Council Members


John Howard Baldino
I am John Howard Baldino, from North Florida. I became a new member of the Florida Youth Council in 2018. I learned leadership skills and gained a lot of strength from my time in Boy Scouts. I participated in the Triple Crown of scouting: I hiked the Rockies, canoed and portaged in Ontario, and attended Florida Sea Base. I ended my scouting career as an Eagle Scout. Since then, I have volunteered at Elder Day Stay and for a church youth group for high schoolers. I have a beach house located on St. George Island and I go there on the weekends to swim and ride bikes. I love the Gulf of Mexico! My other interests include riding horses, playing pool, snow skiing, and working on my computer. I also play the piano, guitar, and harmonica.

Shevie Barnes
Hi there! My name is Shevie Barnes. I reside in Cape Coral, FL. My most recent works as a leader have been as a middle/high school teacher in Jacksonville, FL. I was led to return to school to earn my education degree this is my most current goal. I earned my AA degree at Florida State College and now attend Western Governors University online. I enjoy reading, writing, singing, and sign language. I am a youth director for middle school class at my church and am working to create a disability awareness group in my area.

Derek Carraway
My name is Derek. I am from Tallahassee. I enjoy going camping, going to the beach, going to church, and spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy listening to country music. I like watching TV, especially sit-coms and college football broadcasts. I bleed garnet and gold. I also like doing things on computers. In fact, I recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Information Technology and I’m now currently hunting for a job. In addition to being on the youth council, I volunteer in the media department at my church and also lead the scout group out of my church, which is a part of a national organization called Royal Rangers. I’m in charge of all aspects of our local Outpost. My involvement in all of these things keeps me busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way and it allows me to continue to grow as a leader and shows others I don’t let my disabilities stop me from doing anything I want to do!

Ruben Rocky Castro
Hello!!! My name is Ruben ROCKY Castro; I am currently living Orlando, Florida. I am presently in my second year of law school at Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law: Barry University. My goal in law school is to further my knowledge in ADA law in order to fight for the rights of others with disabilities who have no one to fight for them. When my nose is not in a law book or studying for an exam, I enjoy video games, movies, listening to music, and just going out to have a good time. This is my first year as an official member of the FYC and I look forward to being a part of this group of advocates as we strive to bring awareness and knowledge to our community about the world of disabilities.

Alexander Gonzalez
Hi, my name is Alexander, but most people call me Alex. I am 22 years old, and I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but I’ve lived in Florida for most of my life. I currently attend Polk State College, but I’m planning on transferring after I get my Associate in Science. My major is Criminal Justice, so I plan on having a job in law enforcement. I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 5, but I will not let my disability define who I am. I used to volunteer at a food pantry for three years, and now I volunteer to help build doors or provide other resources to help people in need. In my free time, I exercise, and I love to live-stream or broadcast on and YouTube. I do a podcast with my friends and enjoy playing video games. My dream is to one day write and direct a feature film and put it on the big screen so the whole world can see! This is my first year as an official member of the FYC, and I will continue on with the tradition of helping people with disabilities to get the resources and benefits they need to support their lives and strive for a better world.

Dakota Smoot
Hi there! I am Dakota Smoot and I am 21 years old. I love sports and my friends. I’m a poet and a gamer. My favorite shows are Naruto and Bleach. I also love trains! I live in Jacksonville, Florida on the north side. I attend Edward H. White school as a post-graduate student. While I may look like the average person, I’m not! I have epilepsy but you can’t tell by looking at me. I look forward to seeing new people every day and making more friends.

Josue Tapia Ortiz
Hello my name Josue Tapia and I currently live in Orlando Florida. I enjoy playing video games, reading history books and playing with my dog. I work at Petco as an assistant groomer working with dogs. I think I’m the only bilingual member on the council and the only Hispanic at that. Its fun to have that out the box opinion. I’ve been on the council for about 7 years and its been a great experience for me. I’ve met many people going through different paths of life with different disabilities and I heard their stories of triumph and hard work. I’ve enjoyed my years on the FYC and I hope to have many more making a difference.

Christina Waldron
My name is Christina Waldron. I live in Saint Petersburg, Florida. I am a bowling coach for a disabled bowling league, as well as serving as an alter server at my church every Sunday, I also co teach a group studying to make their first communion. I am a part-time student at Saint Petersburg College. In the fall of 2012, I became a member of the Florida youth council.

Serena Wetmore
My name is Serena Wetmore and I am brand-new to the Florida Youth Council. I am a high school student in Jacksonville, FL. It might seem strange that at my age, I am a fan of 1980s rock bands such as Foreigner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Styx. I also love to go to Universal, mostly because they have Harry Potter. I also enjoy playing iPad games such as “Clash of Clans.” This is great for me because I can’t work regular video game controllers. I hope to go to college to get a degree in marketing and also plan to do some advocacy as an adult. Sometimes people say I’m already an advocate because I am constantly looking to improve the way society views people with disabilities.

Brandon White
Hi my name is Brandon, and for the past three years I have been a part of west ports military program known as JROTC. My mom, sister and I went Family Cafe meet at the Hyatt, which was one of the most fun educational experiences I’ve had outside of school. My goal is to not only learn more about how i can help thoughts with disabilities but also gain knowledge to help others throughout my life in the military. The reason I decided to join the FYC is to widen my knowledge on disability awareness along with how to help those with disabilities. My goal after high school is to go into the military. I will most likely go into the Airforce because it hits many of the key points that I find interesting. Sadly that means I will have to leave the FYC to pursue my dream of making a career of the Airforce. My overall goal of being a part of the FYC is to help as many people as I possibly can in any possible way before I leave for the military. When I’m in the military and I come across someone with a disability I want to know how to help them the very best I can and I believe the Family Cafe is the best place for me to learn how I can help people.


Allilee Wood

Hello! My name is Allilee Wood. To make that easier, my nickname is Allie. I am from Ocala, FL. I’m a high school student, 11th grader to be exact, and I’m 16 years old. When I’m not busy with school, I’m usually at work, which I LOVE. I have a strong love for children, and I work at a gym where I take care of all the kiddos while their parents work out. Along with loving kids, what I love most is my family and friends. On weekends I spend my days chilling in the living room watching movies with the fam, or running around having fun with my friends. But being 16 comes with responsibility, so I strive to better myself each and every day. Whether it’s eating habits, grades, or your approach to others, it’s always important to live the best life you possibly can. When you’re able to do that , you’re able to lead and show others your ways. I’m so excited to be a part of the youth council, and to be a leader!