With five beautiful children, 3 girls and 2 boys, Penelope Deutsch began pursuing her B.S. in Communications from FSU in 1986, with a world of civilian service ahead. After working for the Department of Defense as a civilian employee for 28 years, she counseled abused women and youth in Bolixi, Mississippi and Panama City, Florida and discovered a passion for youth foster programs.
In 2003, Penelope was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Florida Local Advocacy Council, Area 20, (now defunct), working with Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) on child abuse and neglect cases. Deutsch was involved in reviewing cases from initial calls to returned parental rights, foster care, adoption and beyond. With a reappointment by Governor Crist and DCF Chair for the last two years, Deutsch has expanded her network to solve many cases for children and received accolades from DCF.
Ten years later, Penelope joined as a volunteer mentor for AMIKids Crossroads, Inc. in Punta Gorda, Florida. Crossroads is a non-profit 501(c)3 home and school for foster boys who have had multiple failed placements in the Florida foster care system. After the Children’s Network took AMIKids Crossroads under their support in 2013, Penelope resigned after three months of service.
“There are 5 graduates from AMI that I am still in touch with. Two are living in a 4-bedroom house that John Davidson and Angela Hogan, CEO of the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition dedicated as a home for AMI graduates late last year,” she said.
In the recent months, Penelope’s statewide efforts have come full circle. In 2014, she was appointed to the Children’s Services Committee by Governor Rick Scott.
Since then, she has stayed in touch with the youth that she has mentored over the years. Last month, Penelope was nominated for Volunteer of the Year and also received Special Congressional Recognition.