Hello There.

Meet the Team

From the Start


In 2007 the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay decided to focus on disadvantaged youth as a priority.  The Foundation's President, David Fischer, observed a venture in Hillsborough County that had been successful in helping young adults as they make the challenging transition from foster care to adulthood.  David believed nurturing such help throughout the community was a worthy project for the Foundation.   A meeting was organized in St. Pete to expose our community to the issues the youth face when they turn eighteen.  This transition occurs on their 18th Birthday without regard to any other outside considerations.  For example, most of these young people are still in high school or trying to obtain their GED, have limited life skills, no clear plan for housing or employment yet they are expected to be independent.


Bud Risser and Gerry Hogan were approached about developing a not for profit that would focus on assisting this population through this transition and thus Ready for Life was created.  They became involved because an opportunity to help these young people in a meaningful way was very compelling.  They had a clear mission and manageable goals while leveraging community resources and volunteers to make a real and significant difference.


Our Mission & Goals


To engage foster care youth, private citizens and public resources to assist Pinellas County foster youth in a successful transition to adulthood.

Success for Ready for Life, Inc. would be that within a few years it is our hope that every Pinellas County youth aging out of foster care is prepared for the challenges they will face, they are connected with an adult mentor and that they have access to a safety net should they be unable to surmount all the hurdles they face as they make the journey to adulthood.

Geographic Area Served


Ready for Life, Inc. serves youth in Pinellas & Pasco Counties 15 – 23 years old that are in foster care or have already transitioned out and are on their own.  The youth RFL serves are “put out” of the foster care system on their 18th Birthday regardless of their housing situation, support system or knowing that they have what they need to be successful on their own.


"Ready for Life helped me find my voice as a youth who aged out of foster care; today I use this voice to help my foster brothers and sisters to do the same."


"Ready for Life came into my life exactly when I needed it most; it turned out to be the conduit to the success I dreamed about. I am blessed to have discovered my passion to help improve the system and the lives of foster youth like me on both local and state levels every day."


"Ready for Life has helped me
to have a second chance at
life; from employment, to
housing, to sobriety


"Being in foster care made me realize that I had to make it on my own.  I did not have a Mom and Dad to support me and so I knew I would go on and finish my GED and go to college or technical school.  Ready for Life provided support and encouragement for me to follow my dreams."


Meet the Team


Executive Director


Executive Director


Executive Director


Executive Director



Executive Director

kmize@readyforlifepinellas.org    727.631.1778


Youth Development Director

dkelly@readyforlifepinellas.org    727.954.3989


Community Liaison

mwalag@readyforlifepinellas.org    727.631.1778


Youth Development Coordinator


Youth Specialist


Need Title


Need Title


Youth Specialist

Our Board Members


Bud Risser, Co-Founder

Gerry Hogan, Co-Founder

Scott Clendening

Mary Pat McLain

Bob Hilton

Kay Dillinger

Shadai Simmons

Don Howe

Erik Matheney

Kay Dillinger

2300 Tall Pines Dr, #100, Largo, FL 33771

(727) 954 -3989  -  info@readyforlifepinellas.org