Liz's Legacy was formed in the honor of Mary Elizabeth Stokes who unexpectedly passed away on July 9th, 2015 at age 32. Liz was a licensed mental health counselor in the central Florida area who specialized in working with children and teenagers. Because of her desire to help others, and her family's desire to create a lasting memory in her honor, Liz's Legacy was created. Liz's Legacy was initially formed by Liz's parents, Jim and Margaret Stokes, and her brother and sister-in-law David and Danielle Stokes. It is their desire to improve the lives of children and teenagers by providing life changing mental health counseling to those in need.
Liz's Legacy has pre-approved counselors we believe to be the best available. All mental health counselors are required to sign a statement of Christian Faith that they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Counselors must also have the proper federal, state, and local license requirements. They are professionals with a proven work experience with children and teenagers. Scholarships are provided to the counselors by Liz's Legacy. Prospective clients work directly with the counselors who then petition Liz's Legacy for scholorship funds. On a quarterly basis general reports and counts are sent back to the Liz Legacy board listing the number and ages of clients and types of issues addressed. Due to privacy laws, no client name, address, or personal information is ever requested or required to be send to the Board.
Liz's Legacy is an approved Federal '501c3' charity organization that holds multiple fund raising events to support this mission.
The Liz Legacy Board of Directors and 'Friends of the Foundation' donate their time and contribute separately to the Foundation's operation's cost. 100% of donated funds to Liz's Legacy are distributed to support this mission.
Board of Directors
David A. Stokes
David is Civil Engineer and partner in a local central Florida Civil Engineering firm that specializes in land development. David's hobbies are hunting, fishing, and competitive bicycling. He and his wife Danielle, who is an elementary school teacher, have two younge children.
Margaret was an elementary school teacher for 25 years and has been an active supporter of many central Florida charity organizations supporting the needs of children and teenagers. Her hobbies are designing and creating custom antique jewelry and spending time with her grandchildren.
Jim was a Sr. Information Systems Project Manager for a local Aerospace company. Jim and wife Margaret have lived in the central Florida area for over 40 years. Jim's hobbies are hunting, fishing, and spending time with his grandchildren.
Board Member | 2016-Current
Mr. Merideth is a founding member of Liz's Legacy Foundation. Bryce’s commitment in helping Liz’s Legacy in executing their mission has been invaluable. Bryce is a proud owner of Christian Brother’s Automotive of Clermont. In his spare time, he races sports cars in autocross races. Bryce, his lovely wife, Shannon have three children; they are active in their community, and in their church, Life Bridge Church.
Board Member | 2020-Current
Jackie received her Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. After graduating and moving to Florida, she worked for the Circuit 10 Substance Abuse & Mental Health Program Office & later worked as a therapist at Central Florida Behavioral Hospital. The majority of her time was spent as a therapist working with children and families. Jackie noticed the gaps in access to service that existed in our community. Mental Health care is not always available or affordable to vulnerable children who need it most. Jackie believes strongly in the mission of Liz’s Legacy and saw how important and impactful a scholarship program can be to help heal the lives of children & families. Jackie and her husband now have two precious children of their own and reside in the Orlando area.
Board Member | 2017-Current
Ms. Stuart possesses an extensive background in various leadership roles with Orlando Health and Arnold Palmer Medical Center for Children. These experiences have given her a unique perspective on children and families struggling with many health concerns, including mental illness. Barbara has used her skills in marketing, fundraising, children and family advocacy, and health management to support and encourage the mission of Liz’s Legacy.
Barbara and husband Charlie have three children, John Charles, Julie, and Sarah. They enjoy spending time with their six grandchildren and time in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They are members of Church on The Drive in College Park.
Board Member | 2016-Current
Gary Meloon has a long family history with boat building. As the VP and Business Manager for Southeast Marine, previously Correct Craft, Gary is a valued member of his family business.
Gary understands that our families are our greatest treasure. Gary is an avid boater and enjoys spending time on the water, skiing, and fishing. Gary and his wife, Ardis, have two sons, Nathan, whose family resides in Orlando Florida; and son, Gary, Jr., who passed away after losing his fight with mental health issues.
MA, RMHCI, Board Member | 2018-Current
Ms. Darnell’s professional expertise as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor brings great value to our Board. In particular, Ms. Darnell works with children and families dealing with the aftermath of trauma and abuse, and advocates implementing initiatives based on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study and trauma-informed approaches to parenting, education and mental health treatment. In addition to her clinical body of work, Ms. Darnell serves in a volunteer capacity with the Orange County Department of Health’s Community Health Improvement Board and Healthy Start’s Children’s Coalition. She also works with many nonprofit organizations working with middle school girls, college/young adults and providing clothing items to families in need in our community. She is a proud member of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health.
Board Member | 2018-Current
A native of East Tennessee, Mr. Anderson followed the examples of his parents and grandparents into Christian ministry. Michael has worked extensively with children and families as a soccer coach, homeless and inner-city youth minister, and overseas missionary working with orphans and at-risk children. These experiences have provided him with a unique understanding of the mental health challenges that face our community’s children.
Michael continues his work with families as a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments. Michael, his wife Katie, and their four precious children, reside in the greater Orlando area.
Board Member | 2020-Current
Tracie Wood grew up in the Winter Park area and later received an Early Childhood Education degree from Auburn University. Tracie was an elementary school teacher for 9 ½ years teaching first grade and kindergarten. Tracie and her husband Chris have been married for 22 years and have 2 boys, Will and Sam. Tracie volunteers at her children’s school and at her home church, Mosaic. She has also been active in Bible Study Fellowship, the Jail Ministry, and Awana. Tracie feels God has given her the heart to serve and minister to children.
Board Member | 2020-Current
After completing his undergraduate degree, Lawrence served four years in the Air Force. He retired after 29 years with the Lockheed Martin Corporation as an information technology professional responsible for developing and implementing the IT strategy required to support the Training and Logistics business.
Lawrence has spent more than 30 years mentoring and working with youth through community-based organizations including Children’s Home Society of Florida and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida.
Lawrence was a founding member and former President of the Joyce-Gillespie-Harrington Educational and Charitable Foundation from 2001 – 2008. The foundation was established to serve as a conduit to generate funds in support of scholarship and other charitable endeavors for the youth of the Washington, DC metropolitan community. He also served as a board member of the Hankins Johnson Education Foundation which funds youth mentoring and provides scholarships to high school seniors in Central Florida.
He lives in Orlando with his wife of 36 years. They have a son, daughter, and two granddaughters. He enjoys traveling, working out and entertaining his granddaughters.
Founding Board of Directors
back row: Steve Cahill, Dave Gabri, Bryce Merideth, Gary Meloon, Michael Anderson
Front row: Jim Stokes, Summer Duval, Margaret Stokes, David Stokes,
Not Shown: Barbara Stuart, Judd Peterson
- To obtain services for a child or teenager: Go to the 'Home' tab above and contact one of our counselors!
- Join our distribution list and become a 'Friend of the Foundation' We will be providing quarterly updates and testimonials of central Florida children and teenagers.
- Pray that God will use our Christian counselors to effectively meet and heal the difficult needs of struggling children and teenagers, so they can become productive adults.