By Jill Fox
A local television station honored South Floridians helping those with the greatest needs.
One of those honorees was Parkland native Samantha Novick, who received the LifeChanger Award during a 30-minute special Sunday evening on WPLG Local 10.
The award recognizes a hometown hero who significantly impacted a person’s life at a pivotal point.
Having spent most of her life in Parkland, the 2008 Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduate and speech-language pathologist feels communication is a human right.
Samantha helps people through her private practice, Bridge Therapy, which she runs with her husband, Jason. Although they now live in Coconut Creek, she has deep family connections within the community. Her mother, Sharon Cutler, teaches at MSD, and her father, Ken Cutler, is a Parkland city commissioner.
As the president of The Friendship Journey, which unites individuals through lasting friendships, Samantha is passionate about providing opportunities for people of all abilities.
One of her biggest advocates, Lisa Smith, an adult living with special needs, nominated her for the LIFEchanger Award. Smith said she found joy, comfort, and purpose through The Friendship Journey’s virtual summer camp program.
Samantha said it meant a lot that Lisa took the time to nominate her for this award. “It’s truly shared with our community because everything we’ve done has been made possible because of so many people believing in the mission to provide equitable opportunities to people of all abilities.”
After weeks of submissions and voting, Samantha was revealed as the winner on October 18, adding the program was beautiful, inspiring, and it was uplifting to see some good news during these times.
Typically, the award winners are announced in person at a banquet, but this year was slightly different. Although they did hand-deliver a beautiful award to Samantha, who loved the idea of highlighting people in the community and the excellent work the various organizations are doing.
After receiving the recognition, Samantha said it was impactful to see how many people reached out, shared their own stories, and expressed the importance of the work that The Friendship Journey does.
“Our motto this summer was ‘look for the good,’ and I thought about that in watching the awards with some really amazing people in the community doing such good work,” she said.
Next up for The Friendship Journey is a showcase and fundraising event in partnership with Broward Center for Performing Arts in December.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 11 and Randi, 7.
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