The state of Florida is home to the largest elderly population in the United States, and senior citizens are the fastest growing population segment in South Florida. As the state continues to wrestle with this increasing demographic, its elderly care centers and nursing homes have become flooded with tens of thousands of residents; many who are far away from family and friends. With an uncertain economy and unstable healthcare, these elderly residents become increasingly vulnerable to loneliness, social isolation, emotional trauma, and abuse.
Heart2Heart Outreach of South Florida recognizes the ANSWER to many of the social and emotional issues that these elderly residents are experiencing is People.
People to care, to listen, to love, to honor, and to share life with our community’s most forgotten population; the elderly living in care centers.
Since 2011, Heart2Heart has matched hundreds of volunteers with over 33 care centers. These committed passionate volunteers have made an incredible difference in the lives of thousands of senior citizens who would otherwise have gotten little or no visits from family and friends.
Connecting C.A.R.E. Partners to elderly care centers, volunteers to the elderly, and hearts to hearts.
Advocating on behalf of the new “modern day orphan”, the elderly in care centers.
Responding to the social and emotional support needs of elderly residents in care centers.
Engaging volunteers to build sustainable relationships with elderly residents in care centers.
“There is a demographic shift happening in America. We are getting older. Right now, one in every eight Americans is over the age of 65. By 2030, it will be one in every five. The dramatic changes to our economy, the healthcare system, and to family dynamics is effecting every community in our country. Long term care centers and nursing homes are being flooded by hundreds of thousands of elderly residents. So many of them are left alone; somehow discarded by a nation that seems to think they’ve lost their value to our modern society. Over 60% will never receive a visit. No one to love them, to ask how they are doing, to share stories, or to let them know that someone cares. They are abandoned, lonely, and forgotten. I’ts not how they should be spending their last season of life! It’s now an issue of social justice, of community responsibility, and of the kindness of the human heart…your heart and mine. Connecting hearts to hearts.”
Blake Silverstrom, Executive Director
Blake recently joined the Heart2Heart team in early 2017, and quickly realized the critical need to the growing elderly population. With a passionate heart for disenfranchised and marginalized people groups, Blake has served in a number of not-for-profit executive roles; most recently as the Vice President of Partner Engagement for 4KIDS of South Florida, a licensed foster care agency that has found loving homes for over 20,000 abused, abandoned and neglected orphans.
Prior to 4KIDS, Blake served ten years with OneHope, an international ministry that reaches over 92 million children and youth around the world annually. Blake also worked in the marketing and finance world for 25 years providing distribution cost analysis, merchandise purchasing, and executive team leadership to large corporate retail giants. He has also served as an elected city council member, served on many boards including Second Harvest Community Food Bank and the United Way, and is a licensed and ordained pastor.
As Executive Director, he drives the vision, mission and strategic direction of Heart2Heart, and provides administrative, financial and marketing oversight. Blake and his entrepreneurial wife Denise, reside in Coral Springs, Florida, and spend as much time as possible visiting their six adult children and two grandchildren.
Marti led a successful corporate career in business and marketing for many years, which included directing her own consulting firm where she advised major corporations in management, marketing and human resources. Upon receiving word of her father’s ailing health, she made a critical decision to leave the business world so she could take care of him. During that time, Marti experienced the hardships and rewards of caring for the elderly in both the at-home and nursing home setting.
Marti recognizes that God utilized those years to redirect her career path into social services and has now served for over twelve years in the nonprofit sector. Marti’s unique blend of business education, past experiences, and her God-given gifts are crucial to the continued success of Heart2Heart’s core ministry programs. She is responsible for church and care center partnerships, community advocacy, and volunteer recruitment and training.
Christy started her journey toward nursing by working in senior care centers as anurse’s aide, progressing to working on a medical/oncology unit, and finally as a registered nurse in Labor and Delivery for over 10 years. This broad spectrum of experience in the health care industry lends itself to a level of insight into the dynamics of the environments with which Heart2Heart volunteers engage, as well as the demands and limitations under which many of our health care partners work.
In addition to her experience as a nurse, Christy worked for four years as the executive assistant to the missions pastor of a large church; managing the office, organizing events and coordinating local outreach and overseas missions trips. Christy oversees the communication and marketing efforts for Heart2Heart, manages Heart2Heart headquarters, and assists with volunteer management and celebration events. Prior to joining the Heart2Heart team, Christy enjoyed a season of being a stay at home mother to her active boys and has been married to her husband, Michael, for eleven years.
Sean Stepelton, Board Chair – Director-Trustee, Stacy Foundation
Serving since 2011
William Tolia, Secretary – Owner, BrightStar Care
Serving since 2012
Brian W. Smith, Treasurer – Vice President, Roschman Enterprises
Serving since 2013
Omar Aleman, Board Member – CEO, Aleman & Associates
Serving since 2012
Doug Scott, Board Member – CEO, BMGcreative
Serving since 2013
Rick Dykema, Board Member – Principal, Cirrus Medical Technologies
Serving since 2014
Darren Schnagel, Board Member – Director, Turnberry Isle Miami
Serving since 2016
Barbara Schechter, Board Member – Non-Profit Executive (Retired)
Serving since 2017
We seek God’s wisdom and His will for every effort and action of this ministry and consider prayer foundational to our success. We believe that spiritual care for the residents is vital and of essence for both their earthly and eternal well-being. In all that we do we seek to acknowledge and honor Jesus Christ and to demonstrate His Love, Hope and Purpose to each other, and to each elderly resident, their family members, care center staff, church volunteer, administrator and donor.
We seek to treat each other, and each elderly resident, family member, care center staff, church volunteer, administrator and donor with respect and to abide by all governing rules, regulation and policies regarding our care center ministry. We believe that the life of an elderly resident is just as valuable as any other person to God and we, therefore, reject the practice of euthanasia regardless of a person’s physical, mental or spiritual condition.
We seek to serve each other, and each elderly resident, their family members, care center staff, church volunteers, administrators and donors with integrity and are committed to remain above reproach in all ministry actions. We believe that the success of this care center ministry will be determined by our willingness to honor God and others with our honesty, reliability and uprightness.
We seek to glorify God through the combined efforts of churches committed to sharing the love, hope and purpose of Jesus Christ to elderly residents in care centers. We believe that uniting the local Body of Christ to provide for the spiritual needs of our elderly will increase the overall impact and effectiveness of this ministry, will be pleasing to God and will serve as an excellent witness to others.
We seek to actively display our love for each other, and to each elderly resident, their family members and care center staff through committed, caring relationships. We believe that the elderly residents, their family members and care center staff require special understanding, kindness and consideration and we will serve them compassionately while demonstrating and sharing the love, hope and purpose of Jesus Christ.