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First 1,000 Days Suncoast is a community initiative to support parents, caregivers and their babies so all families have equal opportunities to thrive regardless of race, education or socio-economic status.  The initiative, housed within Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, recently elected leaders and expanded membership on its Steering Committee to reflect the initiative’s new four-county regional focus.

Kameron Hodgens, Chief Executive Officer of The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center was elected chair of the First 1,000 Days Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee represents the 80+ nonprofit, government and healthcare partners who all work together on First 1,000 Days to form a supportive safety net for mothers and babies.  Hodgens, and fellow committee volunteers, oversee the initiative’s governance, fiduciary and strategic direction.

Six new committee members joined to represent Charlotte, DeSoto and Manatee counties, as well as deepening strategic emphasis on areas of public health, child welfare, and service to Latino families.

  • Angie Matthiesen, Executive Director, United Way Charlotte County
  • Katie Powers, Manatee Memorial Hospital
  • MJ Horen, Chief Program Officer DeSoto Resource Center, All Faiths Food Bank
  • Lisa Abello, Pediatrician and Chief Medical Officer, CenterPlace Health
  • Luz Corcuera, Executive Director, Unidos Now
  • Nathan Scott, Circuit 12 Child Welfare Policy Coordinator, Florida Department of Health Sarasota County

“This initiative started in Sarasota, and it’s been incredible to see the interest and response from our three neighboring counties,” says Hodgens.  “As a mom, who lives in Manatee County and works in Sarasota, I know that county lines mean very little when accessing healthcare for your children.  I’m proud to be a part of this Steering Committee as we make this a more regional effort.”

Their involvement will support the initiative’s regional expansion to connect with babies and families who are born or receive care at Sarasota Memorial Hospital but live in surrounding communities.  Nearly 45 percent of babies born at the hospital every year reside in a neighboring county.  In order to fulfill the initiative’s mission to ensure these families have access to quality services to support their child’s development, First 1,000 Days Suncoast will connect with community partners throughout the region to create a coordinated system of care.

Existing members renewing terms on the committee include:

  • Michelle Kapreilian, Chief Executive Officer, Forty Carrots Family Center (outgoing Chair)
  • Maria Somera, Parent Advisory Committee Representative, Children First’s parent-led Policy Council
  • Brittany Pendarvis, Parent Advisory Committee Representative
  • Kelly Romanoff, Innovation and Impact Officer, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation
  • Pam Beitlich, DNP, Executive Director of Women and Children’s Division, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
  • Mary O’Connor, Manager of Community Outreach Women and Children’s Division, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
  • Shon Ewens, Executive Director, Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County

If you are a parent in need of support for yourself or child, please visit to submit an assistance request form.

About Barancik Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida.

1515 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 500, Sarasota FL 34236
The Barancik Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding.

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