Matthew

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Matthew’s smile is contagious. Driven by boundless energy, he’s our resident sports enthusiast. He loves football (his favorite team being the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and basketball and can always be found running or working out. He dreams of one day attending a Super Bowl in person! Always eager to learn and grow, he has recently set his sights on learning to swim.

Matthew became a resident with us in 2018, adapting well. He loves spending time with his “brothers and sisters”. He counts among his heroes, his parents, star athletes, and his good friend Vinny, with whom he communicates regularly. However, his newest heroes are the staff members who help him navigate through life completing everyday chores such as making his bed and keeping his room neat.

It’s no surprise that Matthew’s favorite book in the Bible is the Gospel of Matthew!

Behind the Smiles: Meet Crystal

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Meet Crystal

As her name implies, Crystal reflects bright joy and cheerfulness to those around her. Behind her smile is a young lady who, like many of her contemporaries, loves the outdoors, eating fast food, having fun with her housemates, and staying involved in all the activities provided to her in the community and at Protected Harbor.

When her mother passed away in 2018 Chrystal came to Protected Harbor. Her favorite thing about living in the home is the new family of siblings that welcomed her. She enjoys engaging with them in games, physical activities, and worship. Her demeanor makes her a joy to be around.

Crystal’s favorite book in the Bible is the Gospel of Luke. Her wish is to learn how to draw. She’d love to be able to draw a portrait of her favorite animal. A cat would give her a big smile.

2023 Homes with Heart Luncheon w/ The Founders of John’s Crazy Socks

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Click here to purchase a table or tickets

Click here for Sponsorship Options

We invite you to attend our Homes with Heart Luncheon on March 20, 2023, to learn about our exciting goals for growth as we strive to serve more of God’s special people in more ways. We’re excited to have keynote speakers John & Mark X. Cronin founders of John’s Crazy Socks!  They will entertain and inspire with their story of entrepreneurship and advocacy.  We are honored to have Lois Thome of WINK News again serve as our emcee.


About John’s Crazy Socks

John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. They do this by offering socks people can love that allows an expression of one’s true self. More than half their employees have a differing ability, their Giving Back program has raised over $475,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.