Freedom Waters Foundation, Inc. (FWF) was incorporated in March 2006 to carry out its Mission of “Enhancing lives by providing boating opportunities and marine related activities for people with disabilities, life threatening illnesses, youth at risk, others with special needs and veterans.”
Debra Frenkel, LCSW, the Executive Director and Founder of FWF has been involved in the development and management of these types of programs since 1999: all-inclusive sailing programs; yacht outings for those with cancer and other special needs; and a variety of other large, marine related special events. It is because of her passion and dedication to these programs and all the individuals and communities that they serve, that she chose to establish the Freedom Waters Foundation.
John Weller, a yacht broker for over 30 years, and Freedom Waters Foundation’s co-founder has been a program supporter of Debra’s since they met in October of 1999.
John became directly involved, in the programs in 2004, while undergoing his first set of treatments for cancer. He and Debra established and implemented the Weller Days, yacht outings for children with cancer and their families. John recruited the yacht owners and the use of their vessels and Debra recruited the children and their families from local hospitals and cancer support group organizations. John has since survived five bouts of cancer and is doing very well.
John also established the annual Big Brothers/ Big Sisters Fishing Tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, in 1978. Each year, 20-30 boats participate in taking out the Little Brothers/Sisters (40-90) with their respective Big Brothers and Sisters fishing for an afternoon. Debra has been participating in these tournaments since 2002.
Debra and John have enjoyed the rewards of providing such programming and the positive affects they have had on all that have participated – participants and yacht owners, anglers, and volunteers. John continues to be a major supporter of the foundation and serves on the FWF Board of Directors.