Team Member Spotlight: Lillie Rivera

An administrative professional her entire career, Lillie Rivera has worked in a variety of fields — from insurance and photography to shipping and telecommunications.
But nothing, she says, compares to the past seven years she has spent in child welfare.

“I enjoy being able to help people and see a smile on the children’s faces when they most need it,” says Lillie, who assists Embrace Families’ Osceola Operations Service Center. “It’s rewarding for me to know that when I go home, I made a difference in somebody’s life.”

Shortly after taking a job with Youth and Family Alternatives in 2008, Lillie discovered just how deeply her new profession could provide love and support for vulnerable children. It was two days before Christmas, and five children were standing in her office because it was unsafe to remain in their parents’ custody.

“I’ll never forget how we had to try to comfort these children and then find a foster home for them,” Lillie says. “That’s when I decided, this is what I want to do. The kids are all grown now, but over the years, some of them would still come and visit — thanks to the bonds we established.”

Lillie, a native of New York who grew up in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico, has five grandchildren and is an avid gardener, especially when it comes to growing orchids. At work, she was the 2014 recipient of the Shining Star Award, which recognizes employees who best meet performance goals while going above and beyond.

“We really need people to step up and open their homes to kids who might have little to no English proficiency,” she says. “For many Hispanic children in foster care, it’s an easier transition for them to go to a Spanish-speaking family. But regardless of background, I encourage everyone to consider the benefits of becoming a foster parent.”

Visit our foster care page to learn more about how you can impact the life of a child.