My Involvement Outside of Royal

by 480

Occasionally I’ll take a break from writing about Royal Caribbean to comment on my involvements outside of overseeing a global cruise line.  Yes there are challenges involved in doing my day job, participating in two major “other” activities one of which I will describe here, spending quality time with my family, training intensively for running races and taking table tennis lessons.  But these are all things I’m dedicated to doing.

For the last three years I have been Chairman of the Board of Trustees of a wonderful organization named Our Kids of Miami-Dade, Inc.  I was also on the Board for three years before that, overseeing the System of Care Committee.  Our Kids is the lead agency in Miami-Dade and Monroe (i.e., the Keys) Counties for foster care and related services.  We are responsible for the system of care that must deliver quality and safety to approximately 4,000 children who have been placed under the state of Florida’s supervision because their parents were judged to be at least temporarily unfit to be parents.  We receive about $95 million per year in funding from the state to do our job, plus there is federal Medicaid funding that supports the system of care.

Child welfare is a world at least as complex as and often a lot less fun than the world of Royal Caribbean.  Foster care systems around the U.S. are at best challenged to deliver appropriate care to the children and sometimes they outright fail. I’m proud to say that Our Kids and our seven associated “Full Case Management Agencies” together with the Department of Children and Families, the judiciary and many others have improved virtually all of the performance metrics on which we are judged by the state over the last three years.  There is a great commitment throughout the system to continue this improvement.  If at all possible, we want to achieve successful adoptions or reunifications for the children.  If that is not possible, we must prepare the children to age out of the system as prepared as possible for the rest of their lives.  Our Kids has a dedicated staff under the direction of Fran Allegra and a first rate Board of Trustees that will not settle for anything less than meaningful progress.

Over the next few months I will hand the Chairman’s gavel over to my successor Carlos de la Cruz, Jr.  It has been a great honor to have sat in the Chairman’s seat with so much on the line for our community’s less fortunate children. Despite the many challenges we faced, this has been an extraordinarily rewarding experience. I leave knowing that my colleagues will continue to build on our success and make a meaningful difference in the lives of many families in our community. I wish them every success moving forward on their important mission.

  • Lisa

    As a Child Therapist/Social Worker, it’s nice to hear of your involvement in this particular area.

  • robin luber

    We are foster parents to 2 children, 3 & 5 who have been in our home & care for just over 1 year now. We cruised in November and left the boys in respite care, but we really want to take them with us, since we consider them to be part of our family while they are living with us. Any chance RC will offer discounted fares for foster children?

    Not sure if you are aware but a very large circus provides 1 free ticket per lifetime so that every child can have the experience.

  • CArolyn whittaker

    We provided foster care for a 4 year old, many years ago when our own son was in his first year. Unfortunately that was our only experience as the demands of our immediate family soon grew to exceed our abilities to continue with foster care. I always hoped that the young boy (Michael) has since succeeded in life. I believe that we should be concerned about all children. We ran a small business for over twenty-two years. We alwaysencouraged our part time staff (many of whom were teenage students) to put their school first. If we all do a little, we will make this world a better place.

  • jim & Marice uszynski

    Adam it is nice to hear that you are involved in helping kids find their forever family. Both of our daughters are adopted. They are both a blessing from God that we are thankful for every day. After the adoption of our second daughter we took both of them on a RCCL cruise. They both loved the cruise and when asked if they would like to go to Disney or on another cruise they always pick a cruise. Because of the price of airfare is so high and add that to the price of the cruise we have not be able to take them on another trip. Hopefully we will be able in the near future.