The Kathryn A. Basile Foster a Dream Foundation made its first award November 11, 2010, when it presented $5,000 to United for Families.

Foster a Dream was established in memory of Kathy Basile, longtime executive director of the St. Lucie County Children’s Services Council, whose wish was to create a charitable foundation that would serve the needs of children in foster care.

“She wanted to ensure that children in foster care have an equal opportunity in life – that they have the same opportunities as children who are not in foster care,” said Tom Gonzalez, foundation president and Basile’s husband. “Those children have enough difficulties in life; anything we can do to ease those difficulties we feel is a worthy cause.”

All of the award will be used to help older children in foster care pay for senior-year and other teen-related expenses, such as senior-class trips, graduation pictures and apparel and class rings.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Christine Demetriades, United for Families Chief Executive Officer. “This will help our youth have the normal experiences that other children have.”

Basile began her career as a teacher in the St. Lucie County School District in 1974. She taught at C.A. Moore in Port St. Lucie where she was assistant principal, and at Morningside Elementary. She was named Teacher of the Year by the St. Lucie County School District and later founded the private child-care school, Sunflower Educare.

In 1999, she was named executive director of the Children’s Services Council where she oversaw a program with an annual budget of $8 million, funding 58 prevention-based programs. She was the recipient of many awards for her work with local children, including: the Florida Senate Medallion of Excellence; the Florida Coalition of Children’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the 19th Judicial Circuit Award; Florida’s Children Forum School Readiness Coalition Award; and the Children Home Society’s Dave Thomas Child Advocate of the Year Award.

In October 2009, United for Families unveiled the Kathryn A. Basile Community Service Award at its Le Bal Masque. Sean Boyle, executive director of the Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County, accepted the award on behalf of Basile, who was given the honor posthumously.

“Kathy was a tireless advocate for United for Families and for our work,” Demetriades said. “It only made sense for us to name our community service award after her.”

Nominations for the 2011 award now are being accepted. The winner will be announced March 5 at Le Bal Masque ~ Carnaval.