While our world has undoubtedly changed, our commitment to the community has remained the same. We are proud to continue to provide uninterrupted program offerings at our UP Center locations. Please note that face coverings are required at all times. Now more than ever, we are deeply grateful for your support.
Community Board Chair
Indian River State College
"United Against Poverty's mission is dear to my heart! 'Rethink Poverty' is about families keeping their dignity and empowering them toward achievement of their dreams."
Community Board Co-Chair
Matt McGarr is the owner of McGarr Insurance in Port St. Lucie, an insurance agency that primarily focuses on personal lines home and auto insurance for Florida residents. He attained his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Indian River State College in 2015. He was born in California, but has lived in Florida practically his whole life, and has lived in St. Lucie County since 2003. When he is not running his business or working with United Against Poverty, he enjoys spending time with his partner, Ashley, playing tennis and disc golf, and focusing on his personal development.
"Many well-intentioned nonprofits fight the symptoms of poverty, but do little to address the root causes. What makes United Against Poverty different is that it equips people with the resources they need to provide for themselves, thus lifting them and the future generations beyond them out of poverty forever. That is truly powerful."
Community Finance Chair
Journaventure Travel & Tours
Tammy Crandell has a 30 year career in retail banking and lending and is currently experiencing the world as travel consultant for Journaventure Travel & Tours. She has vast personal experience as a business owner, teacher, mother, and community advocate and has brought these life experiences with her to United Against Poverty in hopes of benefitting the clients utilizing their services.
“As a member of the United Against Poverty Community Board since 2017, choosing to be a part of such a giving organization was easy in that the mission to provide people with a hand-up out of poverty rings loudly with my God-given desire to help others. UAP fulfills that need and provides the education and assistance to help those who need it most.”
Indian River State College
Melanie George serves as the Lincoln Park Career Consultant for Indian River State College, where she oversees the organization’s Lincoln Park Career Pathways Initiative. She holds a MA in Counseling from Webster University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Florida Atlantic University. Melanie enjoys spending time with her family and traveling with her husband John and their two dogs.
"I am glad to serve on the Board to share in the empowerment of all of persons that walk through the doors and have their needs meet in an exceptional and life sustaining manner."
Michael Habyan serves as a board member for United Against Poverty. He is a US Navy Veteran and after serving, Michael earned his AA degree at Palm Beach State College. He currently is a store manager for TD Bank and has been in the banking industry for over 20 years. When he is not working Michael enjoys spending time with his wife Kelly and two daughters Shannon and Devin.
"When I was able to attend my first STEP graduation at the Ft. Pierce UP Center I was hooked on the positive energy. Being able to see people achieve financial success due to the program made me want to volunteer and be a part of that."
City of Fort Pierce
Sheritta Davis Johnson is a Fort Pierce native and a graduate of Fort Pierce Westwood High School. She is married to Former County Commissioner, Kim Johnson and is the daughter of a late City of Fort Pierce Police Officer and a retired St. Lucie County UF/IFAS Nutrition Specialist. She knows firsthand the importance of public service. As such, she is the current Risk Manager for the City of Fort Pierce lending over 21 years of experience in leadership, evaluating and assessing risk, and exercising sound judgment to benefit the city and its residents. During her tenure with the City of Fort Pierce, she has served in several capacities including Lead Negotiator for bargaining units: IUPA, PBA & Teamsters, Interim Administrative Services Director, and Project Manager for the Chief of Police search. Sheritta is running for St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections because she believes, first and foremost, the right to vote is a fundamental principle of our democracy. She believes that well-informed voters participating in our election process will reflect who we are as a community.
Realty Square Enlarge Your Coast
Janelle Jackson is a New York native who moved to Florida when she was 22. She is currently a realtor specializing in investment properties, property management, and vacation rentals. Janelle is also a travel agent and co-owns a beauty supply store with her sister. Coming from a large family of 4 sisters and 2 brothers, Janelle attributes her personal strength to her mother, an immigrant from Belize who worked hard to overcome adversity, and her entrepreneurial savvy to her father. Both taught their children early on about giving back and since that time, Janelle has worked tirelessly with non-profits in both New York and Florida. When not working or giving her time back to her community, Janelle enjoys reading, dirt bike riding, rock climbing, yoga and is currently learning how to surf.
