Advocates for Children: Russ & Andi Prather
Dr. Russ and Andi Prather are members of our Advocates for Children Giving Society for The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families. Advocates have chosen to partner with us through a five-year pledge of $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 per year. They play a critical role in helping families, healing children and building a stronger community.
Russ and Andi are huge fans of our Healthy Families program. The Healthy Families programs in Orange and Osceola Counties are just one of the six programs offered by The Howard Phillips Center. Healthy Families works to prevent child abuse before it starts and has had a 98 percent success rate for the past 8 years.
- When and where did you first meet one another?
Russ: We first met fourteen years ago at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Andi was visiting her sister who had just had her second child. We were introduced through family.
- What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Andi: Aside from spending quality time with our five children, we enjoy traveling. Some of our favorite places are the island of St. John’s, London, Italy, Alaska and Iceland. Another favorite hobby is reading. (Andi’s favorite book is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and Russ’ favorite is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.)
- How did you get involved with The Howard Phillips Center?
Andi: Russ is a Pediatric Hospitalist at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and was first introduced to The Howard Phillips Center in 1999 when he was a resident. His colleague, Dr. Matthew Seibel, served as the Medical Director for the Child Protection Team at The Howard Phillips Center. Immediately, Russ felt the organization needed more recognition and was interested in helping that happen. Today, we both devote our time and money to try and make the lives of Orange County’s young children and their families better.
- Why do you choose to support the mission of Orlando Health?
Andi: I personally love all philanthropy, but believe strongly that we need to take care of our own backyard first. We have been blessed with five healthy, happy kids so we feel very strongly that we need to help take care of those who don’t have it as good as we do.
- What is the one, most important thing you would share with friends or family about The Howard Phillips Center?
Russ: I think that people need to understand that The Howard Phillips Center is filling an important niche that no-one else does. Programs like Healthy Families Orange/Osceola are trying to help at the very start of a child’s life so they will never need to use any of the other programs offered. Through Healthy Families, we spend around $3,000/year helping a family. In comparison, it costs the state $72,000 - 90,000 for every child who enters foster care.
- How does being a physician help with the work you do at The Howard Phillips Center?
Andi: For Russ, his background as a physician gives him a unique perspective that is more holistic than what others may see. Because he has met so many different people from different walks of life in his career, it enables him to see more than one side of the story and makes him less likely to pass judgement on a situation. Russ provides a physician’s perspective, which helps establish credibility for the important work being done at The Howard Phillips Center.
- What might someone be surprised to know about each of you?
Russ: For the past ten years, we have co-owned Broadway Pizza Bar in Kissimmee. We’re both originally from Central Florida and our families can be traced back several generations in the area. Andi is also undergoing radiation therapy at Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center and is very open about her diagnosis and the treatment she is receiving. Andi: I am a fitness instructor, yet I was diagnosed with cancer. It goes to show you that the need for care may still be there even if you don’t see it. That goes for the Cancer Center and The Howard Phillips Center.
- How do you think The Howard Phillips Center makes the biggest impact on the community?
Andi: We want everyone to know about the work being done at The Howard Phillips Center. We also want to help grow the Healthy Families program so that any family in Central Florida can benefit from it no matter their situation.
Come See the Story...We invite you to see the story at The Howard Phillips Center by taking a tour and hearing firsthand stories of identification, treatment and prevention. You can join one of our scheduled one-hour tours or set up a tour for you and friends and family by visiting www.ComeSeeTheStory.com.