Spolight Profiles

ANDREW BELVETT, LMSW

Even though Mental Health Awareness Month has ended, we continue to look at those that have taken on the commitment tochallenge the issues related to mental illness within our community. Today we would like to introduce you to Andrew Belvett, a Licensed Master Social Worker from New York. In speaking with Andrew, we learn that he has had a heart for thecommunity and helping others since his early days working at the HEART Trust/National Training Academy in Jamaica, WI. As Andrew explains it, the HEART Trust is an agency that allows those students who were not on track for higher academia to focus on learning and gaining some sort of a trade or skill such as carpentry, masonry, or garment manufacturing. It was during his time with this agency that he developed a passion for outreach within the community which made it a natural fit for him to further his educational studies in Human Services at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY). He later went on to obtain his bachelor’s in social work (BSW) at YorkCollege/CUNY. Not one to settle where he is, Andrew pursued his master’s degree in social work (MSW) from Adelphi University where he was one of the few Black males pursing a graduate degree in Social Work during that time. This experience impacted Andrew’s decision to serve within the black community and influenced his decision to obtain his license as a Master Social Worker (LMSW) which would allow him to work and provide clinical services in the field of social work. He is currently pursuing his credential as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

After obtaining his LMSW, Andrew worked as a Licensed Social Worker for the Office of Mental Health at CreedmoorPsychiatric Center in Queens New York. It was here that he was challenged by a colleague to decide upon an area of focus within social work so that he can further his clinical skills and expertise. In searching for his path, Andrew learned about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), a subset of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, initially designed to address the emotional and behavioral struggles of those who were diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This clinical model, however, has been found to be useful in working with a wider cross-section of individuals as it teaches specific skill sets such as Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills. Andrew passionately delved into the training and use of this model, which he finds practical in his work with adolescents and adults alike at the New York City Children’s Center, where he is a Treatment Team Leader and theDBT Consultation Team Lead for the Brooklyn Campus. As Andrew puts it, working with adolescents and teaching them how to use DBT skills and strategies, allows for them to be able to address and potentially break negative behavioral cycles earlier thereby enabling them to develop more practical and useful skills when addressing specific situations.

Despite the various roles and responsibilities that Andrew has currently engaged in and the positions that he has held, which also includes being an on-call social worker at Forest Hills Hospital and public speaker, Andrew considers his most important role to be first as a father to his two children (ages 17 and 20) and second as a mentor to new clinicians who are coming up in the industry. As he reflects on the journey that he has taken which has led him to practice in his passion, Andrew states that he would like people to look at his journey as a testament of “if you put work in, you can make headway”. He shares that the heights that he has attained in his profession can be attributed, not only to the passion that he has for helping others, but also to the hard work that he put into each position that he has held along the way. Andrew states that his mantra for his life is: “You Can’t Do This on Your Own”, meaning that there is safety in numbers. Further that as you build the country, the group, and your tribe, take someone with you so that you can build together.

 

Written By: Shari N. Warner, JD, LMFT.
Shari N. Warner, JD, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and licensed Attorney in the state of Florida. Mrs. Warner is the CEO and Clinical Director of Serendipity Counseling and Consulting, LLC, Founder and President of The Serendipity Women’s Mental Wellness Foundation, Inc. a non-profit mental health organization, and creator of the CaribbeanTherapy.com online mental health directory which connects Caribbean nationals seeking therapy to mental health practitioners of Caribbean descent.

Hon. Mrs. Hazelle P. Rogers

Mayor Hazelle P. Rogers is, without a doubt, a woman of distinction. Described as the Iron Lady of Caribbean politics in the Florida community, Mayor Rogers, a Jamaican national, is the first person from the English-speaking Caribbean American Diaspora elected to office in the Southern USA, launching her political career as a public servant in Lauderdale Lakes in 1996. Mayor Rogers was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008, making her the first Jamaican and second person from the English-speaking Caribbean to be elected to the House in Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee. She first served as a Democratic Deputy Whip from 2010-2012, and again for 2012-2016. Representative Rogers served as the Democratic Ranking Member on the House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee from 2012-2016. She has also been a strong advocate for the City of Lauderhill Safe Neighborhood, the City of North Lauderdale Law Enforcement Assessment legislation, and the Seaport Training Grant in the Foreign Trade Zone, a joint public and private sector pilot project with the Greater Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Broward College. In November 2016, the voters in Lauderdale Lakes elected her with a 66 percent vote to the office of Mayor. She’s hard-working, passionate, tenacious, goal-oriented, and believes in putting her community first.

Mayor Rogers was the recipient of the 2017 Broward County AFL-CIO Lifelong Public Service Award. She has also received the Minority Business Development Agency Community Service Award, National Council of Negro Women’s Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Award, Unity and Legends “Power of the Woman” Honors, National League of Cities NBC-LEO Recognition for Commitment 2019, and the AFJ Lignum Vitae Vanguard Award. The Cricket Council USA & US Open Cricket has also recognized the Mayor for her outstanding service.

