Katrina Bellemare - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 222
When talking about serving others, she is reflective on her time working with Florida Home Studies and Adoption, assisting families with international adoptions, and her work with the emergency crisis youth shelter. “During my years working directly with children and families, I most enjoyed seeing each of them succeed through seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I also came to know that being treated with kindness is quite often the first, greatest help we can offer those individuals,” states Katrina.
Barbara Brownell - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 224
Her love for working with parents began with her first group of parents from the elementary school where she was the counselor. “After the first few sessions, I realized that children’s lives were getting better because their parents were making changes in their (parenting) behaviors. Parents were affecting their children’s lives in wonderful ways that, as I counselor, I only dreamed of doing! From that moment on, I was hooked!—Parenting really Matters!
Her collective experiences as a Child Find Specialist, Child Advocate, consultant/trainer to Forty Carrots Parenting Center, and more, allow Barbara to bring a vast amount of knowledge in the area of effective program development to the center. It is her commitment of service to families and children that serves as the cornerstone for today’s programs at Parenting Matters.
Robin Rowland - (941) 756-3007
Robin’s favorite project is our annual Holiday Family Adoption Program where she works with generous individuals and businesses to purchase gifts for our neediest families. She remembers the overwhelmed look on a mother’s face as she said through sobs, “I cannot believe someone cares this much about me. My son has never had a bike before.” He was 11 years old.
Marianella Vera - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 225
Terri Wallis - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 226
Terri works with families in our in-home Parent Partner Program. She is known for her genuine encouragement and supportive guidance that helps parents to feel empowered – often for the first time in their lives. When asked what her most prevalent role is, she states, “as a Parenting Educator it is to help parents be all they can be; to help them reach goals by taking the next step in their journey.”
Jillian Fullum - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 227
Elizabeth Sierra - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 229
Having a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a certification in Professional Addictions, Elizabeth is also bilingual. These skills provide Elizabeth with the unique ability to serve our families. She works with our in-home Parent Partner Program, the Spanish Parenting Group, parenting workshops, and is our lead Musical Motion Educator.
She has been with Parenting Matters since 2009, and provides a diverse skill set that brings various resources of the center together for families in various areas of need. When asked what her favorite part of the job is she shares, “The best part of my job is seeing clients’ lives changed and the internal transformation of people in ways that better every aspect of their lives”.
Jeanette Milanese - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 232
Serving for nine years in Foster Care Systems in case management and out of home care, Jeanette has a very strong background in caring for families and children. Combined with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Adoption Competency, she recently completed her master in Forensic psychology. Her education background provides a cornerstone of knowledge to our Chosen Families program. She states that her favorite part of working with Parenting Matters is, “the teamwork within the agency and the ability to affect the lives of others in such a positive way.”
Kelly Benford - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 230
Kelly served as a teacher for eight years at the Middle School level in an economically diverse community. Since leaving the public school system, she has demonstrated her passion for working with our families as a Parenting Educator.
As part of our Chosen Families program staff, which provides in-home and group parenting education and facilitating support groups and workshops to adoptive families, she leads the way in helping those families find their new normal. In addition to becoming Certified Adoption Competent, she is also a Certified Family Life Educator recognized nationally by the National Counsel of Family Resources.
Kelly states, one of her favorite moments with the center was; “A client called two years after working with me. She saved my number. She was experiencing a new parenting challenge with her boys and remembered how much I had helped her in the past, so she sought me out again.”
Lois Casey - (941) 756-3007 Ext. 235
In 2015, Lois joined our agency and currently works with our Chosen Families Program. She is a CFLE – Certified Family Life Educator – and holds a Master Degree in Special Education. She is Adoption Competent Certified, as well, serving our adoptive families with in-home and group parenting education.
Having experience as diverse as our community, Lois has taught special education for much of her career. She has also served as a director and instructor of parenting programs in schools and for various agencies, and taught preschoolers, here and in N.Y. She also holds a Functional Nutrition Certificate and is a Certified Yoga instructor.
When talking about her time with our center she says, “My most rewarding moments are seeing the parents using the tools and strategies we have focused on and the recognition of how beneficial this is to their families. In addition, I feel blessed to have met so many amazing people and to work with such a fantastic team who are focused on helping others.”
Bridget Harry - (941) 756-3007
Bridget’s passion is building a strong community and leaped at the opportunity to help Parenting Matters grow their marketing and fundraising efforts.
Rosana Rivera - (941) 756-3007
Rosana’s educational background includes Master’s Degree in Psychology and a B.A. in Psychology. Rosana is bilingual (English and Spanish) and has been working professionally since 2000 in human services for the community.
Contract Parenting Educators:
In addition to the program staff, we contract with local, degreed professionals for program services.
They can be reached by calling our office at (941) 756-3007