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about the nurture place

The Nurture Place was founded in 2019 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission to expand access to care for children, families and our community.

 

The Nurture Place is committed to an evidence-based, best practice approach to family support. 

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Meet our Team

The Nurture Place team is committed to providing a felt- safe space and a wellspring of support in our community for families’ overall wellness. We collaborate with families and community professionals to provide opportunities for prevention, intervention and healing.

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Angela Gonzalez

Executive Director

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Summer Darnell, LMHC

Clinical Director

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Kerry Sharpe

Programs Director

William Karshima

Board Member

Emily Sharpe

Communications 

Alexandria Woods

Development

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board of directors & Advisory board

The Nurture Place values ongoing input and collaboration with experts in a variety of fields impacting children and families.

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Lydia Pittman
Clinical Support Specialist

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Gabby Gonzalez
Orlando Director & Trainer

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Emily Sharpe
Clinical Support/Marketing and
Communications 

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Roni McCoy
Clinical Support Specialist

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Julia Alligood
Support Specialist

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Veronica Martinez
Orlando House 
Student Mental Health Counselor Intern

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LCSW

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Heather Elizondo Vega MD, FAAP

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Chelsea Johnson

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Linda Marie Pintro

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Kelly Edwards

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Dawn Strobeck

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join in!

Everyone can play a part in impacting children and families in our community!  

Contact us here for more information about serving:

Program Volunteer

Board of Directors

Advisory Board

Parent Advisory Committee

Angela Gonzalez
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Angela Gonzalez has been married to her husband Felix for 25 years and has three daughters, Breanna (young adult), Gabby (young adult) and Sophia (10).  Angela worked in the healthcare industry at various positions and organizations for 15+ years.  However, the last 8 years she focused her time in co-founding and developing best practices of family support for adoptive and foster families.  Angela and her husband are adoptive parents and understand the importance of high quality, trauma-informed, and holistic approaches to aid children and families heal from complex developmental trauma. She knows there is no single approach that works for everyone, so her desire is to help make accessible a more integrative program for all families. She is passionate about social justice causes with a specific focus in diversity and caring for vulnerable children.  She deeply cares about the importance for every community to become trauma-informed, in turn, creating safe and empathetic environments where each child, adult, and family can be strengthened and thrive. 

 

As an adoptive parent, she understands the importance of becoming trauma-informed, for this reason she became a TBRI Practitioner, ACE’s Facilitator and Trauma Informed Certified.  Angela sits on the Board of Directors for Bethany Christian Services.  

 

 
summer darnell, LMHC
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Summer Darnell is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (FL# MH17578) who loves helping children and families experience healthy, connected relationships.  She is passionate about providing open and affordable access to family support, prevention and intervention and building collaborative, trauma-informed communities.  Summer has completed training to help children, adoptive and foster families as well as new parents including Child Parent Psychotherapy, an evidence-based therapy for children ages 0-6, and is a TBRI Practitioner. She is a member of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health and serves as a Clinical Consultant for Liz’s Legacy Foundation.      

Summer holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from American University in Washington, D.C. and a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Liberty University.  She is married to her husband, Jay, for over 24 years and she is mom to one young adult, Brantley, and two children, Parker (14) and Haley (10).

 
kerry sharpe
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Kerry Sharpe has been married to David for 30 years and has two children, Matthew and Emily. Kerry graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelors degree in Corporate Finance. She worked as a residential real estate appraiser for 10 years before retiring to stay home and raise her children.

Kerry has been on several mission trips to Honduras serving a ministry that serves children in crisis. These mission trips along with her volunteer work with Love Made Visible, a ministry serving adoptive and foster families, is where she formed an interest in serving children from hard places. She has volunteered for the past several years with a local non-profit in many capacities: helping organize and plan fundraising events, volunteering at events for Foster children, Parents Night Out for foster/adoptive families and for Nurture Groups. In 2019, Kerry became Coordinator for Nurture Groups which teaches adoptive and foster children skills they might have missed and are essential as they become adults to be able to function well in relationship with others.

 

Kerry is passionate about learning the effects of complex developmental trauma and became a TBRI Practitioner in order to teach and help others. 

 
 
Heather elizondo Vega MD, FAAP
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Heather Elizondo Vega is a board-certified general pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist in Winter Garden, Florida.  After serving in the United States Army as a pediatrician caring for the children of US soldiers from 2002-2013, she relocated to Florida to continue her career in the civilian world with AdventHealth for Children.  In addition to direct patient care, she serves as a supervisor for pediatricians-in-training with the AdventHealth for Children Pediatrics Residency Program.  Her interests include positive youth development, reduction of risk behaviors, and mental health.  She is a member of Mosaic Church in Winter Garden and a part time student at Asbury Theological Seminary.  She loves living, working, and playing in this small, close knit community in which she runs into her patients and their families regularly.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, and she is an animal lover with four cats and one dog.