“Everyone that walks through the UP Center doors looks like me. I know what it’s like to be hungry, homeless and in need of hope. That’s why I choose to give my time.”
Exceptional Care Choice
Gusti Labatte-Deneau is a graduate of City College of New York where she obtained her bachelor in nursing in 1992. She worked at Lenox Hill Hospital where she gained experience in Medical-surgical, intensive care and cardiothoracic surgery. She worked many roles: charge nurse, supervisor, preceptor. She later obtained her Master’s degree at Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing in 2005 with a certification in Adult Health. She then joined the prestigious GYN-Med Onc Team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she worked for 3 years managing patients on the inpatient unit prior to moving to Florida in 2009 where she spearheaded and started the innovative palliative care program with Treasure Coast Hospice. Being the only nurse practitioner on the team, she precepted and trained other nurse practitioners and grew the service to 4 full time APRNs. She left Treasure Coast Hospice in 2014 to attend school, worked per diem while starting her mobile practice making house calls visits to homebound patients on the Treasure and those residing in the assisted living facilities. In December of 2018 she graduated as a foreign medical doctor but continues to practice as an adult nurse practitioner and opened an office in Lakewood Park, Fort Pierce servicing local patients while continuing to see home patients. She is an active vital member of the community and volunteers with various organizations.
The Geoff Moore Show & 21st-Century Oncology
Geoff Moore is a Physician Liaison for 21st Century Oncology on the Treasure Coast, where he connects Doctors together for improved patient outcomes. In this role, he also facilitates continuing medical education events and marketing for three locations – Vero Beach with Dr. Stuart Byer, Ft. Pierce with Dr. William Crook and Stuart with Dr. Mark Perman. He has an Associates of Criminal Justice, a degree from the Advertising Specialty Institute and accreditations from Dale Carnegie, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a commendation for heroic intervention of an armed assailant. Geoff’s hobby has been performing as a radio personality for the last 23 years. In our area he is known for his time on The Morning Show on 93.7 WGYL, and his current talk show through iHeartRadio. When he is not working or in the studio, Geoff loves to spend time with his wife and two kids.
"United Against Poverty's mission is absolutely essential for St. Lucie County because of the amazing results I have personally seen it produce. If your passion is the betterment of our community, our youth, and life in St. Lucie County, then your passion should be in UAP!"
Focus Network Media Agency
Theresa Russ and her husband Stephen “Russ” are owners of the social media agency Focus Network Media Agency. They live in Port St. Lucie with their two sons. As a marketing professional, Theresa helps individuals, companies, and organizations with social media marketing, creating content on all platforms and branding. As part of their business branding, they created the group Social Net-workers Bootcamp which teaches the less savvy or socially awkward on how to connect with their audience by doing live posts and video engagement. Their motto? “Social media is the new TV”.
Artist and Former Social Worker
Sandy Stevenson is a retired psychiatric social worker who served as Director of Social Services at Baptist Children’s Home for neglected and dependent children (Philadelphia). Prior to that she worked in a NIMH funded research clinic where she screened patients for inclusion in studies testing the efficacy and safety of certain pharmaceuticals (Brooklyn). Stevenson has an A.S. (Business Administration) from Delaware County Community College, a B.A. (Sociology) from Muhlenberg College, and an MSW from Columbia University. In retirement Sandy has applied her energy to advocate for social justice and environmental issues and her creativity to artistic endeavors, presently focusing on Iconography.
"I once heard a Pastor say, 'God made plenty. We just have a distribution problem.' That’s why I am so enthusiastic about United Against Poverty. It aims to fix the distribution problem through its Member Share Grocery, Crisis Stabilization, Education, and Employment Training (STEP) Programs."
To learn more about the dedicated individuals who make up our board, click their image below.