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PROJECT GRADUATION

 
 
Jonathan Gutierrez of Boca Raton was one of 56 high school seniors who are also Caregiving Youth and members of the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY).  This year, every CYP senior graduated bringing the average high school graduation rate for the past six years to 98.3%
 
As a young Boca Raton Community Middle School student, Jonathan enrolled in the CYP  His mom has MS and his younger brother was still in the process of having multiple surgeries in Miami on expanding his skull to allow his brain to grow normally.  In addition to many supports Jon and his family received through the CYP, he also became a mentee in M.A.C.Y. (Mentor a Caregiving Youth) of the AACY.  His mentor, Felix Alfred was a Palm Beach State College student.  That relationship grew through the years and Jonathan even attended his Felix's college graduation!
 
Jonathan's life took a turn for the worse when he witnessed the death of his beloved grandfather.  His grandmother, having early dementia, was unable to live alone so his family moved in with her.  His father continued to work two jobs to support the family.  Now Jonathan had three people to look after.  Sometimes his mom has good days, however, those in which she receives chemo, leaves her sick and exhausted, requiring much help.  
 
While a student at Olympic Heights High School, his story was filmed by Vice News which today, on all media channels, has received more than nine million views.  He was also featured on local news and last year met with US Rep Lois Frankel.  
 
During high school, a big relief for Jon was football.  He practiced during the break between his father's jobs.  Then, life took another turn.  His football career was short lived by a severe shoulder injury.  He became the subject of bullies and ultimately transferred to Spanish River High from where he just graduated.  Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Jonathan will be attending Palm Beach State College in the Fall.  He looks forward to participation in AACY's new alumni program.
 
Throughout his time with AACY, Jon and his family received many supports including academically.  He had the opportunity to participate in multiple activities including AACY's signature overnight Camp Treasure. Jennifer, Jonathan's mom, is quick to say that she is convinced that without the support of AACY, today she would be visiting Jonathan's grave.
 
This past Sunday it was exciting to surprise Jonathan with a graduation celebration, complete with special guests, a lawn sign, gift card, personalized blanket and care packages, all organized by AACY Board Treasurer Debralyn Belletieri.  Guests present were Palm Beach County Vice Mayor, Robert Weinroth, Pamela Perrin, COO of AACY, Pamela Weinroth Executive Director of Boca West Children's Foundation that helps fund the work of AACY, and AACY President and Founder, Dr. Connie Siskowski.
       

American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) Announces New Board Director and Officers for 2019-20

Jeff Gordon, Esq.

The American Association of Caregiving Youth proudly announces its election of Jeffrey Gordon, Esq. to its Board of Directors. Jeff is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and Partner in the law firm of Lesser, Lesser, Landry and Smith where he specializes in personal injury law.  Jeff and his wife, in addition to raising 4 children, have been licensed foster parents since 2010 and are currently raising their 19th foster child.  He is also very active in the community sitting on several non-profit boards and devoting his time to supporting young people in all types of challenging circumstances.

The new AACY fiscal year of 2019-20 begins under the leadership of elected officers of its Board of Directors.  They include Chair, Dan Davidowitz who is Head of the Large Company Growth Team & Portfolio Manager at Polen Capital; Vice Chair, Joe Pores, CEO of award-winning Call 4 Health; and Treasurer, Debralyn Belletieri, who has many years of financial services background in nonprofit auditing and as Comptroller for IDR Services. Isabel Parrado, MEd, retired school guidance counselor, was re-elected to continue her service as Secretary.

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