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Our Wellington Awards 2023 – Celebrating The Extraordinary Achievements Of Our Wellington Neighbors!

Celebrating The Extraordinary Achievements Of Our Wellington Neighbors!

Step into a world where greatness knows no bounds and join us in celebrating the people who make our community special. Wellington The Magazine unveiled the Our Wellington Awards last year. This award marked the first of its kind, honoring six remarkable individuals who have given of themselves and helped to shape our beloved village into one of the top places to live in the country.

Again, this year, we pay tribute to people who have selflessly dedicated their time and talents to uplift our community. The 2023 Our Wellington Award honorees are: John Sitomer of the Council of Dads, longtime community activists Mickey and Lizz Smith, Leslie Pfeiffer of the Wellington Art Society, RoseAnn Voils of the Christopher Aguirre Memorial Foundation, Vinceremos Therapeutic Horsemanship Center founder Ruth Menor, and Back to Basics founder Beverly Perham.

Over the next several pages, you will get to meet these inspiring individuals, who have not only done wonderful things for Wellington themselves, but through their work have inspired countless other volunteers to get involved and help build our community into what it is today. By reading their stories, you can get to know these remarkable individuals, discover the motivations behind their journeys and learn more about the organizations they champion. This year’s recipients of the Our Wellington Awards will be honored at a special luncheon this fall, where we will celebrate them, along with all the good work they have done.

We thank everyone who nominated people for this year’s Our Wellington Awards. Choosing the honorees was a challenge, but we hope this program helps us continue to build a community that thrives on compassion, generosity and the spirit of making a difference. The goal is to get others involved, embrace a worthy cause and be a catalyst for positive change. Together, we can transform lives and create a brighter future for Wellington.


Our Wellington Awards 2023 – Mickey and Lizz Smith

Our Wellington Awards 2023 – Mickey and Lizz SmithVolunteering Is A Way Of Life For Wellingtons Mickey And Lizz Smith

Story by Mike May | Photo by Frank Koester

Mickey and Lizz Smith have been living in Wellington for more than three decades and truly enjoy living, working and volunteering here. While one of their favorite things to do is to travel to destinations on all seven continents, they always enjoy coming back to their Wellington home, where they plan to stay for the rest of their lives.

Among the reasons why Wellington is such a great place to live is because of the community spirit that the Smiths bring to their adopted hometown.

A personal injury attorney, Mickey remains busy as a partner in the firm Lesser, Lesser, Landy and Smith. Lizz, meanwhile, is a retired educator. She worked for 32 years as a special education teacher at local schools, such as Osceola Creek, Emerald Cove and Wellington Landings middle schools. She now stays busy as an avid volunteer.

Despite the demands of being a full-time attorney, Mickey also finds time to get involved in the community.

When I volunteer to support local charities, I seem to get back 10 times more than I give, Mickey said. Its a source of great enjoyment.

Im blessed that I have the time and ability to volunteer to help local groups, Lizz added.

The Smiths are longtime supporters of the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club and the Wellington Community Foundation. Mickey served on the board of the Boys & Girls Club for 10 years and was a founding member of the Wellington Community Foundations board. He also serves on the board of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber and is a member of the Wellington Rotary. While Lizz is not a Rotarian, she helps as a volunteer when they support local causes.

Both enjoy supporting the Wellington Community Foundation, which would have ended when it spun off from the village had it not been for the leadership of the late Tom Wenham, Mickey said. It was an honor to help Tom with the Wellington Community Foundation, he said. He and his wife Regis are the gold standard for volunteering in Wellington. Both have been inspirations to us all.

Lizz particularly enjoyed helping the Wellington Rotary distribute food during the pandemic. The food drive lasted for a year and helped feed many families in need, she recalled, adding that she takes pride in supporting groups that showcase the villages family-friendly image. Wellington is great for families, as there is always so much to see and do.

