Organizational Vision & Objectives

Youth leaving foster care in the Tampa Bay area will have access to a broad network of organizations, supportive adults, and peers who will increase opportunities to connect and thrive and that promote well-being.

 

  • Partner with community stakeholders to raise awareness and increase access to resources and opportunities for transition age youth from foster care.
  • Serve as a liaison between transition age youth from foster care and community service providers in the areas of education, housing, transportation, and supportive relationships.
  • Coordinate basic needs by providing access to resources for transition age youth from foster care, in areas such as personal care products, school supplies for postsecondary education opportunities, and essential household goods.

What Does “Cetera” Mean?

Cetera (pronounced set-er-uh) translates to “the rest”.

The founders of Cetera feel that it is important to support youth aging out of foster care in a holistic manner that promotes well-being in all areas of their lives.

From this perspective, Cetera aims to support the needs and wants that all young people have, such as postsecondary education, reliable transportation, connections to the community, and adequate personal, household, and academic supplies.

For young people, we aim to help fulfill the “rest” of the needs they may face while transitioning from foster care with limited social connections.

Our History

Cetera was founded in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2018 by Dee Menzer and Jamie Bennett. The organization was founded with the following outcomes in mind:

  • Members of the Tampa Bay area will be aware of the barriers faced by youth leaving foster care, particularly in areas of education, social connections, and housing.
  • Youth leaving foster care in the Tampa Bay area will be connected to supportive organizations, adults, and peers who increase access to resources that promote well-being.

Cetera is run by volunteers and funded by private donations and grassroots fundraising. Our volunteers help to:

 

  • Collect and distribute of emergency funds and care packages.
  • Convene stakeholders and community partners on a monthly basis to strengthen safety nets within communities.
  • Plan and host events for community awareness and fundraising.
  • Support the work of community partners by offering training, thought partnership, and consulting.

Board of Directors

Jamie Bennett LMSW, ACC

Jamie Bennett LMSW, ACC

President

Jamie Bennett is the co-founder and President of Cetera, Inc. Jamie has a decade of experience in training and consulting for organizations who aim to improve outcomes for young adults leaving foster care.  She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work, a clinical license in social work, and a coaching certification through the International Coach Federation. 

Jamie is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Program Development and Educational Innovation from the University of South Florida, with a research agenda focusing on coaching methods for college support staff working with students from foster care.

As an alumna of the foster care system, Jamie is passionate about improving outcomes for young adults who have experience in the system.

Melodie Menzer

Melodie Menzer

Vice President

Melodie “Dee” Menzer is a co-founder of Cetera and serves as the organization’s Vice President and Treasurer.  Dee also serves as a Guardian ad Litem, is a Board Trustee and the Treasurer for the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation, and a member of the Leadership St. Pete Planning Committee for the Class of 2020. 

In her spare time, she works as an attorney at Trenam Law, focusing on tax and business planning for entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals. 

She is a member of the Florida Bar and North Carolina Bar, and is an alumna of the University of Miami where she earned a Bachelor of Science. She attended Elon University School of Law  for her Juris Doctorate, and the University of Florida Levin College of Law for a Master of Laws in Taxation.

Kasandrea Sereno Ed.D

Kasandrea Sereno Ed.D

Director

Kasandrea Sereno is a college advisor from Tampa, Florida. She is an alumna of the University of South Florida, holding a bachelor’s degree in business management and industrial psychology, an MBA, and a Master’s in EducationCollege Student Affairs. She recently completed her doctorate in Higher Ed Organizational Leadership & Policy at Vanderbilt University and currently works as a certified career counselor and university academic advisor.

In addition to her work with Cetera she also sits on the board of the National Institute of Social Media and runs the organization HigherEdSocial; the largest world-wide professional network for social media managers in higher education.

Youth Advisory Committee

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