By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - For the second year in a row, a special fundraiser is being held to raise money to help people navigate what can sometimes be a tricky court system.
While the courts have programs to help people get themselves back on their feet, they couldn't help with little things, such as purchasing work boots for a job.
That's when Lifebuilders, created three years ago by Diamond Litty, the 19th Judicial Circuit Court public defender, was born.
Separate from county programs, the nonprofit helps those who have successfully gone through a court-mandated program and need help getting on their feet.
Since its inception, the Lifebuilders program has helped 288 people who have been through the court process get back on track with their lives. The program provides guidance, counseling and motivation.
The program starts with an application the person needing help fills out. After determining that Lifebuilders can help, the recipient of the assistance is asked to "pay it forward" either through volunteering or donating to a community agency, to help others in the same situation.
Initial data shows approximately 80 percent of the individuals who use the Lifebuilders program do not reoffend.
So far, the organization has operated on donations from the community and other nonprofit organizations, with approximately 98 percent of the donated money going directly to help people.
This year will be its second fundraising effort.
"Last year, we raised more than $30,000 for the program," Ms. Litty said. "We had a tremendous turnout. We hope to raise even more this year."
A Lifebuilders golf tournament will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Legacy Golf and Tennis Club in Port St. Lucie. The event will feature a continental breakfast, outdoor grilled barbecue lunch, a free golf cart and more.
"It's shaping up to be a great event," she said. "We will even have special guest celebrities on certain holes trying to help the teams. It will be fun, because some of them have never golfed before."
It will be preceded by a cocktail "par-tee" at the Fazio Club from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 5, called "Shine with the Stars." There will also be live and silent auctions.
"There will also be a special golfing event that evening at the cocktail party," she said. "A glow-in-the-dark putting contest will be held, with a vacation as the prize."
The cocktail portion only is $25 per person for those not taking part in the golf tournament the next morning.
"We're so happy with all the support everyone has shown for this," Ms. Litty said. "We're looking forward to another crowd this year."
Registration for the Lifebuilders golf tournament is at 7:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Sponsorships are available. The tournament is $125 per person and includes the cocktail "par-tee."
For more information, call (772) 940-9942 or go online to www.LifeBuilderstc.com.