Another area of satisfaction is the beautification of Stribling Way, their adopted street, which has a sign with their names on it. We set aside at least four Saturdays a year to go pick up trash along Stribling Way, Mickey said. We want to help keep Wellington beautiful.

In their free time, they are huge fans of the Miami Dolphins, and also enjoy watching games involving Mickeys two alma maters Virginia Tech and Duke University. When Virginia Tech plays Duke in football, I root for Virginia Tech, Mickey said. When they play one another in basketball, I cheer for Duke.

In her free time, Lizz stays healthy and fit by playing tennis at the Wellington Tennis Center, which she calls a real jewel of the community.

The couple met at Virginia Tech. Lizz was there on a swimming scholarship while pursuing a degree in education. She was a high school state champion swimmer in Florida in 1975. At Virginia Tech, Mickey pursued a degree in industrial engineering. He then headed to Duke for his law degree, which he earned in 1985. He has practiced in Florida since then.

Moving forward, the Smiths encourage others who enjoy living in Wellington to find ways to volunteer, and in doing so, develop a stronger connection to the community.


Our Wellington Awards 2023 – Leslie Pfeiffer

Our Wellington Awards 2023 – Leslie Pfeiffer
Leslie Pfeiffer Helps Shine A Spotlight On Art And Culture In Wellington

Story by Mike May

For more than 40 years, Wellington has been the home of the Wellington Art Society, and one of the key leaders of this vibrant cultural nonprofit is Leslie Pfeiffer.

As a volunteer for more than 15 years, Pfeiffer brings professional skills, enthusiasm and dedication to the organization, playing an important role in artist development and community outreach. Over the years, she has served as president, board member, chaired many committees, coordinated art shows and created many Wellington Art Society programs.

Pfeiffer enjoys the collaborative spirit of the group. Currently, she is the organizations second vice president, development chair and serves on several committees.

As development chair, Pfeiffer has secured support through in-kind and monetary donations from many local and regional sponsors and community partners for events, scholarships and outreach programs.

Local businesses welcome the opportunity to support scholarships and community outreach and enhance the Wellington lifestyle through art and culture programs, Pfeiffer said, noting that to date, the Wellington Art Society has awarded more than $130,000 to local high school students headed to college for art-related studies.

Pfeiffer has also been the event coordinator for many art shows and programs. She organized Art Fest on the Green, an outdoor fine art and craft show, for 13 years.

Right now, the group has more than 100 members that include art enthusiasts, emerging artists and professional artists creating a wide array of original artwork.

Since 1981, the Wellington Art Society has brought the community together to celebrate life and art, said Pfeiffer, who has lived in Wellington for 30 years. The society looks forward to a bright future as we continue to inspire, educate and enhance the lives of our community through creativity and art.

She added that the organization enriches the lives and culture of the residents of the western communities and beyond.

The Wellington Art Society encourages originality and productivity among its members and provides a place where emerging and professional artists meet, exchange ideas and advance the appreciation of art, Pfeiffer said.

The nonprofit also presents eight member art exhibitions a year. The shows are open daily and free to the public between the Wellington Community Center and Wellington Village Hall. At these exhibitions, more than 300 original works of art rotate throughout the year.

As part of its outreach program, the Wellington Art Society provides art supplies to schools, hospital art programs, mentoring, childrens art camp tuition, workshops and special events.

Pfeiffers love of art can be traced back to her childhood in the Midwest. I started to draw at three years old and love being creative and encouraging other artists, said Pfeiffer, whose favorite artist is John Singer Sargent. I am passionate about art and the creative process.

Pfeiffer, who works with her husband Randy as a Realtor with Keyes Realty Wellington, said that original artwork turns a house into a home where memories are made. She is an award-winning artist who works in mixed media, oil and watercolor.

One of the benefits of the Wellington Art Society is the chance to meet other people who have different areas of interest, she explained. Among the many gifts of volunteering are the personal interactions and friendships that develop, Pfeiffer said. I have met and become friends with truly remarkable people doing extraordinary work because of their shared vision and commitment to improving lives and making a better world. I encourage everyone to find a group or start one that shares your interest and passion.

