Our Staff

Our Staff2018-04-23T20:03:17+00:00
Debra Frenkel, LCSWFounder/Executive Director
Debra Frenkel, LCSW, shares LOVE on and off the water! With her BA in Journalism, with a specialization in public relations and advertising (UCF), and her MSW in Social Work (Loyola University of Chicago), and her numerous years of work experience in business, she has put her cumulative skills to use in Freedom Waters Foundation, which she founded in March of 2006.

Through Freedom Waters Foundation, Debra builds bridges in much of what she believes in: sharing one’s passion; building a greater sense of community by building relationships beyond tolerance and understanding through shared experience; and offering opportunity and new ways of being to those who might not otherwise be exposed to full potential possibilities.

Debra was the Chairperson for US Sailing Disabled Sailing Championship for 4 years (and involved since 1999) and wrote the preliminary manual for disabled sailing for U.S. Sailing.

Debra also holds a Florida Real Estate Associates license. Is a certified diver, and has numerous hobbies: dancing, reading, travelling, making art, writing, fitness, and always trying something new.

In March 2013, she was one of five honorees at the American Association of University Women’s Luncheon for her work in Freedom Waters Foundation. Other awards received include: Yachtworld Hero Award, and the Hodges University’s Dr. Harold Russell Excellence in Diversity Award.

Elisabeth DevikProgram Manager
“I moved to Naples in 2013 from Sweden to study Psychology at Florida Gulf Coast University. I found out about Freedom Waters Foundation through my school. It has been an extremely rewarding and exciting experience, and I am lucky to have met so many wonderful people and to have shared their joy out on the water,” wrote Elisabeth.

Elisabeth is the Program Coordinator for the West Coast of Florida for Freedom Waters Foundation, planning boat trips from Marco Island and up to Sanibel Island and even a few beyond.

Lori GriffithProgram Coordinator - Palm Beach County Region
Lori is the Freedom Waters Foundation’s (FWF) Program Coordinator in the Palm Beach and Martin counties.

Lori left her work as a practice manager in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a local West Palm Beach hospital in 2016 to dedicate more time to Freedom Waters Foundation and her photography business, “Chasin’ A Dream”.

“The universe put me in the path of Freedom Waters Foundation as their photographer for an event on the Mariner III several years ago. After learning what they did I became a volunteer and subsequently have come to work with them. The incredible family of Freedom Waters Foundation has not only given me an avenue to pursue my passions, but made a life changing moment happen for my son.”

In addition to my work with FWF, Lori has a weekly feature in the Jupiter Courier Newsweekly. She has written and photographed for several local, national and international magazines and am looking forward to building that aspect of my business.

Lori has also started a local toy drive (Kiting for Kids) in 2013 and collected about 50 toys. Kiting for Kids has now grown to providing over 1000 children in the Palm Beach area holiday toys and gift cards.

Lori is passionate about a few things: her son, making a difference in this world, photography, travel, and helping sick and disabled kids.

Chelsey VillarealProgram Coordinator - Broward County Region
Chelsey grew up in Houston, Texas. She graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration from Faulkner University, located in Montgomery, Alabama and moved to South Florida in 2017.

“I’m now the Program Coordinator for Broward and north Miami-Dade counties. I’m absolutely fascinated by the water’s therapeutic effects, my goal is to help others feel peaceful, whole, and safe.”

Bryan GantwargAdministrative Assistant, Naples
Bryan, currently (2018) is an Interdisciplinary Studies Major with a Minor in Marketing at FGCU. Through one of his classes, he was required to team up with a non profit and his group chose Freedom Waters Foundation to complete their project. Bryan felt a strong connection with the mission and family like atmosphere and remained on well after his class requirements were met.

Bryan began helping around the office, out on boat trips and with community outreach events, willing to do anything to help. And, most recently, he produced the videos for the Keynote speech for the FWF 2018 Kind Mariners Ball.

Bryan truly enjoys being part of the Freedom Waters Foundation family and using his skills and talents for the greater good, so you may find him in the office; out in the community or out on a boat outing, or possibly behind a camera doing an interview.

Connie NageleAdministrative Consultant
Connie Nagele has been volunteering behind the scenes for the last 2 1/2 years, bookkeeping, developing streamlined processes and other administrative support duties.

Connie has had her own business consulting business for many years. She is incredibly good at building systems and efficiency for small businesses. She is also a very fine artist and works in multiple mediums.

Connie enjoys fishing, kayaking and helping others achieve their goals.

FWF is appreciative of all her efforts and she is now taking a part time position to further assist FWF in a more concentrated way.