DCF, partners, host Eighth Annual Florida Faith Symposium

Protecting the Light Award Honoring the Nichols Family

The Nichols family and baby Caleb with DCF Secretary Mike Carroll
Photo special to the Outlook

Special to Outlook

Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), in partnership with the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council hosted the eighth annual Florida Faith Symposium in Orlando on Nov. 7-8, at the Rosen Centre Hotel. The Symposium drew more than 500 attendees from around the state to identify ways to strengthen programs for vulnerable children and families, as well as at-risk youth.

The event featured several national keynote speakers like Les Brown, bestselling author and motivational speaker; Ben Tankard, former NBA player, Grammy-nominated gospel keyboard musician; and Tonier Cain, survivor of unspeakable abuse, violence, and homelessness. A group of youth from Camp Anderson kicked off the event with inspirational performances.

While there were many highlights, the Nichols family and six-month old baby Charles (Caleb) Nichols stole the show. Six months ago in Tallahassee at one-week-old, Caleb was found in the back of a truck at an apartment complex. It was 56-degrees, a cool day for Tallahassee, but thankfully, a resident of the apartment complex heard a baby crying and found the newborn. Strong willed and a survivor, baby Caleb was amazingly unharmed.

On Sept. 7, baby Caleb found his forever family when he was adopted by Charles and Lorraine Nichols. “Because of people like the Nichols, children are being adopted and shown the unconditional love of a committed family that they so much deserve,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said.

As we celebrate National Adoption Month in November, Secretary Carrol further took a moment to recognize this special family at the Florida Faith Symposium and presented the Nichols family with the “Protecting the Light Award.” This award is presented to individuals who have made outstanding efforts to positively impact the life of a child.

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