To learn more about the Wellington Art Society, visit The group meets the second Wednesday of each month from September through May at the Wellington Community Center at 5:30 p.m.


Our Wellington Awards 2023 – John Sitomer

Our Wellington Awards 2023 – John SitomerCouncil Of Dads Founder John Sitomer Is A Man On Many Missions To Help The Community

Story by Mike May | Photo by Frank Koester

In an odd way, the Wellington community should be thankful that John Sitomer has been diagnosed with cancer on four occasions since 1998 and even more thankful that he has continued to beat the disease.

Back in 2008, Sitomer, his wife Dina and their son were living in the Bahamas when John was then diagnosed with leukemia, after overcoming testicular cancer in 1998. His doctor encouraged them to return to the U.S. for his treatment. His future looked bleak. Of all places, the Sitomers moved to Wellington.

Within seven years, he was cancer-free. Then, he started networking in his new community. In 2015, Sitomer, now 68, recalled reading the book The Council of Dads. He realized that the story, where a man battling cancer finds mentors for his children, could be replicated in Wellington.

Sitomer knew more than 30 men who would be perfect candidates for Wellingtons Council of Dads, which would be affiliated with the Wellington Wolves travel basketball organization. After meeting with the first 10 people on his list, each one agreed to serve on the new Council of Dads.

Each man said yes and admitted that they were looking for a way to give back to the community, said Sitomer, who has served on the Wellington Wolves board of directors for eight years.

The target audience for the Council of Dads would be the boys and girls affiliated with the Wellington Wolves and their siblings. While the players are talented athletes, many needed help with their academic studies. Thats where the expertise of the Council of Dads fills a void.

In addition to Sitomer, the Council of Dads roster featured many outstanding local leaders: Gerry Stumm, Howard Eisenberg, Grant Johnson, Rafi Wynn, David Kane, Dr. Jim Shecter, Dr. Gordon Johnson, Capt. Peter Smith, Jeff Sitomer and Wellington Wolves President Chris Fratalia.

The Council of Dads concept has been so successful that it has been expanded to include local high school students who are members of the National Honor Society as paid tutors. The Wellington branch library provides space for the students and their tutors to work after school, while the Council of Dads pays the tutors and provides snacks.

Weve been able to raise grades from Ds and Fs to As and Bs, Sitomer said. Our tutors teach seven different subjects for students from the fifth to the 11th grade. We even provide tutoring in Spanish. At the end of the school year, we recognize students who have GPAs of at least 3.0 with the Honor Roll Award and students with a GPA of 4.0 or higher with the Top Gun Award.

Sitomer and the Council of Dads utilize the Wellington Wolves annual March Madness youth basketball tournament as a venue to collect new or slightly used shoes for In Jacobs Shoes, a nonprofit that gathers, disinfects and distributes shoes to needy children. Since 2021, 8,777 pairs of shoes have been collected during Wellingtons March Madness event.

Also, after Hurricane Dorian slammed the Bahamas in 2019, Sitomer and the Council of Dads organization oversaw the collection and distribution of hurricane relief supplies. Sitomer helped coordinate six different cargo flights to the Bahamas. Sitomer was on board each flight to make sure that the supplies were properly distributed to those in need. Many of the donations came from people within the Wellington community.

Clearly, John Sitomer is somebody who sees a hurdle and figures out how to negotiate it, whether its a child who needs help in the classroom or his latest battle with cancer.


Our Wellington Awards 2023 – RoseAnn Voils

Our Wellington Awards 2023 – RoseAnn Voils
RoseAnn Voils Helps Lead Local Foundation
To Honor The Memory Of Her Late Son

Story by Mike May | Photo by Frank Koester

Some people and the organizations they represent have a magnetic appeal that attracts the right people to the right place for the right cause. That aptly describes the leadership provided by RoseAnn Voils, one of the directors of the Wellington-based Christopher Aguirre Memorial Foundation.

