The Pinellas REALTOR Organization recently recognized four outstanding members who make a huge difference in our community. These Good Neighbor Award recipients were presented with pins and each received a check for $1,000 made out to their charity at the PRO Installation event on Wednesday, January 17 at the Birchwood Hotel in St. Petersburg.
Pictured at left, from left to right: Katie Shotts, PRO COO, Katie Phelps, Betty Granucci, Sue Ellis, Sophia Dottin and Nikki Mozell (community representative for Sophia’s project)
Sophia Dottin, Century 21 Coast to Coast – Volunteer for Gulfport Pirates Youth Sports
Sophia looked around her community and answered the call to help at risk youth. She knew they had a better chance of success if they were given the right tools. Her passion to help children focus on education, discipline, teamwork, and respect through youth sports has made a tremendous impact on the community of Gulfport.
Sophia negotiated a contract with Boca Ciego High School for the use of their fields for Gulfport Pirates Youth Sports. She can always be there helping the young athletes, or on the sidelines with the cheerleader program. When not on the field, she’s creating marketing flyers, designing uniforms, or creating team memorabilia. Her creative and diverse fundraising ideas have helped raise funds for the organization and she even negotiated an annual sponsorship from the Gulfport Police Department.
Through her guidance, she not only provides resources to children, but it also helps families. The range of services offered includes tutoring, mentoring, motivational speakers, and spiritual enrichment, just to name a few.
Sophia has tirelessly volunteered thousands of hours over the past 6 years and her dedication to the organization shows in the success of the children in the community. She is an incredible role model who we are proud to recognize.
Sue Ellis, Berkshire Hathaway Properties Group-Volunteer for Homeless Leadership Board
Sue Ellis is a volunteer with Cold Night Shelter which provides our local homeless population a warm place to stay when weather temperatures dip to 40 or below. The shelter is hosted by her church which is Peace Memorial Church. Sue is the shelter coordinator who oversees and works hands on with staff volunteers preparing the shelter with mats, blankets and pillows for their guest’s arrival. She assists in food preparation for the homeless always lending a hand to make sure they have breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The planning process is monumental, but Sue is extremely organized and ensures there are enough dedicated volunteers available to make sure each shift is covered. She was also instrumental in hiring a security officer to keep guests safe.
Sue felt a warm place to stay when it was cold was not enough help for the homeless and she took it upon herself to gather donations and create a room at the shelter where guests could find clothing, shoes and other items they needed. Shelving, racks, hangers, and other donations, along with items she purchased, were used to create a welcoming environment for those in need.
Sue sums up her dedication best through her belief that “While we all strive to help those with homes, I have developed a passion for those without homes.”
Betty Granucci, Charles Rutenberg Realty – Volunteer for Build a Bed At Bridgepoint Church
When Betty Granucci learned that 7,000 children in Pinellas County went to sleep without a bed every night, she knew she had to try to make a difference. Betty has been a volunteer at The Build a Bed program at Bridgepoint Church for the last 16 months. Her goal is to make sure each child has their own bed so they wake up rested, ready to learn, play and do whatever the day holds for them.
Betty helps deliver and assemble beds on-site in the family’s home. This process takes approximately 4 to 5 hours. Each child also receives bedding, a set of pajamas, storybook, a variety of toiletries, and a stuffed animal or toy.
Betty took on the responsibility of being the main point of contact for both the caseworkers who are requesting the beds, as well as the families who are receiving the beds. Every day as applications come in, Betty coordinates with each family to get their beds on the delivery schedule.
When the program started in 2015, 56 beds were distributed. In 2017 to date, over 506 beds have been delivered. The need is enormous and keeps growing. Betty has volunteered over 1,000 hours to ensure our youngest citizens, our children, can sleep in the comfort of their own bed and not on the floor.
Katie Phelps, Luxe Properties International – Volunteer for Babycycle Diaper Bank.
Katie Phelps is a board member and hands-on volunteer at the non-profit organization Babycycle. Babycycle’s mission is to provide diapers, food, clothing and all other necessities to Mothers and children in need.
Did you know that babies need 6-10 diaper changes per day, which is $18 per week, or $936 per year?
Diapers are not covered by any government assistance programs, even though diapers are a necessity for every child.
What if you can’t afford diapers for your child?
Katie has unselfishly given up weekends, afternoons and evenings to go to the warehouse and meet partner agencies to get the goods they need to help their clients break out of the cycle of poverty. Because of her commitment to Babycycle, she has built relationships with other agencies such as Suncoast Boley Free Clinic and over 25 others, to ensure many Mothers get the items they need. With Katie’s never ending effort to obtain donations through diaper drives and her involvement with the National Diaper Bank Network, our local moms can spend their time loving and nurturing their babies.