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BFF Bash "A Night with Our Stars"

Best Foot Forward’s fundraiser, The BFF Bash, is a wonderful event celebrating the academic achievements of foster care and at-risk children. Rita and Frank Barbieri will serve as this year’s Honorary Chairs, and Dr. Van P. Williams, Provost and Dean of Student Services for Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton Campus, will receive our prestigious 2024 Champion of Children Award. Guests will enjoy an evening filled with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dancing, and a captivating live & silent auction. Ticket purchases and donations directly benefit Best Foot Forward’s important and impactful programs.

Click here to see last year's Bash event!

Special Guests

  • Rita and Frank Barbieri

    Honorary Chairs

    Rita and Frank Barbieri

    Honorary Chairs

    Rita Barbieri Bio Rita Barbieri's journey of service spans nearly three decades, primarily within the esteemed halls of the School District of Palm Beach County. For 29 years, Rita dedicated her talents and energy to fostering administrative excellence, serving as the confidential secretary to two principals for 23 years. Her unwavering commitment and proficiency were instrumental in shaping the educational landscape of the District. Upon retiring from the School District, Rita's passion for community involvement grew stronger. She embarked on a new chapter of giving back, lending her time and expertise to various organizations. Volunteering became her calling, and Rita extended her support to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, West Boca Medical Center, and Best Foot Forward. However, it is with Best Foot Forward that Rita found her true sense of purpose. Over the past decade, she has poured countless hours into enriching the lives of children and staff alike within this remarkable non-profit organization. Rita's dedication knows no bounds, and her genuine love for the cause shines through in every task. Rita Barbieri's story is one of selflessness, compassion, and unwavering dedication to making a difference in the lives of others. Her tireless efforts and boundless generosity continue to inspire all those fortunate enough to work alongside her at Best Foot Forward. Frank Barbieri Bio Frank Barbieri, Jr. is a prominent figure in the Boca Raton community, known for his dedication to education and advocacy for children. As a founding board member of Best Foot Forward, established in 2010, he has played a pivotal role in improving the lives of thousands of students by ensuring essential academic support and guidance. The organization's mission to empower foster care and at-risk youth aligns closely with Mr. Barbieri's values, reflecting his commitment to maximizing the potential of every child. Mr. Barbieri’s commitment to children is also reflected in his 16 years of dedicated service as a member of the Palm Beach County School Board. He was first elected to the Board in 2008, representing District 5, which encompasses the greater Boca Raton area. Throughout his tenure on the School Board, he has been actively engaged in major decisions and initiatives, demonstrating leadership as both Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board. Beyond his contributions to education, Frank Barbieri is an accomplished attorney at Sachs Sax Caplan, a prestigious law firm in Boca Raton. Specializing in estate planning and real estate matters, Barbieri brings a wealth of legal expertise to his professional endeavors, further enriching his ability to serve his community. Frank Barbieri's multifaceted involvement in education, advocacy, and legal practice exemplifies his commitment to making a positive impact in Boca Raton and beyond. Through his leadership and dedication, he continues to strive for a brighter future for all students, particularly those facing adversity.

  • Dr. Van P. Williams

    Provost and Dean of Student Services for Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton Campus

    Dr. Van P. Williams

    Provost and Dean of Student Services for Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton Campus

    Dr. Van P. Williams is the Provost and Dean of Student Services for Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton campus (9,000 students), the third largest of five campuses serving Palm Beach County. He is the former Director of the Federal TRIO Programs (5) and Outreach at Palm Beach State College, Assistant Dean and Dean since April 4, 2009. Dr. Williams serves on several College-wide strategic committees and mentors several junior executives annually aspiring to executive leadership. Before joining Palm Beach State College, Van was the Lead and Managing Investigator for the Florida Commission on Human Relations Employment Discrimination Division. During Van’s five-year tenure at the FCHR, he was the Community Relations Manager. Dr. Williams also served as Assistant Professor and Director of Upward Bound at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Director of Upward Bound at Florida State University, Program Specialist for the Educational Talent Search Program at Savannah State University, and adjunct professor of law enforcement at Central Texas University. Dr. Williams is an honorably discharged noncommissioned officer with accommodations from the United States Army wartime service and served on contiguous U. S. bases and abroad. A few of the roles Dr. Williams has served as a Military Police Officer/Investigator are in the uniformed law enforcement branch of the United States Army. Investigations are conducted by Military Police Investigators or the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, both of which report to the Provost Marshal General. Also, Van was selected to participate in the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP), which is a United States Department of Defense security, medical, and psychological evaluation program designed to permit only the most trustworthy individuals to have access to nuclear weapons (NPRP), chemical weapons (CPRP), and biological weapons (BPRP). Dr. Williams received an Army Achievement and Accommodation Medal for his role in the U. S. Department of Defense nuclear retrograde mission at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California. Dr. Williams serves on the board of directors/trustees for Best Foot Forward, the George M. Snow Foundation, and the Boca Raton Chambers of Commerce. Van is an unyielding academician, a champion of many causes that serve young people and underserved populations in the community, and a proponent of the transformative impact of an excellent education. Dr. Williams is married to the lovely Dr. Michelle C. Williams and has five adult children (Shaquita, Malcolm, Brittany, Ashley, and Lydia) who are all college graduates.