The foundation has been in existence since 2009. Its mission is to give back to the Wellington community through educational and athletic opportunities to local children.

The foundation was created in memory of Voils son, Christopher Aguirre, who lost his life in 2006 when he was tragically struck and killed by a drunk driver while walking in downtown Fort Lauderdale. He was only 23 years old.

To help continue Christophers passion for helping people, the nonprofit Christopher Aguirre Memorial Foundation was created.

Every parent who loses a child wants their child to be remembered, even though they are not physically on Earth, said Voils, who works for Palm Beach County in administration at Palm Tran Connection. What helps our family cope with the tragedy is seeing other families receive the benefits from our foundation. It helps keep Christophers memory alive, carries on his legacy and makes all the work we put into the foundation worthwhile.

The foundations contributions to local lives in Wellington are numerous.

In 2011, the Christopher Aguirre Memorial Scholarship was established and is awarded annually to an outstanding Wellington High School senior pursuing a degree at Florida State University. Christopher was a graduate of WHS and was just a few weeks away from graduating from FSU at the time of his death. Its a $10,000 scholarship awarded in four annual installments of $2,500. Past recipients are Jessica Pollack (2011), Truly Long (2012), Brittany Barnhart (2013), Erin McNally (2014), Elliot Dion (2015), Isabella Bruce (2016), Jessica Gabriel (2017), Kaitlyn Osmond (2018), Alyssa Adams (2019), Desandre Stanley (2020), Rylee Hagan (2021), McKenna Tosner (2022) and Rylee Bleakley (2023).

The foundation is also known for co-sponsoring events with the Village of Wellington. This year, the foundation hosted the annual Back-to-School Party in the Park, in partnership with the Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue on Aug. 4 at the Wellington Amphitheater. It was a way for local families to celebrate the end of summer and prepare for the upcoming school year. This outdoor event was free to attend and enjoy. In addition to many food trucks, there were 20 vendors, multiple bounce houses, costumed character entertainment, face painting, a disc jockey playing music, and PBSO and PBCFR vehicles to visit.

In recent years, the foundation has also underwritten local summer camp experiences for Wellington children many of whom are members of Wellingtons Boys & Girls Club who come from families that have limited finances.

To help make Halloween safe, the foundation has worked with officials at Wellington High School to host a Trunk or Treat candy giveaway in the WHS parking lot for local elementary school-age children and those from local day care centers.

We also donate food to local churches during Thanksgiving, Voils added. Back in 2015, we started giving away shoes to people in need. We distribute 500 to 600 shoes a year.

To help raise funds to support its charitable efforts throughout the year, the foundation hosts its annual invitational golf tournament every fall. This years tournament will be played at the Dye Preserve Golf Club in Jupiter on Nov. 13. Funds from sponsorships will be used to further the foundations scholarships and its other projects throughout the year.

To learn more about the Christopher Aguirre Memorial Foundation, visit, find them on Facebook or contact RoseAnn Voils via e-mail at


Our Wellington Awards 2023 – Beverly Perham

Our Wellington Awards 2023 – Beverly PerhamBack To Basics Founder Beverly Perham Is An Angel In The Wellington Community

We cant save the world, but we can save our own community, one child at a time. Those are the words of 85-year-old Wellington resident Beverly Perham, the founder of Back to Basics, a volunteer organization that has been serving some of the basic needs of elementary school children in Palm Beach County for nearly 40 years.

The nonprofit Back to Basics ( provides underserved children with some of the basic clothing necessities for school two new school uniforms, socks, underwear and sneakers. Every item is brand new. The school uniforms are delivered to elementary schools a week before school begins in August. The socks, underwear and sneakers plus a small Christmas gift are provided during the holiday season.

The children receive a five-pack of socks and underwear because there are five days in a school week, Perham explained.

Perham has been spearheading this charitable effort since 1984.

This school year will be our 39th year, she said. Right now, we are working with 65 public elementary schools in Palm Beach County. We are also providing school uniforms to students at four public middle schools.

