Published On: Thu, Apr 20th, 2023

Standing “Os” for Youth Caregivers and Champions

Ali Enlow

Boca Raton, FL – The audience sprang to its feet after middle schooler Ali Enlow’s described how she helps care for her little sister with cerebral palsy.

“Eva needs extra help showering and I put her to bed. I love caregiving so much… and I love sharing my story,” the 13-year-old seventh-grader at Logger’ Run Middle School said at the AACY Community Caregiving Champions Breakfast in Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center. 

“Not only do I have a group of peers I connect with, but I can talk about things and now I have amazing support,” said the daughter of Adriana and Matthew Enlow who attended with Ali and Eva, 7.  

This is Ali’s second year with the Boca Raton-based American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY), serving 505 youth in 35 Palm Beach County middle and high schools, who care for family members at home. 

“These youth face a different set of challenges,” said WPEC Channel 12 news anchor Matt Lincoln, who emceed the breakfast.    

Honorees were not only presented with trophies, but received standing ovations, too. “My mom had me at 45 and we came from Cuba. We didn’t even speak English. Taking care of my mother made me a compassionate person,” said former and longtime AACY board chair Rosie Inguanzo-Martin, honored with her husband Joe Martin and their employees for Allegiance Home Health. “I see so many students helped who are missing out on their childhood,” she said.

“When you see what these young adults are going through, you’re urged to get involved,” Joe Martin added.  

A proud Armenian born in Istanbul and raised in Holland before coming to the U.S. for college, “being trained as a fundraiser changed my perspective,” said honoree Marta Batmasian, philanthropist and Investments Limited family business co-founder with her husband James Batmasian. “We’ll be here in Boca 40 years in November, and I’m awed by what this organization does.”  

The Marriott’s president of operations Ron Wichowski was honored for continued support. He credited his employees for getting so involved with the hotel’s Care Committee. “The team here picked up the ball,” he said, asking them to stand and be recognized.

“These kids need your support,” concluded Jeff Gordon, board vice chairman, urging contributions to put the nonprofit over the top, since there’s no government funding. 

“AACY is the first organization of our kind in our country, and came out of my experience caring for my grandfather,” said Dr. Connie Siskowski, R.N. and Ph.D., founder and president. 

“Youth caregivers are a hidden population,” said longtime AACY board member Gail Eagle, who joined other “ambassadors” to explain what AACY does and who it serves. 

Board chair Debralyn Belletieri thanked event co-chairs, fellow board member Althea Ceasor and supporter Penny Westbury. 

Major sponsors included Allegiance Home Healthcare, AvalonBay Communities, Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith Attorneys at Law, Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center, Investments Limited, Humana, MaxSip Telecom and Strikes Cigar Lounge.

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