We could not manage the tens of thousands of souls who visit us each year without the passionate and professional staff members. It is true that working for any community organization must be a personal passion, but working for an organization whose efforts surround so many families who are hurting takes a special type of person. We are proud not only of our staff, but the people who raised them and have shaped their lives, and those who support them today.
Executive Director of Indian River County
Annabel has a degree in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology from Denison University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami. A longtime resident of Vero Beach, Annabel has been with United Against Poverty since 2012. She is the Program Architect for the organization and spent over five years developing the Success Training for Employment Program (STEP) on behalf of UP.
April first came to United Against Poverty in 2016. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from University of Central Florida and is currently seeking her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. As a local Vero Beach native, she moved to Montana to work for the Federal Trio Program providing support to marginal community members for retention in post-secondary education. With over a decade of experience as an educator, April brings much to her role as a Success Coach for UP.
Treasure Coast Workforce Development Manager
Ron has his Bachelor of Science in Finance from Barry University and his MBA in Finance and Organizational Management from Nova Southeast. As a former financial advisor, Ron made a career change that was motivated by his desire to give back. With over 25 years of experience in the area of workforce development, he is able to connect with employers and skilled identify the best candidates for those employers that will become long-term employees.
John Porta Jr.
Crisis Care Manager
John has a B.A. in Business Management from Curry College in Milton, MA. He has lived in Vero Beach, FL for 12 years. Before John was employed by United Against Poverty, he worked for Hanley Hall as a Counselor Assistant for 3 years. In his position as Crisis Care Manager, he is a certified trainer from Bridges Out Of Poverty and has also been certified with the National Financial Educators Council as a Financial Education Instructor.
Ida Michelle Lawes came to Vero Beach Florida in 2005. She began working as a Resource Counselor for a local homeless ministry known as The Source. She has worked with the homeless and indigent population here in Indian River County for the past 13 years. She also coordinated and facilitated Wednesday Without Walls Homeless Ministry of First Baptist Church for over a decade and is still a frequent guest speaker. Ida joined the UP team in 2018 as the Intake Coordinator.
As a Vero Beach native, Ingrid returned to Indian River County in 2018 after being away from the Treasure Coast for 11 years. With a Specialist Degree in Education, she has nearly two decades of experience as an educator. Ingrid is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education and brings a multitude of talents to her position as a STEP Facilitator.
Jane is a New York native who moved to Vero Beach in 2005. Jane is a 2015 graduate of STEP, and used the tools she learned there to transition from the Hospitality industry to social services. After spending two years working at Children’s Home Society’s Youth Transition Center working with at risk youth, Jane returned to UP in 2017 to become a full time member of the family. Jane uses her personal experiences of survival to help others achieve their own success.
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