Mission: To Educate Children, Empower Families, Enable Equitable Communities, and Embrace Diversity
Vision: We envision a State of Florida with well-functioning families, thriving individuals, and strong communities.
- There is strength in diversity
- Well-functioning families form the foundation of strong communities
- All people benefit from the 5-Rs: Reflective abilities; Regulation of Self; Respect for Self and Others; Relationship Skills; and Responsibility-taking
Our Board of Directors
President: Paige Tucker
Paige Tucker is an author, entrepreneur, and owner of Be Your Best You LLC, a consulting agency with a mission to transform communities through empowering individuals and organizations to be their best mentally, physically, financially, and logistically. Paige holds a degree in Medicine, Health & Society from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and a Masters of Human Services from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fl. She is dedicated to her community and uses her voice to advocate for change. She also is a certified Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor which has allowed her to spread awareness and education to end the stigma associated with mental illness. Paige spends her time volunteering in her community through various organizations, mentoring youth, reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
Vice-President, Ms Marlaina Satcher
Marlaina Satcher has been in the Non-Profit and Human Services field in Pinellas County for over 16 years in many different capacities. Her professional experience ranges from working with the Florida Department of Health and Human Services as the Resource Coordinator for Healthy Families, to her current role at a local Housing Authority as a Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator/Housing Choice Voucher Home ownership Coordinator. Marlaina’s goal is to reach as many people as she can and offer them the tools and resources needed to help them and their children lead a successful life.
Treasurer: Ms. Mary Morel, LCSW
Mary graduated from the University of South Florida with a Masters in Social work. Her aim was to work in a private practice setting where she could use her skills to help adults and children reach their fullest potential. Mary has been working in private practice in Pinellas County for 27 years specializing in children 2 to 11. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, trained as a play therapist and a cognitive behavioral therapist. She is also a certified workshop leader of The Incredible Years having attended the training in Seattle, and she is currently working toward certification in Dr. John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Board Member: John Draeger, MD.
John Draeger was in private practice in Pinellas County for fourteen years prior to moving to Maui, Hawaii, where for ten years he was Chief of Behavioral Health for Kaiser Permanente for the region. Also, while in Hawaii, John worked with the University of Hawai`i, John A Burns School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, supervising residents and 1-2 times annually participated as faculty in mock board exams. John is once again working with children and families in Pinellas, County.
For close to a decade, John has served as a board member of Keiki o ka `Aina Family Learning Centers, a Native Hawaiian community-based agency providing family strengthening, toddler and preschool programs (including Hawaiian language immersion), and promoting traditional Hawaiian values. John has helped to organize and implement The Incredible Years workshops offered at Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii. John is Board Certified in both General and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is a certified Incredible Years Leader, dedicated to the health and well-being of children and families.
Board Member: Ms. Kemesha Gabbidon, PhD, MP
Kemesha Gabbidon is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. Kemesha earned her PhD in Public Health from Florida International University in Miami, FL. Her interests are youth and young adult sexual and reproductive health and health disparities. Her research at USFSP examines parent-teen interactions that influence teens’ sexual development, and investigates the health determinants of youth living with HIV. Kemesha earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Florida State University and later earned her Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida in 2011. As a part of her graduate training, she became nationally certified in Public Health and in 2016 completed a research fellowship in the Cancer Prevention Research Training Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Board Member: Ms. Starr Linette Brookins
Starr Linette Brookins is a first-generation lawyer, fourth generation Tampanian, and a true servant leader. Ms. Brookins began her legal career representing the State of Florida in dependency matters, where she protected our most vulnerable citizens – children. Currently, Ms. Brookins serves as a Hearing Officer, where she presides over cases and renders decisions related to local ordinances, as well as a Senior Trial Attorney with Allstate. A recent recipient of the Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch, Ms. Brookins has received a panoply of accolades, spanning over 2 decades, for her exceptional leadership, commitment to public service, as well as her litigation expertise and appellate acumen. Ms. Brookins obtained her Juris Doctor from The George Washington University School of Law as a Presidential Merit Scholar, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from The University of Tampa in just 3 years, magna cum laude.She is a single adoptive mother to a daughter who spent the majority of her childhood in foster care.
Board Member: Dr. Sonja Brookins
Dr. Sonja Brookins is an activist for education and environmental protection, she believes in giving our youth opportunities for a healthy sustainable lifestyle. She is a retired educator who has advocated for doing what is right and increased transparency among education and environmental justice. She is the current Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor of Hillsborough County, District 4.
CEO: Vicki Draeger, Ph.D.
Vicki Draeger, Ph.D. is our CEO. She is a state certified secondary school teacher, who taught high school for 5 years and middle school for 18 years prior to entering the non-profit sector. Dr. Draeger is trained in Total Quality Education by Dr. Myron Tribus of MIT and is therefore skilled in data collection, analysis, and the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) approach to continuous improvement. She has served as Project Director on over 15 Foundation, State, and Federal Grants. Prior to moving to Hawaii and working for two Native Hawaiian non-profits, for twenty years she administered County Day Montessori Academy overseeing 230 children ages 2-13, and a staff of 35. She is certified by the American Montessori Society, and is a certified Coordinator for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngster (HIPPY). She is also a certified Supervisor of Parents As Teachers, (PAT). She is also trained in The Incredible Years having attended the training in Seattle, WA.
GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN
On April 4, 2020, Board Member Natasha Toney succumb to COVID-19 shortly after giving birth to her first child. Natasha was born and raised in Ohio where she studied early childhood education. She always had a heart and compassion for others, which led her to take a position working with the elderly. In Pinellas County, Florida, Natasha served as a childcare provider at a local church as well as a community volunteer. Most recently, Natasha worked as an administrative assistant for a mental health counseling service in Largo, Florida. She was one of the first faces to greet clients from all walks of life. Natasha was excited to be a part of LEADS, where she said she had the opportunity to use her skills in support of the community in which she lived and from which she came. She was a blessing to our agency. Natasha Toney was a wonderful woman and she is greatly missed.
Vicki Draeger, Ph.D. CEO
Currently five volunteers are working with us, but we plan to train more volunteers in schools and churches as the program grows. We’re starting in Pinellas County, Florida, but hope to extend the program statewide.