Get Inside South Florida: Florida’s Children First

Florida's Children First is an award-winning non-profit dedicated to fighting for the rights of at-risk children and youth currently in, or aging out of, foster care. And Wednesday May 22nd at the SunTrust International Center in Miami, the organization will hold it 2019 Miami-Dade Champs for Children Awards, where they will honor two very deserving young adults.

"My name is Colesha Cormier, I'm 23 years old, I am part of Florida Youth Shine. I am going to school at MDC for hospitality and management. During my youth years, I was unstable, I didn't have my parents in my life so I was always moving from house to house. But, now I'm stable and I own my own cleaning business," said Cormier, an honoree.

"I went into the foster care program when I was seven years old, and eventually my aunt adopted me. I currently work as a middle school teacher, but in the fall I will begin my masters degree in Urban Education at John Hopkins," said Palens Pacius, an honoree.

For Palens, he learned so much in the Florida youth SHINE program and is grateful for the experience.

"As part of Youth SHINE I learned how to be concise at public speaking, it's helped me to be confident and to go after certain kids in my community," said Pacius.

Likewise, Colesha credits SHINE for turning her into the young woman she is today.

"When I was first joined Florida Youth SHINE I was very tough. I was very closed in and I didn't want to talk to anybody, and now that I look back on my journey I see how much I have evolved. I am much happier, I am much more confident, my self-esteem is through the roof, and I'm now able to speak up for myself and for people that don't have a voice," said Cormier.

For more information about attending or supporting the Champs For Children Awards on May 22nd at the SunTrust International Center in Miami, visit

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