Carolyn Dixon remembers the rarity of having a picture frame growing up … they were a tad expensive and not really necessary, so any photo lucky enough to be wrapped by a one held special significance.

For Ms. Carolyn, one of the few oval frames in her childhood home held the photo of Marcus “Daddy” Fagg, who stepped into the lead role at Children’s Home Society of Florida in 1919, serving as the organization’s superintendent for decades – the man most often credited for shaping CHS into who we are today. For Carolyn, he is also the man who gave her family a chance nearly a century ago.

It was the early 1920s … Ms. Carolyn’s grandmother, Florence, was a young widow with five children desperately trying to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. She tried all she could to make ends meet, but things kept falling through … until Daddy Fagg offered her a job as a dressmaker for Children’s Home Society of Florida. Finding comfort and a paycheck with her skills as a seamstress, Florence poured her heart into her work, carefully crafting outfits for the children who called CHS home – and finally finding the security in providing for her own family as well.

Soon after, Florence found love again and remarried, believing in a second chance. She continued to serve with CHS, caring for her own family as she cared for the children in CHS’ home.

And then, tragedy struck.

In 1927, Florence, her husband and her two young sons were hit by a train, instantly passing away.

As Florence’s surviving children – including Ms. Carolyn’s mother – found safety with relatives, “Daddy Fagg was involved in all of their lives,” Ms. Carolyn shares.

But it was only the beginning of her family’s journey with CHS.

antique photos of a family

Decades later, after Ms. Carolyn had married and began her career, she and her husband dreamt of baby booties, nighttime lullabies and creating warm family memories with little ones.

As life happened, they, too, found their way to CHS.

Ms. Carolyn still remembers the day in 1964 when she received the call – while at a church meeting – that her baby girl had been born … and she could pick her up the next day. “I was the happiest person in the world,” she recalls with an engaging smile. “I wanted to tell the whole church – I was about to jump out of my skin, I wanted to tell everyone we were going to be parents tomorrow!” She lights up recalling the first time she laid eyes on her baby girl. “Her hair was sticking straight up like a little bird!”

Before long, Ms. Carolyn grew her family by one more. This time, the Dixons adopted a sweet baby boy.

“Those were special times,” she remembers.

Ms. Carolyn raised her family in the Pine Hills community of Orlando, and both of her children received an excellent education at Evans High School, she says with pride. But, after 46 years in the Pine Hills community, Ms. Carolyn and her husband made the difficult decision to move out of the community as they grew concerned with increasing community challenges.

But her heart never left the community she called home for so long.

In 2012, Evans High School – the alma mater of Ms. Carolyn’s children – became the first Community Partnership School in Florida, led by a partnership among Children’s Home Society of Florida, Orange Blossom Family Health, Orange County Public Schools and the University of Central Florida.

At the time, Evans was struggling with student behavior – the principal at the time recalled reviewing stacks of juvenile arrest reports each Monday morning – academics, parental involvement and graduation rates. Moreover, it was in the center of the zip code with the highest number of calls to Florida’s Child Abuse Hotline, and the majority of students were in families living well below the poverty line. In short, it was a daily battle for survival.

But with CHS and the Community Partnership School, that picture slowly began to change. The greatest obstacles interfering with student success – hunger, violence, inaccessible health care and counseling – began to be met right at school. Food pantries, onsite counseling as well as health, dental and vision care allowed students to receive immediate support. Parental education and support directly affected family involvement in the school. Behavior improved. Academics improved. Graduation rates soared.

And when Ms. Carolyn heard about CHS’ work at Evans – within the community so dear to her heart – she had to learn more.

She quickly “re-fell” in love with the organization that already meant so much to her family … for nearly 100 years.

After just one tour of Evans High School, A Community Partnership School, Ms. Carolyn was hooked. Already a kind contributor to CHS, she saw firsthand the impact of her support – and generously provided more.

“I don’t spend a dime I don’t need to,” she says. “I love giving away money to organizations that deserve it.”

And every dime matters … every $0.96 allows a student to receive an entire day of the full array of support at a Community Partnership School – mental health counseling, health and dental care, vision services, after-school leadership and enrichment opportunities, tutoring, mentoring, college and career support, and much more.

Just as CHS paved the way for so much joy in Ms. Carolyn’s family, her generous heart is paying it back tenfold, paving the way for countless children and teens to realize their full potential with Children’s Home Society of Florida.

Because, together, so much GOOD can be done.