2021 Dr. Alan Saffran Scholarship Recipients

2021 Dr. Alan Saffran Scholarship Recipients

The crowd at this year’s Art of the Vine fundraiser was touched by Pam Saffran’s words as she talked about the scholarship honoring her late husband, Dr. Alan J. Saffran. She shared that the passion Alan had for education was the reason behind the decision she and their children had for creating such a fund. As they were grieving his death, Pam, Miles, Nat and Bella learned about New Hope for Kids’ mission to help grieving children. It felt like the perfect fit as it would offer help for college when the possibility of attending might have seemed impossible after their loss.

This year’s recipients were exceptional, and their applications were impressive. Tamari Miller, New Hope for Kids’ Grief Program Director, proudly introduced this year’s recipients as each received their $2,000 scholarship check. All four had come

A Grateful New BMW Winner!

A common thread links New Hope for Kids and Emily Bienvenu. That thread is the importance of helping people. Emily’s great-uncle Andy Wootten encouraged his family to be grateful for their blessings, and to realize that others, especially children, might need help sometimes. His gratitude-in-action was a living example of how to make a difference in the lives of others, and Emily took it to heart.

Several years ago, Emily found New Hope for Kids and began supporting our mission by

Joel Jones

Joel Jones, one of the founders of New Hope for Kids, died Sunday, September 12, 2021 after a brief illness. His passion for helping children and his awareness of the need for support created a vision of a nonprofit that could help families dealing with some of life’s most difficult challenges. As director of Children’s Wish, and then executive director of New Hope for Kids, Joel was able to put that passion to work, helping countless families as they dealt with terminal illness and grief. Joel will be fondly remembered by many who worked and volunteered with him, as well as by the families he touched with his compassion and dedicated service to his community. Joel’s service will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery in Gotha this Sunday, September 26, 2021. Visitation at 11am, service at noon, followed by reception.

Elizabeth’s Theme Park Wish

The Give Kids the World Village is open and ready to help make wishes come true!

Elizabeth and her family were one of the first families back at the village. Spring break week at Give Kids the World Village was full of many such firsts for the family since the pandemic: the first time staying at a resort, the first time going out to dinner and sitting down to order off a menu, the first time at the theme parks. Every day ended with an explosion of fireworks—actual ones—thundering and crackling in the night sky.

Elizabeth loved it all: the pool, the popcorn, the medieval times party where she was given a crown. The first thing the family did was go to their villa. The kids’ room was so big, and there was a huge bathroom with little soaps that smelled like strawberries and ice cream. The family also visited the Castle of Miracles where Elizabeth got her star to add to the wall like all the wish children who came before her. The week at the village gave Elizabeth and her siblings a chance to play and relax in a safe environment.

Zunriah’s Wish Has Been Granted!

Adaptive bikes allow children of all ranges of illnesses to have the joy and freedom of their very own bike. Zunriah, like many wish children, has had a hard time with the isolation that has come from staying safe during the pandemic. She wished for an adaptive bike so she could explore the neighborhood safely along with her siblings and have the freedom and independence of having her own bike.

When her bike arrived, it was a dream come true. You can tell by the look of excitement on her face!

Wishes for Kids serves children 2-18 in the Central Florida area fighting a life-threatening illness. For more information about our Wish Program, please click the button below or contact Tezmon Williams, Wish Program Director at ​tezmon@newhopeforkids.org.

The Leonard Family’s Journey of Grief and Hope

Grief during the pandemic had a larger reach than normal with the virus taking its toll on families around the country. Deaths not related to Covid-19 continued to devastate children and families, as this grandmother describes after the death of her son in August of 2020.

Sharon Leonard was winding down her day when the phone rang at 11:29pm on August 23rd. It was in this moment that she received the news that her son and only child had been shot. Getting herself ready for the drive to the scene, not knowing if he would still be alive, was a surreal nightmare. Her son, a father of 5, did not survive. In fact, the coroner’s report later stated that he had died instantly.

“This was the worst night of my life,” Sharon painfully recalled. “Then as the daylight came and I began the task of trying to figure out Why? What do I do next? How do I tell 10-year-old Makyi and 8-year-old Faith, his two oldest children? How are these children going to feel finding out they will not be seeing their father again? The emotions were a roller coaster and still are. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn for help for my husband, my two oldest grandchildren, or myself.”

Thankfully, an investigator put her in touch with the Victims Advocate program in Seminole County who shared information with her about New Hope for Kids.

Sharon registered her family in our grief support program, and says that it has been a blessing to her grandchildren, her husband and herself. They’re learning ways to celebrate and remember their loved one, and to know that it’s ok to express feelings with each other.

We’re so thankful her family found hope here with us during this tragic and difficult time. Sharon continues to be grateful for the services provided by New Hope for Kids, and looks forward to continuing the healing process with us by her family’s side. “My grandchildren look forward to the virtual group sessions every Wednesday, and after the sessions it is our time to remember their dad and share funny and happy times they shared with dad as well as share our sadness not having him here with us anymore. New Hope for Kids is truly a blessing for my family as it continues to help us get through the death of my son.”

Introducing our Garden of Hope


To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. These words are very meaningful to the Herris Peckett family. Board member Barbara Peckett was drawn to the Memory Garden project from the beginning, as was her husband Chet. He graduated from the University of FL in Horticulture Sciences and has been a horticulturalist for forty years. Plants have been an important part of their family’s lives for decades.

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