By: Jarret Romanello, The St. Lucie Post
July 23, 2021
PORT ST. LUCIE – Bryan Willis celebrated three birthdays at the Father and Daughter Gala Dance: Shine Like the Stars at Truth Church in Port St. Lucie on July 10th. His daughters, Braniya, Zamiyah, and Mariyah, were all born in July, and he wanted to celebrate with them while supporting a great cause.
Truth Church Pastor JT Baumgardner and his wife Kim organized the charity event and opened their doors to support 4Kids of the Treasure Coast. The organization recruits and trains foster families to provide hope, home, love, and stability to kids in crisis. The Baumgardner’s children Michael and Jessie are both adopted.
4Kids Community Relations Coordinator Kenya Reinhardt is thankful for the Baumgardner’s support. “I love that kids get to have an experience like this – it’s a reminder that kids in group homes don’t get this opportunity, so it’s a chance to spread awareness about the need for foster parents.”
More than a dozen dads and daughters came dressed up and danced the night away while giving back to the community and learning lessons about parenting.
In between the waltz and macarena, fathers broke out into a discussion on parenting by Pastor Baumgardner and Port St. Lucie Assistant Chief of Police Richard Del Toro. “A young lady learns what a man should be like from her father, and her expectations going into adulthood are taught by the relationship she has with her dad,” Pastor Baumgardner told the crowd of fathers.
Del Toro is President of Treasure Coast Hope for the Homeless, a non-profit organization his daughters Karina and Alexandria started with friends Kayliegh and Mallory Cunnigham. Del Toro believes in demonstrating three principles to his daughters, attitude, sacrifice, and selfless service. “We are built in the image of Christ – Jesus Christ is the ultimate servant leader,” Chief Del Toro told the dads.
Brian Baley brought his daughter – Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County Youth of the Year Elyse Baley, to the dance. Baley and his wife have fostered kids for thirty years and believe in nurturing loving relationships to build trust. Del Toro, who is the immediate Past President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County, was happy to see Elyse and offered her dad advice, “Face your challenges and overcome them with a positive attitude – attitude is everything.”
Dads and daughter shined like starts at the Gala but all left understanding one thing – the real stars are kids waiting for placement with a selfless serving foster parents.
For more information on becoming a foster parent, visit: http://www.4kids.us/4KIDSTreasureCoast.com