When a family cannot afford some of the basic clothing items for their children, Back to Basics fills the void. According to Perham, the clothing makes a huge difference in the lives of these young students.

A new uniform gives a child the confidence to go to school and be ready to learn, she said. It is important for kids to feel comfortable in school. Having a new uniform, sneakers, socks and underwear help them socially, as well as academically, because they are not worried that their shirt doesnt fit. It helps them focus on their schoolwork when they dont have to worry about those things.

Back to Basics works closely with each school to identify children in need. Once Perham receives the names of the children in need, she shares the details clothing and shoe size with local service organizations and churches, such as the Wellington Rotary, the Wellington Community Foundation and the Council of Catholic Women. Those groups then commit to providing the sneakers, socks, underwear and a Christmas gift for an agreed-upon number of children. Perham also provides a deadline delivery for the items. According to Perham, the service groups always meet their deadline and always deliver what they promised.

When we get the items, we wrap them in Christmas wrapping paper, and then the school arranges for the pickup and distribution, Perham said. Weve never missed a kid, and whatever weve promised has been delivered. We dont need the glory or the praise. The purpose is to get the children what they need.

The roots of Back to Basics can be traced to 1984 when a local priest called Perham to inform her that a group of 30 Haitian children had just arrived in Palm Beach County with only the clothes on their back just four days before Christmas.

Perham responded by calling the manager at a local Kmart. He agreed to provide an outfit of clothes and a nice toy for all 30 children for $500. Perham paid the bill.

In 1985, Perham spearheaded the effort to provide 165 Guatemalan refugees in Palm Beach County with a clothing donation. Then, in 1986, Perham, with support from her friends, provided underwear, socks and sneakers for 500 children at Grove Park Elementary School in Palm Beach Gardens and Lincoln Elementary School in Riviera Beach.

The rest, as they say, is history. Thanks to Perham, Back to Basics continues to give. Currently, more than 10,000 children a year are receiving gifts from the nonprofit. If you want to help out, e-mail or call (561) 319-4277.


Our Wellington Awards 2023 Ruth Menor

Our Wellington Awards 2023 Ruth Menor Vinceremos Founder Ruth Menor Fosters Connections Between Horses And Humans

Story by Mike May | Photo by Frank Koester

Babylon, Bubba, Diesel, Gus, Milo, Pippa, Reggie, Sugar, Zeus and Zoey. Those are the names of just some of the more than 20 horses that live and work at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, which is under the direction of Ruth Menor, the groups founder and chief programs officer.

Vinceremos has been serving people with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities of all ages in Palm Beach County since 1982. The nonprofit was founded by Menor, who recruited many community leaders and volunteers to help this unique local treasure grow and thrive. It has been an invaluable part of Wellingtons equestrian community, and all of Palm Beach County, ever since.

When it was founded, Vinceremos was located off Lake Worth Road. Since 1995, the nonprofit has been operating from its 15-acre farm on Sixth Court North in Loxahatchee Groves. The property has undergone many upgrades. In 2011, donations were raised to build a covered arena there. This 45,000-square-foot umbrella protects the Vinceremos participants, staff and horses from the seasonal rain and heat. In 2016, thanks to many donations, a 24-stall, hurricane-proof barn was built to house the horses.

Back in the 1980s, Vinceremos started by offering therapeutic riding to those with disabilities. Today, there are a variety of programs offered that provide the benefits of equine-assisted activities and therapies.

Vinceremos is a premier accredited center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). All of our instructors and facilitators hold certifications with PATH, explained Menor, herself a PATH master instructor.

In the beginning, Menor started Vinceremos with just one horse, Cinnamon. It was Menors own horse since she was a young girl. Cinnamon died in the late 1980s, but her spirit lives on in every horse at Vinceremos.

Three of the more popular programs are adaptive riding, equine-assisted learning and equine-assisted psychotherapy. The adaptive riding program is the nonprofits foundational program. While each serves a different clientele, they all have the same purpose.

