The Community Foundation of Broward is proud to honor 12 representatives of dedicated nonprofits who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic. Our new Hidden Heroes Awards shine a light on 12 outstanding examples of bold impact by individuals who make life better in our community.
Belinda Paulicin is one of the real-life superheroes who are stepping up to help in Broward, just when our community needs them the most.
Belinda’s heroic efforts through Gilda’s Club South Florida have sustained, transformed and expanded support services for cancer patients and their families during the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, Belinda sprang into action to create safe, online versions of cancer support services for the local residents who rely on Gilda’s Club. As Director of Program Services, Belinda helped create phone and online versions of counseling, support groups, healthy living classes, social activities and more.
For example, Belinda has created a pediatric oncology support group that parents can access from the hospitals where their children receive care. She produced a virtual family fun series for children and families to have a good time and stay connected with others safely. And for those who need help with their online skills, Belinda has designed user instruction guides for Zoom, Facebook Live and connecting software.
In addition, for a Women of Color Initiative, Belinda has coordinated in-person services – following social distancing guidelines – that use a mammography van to deliver breast health education and mobile mammography to participants. And Belinda goes beyond her regular duties to help Gilda’s Club members get food delivery, rental assistance, insurance advocacy, federal program application assistance and other critical services.
Also, Belinda not only finds innovative ways to safely continue Gilda’s Club South Florida’s cancer patient support services for existing participants, she is increasing the amount of people Gilda’s Club could help. Thanks to Belinda, 67 women with breast cancer referred from another nonprofit received patient support through Gilda’s Club. And because most of them are Spanish speakers, Belinda found a translator to identify their needs, she created a support group for Spanish speakers and she arranged for oncology education webinars in Spanish.
“I nominated her for her perseverance and innovation under such challenging times,” said Kim Praitano, CEO of Gilda’s Club South Florida. “She showed incredible grace, commitment and heroism.
“Belinda Paulicin will always be a hero to Gilda’s Club South Florida.”
The Community Foundation’s Prize patrol surprised Belinda with a cape and medal in recognition of her heroic community service. And like our other Hidden Heroes Award winners, Belinda received a prize package that includes $500, restaurant gift certificates and a two-night staycation at the beautiful Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel.
“The opportunity to just highlight what we do in our agencies and our programs, it means a lot to me,” Belinda said. “There’s always an opportunity to help someone else. When you seek out that opportunity, you are a hero.”
Belinda is just one example of the many nonprofit hidden heroes all across our community whose hard work helps shape a brighter future for Broward. Thanks to support from philanthropists with charitable Funds at the Community Foundation, these hidden heroes can continue to tackle Broward’s big challenges – during this crisis and beyond.
To learn how the Community Foundation can help you fuel heroic, life-changing philanthropy in Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-761-9503.