Despite her busy schedule, she manages to find time to meet and greet her constituency at local events. She has successfully hosted Unifest, the oldest multicultural festival in South Florida, for over a quarter-century. She coordinates Emancipation Day events – CARICOM Consul Generals, Elected Officials, and other community partners. Mayor Hazelle Rogers loves dancing and community service and is committed to supporting young people through a Family and Friend Scholarship established in her honor at Florida Memorial University.

She is a Real Estate Industry Professional and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from the University of Phoenix. She has been married to Clifton Rogers since 1974, and she credits family as her anchor. I was fortunate to work with her on Commissioner Denise D. Grant’s campaign. I know Lauderdale Lakes citizens will agree with me when I say how much I admire, respect, and appreciate her. She is Jamaica’s, Margaret Thatcher. In speaking with Mayor Rogers, I have discovered that one of her goals is to continue to focus on COVID-19 and to minimize the personal and economic impact on our city and county.

Mayor Rogers has recently been awarded the distinguished National Honor, the Order of Distinction rank of commander class, from Jamaica. Sept. 29, 2020, was declared Mayor Hazelle Rogers Day in Lauderdale Lakes, honoring her achievements and her award from the Jamaican Government. She is experienced and very professional while managing to remain warm and caring. We salute Mayor Hazel Rogers, and we thank her for being the consummate professional and a great humanitarian.

Written By:
Janet Young

Born in North Carolina but known as a global citizen, Dr. Davis-DeFoe has made her presence felt in many areas of the world where people feel disenfranchised. Whether she’s in Nigeria teaching the ladies to make and sell things so they can become independent, working in India, speaking at a conference in Egypt, being a humanitarian in Zimbabwe, teaching in the USVI, or taking a trip to Italy, the world is her home. I met Dr. DeFoe while serving as a member of the Greater Sunrise Kiwanis Club about five years ago. Her humble spirit drew me to her. I also noticed how passionate she was about helping the less fortunate and that her second home was the United States Virgin Island, where I had lived for eight years and where my son AJ was born.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Antioch University, Dr. DeFoe achieved her doctorate in management, focusing on Organization and Human Development. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and subscribes to their motto, “Service To All Mankind,” which has always resonated in her heart and spirit. She was never content with the status quo, so she packed up her degrees and moved to the USVI in her early twenties with one of her sorority sisters. While there, she taught at Charlotte Amalie High School, but her main focus was on helping kids discarded by the school system. Realizing that she still needed direction and education to help her students, she moved back to the US. She worked in Community development alongside her late father, a city councilman, in helping low-income families. In 2007-2009 she returned to the USVI. She had to do what is in her heart, and she knew that more work was needed. Nothing could keep her away from her second home. She directed an alternative education and job training program for suspended students throughout the territory upon her return. Dr. DeFoe was instrumental in starting the first YMCA in the USVI, one of the many projects she has successfully initiated while finding time to write and speak at conferences and seminars.

One of the many accolades bestowed on her was the first Woman Chief by the ITAM CLAN in Abu Ibom State, Nigeria. She described the celebration as one which mirrored a scene from the movie coming to America. She is a widely recognized author and has authored such books as Soulful One: For Girls on the Pathway to Greatness, a rite of passage manual for girls; A Woman’s Guide to Soulful Living: Seven Keys to Life and Work Success; Tropical Escapes, a novel; Kwabena and the Baobab Tree, a children’s book, and Follow Her Lead: Leadership Lessons for Women as They Journey from the Backroom to the Boardroom. She has also contributed to many magazine articles empowering women and the disenfranchised. She was a part of the USVI Delegation who in 2011 traveled to Zurich, Switzerland, so that the YWCA USVI could become a fully affiliated YWCA with the World Council based in Geneva, Switzerland. She served as the General Secretary for the YWCA for five years and with Donnie Cabey Edwards, who started the Y Teens, leadership, and career development group for girls.

She’s Currently doing program development consultancy projects with the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections and the Wheatley Skills Center. At present, she’s planning to return to the USVI to conduct Grant writing Training for Government, Grant writing for Nonprofits and Faith-Based Organizations, and Grant Management starting this month. Dr. DeFoe served as President of the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – US Virgin Island Council, launched in December 2020. She’s also creating a travel collection for women by women with the women’s economic bank.

She lost both her parents a year apart, but they left her a legacy of service to others, which she continues to build on. Her humble spirit and passion for helping the less fortunate attract others to her. She remains most proud of her work to help girls become productive and independent women. She is also delighted that different organizations obtained many successful grants to improve the neediest world citizens’ quality of life with her help. Anita speaks globally at conferences, retreats, seminars, and special events, spreading her inspirational messages, human development, social enterprise, and personal life solutions designed to transform people, processes, programs, and places.

Written By:
Janet Young