We are teaching horse-riding skills that help the rider develop and improve their non-verbal communication skills, Menor said. The rider is also taught the importance of maintaining physical balance and coordination while riding the horses.

Horses dont know that the rider may be autistic or suffer from ADHD or have some emotional disability, but thats not important. Whats important is for the rider to realize that he or she is in charge of guiding and communicating with the horse.

When the rider successfully guides and instructs a horse, theres a huge benefit. The rider can feel empowered, and that carries over to the rest of their life outside Vinceremos, Menor said.

At Vinceremos, the riders also get to work on improving their responsibility skills. This means taking care of the horses. Our riders do lots of stable work. They clean the stalls. They also groom, wash and feed the horses, Menor said. The riders get to know the horses as individuals.

One of the best examples of the impact of Vinceremos is Jeffrey Perham, who has been affiliated with the program since Menor opened in 1982. Perham has an intellectual disability and volunteers 40 hours a week. We call Jeffrey a horse whisperer, Menor said. He can do just about anything with the horses. He will ride the horses one or two days a week. He works in the barn, waters the horses, cleans their stalls, feeds the horses and grooms the horses. The horses like Jeffrey.

The key to the continued success of Vinceremos is a steady flow of volunteers who help take care of the horses, provide assistance with the clients or assist with fundraisers. To find out more, visit, call (561) 792-9900 or e-mail to




Rowing On Lake Wellington

Rowing On Lake Wellington The Florida Rowing Center Is Being Reorganized And Revitalized In Wellington

Story by Mike May | Photos by Frank Koester

Wellington has spectacular sports facilities for many athletic pursuits, among them the sport of rowing. For nearly 40 years, the Florida Rowing Center has been located at Lake Wellington.

From mid-December until late April, Lake Wellington has been utilized as a rowing destination for hundreds of avid rowing participants from across the United States and around the world who travel here for rowing instruction and training sessions.

While not exactly a secret, the rowers have been operating somewhat under the radar. The majority of local rowers have traditionally been adults, usually ages 45 to 65.

But now, rowings presence in Wellington will be more visible and wide-reaching, thanks to Tracy and Howard Kirkpatrick, the new owners of the Florida Rowing Center.

Starting this past summer, six youth rowing camps were conducted so that more local youngsters could get exposed to the sport of rowing. Each camp had roughly 10 participants, ages 12 to 16. The camps were so popular that many campers registered for more than one week, Tracy said.

During these summer camps, which were held from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, the campers were taught rowing fundamentals. It started with using a rowing machine on land. Eventually, they transitioned to being in a boat on the water.

Throughout the process, there was constant supervision from longtime rowing coach Doug Cody, who has been affiliated with the Florida Rowing Center since 2016.

We now have a good core of young rowers in Wellington, Cody said.

To help elevate rowing awareness locally, the Kirkpatricks hired a professional coach to oversee the overall local rowing program.

Paul Mokha will be the clubs director and serve as the head coach of the youth program.

We will remain a haven for snowbirds in the winter, but we need to add a sense of the local community to the Florida Rowing Center, Mokha said. We plan to build a middle school program, a high school program and continue with youth camps in the summer.

Mokha appears to be the right man for the job. We have been contacting schools the past few weeks and sending them information on our program and our free Learn to Row days, Mokha said. Weve been using our Facebook and Instagram to spread the word and having our summer camp participants spread the word among their friends and classmates. We have joined the chamber of commerce, and we have met with Village of Wellington officials.

According to Tracy, Mokha spent the past few years coaching youth rowing in Florida, qualifying 11 crews for the national championships and earning 25 state championship medals, while helping more than a dozen teenagers earn college rowing scholarships.

Mokha said that Lake Wellington is an ideal setting for rowing. Lake Wellington is a great venue because it has flat, fresh water with no waves, he said.

