Vita Nova’s Manatees and Martinis Fundraiser

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Benefiting Homeless Youth in Palm Beach

Vita Nova hosted the Fifth Annual Manatees and Martinis on Saturday, March 19, at Manatee Lagoon, an FPL Eco-Discovery Center in West Palm Beach. The nonprofit’s main fundraising event raised over $100,000 for the homeless young adults Vita Nova serves in Palm Beach County.

Jeff DeMario and Tierra – Photos courtesy of: Tracey Benson

Guests of the sold-out event experienced an exhilarating evening on the water featuring an array of culinary delicacies, exotic beverages-including Blue Martinis, live music by “Jimmy Stowe & The Stowaways,” and the opportunity to bid on unique silent auction items. Dan Meister and Toni May served as the emcees of the evening- and assisted in raising additional funds through the live auction and Call to the Heart.

Vita Nova’s CEO, Jeff DeMario, thanked guests for their support in Vita Nova’s in this important mission to help homeless young adults create a brighter future through housing, education, life-skills training, and employment.

Ryan and Janelle Burke, Ariana and Sky CrockettPhotos courtesy of: Tracey Benson Photography

One young woman, Tierra, shared with guests her journey through the foster care system and the struggles, heartache, and abuse she experienced. She is now an advocate for foster care reform, and thanks to Vita Nova, she is thriving at Palm Beach State College with honors with her next steps to enter a prestigious four-year University. Vita Nova helped her have a chance for a better life and realize her potential and gifts to succeed in life.

Jeff DeMario, Rand Hoch, Nicole and Charles Kowanetz – Photos courtesy of Tracey Benson

Vita Nova serves over 400 youth in Palm Beach County and it is a safe bridge to independence for former foster care, LGBTQ, and other homeless youth through supportive housing, education, employment, and life skills training. As the voice of homeless young adults, Vita Nova aims to end homelessness for youth ages 18 to 25 years old in Palm Beach County. Vita Nova is the ‘voice of homeless young adults’ as they are helped to pave their way to indepenTdence.

Jeff Darnell, Tim King, Victor Figueredo, Chris Brown – Photos courtesy of Tracey Benson

Chairpersons of the successful event were Nicole and Charles Kowanetz. Rand Hoch served as Honorary Chairman.

About Vita Nova:

Vita Nova is a safe bridge to independence for former foster care, LGBTQ, and other homeless youth through supportive housing, education, employment, and life skills training. Vita Nova, Inc, located in West Palm Beach, Florida, is comprised of three components:  the Spot, Housing (The Village), and Independent Living.

Vita Nova means “new life” in Latin and was founded by Father Leo Armbrust, a man who believed that foster youth deserved a better quality of care. Through the efforts of the Vita Nova team members, its volunteers, and its benefactors, older foster and homeless youth are allowed to lead lives characterized by independence, self-determination, and personal responsibility.

Sponsors include FPL, HSS Florida- Hospital for Special Surgery, The Breakers Palm Beach, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, GEO Group, Cornerstone Solutions, Morselife Health System, Domenick, and Jennifer Macri, Kristy and Grier Pressly, Hamptons Palm Beach Fine Wine & Spirits, KWA Group Branding, Mracheck Fitgerald, Rose, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss, P.A., and Media Sponsor- Palm Beach Illustrated.

To learn more about Vita Nova or to donate, visit or call 561.689.0035


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