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Linda Marie Pintro believes that to whom much is given, much is required; thus, she has donated her time, talent and treasures to many non-profit organizations.  She is an attorney with over 30 years of experience working in the public and private sectors.  This experience includes more than 20 years at the Federal Communications Commission where, among other things, she served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Telecommunication Union’s Plenipotentiary Conference and Council; 4 years as in-house counsel at MCI Communications Corporation focusing on state and federal government procurement; and 2 years as a civil servant at a DOD contracting agency in the Pentagon. In addition, she has 24 years of military leadership experience, including 2 tours of active duty as an officer in the Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps, and service in the Air Force Reserves, from which she retired in 2009. Originally from Haiti, she has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School.  She has also been blessed with a son and daughter.

 
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Emily Sharpe

Emily Sharpe graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and a minor in Child Development. She has worked with children from various backgrounds and works as a Clinical Support Specialist and Marketing/Communications Director here at The Nurture Place. Emily is passionate about social justice and working with kids who have experienced complex developmental trauma.

 

Emily is currently a graduate student at Liberty University, pursuing a Master's of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Emily plans to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor for children ages 0-5 as well as becoming a TBRI Practitioner.

 
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lydia pittman

Lydia graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in the field of psychology from the University of Central Florida. She is currently a graduate student at Liberty University working on a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Lydia has worked with children from various backgrounds including children with Autism, Down Syndrome, and Expressive Language issues. She is also certified in CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute), and is registered in the state of Florida as a Registered Behavior Technician.  Lydia has a passion for introducing mental health support to children and families. She believes that helping children learn to grow and thrive within a therapeutic environment is integral to their holistic health. Lydia’s goal is to one day work as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor for children and families.

 
 
Chelsea Johnson 
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Chelsea Johnson is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, Certified Life Breakthrough Coach, mentor, and social advocate.  She is a graduate of Tennessee State University with a BBA in Accounting and later attended Belhaven University to pursue an MBA in Leadership.  She has worked in the corporate setting in the healthcare and hospitality industries, as well as in church ministry.

 

She is passionate about the wellbeing of individuals overcoming trauma through loss and authentically providing truth and hope for life’s incredibly hard situations.  She also has a heart for families parenting children with special needs as a mom of a son with autism spectrum disorder/ADHD and a daughter with Down Syndrome.

 

She is currently involved with The Finley Project, an organization committed to helping grieving moms after infant loss. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. which is dedicated to public service within our local communities.  Most recently, Chelsea joined the board for Commonsense Childbirth, a nonprofit organization serving women and families, providing a better birth experience and outcome especially for minority and disenfranchised populations in the US. 

 

Chelsea currently lives with her family in Ocoee, FL.

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roni mccoy

Roni is a California native and currently a Registered Behavior Technician with the State of Florida. She has years of experience working with children from many types of backgrounds and is currently a mentor through the Boys and Girls Club. Roni aspires to bridge the gap between race and mental health while making sure all communities have access to good mental health resources. She has a passion for mentoring teens and young adults through life and hopes to return to school soon to pursue a degree in Social Services with a focus in Psychology.

 
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dawn strobeck, lmhc

Dawn is a licensed mental health counselor, a teacher, and an author.  She has her own practice in Winter Springs and donates her time and experience to non-profits when she can.  She is a trauma and attachment specialist and has formed and executed therapeutic programming for women who have been trafficked locally.  Her heart for the marginalized comes from a deep desire to want everyone to feel part of a supportive community and to find a nurturing place to belong.   She is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.  She loves to travel, with her hubby Mike, family, and friends. She is a nature girl through and through so spending time at the beach or in the mountains makes her happy.  She can’t get enough of her grand-kiddos and she loves God dearly and her hope is … that it shows. 

 
 
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Julia Alligood

Julia graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, minoring in Non-Profit Organization and Leadership. This past year, Julia attended a post-graduate leadership and Biblical training program through the Kanankuk Institute, where she gathered a deeper understanding of the Bible.

Julia hopes to move to North Africa working with street children, orphans, and adoption efforts. She has a heart for children who have been through trauma and has worked with a variety of organizations that care for children under these circumstances.

 

She believes in the power of redemption in the stories of children and families who have lived in and through hard places because of the beauty that comes from holistic care and mental health counseling. 

 
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Veronica Martinez

Veronica Martinez is a Mental Health Counseling graduate student. After over 15 years of experience walking with individuals and couples through a great variety of issues, including the challenges of sexual addiction, Veronica is ready to serve clients in a clinical setting. 

Identity, freedom, holistic health, and passion are the gifts she loves to help her clients unveil for themselves. Her clients describe her as calm, approachable, responsive, and a great listener. In addition, she  specializes in working with adults - both individuals and couples - and she looks forward to starting groups at The Nurture Place in the near future. 

Veronica is  passionate about walking with people through challenges, grief, and insecurities. She works together with her clients to understand the "why" under the issues and walk toward new life. Everyone needs someone in their corner and she looks forward to providing a safe space for her clients.

 
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Gabby gonzalez

Gabby is a speaker, advocate, and marketplace professional. 
She has worked with children for over 8 years and specializes working with teens of 12-19 years of age. She currently serves at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center once a week by bringing a team with her to mentor incarcerated youth. She has led countless teams to Guatemala to serve vulnerable children at a local orphanage. Gabby is skilled in leadership and creating safe spaces for at-risk kids from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. 

Gabby will receive her degree in Strategic Communication with a minor in Non-Profit through Liberty University come 2022.