The Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, Inc. honored Cynthia Shafer of Lahaina Realty with the 2008 Humanitarian of the Year Award. Cynthia has worked tirelessly for over 15 years as a guardian ad litem representing abused, abandoned and neglected children in the greater Fort Myers Community. In 2001, Cynthia and her husband John began the program Beds for Kids, which provides beds and bedding to children who are in foster care. With the help of other donating sheets, pillows, blankets, dressers, toys, and a trailer for delivery, this program has grown over the years.
Beds for Kids was started in 2001 because grandparents were taking in their grandchildren and were on fixed incomes but couldn't afford a bed. They were in a "catch 22" if you didn't have a bed the child stayed in foster care till you did.
Cynthia Shafer and her husband John stepped in and started Beds for Kids to fulfill that need.
"Last year we supplied over 169 beds for kids," Shafer said. "We try to get the beds donated but with the demand it's not always possible. My husband and I set up the bed or crib, supply sheets, a new pillow and blanket and place a stuffed animal on the pillow. It's a great feeling when a child reaches up and grabs your hand and asks, 'Is this my bed?'
"For example, in the first weekend in April I had requests for 18 beds. We put together cribs, bunk beds, delivered furniture and over 30 sets of sheets. But we added smiles, hugs, thank you's and children slept with dignity and delight. Can you help? Please call Voices for Kids at 997-KIDS or drop off items at Lahaina Realty
Shafer has been a professional Realtor in Southwest Florida since 1993. She served as past president of the Fort Myers Beach Board of Realtors, past State Chapter President of Women's Council of Realtors and Realtor of the Year twice and currently with Lahaina Realty.