- Abigail Phelps – President
- Deanna Schlaudraff – Vice President
- Belinda Heys – Treasurer
- Gina Rogers – Secretary
Abigail (Abby) Phelps started with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) in 2016 as the youth advocate for the Fostering Success Program. She briefly left DCF in May of 2017 when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) received funding from the legislature to implement the Fostering Success Program and served as the Fostering Success Manager for the FWC. Abby returned to DCF as the Fostering Success Program Director in September of 2017 and has served in that role since. While Fostering Success lost funding in July of 2020, DCF decided to implement Fueling Futures where she serves as the program director today. Abby has served on the Heart Gallery Big Bend Board since 2018 and has volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem for the last 5 years. She is a member of the Junior League of Tallahassee and Capital Woman’s Network. She believes every child deserves a loving home and is passionate about advocating for our kids to find forever families.
Belinda Heys is a former foster mom and now adoptive mom. Her passion is advocating for kids to find their forever families. She has been volunteering for the Heart Gallery Big Bend for the last 3 years.
Gina Rogers is a dynamic, passionate individual who is eager to serve at-risk children and families. Currently, Gina works at Boys Town North Florida on the Development Team; her title is the site’s Donor Relations Specialist. Gina has earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work and has been certified in Child Welfare Practice as well as Leadership in Executive and Administrative Development. Gina is determined to serve children and families in need and believes in maximizing every child’s opportunity to succeed.
Taylor Witherow was primarily raised in Spring Hill, FL and moved to Tallahassee, FL to attend college. Taylor received her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Sciences from Florida State University. She currently serves as the Circuit 2 Adoption Specialist with Children’s Home Society. Taylor previously worked as a Dependency Case Manager to help reunify children and their families. Taylor loves her position as the Adoption Specialist because she enjoys helping find families for children who do not have an identified adoptive family. Taylor believes that there is a perfect family out there for every child, and she is thankful for the Heart Gallery Big Bend for helping us find forever homes for children in our care.
Clay Owens is the Chief Executive Officer of Every Child Home (ECH), a nationwide nonprofit organization providing assistance to the foster care community, particularly to address the need for adoptive homes for over 100,000 waiting US children. Clay and his wife Laura are foster and adoptive parents themselves and saw firsthand the need for more families to pursue adoption, which helped lead to his work with ECH. Clay and Laura have six daughters, two of whom are adopted, and they continue to provide respite foster care. The family stays busy, attending their children’s various events and school activities; they are also active in their church and community.
Donna Whittle is a native of Tallahassee, FL. Donna professionally holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and has worked for the State of Florida since September 2008. She is a certified traditional foster parent for the State of Florida Department of Children and Families, which began November 2017. Donna and her husband have welcomed eight children into their home, ranging in age from an infant to teenagers, over the past four years. Donna stated, “All the children that we have fostered will always have a piece of my heart. Each child that has left my home are forevermore my godchildren.” Donna’s passion is advocating and caring for children. In November 2019, Donna and her husband adopted three sibling brothers that were their past foster children. Donna stated, “Our boys are a true blessing. I am so grateful that I get to be their mother.” Donna began volunteering for the Heart Gallery Big Bend in June 2021. She has taken on the role of social media coordinator. Donna studied website design for three years and participated in yearbook design all four years of high school. She enjoys updating and designing for the Heart Gallery Big Bend website and social media platforms. She is confident that expanding our platform to promote and advocate for children, will increase their chances of getting adopted. She believes every child should have a loving, caring, supportive family. By volunteering, she hopes that she can make a difference by helping children find their forever homes.