By Michelle Colesanti
November is National Adoption Month and that has special meaning for Lithia resident Rachel Nunn. She is the state spokesperson for Camelot Care, a non-profit which serves foster kids in the Tampa area and beyond. Nunn speaks at gatherings of local businesses to explain what Camelot does and why community support is crucial. Trying to recruit foster parents is crucial because the law changed, extending foster care from age 18 to age 21. Kids in the system who turn 18 can now elect to remain in foster care until age 21. More foster parents are needed for these teens.
Last year Nunn, 49, was crowned Mrs. Florida International 2014 and now she has gained the title of Ms. Florida State America 2015. These two separate pageants are for women ages 26 and older. Her main reason for participating in the pageants is so that she has a platform to promote her causes.
Nunn’s background as an attorney with Florida’s foster care system has helped in her quest to advocate for foster care in the Tampa area. She does not currently practice law so that she can spend more time with her four children (one who is adopted). Two of her children attend Newsome High School and two are currently at Randall Middle School. Her husband Willy Nunn is the President of Homes by West Bay which builds in FishHawk and other communities in the area.
When asked why she is so passionate about advocating for the foster care system, Nunn said, “Mainly, I want people to be aware that kids in foster care are fabulous kids. They are brought into the system due to abuse, abandonment or neglect in their homes, not through any fault of their own. Every child deserves love, every child deserves a safe, stable home, and it is never too late to provide that, whether the child is 2 years old or 21 years old.”
She also helps support other children-related charities such as Joshua House in Tampa. Nunn will travel to Tallahassee in November to speak on National Adoption Day for DCF’s “Can Be Done” Campaign, which focuses on the success stories of foster care rather than the negatives, plus a lot more.
She has other interests too; a lifelong swimmer, who competes in Olympic and half Ironman distance triathlons, she is also a member of Team Knockoutz, a competition team for bodybuilding and figure athletes. For years, she served as an assistant attorney general in Tampa, litigating cases involving child abuse, neglect and abandonment.
Nunn will compete in the Ms. America 2015 pageant that be held in August in California, where women from all over the country will compete for the title of Ms. America. Visit www.rachelnunn.com.