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Adriana Belknap with Adventure Cakes

EP# 253: Adriana Belknap's Transformative Journey from Banking to Baking with Adventure Cakes

July 01, 20244 min read

What makes Adriana Belknap with Adventure Cakes a good neighbor?

In the latest episode of the Good Neighbor Podcast, we are introduced to Vicki Hoyas, the dynamic Executive Director of Heathcote Botanical Garden. Vicki’s journey from her extensive work with nonprofits to her current role is not just a career shift but a life-transforming odyssey. This episode takes us through the captivating world of Heathcote Botanical Garden, often described as a "living museum," where every visit offers new discoveries. With its largest public display of bonsai in the U.S. and an array of orchids, palms, and local wildlife, Heathcote is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

Vicki Hoyas’ story is one of resilience and passion. From her days working with the Cleveland Clinic to navigating the challenges of being a single mother, Vicki’s journey is marked by personal and professional triumphs. She found love again and emerged stronger, taking on the role of a mentor to other single mothers. Her commitment to making Heathcote accessible to all demographics underscores her belief in the importance of preserving green spaces for future generations.

In the first chapter of the podcast, Vicki introduces us to Heathcote Botanical Garden, located in Fort Pierce. This five-acre gem on the Treasure Coast is renowned for its extensive bonsai collection. Vicki passionately describes the garden as a dynamic entity, a living museum where the flora and fauna are ever-changing with the seasons. Visitors can marvel at the vibrant orchids, towering palms, and the fascinating local wildlife, including owls and hawks. Vicki dispels the myth that one visit is enough, encouraging repeated visits to fully appreciate the garden’s evolving beauty.

Vicki’s journey from nonprofits to nature leadership is truly inspiring. She spent over two decades with the Cleveland Clinic before moving to Fort Pierce. Initially planning for an early retirement, she found herself drawn back into the world of nonprofits, eventually taking on the role of Executive Director at Heathcote. Her transition from nonprofit work to leading a botanical garden is a testament to her adaptability and passion for community service.

The podcast delves into Vicki’s personal life, revealing her struggles and triumphs. As a single mother, she faced numerous challenges but emerged stronger, finding love again and becoming a mentor to other single mothers. Her story is one of resilience, demonstrating that hardships can be overcome with determination and support. Vicki’s commitment to mentoring single mothers is particularly touching, as she shares the joy of seeing them thrive in their careers and personal lives.

Vicki’s vision for Heathcote Botanical Garden is inclusive and forward-thinking. She emphasizes the importance of making the garden accessible to all demographics, recognizing that not everyone can afford the expense of visiting a botanical garden. Through the Gardens for All program, Heathcote provides access to those who might otherwise miss out on the beauty and tranquility of the garden. Vicki’s mission is to help people appreciate the value of green spaces, understanding that once they are gone, they cannot be replaced.

The podcast also explores the various events hosted at Heathcote Botanical Garden. From the annual Garden Fest to the spectacular Garden of Lights, there is always something happening at Heathcote. These events not only attract visitors but also foster a sense of community, bringing people together to celebrate nature and its wonders. Vicki’s enthusiasm for these events is palpable, as she invites listeners to take the drive to Fort Pierce and experience the garden for themselves.

Heathcote Botanical Garden is more than just a garden; it is a community hub, a place where people can connect with nature and each other. Vicki’s leadership has been instrumental in fostering this sense of community. She shares practical advice on how listeners can get involved with Heathcote, whether through volunteering, attending events, or simply visiting the garden. Her dedication to preserving green spaces and promoting community growth is truly commendable.

In conclusion, this episode of the Good Neighbor Podcast is a must-listen for nature lovers and community enthusiasts alike. Vicki Hoyas’ journey from nonprofits to nature leadership is a testament to her resilience and passion for making a difference. Heathcote Botanical Garden, with its living museum of ever-changing flora and fauna, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Vicki’s commitment to making the garden accessible to all and her efforts to preserve green spaces for future generations make her a true advocate for nature. Tune in to be inspired by Vicki’s story and learn how you can become part of the Heathcote family.

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Good Neighbors Podcast Port St Lucie is a platform that allows local businesses and charities to introduce themselves to their neighbors. I have helped neighbors to become friends while introducing them to local businesses and charities since 2015. From being the founding publisher of PGA Village Living and market manager for Best Version Media, this has been my mission.

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