Tracy agreed. Lake Wellington has a 2,000-meter stretch of water that is not impacted by rocks or a current, she said. Lake Wellington is one of the best venues for rowing in the U.S.

Mokhas plans for the youth program are ambitious. His goal is to assemble a group of committed and enthusiastic youth rowers this fall that can be taught the fundamentals of the sport and be ready to compete in a youth rowing event in Fellsmere on Dec. 2.

There will be plenty of competition for the new middle school and high school squads from Wellington, since there are many youth rowing clubs from Orlando to Miami. For those with collegiate aspirations, there are plenty of college rowing opportunities for both male and female rowers.

What kind of athlete is a good candidate for rowing? Anybody who loves to train.

If you work hard and train, youll get results in rowing, Mokha said. Athletes from swimming, soccer, football, wrestling, and track and field have excelled in rowing.

Theres no major initial investment to get into the sport.

You need to wear nothing more than what you wear in a PE class in school, Mokha said. Its a good idea to have a hat and a water bottle when its hot and sunny.

Assisting Mokha with this youth rowing initiative will be Cody. His specialty is teaching technique and emphasizing safety.

Coach Doug Cody is a U.S. Rowing Level 2 coach, Tracy said. He is a former EMT. His background and interests in the biomechanics of sculling and the prevention of repetitive motion injuries make him an excellent fit. He coaches masters and juniors and has developed scores of enthusiastic and skilled young scullers, many of whom have had success at the national level.

Cody said that the Learn to Row program is an ideal way to introduce any person to rowing. My initial goal is for the participants to have a good time, he said. This is a sport that people can do for the rest of their lives.

With the Kirkpatricks, Mokha and Cody working together, rowings immediate future in Wellington is in good hands.

Visit to learn more about the Florida Rowing Center.


A Community Working Together

Wellington Today – A Community Working Together Wellingtons Community Partners Roundtable Helps In Building A Stronger Community Together

By Jim Barnes, Wellington Village Manager

Wellingtons aspiration to create a thriving, safe and compassionate community isnt unique, but it does require a coordinated effort. Recognizing that local government cant address all community needs alone, the Community Partners Roundtable emerged. The villages Community Services Department spearheaded this initiative, recognizing the value of a centralized effort. The goal was clear: to streamline efforts, reduce duplication and ensure that everyone is working in sync to provide support to individuals and families in need. What began as a small group of staff and local nonprofits has blossomed into a collaborative force for good that has quietly been shaping the way our community comes together.

Our SharedGoals
Coretta Scott King once said, The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

In 2017, the Village of Wellington initiated the Community Partners Roundtable as a platform to connect with like-minded local organizations. The first meeting, held at the Wellington Community Center, set the stage for a new kind of community collaboration.

Representatives from various nonprofits assembled to discuss shared visions and the collective pursuit of community improvement. Now, six years later, the Community Partners Roundtable initiative is more than just a series of meetings its a testament to the power of unity and shared goals. This effort, launched with the aim of enhancing positive change and fostering inclusivity, has successfully brought local organizations and nonprofits onto the same page.

Through collaboration, Wellington can accomplish much more than working alone. As Hellen Keller once said, Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.

The outcomes of the Community Partners Roundtable meetings are tangible and impactful. Collaboration has led to a more efficient use of resources, the development of better programs and the enhancement of services.

Key partners like Christ Fellowship Church, the Crowned Pearls of Wellington, the Rotary Club of Wellington, the Kiwanis Club of Wellington, St. Peters United Methodist Church, Temple Beth Torah, the Wellington Community Foundation, the Great Charity Challenge and Wellington Regional Medical Center have consistently participated, with many organizations now proactively seeking engagement due to the initiatives success.

Beyond meetings, the Community Partners Roundtable has spurred impactful stories that highlight the strength of unity. Last year, Wellington High Schools effort to provide bicycles to Rosenwald Elementary School students extended its reach when Christ Fellowships food truck joined the endeavor, offering ice cream and joy to the students. This seamless cooperation illustrated how partnerships amplify the positive impact of individual actions.

