GROW Central Florida Logo

GROW Central Florida

GROW Central Florida works to promote environments that support increased opportunities for physical activity and healthy living for Central Florida school children.

GROW stands for: Grass Roots Outreach Within. Our goal is to help develop the healthiest children by supporting grass roots wellness initiatives. We do this by partnering with grass root volunteers and unfunded school health & wellness programs in Central Florida. Our focus areas include supporting: cross country running programs, playground revitalizations, recess toys for schools, shoes for runners in need, and family engagement events.

Our mission is to make a positive difference in children's lives by increasing opportunities for healthy living. GROW Central Florida, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

To receive support visit:

Options include: Cross Country Running Support, Recess Toy Request, Play Space Revitalization, Shoe Request, Check Out Items, Family Engagement, External Grant Support, and Inspiration.

GROW stands for: Grass Roots Outreach Within

Why Is Support Needed?

Start flag with GROW logo

GROW Central Florida (GROW) recognized a need to support grass roots efforts by teachers, parents, and members of the law enforcement community aimed at increasing opportunities for youth physical activity and healthy living. GROW mentors volunteers and fills gaps to allow coaches and volunteers to efficiently serve as many children as possible. Because little to no school funding is provided for programs such as cross country or running club, GROW primarily focuses their efforts in low resource communities providing funds, creating training materials, and supplying durable goods and resources for running programs and cross country meets throughout Central Florida.

Founded in 2015, GROW has expanded its support to include: play space revitalization, recess equipment for schools, family and community engagement events, and partnering with law enforcement in youth-based neighborhood outreach, providing much needed sports equipment, such as sneakers and socks.

Board of Directors

Kerri Segrest

Kerri Segrest

President, Physical Education Teacher, and Running Coach at Red Bug Elementary

Fritz Voltaire - Director, Philanthropist, Volunteer Running Coach 
                                    at Idyllwilde Elementary

Fritz Voltaire

Treasurer, Philanthropist, Volunteer Running Coach at Idyllwilde Elementary School in Sanford

Luis Gonzalez

Luis Gonzalez

Secretary, Partner at Holland & Knight

Amber Belanger

Amber Belanger

Deputy, Seminole County Sheriff's Office

Melodie Griffin

Melodie Griffin

MHA, Action for Healthy Kids Florida State Coordinator


Lenore Logsdon

Principal at Idyllwilde Elementary School in Sanford

Mandy Layman

Mandy Layman

MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, Nemours Children’s Health System

Lisa Mercer

Lisa Di Leo Mercer

EdS, MEd Physical Education Teacher at Wilson Elementary, Cross Country Running Coach

Eric Shivers

Eric Shivers

CPA (Certified Public Accountant) at Rudolph & Shivers

Colleen Gonzalez - Founder of GROW Central Florida

About Our Founder & Executive Director

Colleen Gonzalez is the mother of two teens who grew up attending Seminole County Public Schools. She graduated from Rollins College with a BA degree in Organizational Behavior. For over ten years Colleen worked in the field of human resources. During her professional career she worked in the hospitality and medical industry as a generalist, manager, and director.

When her children were in elementary school, Colleen learned about the cross country running program at other schools and questioned why her children’s school did not participate. Colleen was informed that teachers must volunteer their time and fund their running teams. Simply put: no volunteers, no funds, no program.

In 2009, Colleen put together an action plan to ensure her children’s school could have a cross country running team. Over the years, she has led a cross country running team and organized division and district-wide meets. In addition, Colleen has led other programs promoting physical activity and healthy living such as a school wide “Friday Fun Run” and “Walk & Roll” program.

Since 2011, Colleen has received the following awards:

  • Seminole Association of School Administrators, Community Partner of the Year Award (April 2020)
  • Orlando Magazine, Orlando’s Women of the Year (March 2020)
  • Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Certificate of Appreciation (June 2018)
  • Seminole County Public Schools, Community Leadership Academy (April 2018)
  • Peace Run, Certificate of Appreciation (March 2018)
  • Florida Blue Foundation, Sapphire Award Recognizing Excellence and Innovation in Community Health, Individual Category (April 2017)
  • Action for Healthy Kids Health School Hero (October 2014)
  • Rotary International Community Service Leadership Award (June 2013)
  • Seminole County Public School Dividend of the Year (2011 – 2012 School Year)
  • Lake Orienta Elementary School Dividend of the Year (2011 – 2012 School Year)
  • Seminole County Public Schools, Parent Involvement Award District Winner (2012)

New report calls for increased community outreach and diversity within police departments

ORLANDO, Fla. — Central Florida police chiefs are making strides to improve relationships within the communities they serve. To do that, according to a recent report by a Florida Police Chief Association subcommittee, police agencies will be focusing on recruiting and community outreach.

The recent report suggests connecting and building a trust with youth and their families could help bridge gaps and change perspective —- an area nonprofit GROW Central Florida is partnering with area law enforcement to do just that.


New Article About GROW

Put Your Hand Out and Help Somebody Colleen Gonzalez was a stay-at-home mom who saw a gap in schools across Central Florida. After learning more about the resources that students were missing out on, she decided to do something about it. She founded GROW Central Florida, Inc., an organization that supports grass roots wellness initiatives like cross country running programs, playground revitalizations, recess toys for schools, shoes for runners in need, and family engagement events. Watch as Colleen shares more about her journey from an engaged parent to a non-profit founder and leader, solving problems and changing lives with 80 volunteers across 50 Central Florida schools.


Presenting Sponsors ($10,000 or more)

Gold Sponsors ($2,500 or more)

Silver Sponsors ($1,000 or more)

Bronze Sponsors ($500 or more)

Booster Sponsors ($250 or more)

Panera Bread

(In Kind)


(In Kind)

Community Partners

  • Action For Healthy Kids
  • Parents For Healthy Kids
  • Orlando City Soccer Foundation
  • Sports 4 the Kids
  • Sanford Police Department
  • Oranole Foundation
  • Seminole County Sheriff's Office
  • Seminole State College
  • Florida Department of Health in Seminole County

Contact Us



Phone: 407-461-2611


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GROW Central is proud to be a Action for Healthy Kids Parent Ambassador. Learn more at