By: Jarret Romanello, The St. Lucie Post
September 15, 2021
Yvonne Poindexter keeps her daughter Britney Lee’s memory alive by giving back to the kids of St. Lucie County. And now she’s partnering with the St. Lucie Sheriff’s Police Athletic League to raise money for a new PAL Center in Fort Pierce.
In January 2018, when Britney Lee was a junior at Fort Pierce Central High School, Yvonne opened a substance abuse treatment center. She wanted to create a business with her daughter to help others. “Britney was going to work at the center and help me run it after college,” Yvonne said.
With many resources available for individuals struggling with substance abuse, Britney’s goal was to help the siblings of addicts cope with their trauma. “She always shot for the underdog,” her mother said.
That all changed a month after the business opened. On February 6, 2018, Britney Lee, 17, and her friend Santia Feketa, 18, were killed in a head-on collision when a 99-year-old man was driving his RV in the dark – with no headlights in the wrong direction of travel on SR 70 in western St. Lucie County. It was Yvonne’s darkest day.
After the tragedy, Yvonne closed the business and started the Britney Lee Foundation to celebrate her daughter’s life and fulfill her mission of helping others. “Her heart was beautiful, silly, and funny, and she lived every day to the fullest,” Yvonne said.
In February 2020, The Britney Lee Foundation held a country music festival in honor of Britney and Santia. The goal of the foundation is to raise money to donate to local children’s charities. The Lee’s Kids facet of the foundation provides Christmas and birthday presents for children of addicts and has developed a peer-to-peer network of emotional support for the innocent victims of the addiction crisis. “This was supposed to be Britney’s life work – this was her idea before she died,” Yvonne said.
The pandemic halted some activities, but now the Britney Lee Foundation is back in full swing and ready to partner with the St. Lucie Sheriff’s Police Athletic League to raise funds to build a new community center in Fort Pierce. “I wanted to create something to keep her memory alive,” Yvonne said.
On Sunday, October 10, 2021, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, The Britney Lee Foundation and St. Lucie Sheriff’s PAL will be in downtown Fort Pierce to kick off the annual Lee’s Lucky Duck Race. Five thousand rubber ducks will fill the Indian River Lagoon and race to the finish line – and the winning duck could be worth $ 100,0000. You can purchase your duck and chance to win for only $ 5.00 by visiting www.britneylee.org
The event will include a free kid’s zone filled with duck-themed games, great food, a cornhole competition, and a business-to-business competition where the company that sells the most ducks will be crowned Champion of the Duck Race. Kids can even come dressed up as ducks and compete in the cutest duck competition.
Three years after he daughter’s death, Britney’s friends still keep in touch with her mother. “She had friends from all walks of life and was the person that picked you up when you were down, Yvonne said.
To Yvonne, there is no better way to celebrate her daughter’s spirit than to continue with her dream of helping kids. “She was sunshine in everyone’s day,” Yvonne remembers of her daughter. “It is what Britney would have wanted – to live FearlessLee.”