Alice Skaff, a long-time advocate for vulnerable populations as an elder care professional in Southwest Florida, founded Haven of Hope International after a mission trip to an orphanage in Bolivia 13 years ago. As executive director and CEO, Skaff will now dedicate her efforts full time to her organization’s objective to create an “Extreme Hope Makeover” for children in orphanages across the globe, using the flagship Haven of Hope orphanage in Santa Cruz, Bolivia as a model. The public is invited to get involved and learn more at A Toast to Hope on Wednesday, May 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Cornerstone Builders Design Center, 14680 South Tamiami Trail in Fort Myers. To RSVP, register online.
More than ever, hope is in too-short supply. A 2016 UNICEF report estimated that 140 million children worldwide are orphans, and the need is only increasing. In response, Haven of Hope espouses four distinct pillars of purpose to achieve an “Extreme Hope Makeover” for orphanages and the children in need of their care: Rescue, Love, Restore, Equip. The organization emphasizes a hierarchy of complex needs to establish a sustainable sense of agency for the child while also promoting the long-term success of the orphanage.
Skaff said, “We want to equip distressed orphanages with the tools and training they need to succeed so that they can optimally help the orphans in their care for many years. All children deserve to define their own possibilities. These lives have been derailed and our goal is to get as many back on track as we can. Every child deserves to have enough stability to be able to dream about the future.”
In August of 2016, Skaff left her career at a local law firm to invest in the future of these children. She has a dedicated team in Haven of Hope International’s board of directors, including Jeffrey Basik, Brian Basik, Angela Bryan, Beth Morford and Gayle Morici, who have faithfully rallied the support of the Southwest Florida community through its local churches.
Last year Haven of Hope International began growing its roster by supporting The Heart of Florida Youth Ranch, which was overwhelmed by the sheer number of children in need of rescue. This year’s goal is to help build an additional cottage to provide beds for an additional 10 to 12 child.
A Toast to Hope is sponsored by Cornerstone Builders Design Center, Right at Home, Thrive, Promise Healthcare, Prather & Swank P.A., and Retirement Advisors, Inc.