  • Tina

    Student Speaker


    Student Speaker


  Presenting Sponsor

LVL UP Fitness*


 Leaps and Bounds 

     Cathy and Abdol Moabery*

    Vertical Bridge*


  Jumping for Joy 

     Burns Family Foundation*

    Anita Detert*

    Anne and Mark Ellman*

   Enterprise Mobility*

  Florida Blue

    The Foundation for Palm Beach State College*

   Brad Ginsberg Family Foundation*

  JM Family Enterprises*

      Amy and Mike Kazma*

Patricia and Paul Kilgallon*

  Christine E. Lynn, E.M. Lynn Foundation*

  Tara and Tony Ruberg*

  Joan E. Schwartz & Bruce Rubinger*


  Fancy Footwork 

Peg Anderson & Martin Mallinger     


     AvalonBay Communities*

   Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation*

      Vivian Cardia

    Nelson Mullins*

      NSI Insurance Group*®*

   Valve Research and Manufacturing Company*


 Head Over Heels 

    Kathy and Ron Assaf*

   Meryll B. Bangsil, CFP®, CEPA®- Boca Raton Wealth Consulting Group-UBS Financial Services Inc.*

    Champagne & Parisi Real Estate*

  Margi and Kurtis Cross*

 Diane and Larry Feldman & Feldman Development*

    Florida Atlantic University*

    Florida Power & Light Company*

   Ellen Glantz-Tucker*

   Marla and Gary Greenspan*

Barbara C. Gutin and Cheryl Elliott

 JR Cigar/Casa de Montecristo*

 Oceans 234*

  Lisa and Todd Orlando*

  Jessie and Alex Price

 Susan Salamon*

  Sandy and Ed Sheehy*

 Truist Wealth*

Zonta Club of Greater Deerfield Beach


 Swept Off Your Feet

     Lori and David Bargas*

    Executive Construction Group, Inc*

     Laura and Bill Fash*

   Chris and Forrest Heathcott*


     Michael E. Katz*

     Claudia and Warren Orlando*

     Sunflower Landscaping*

    TBS Law, P.A. / Secure Title & Escrow Services, LLC. *

  Temple Beth El of Boca Raton*

 The Toppel Family Foundation*

 Urology Center of South Florida, P.A.*

  Elaine Weinberg, VP, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley*

  Weisman & Margolies*


  In-Kind Sponsors


     Jewelry Sponsor

Cristino Fine Jewelry*


    Event Design and Management Sponsor

 Linzi Events*


   Graphic Design Sponsor

 Advisor Expressions


     Entertainment Sponsor

 Mike Sipe Entertainment, Events & Productions*


      Video Sponsor

 Plum Productions Corporate Video Services*


     Exclusive Media Sponsor

The Boca Raton Observer*


*Denotes repeat sponsor


Meryll Bangsil

Rita Barbieri

Lori Bargas

Lorraine Cross

Teri Cutler

Sharon Deren

Anita Detert

Liz Dinner

Mel Elion

Gloria Hosh

Elida Justo

Bruce Katz

Anita Kreilein

Suzanne LaCaria

Kathy Lechtner

Victoria Matthews

Laura McCutcheon

Laura Messler

Lisa Orlando

Christine Roberts-Kelly

Danielle Rosse

Susan Salamon

Claudia Sanchez

Joan E. Schwartz

Sandy Sheehy

Sheryl Stiefel

Alyssa Stout

Marissa Tiongson

Elissa Tobin

Mari Vasan

Samantha Vassallo

Elaine Weinberg

Lisa Wheeler