Good News - February 2022

COVER STORY 24 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition t a time when our society is in turmoil and many families are in crisis, dealing with more stressors than ever before, Life the Life South Florida is launching a 10-year initiative entitled “All In” for marriage and families, designed to transform Broward Country for the better through healthy relationship education beginning in middle school through senior adults. Live the Life’s board of directors is comprised of South Florida power couples with a strong commitment to families and a collaborative plan to achieve four key objectives: • increase marriage • decrease divorce • decrease nonmarital childbearing, and • increase church attendance. “If we can help mend the fragmentation of families, we can reduce poverty, homelessness, incarceration, addictions, domestic violence and many other social issues,” said Lisa May, executive director of Life the Life South Florida. They will kick off their ten-year initiative to transform Broward County for the better through healthy relationship education at their Happy & Together Hoedown on Saturday, February 12th at the Green Glades Ranch. (RSVP at Initially established in Tallahassee, Live the Life points to studies showing the divorce rate is on the decline in Leon County compared to the rest of the state, and they have been strengthening marriages and families in South Florida for more than seven years. Wayne Cotton, former owner of Design Flooring Distributors, is chairman of Live the Life in South Florida and statewide. Having been involved in other ministries over the years, he and his wife of 44 years, Deretta, decided that “rather than put Band-Aids on some of the social ills, we want to be proactive.” Cotton said, “It really struck me when I found out that two-thirds of students in Broward County Public Schools do not live with their biological father… that was a real wake up call for us! And as a businessman, if I’m going to invest my time and talent, I want to get a good return on that investment.” The initiative is about being more “laser focused,” said Cotton. “It appears to us that the model works, and our curriculum is well received, but can we demonstrate it in a big way? Let’s prove this model and take it from the churches more into the community.” The cost of broken families Dr. David Schramm, of Utah State University, did a study a few years ago trying to determine what divorce is costing our communities in what they need to provide in goods and services, noted Lisa May. “He came up with an average of $31,000 per divorce. Based on trends in Broward County over the past four years, we get about 8,600 divorces a year if everything stays the same. Multiply that over 10 years without inflation and divorce is going to cost Broward County $2.6 billion dollars in goods and services.” However, she insists that does not have to be the case. From their experience, by developing collaborative partnerships with churches and community stakeholders, Live the Life believes it can prevent a minimum of 20,000 divorces over the next 10 years, potentially saving $620 million dollars for Broward County. They plan to quantify these claims by working with a third-party academic researcher to track that from a statistical point of view over 10 years. “There are sociologists who will say that what I’m telling you is accurate,” said May. “They have snippets of research, but no one has looked at a community and said let’s shoot for these four goals. Let’s target not just the faith-based community, but also the marketplace and then have an outsider come in and track Live The Life South Florida is ALL IN for Marriages and Families Shelly Pond Good News Editor Members of the Live the Life South Florida Board of Directors, Mary Jean and Chip Lafferty, former President and CEO of Hill York, celebrated 35 years of marriage with their three sons. Mary Jean is also as an ambassador for Strike Force 421. The couple attends Rio Vista Community Church. Sandra and Bob Moss, Founder and CEO of Moss & Associates, have been married 50 years, have two sons and three grandchildren, and serve on the board of Live the Life South Florida. Sandra served on the Moss Foundation Board and they attend First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale. Live the Life board members Debbie and Kevin Groeneveld have been married for 31 years and have three adult children. Formerly a marriage and family counselor at Sheridan House Family Ministries, Kevin teaches at Calvary Christian Academy, and Debbie is president and CEO of her medical equipment company, Groeneveld Enterprises. Wayne and Deretta Cotton serve on the LTLSF board as Chairman. Married 44 years, they have three children and five grandchildren. Former owner of Design Flooring Distributors, Wayne serves on the Boca Raton Community Church Board. Together, they have chaired parenting councils at Westminster Academy and Palm Beach Atlantic University. Married for 39 years, Margaret and Scott Whiddon have four daughters and two granddaughters, serve on the board of Live the Life and attend First Baptist Fort Lauderdale. Scott is former president and CEO of Causeway Lumber and a current real estate investor and Margaret has served with several nonprofits. Married for 37 years, Karol and Jim Airdo, who worked in technology with Citrix Systems, have three children and seven grandchildren and are members on the board of Live the Life South Florida. Karol assists with the REAL Essentials program, and they are active at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. A 5 5 5