Jennifer Fagenbaum received her Bachelor degree from Purdue University in Family and Consumer Science Education and Child Development and Family Studies. She has worked within school corporations and community colleges, working with high school students and young adults for 9 years while also supervising colleagues. During that time, she worked to educate individuals in life skills so they could obtain an appropriate education, a satisfying and fulfilling career, and consumer knowledge needed to become self-sufficient. These experiences helped Jennifer to understand the population we are serving and have provided her the unique ability to educate our clients while providing a strong foundation for our program.
Family Service Coordinator
Allisa O'Leary was very excited to come to Family Promise of South Sarasota County as the Family Service Coordinator in November 2017. She has lived in Venice for the past 14 years and believes our community is very special. She started her career in social services after graduating from USF in 2000. Allisa's first professional job was with Safe Children Coalition as a case manager working with 0-5-year-old children in foster care. Working their she started building relationships amongst DCF, community providers, and the legal system. Soon after gaining experience as a case manager, she was promoted to the Child Protection Center Supervised Visitation Program as their Program Director and with the Child Protection Team as a case coordinator, conducting child forensic interviews for DCF and Law Enforcement to gather further information on allegations of child abuse and neglect. In 2005, she had her daughter Ava and within a year gave birth to twins, Tessa and Zoe. She decided to stay home with them until Ava started elementary school. She started with The Department of Juvenile Justice in 2009 and worked as a case manager in post commitment probation for three years. For the past 4 years she has been with Bay Area Youth Services (BAYS), also contracted with DJJ, working with the Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program (JDAP) as the Circuit 12 Supervisor.
Christen Cowan joined Family Promise in April 2018 as the new Programs Coordinator. While completing her Bachelors of Science in Economics from Florida State University, Christen served as a Professional Account Specialist for the Florida Department of Transportation. In October 2014, she decided there was a need for change in her life and moved back to Venice, Florida which is her hometown. Looking for a career that would be more fulfilling than government accounting, she found her way to Marketing and Public Relations, serving as a Marketing Assistant for an air conditioning company and a Marketing and Client Services Advisor for a wealth management company. To bolster her knowledge, she decided to pursue a Masters of Arts in Public Relations. She is expected to graduate in Spring of 2019 from Full Sail University. Though marketing was of great interest to her, after working as a Prevention Educator for the Child Protection Center, Christen realized how much she enjoyed working for non-profit organizations. The fulfillment of working in human services is like none other.
Gail Syrstad was happy to join Family Promise in September 2018 as the new Administrative Assistant. Early in her career she worked as an admin for an insurance company and in accounts payable for a large cleaning company. She spent over 10 years in the banking industry, starting as a teller and moving up to branch supervisor. She chose to stay home to raise her three daughters for many years. Returning to the work force she spent the last five years as admin for a plumbing and heating company. In July 2018 she moved to Florida to be near family. Gail enjoys bookkeeping, is detail oriented and organized. She’s excited to utilize her talents with the staff and volunteers at Family Promise.
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