Payten Pence is in Kindergarten and her hometown is Arcadia. She is the daughter of Christi and Josiah Pence.
Kady McKenna is from Orlando and is in the 2nd grade. She is the daughter of Jennifer and Kenneth McKenna.
Ainsleigh Mahan is the daughter of Pamela and Troy Mahan and she is from Jacksonville Beach. Ainsleigh is in the 6th grade.
Maria Pereira is the daughter of Patricia and Marcelo Pereira. She is in the 9th grade and her hometown is Orlando.
Shelby Kirton is the daughter of Cheryl and Dudley Kirton. Shelby is a high school Junior and her hometown is Okeechobee.
The five listed above are the selected representatives for 2016-2017. Since 1986, many students have given at least a year of volunteer service work. The initial program is to commit to one year of service and then continue if they choose. Many of the students that have been a part of this program will continue to volunteer for years to come because of what was instilled in them at an early age. We have several young ladies that have been volunteering with us for 28 years.
The benefit of Florida's Hometown USA is to instill in young people to give back to their community. The students in this program are elementary through high school. If children are involved in volunteering at an early age and are taught to show love and concern for others, it will stay with them forever. The visits to the elderly help brighten the day of many lonely people. Some have no family or visitors and just a smile and a hug are all they want. The entertainment for the elderly is always enjoyed and they love to sing along. Some of the residents at the nursing homes are happy just to see and talk with a young person. Giving of the gifts to the children's hospitals teach the students to share and have compassion for others less fortunate. In this program, we stress to the youth to take time to visit and give of their time to make someone else's day a little brighter. The benefits are a blessing for both the ones volunteering and the ones that are visited. Our program includes all people regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin.