Ponte Vedra resident Vince Smyth has been named Volunteer of the Year by the Florida Coalition for Children (FCC) for his efforts as a mentor to local foster children. FCC is a statewide association that advocates for Florida’s abused and neglected children.
Smyth has been mentoring foster children since 2010 through Family Support Services of North Florida’s Foster Buddies program. He was commended for spending quality time with the children as a caring friend and role model. In the past two years alone, he devoted more than 600 hours mentoring foster youth providing them opportunities and experiences they would not otherwise have.
Family Support Services (FSS) Director of Community Development Dani Deyton said the children benefited from the friendship and bond they developed with Smith.
“They’ve had someone special to talk to and someone who paid attention to them, and they learned to trust,” she said. “Many children in foster care no longer trust, after adults in their lives tend to fail them time and again.”
Smyth takes great care to find out what interests each child, she added, and incorporates those interest into planned outings.
Smyth is the associate vice president of administration and finance at the University of North Florida.
To find out more about mentoring a child or teen in foster care, contact FSS at 904-265-8095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.