Another compelling example unfolded during the All-American City Competition. Wellington was selected as a finalist, presenting an opportunity to showcase our community youth programs. The challenge was twofold: extending representation beyond the villages immediate members and overcoming geographic distance. Our community partners stepped in, contributing both resources and support to make the journey to Denver, Colorado, a reality.

Building OurFuture
Looking ahead, the Community Partners Roundtable aims to grow further by welcoming partners who share a commitment to enhancing our Great Hometown. The initiatives momentum is a testament to the collective spirit and shared vision of the community. While weve come far, we know that we have only scratched the surface of what can be achieved together.

In Wellington, the importance of unity is undeniable. The Community Partners Roundtable exemplifies this notion, reinforcing the idea that creating a thriving Great Hometown relies on a collective effort. Its about diverse entities uniting their strengths to build a resilient, prosperous and caring community. As Wellington continues to evolve, it does so with the understanding that todays collaborative endeavors will lay the foundation for an even brighter tomorrow.



Supporting The Local Community

Supporting The Local Community
Brooke USA Donates $10,000 To The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center

The Brooke USA Foundation, an international equine welfare organization headquartered in the United States, recently presented a $10,000 donation to the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in honor of hosting the Wellington areas first Divertimentos & Dressage, a part of Brooke USAs annual Paint Wellington Orange campaign. The event, which took place in March, featured a one-of-a-kind evening of live symphony music and freestyle dressage.

Held at Vinceremos, Divertimentos & Dressage attracted the participation of leading riders and their Grand Prix horses, including Todd Flettrich, Rebecca Hart, Sahar Daniel Hirosh, Allison Kavey, Jim Koford and JJ Tate. Throughout the program, the audience was captivated by the classical repertoire performed by the Palm Beach Symphony with works by Beethoven, Brahms, Holst, Mozart, Sousa and Strauss II. Brooke USA ambassador and Paralympian Hart closed the evening with a standing ovation as she performed to the music of John Philip Sousas Stars and Stripes.

Thanks to those in attendance, and a matching gift from event chair and Brooke USA founding ambassador Margaret H. Duprey, the board of directors of Brooke USA designated $10,000 in support of Vinceremos mission and work.

We are thrilled to support Vinceremos and their important work, Duprey said. Vinceremos provides equine-assisted activities to children and adults with disabilities, and their programs have a profound impact on the lives of those they serve. We are proud to be a part of their mission and to make an impact in the western communities of Palm Beach County.

Ruth Menor founded Vinceremos in 1982. The centers programs use horseback riding to help people with disabilities improve their physical, emotional and social well-being. Vinceremos serves more than 500 people each year, and its programs are offered at no cost to participants.

We are so grateful to Brooke USA for this generous donation, said Susan Guinan, executive director of the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center. This donation will help us continue to provide our life-changing programs to people with disabilities. We are truly honored to be a part of Brooke USAs mission to improve the lives of horses and people around the world.

Vinceremos is located at 13300 6th Court North in Loxahatchee Groves. Learn more about its programs at

Divertimentos & Dressage raised more than $80,000 toward programs across the developing world and here in the United States. The Brooke USA volunteer-created event aligns the nonprofit with the equestrian community by entertaining and engaging supporters, while raising funds to alleviate the suffering of working horses, donkeys and mules, and the people they serve in vulnerable communities worldwide.

The mission of Brooke USA is to significantly improve the health, welfare and productivity of working horses, donkeys and mules and the people who depend on them for survival. Brooke USA is committed to sustainable economic development by reducing poverty, increasing food security, ensuring access to water, providing a means to education and raising basic standards of living through improved equine health and welfare.

Brooke USA strives to alleviate the suffering and vulnerability of developing communities by funding and implementing programs that improve the quality of life and health of working equines and thereby positively impacting their economic sustainability, protecting the planet, ensuring gender equality and guaranteeing life on land resilience.

To learn more about Brooke USAs mission, or to attend future events, visit