About the Camp > Our Staff > Rose Ann Farrell, LCSW

Rose Ann Farrell, LCSW

Volunteer Assistant Coordinator

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and lived there until I was five years old. We moved to Miami, actually Hialeah, when Hialeah was still a very small country town. I have remained in the Miami-Dade area ever since.

My father died six years after our move to Florida on Labor Day, the day before I started Middle School when I was 12 years old. He was a tremendously wonderful man and father and his death was unexpected and devastating. My mother was left with six children to raise on her own.

I am full blooded, second generation Italian. How can you be anything else with a maiden name of "De Simone"? I am one of six children, three girls and three boys - my father's dream and wish come true.

I graduated from Hialeah High and did not go to college until later in my thirties. Immediately after graduating from High School I began my first career as a professional dancer. I performed both locally and in South America. While dancing, I married and had two wonderful sons. Of all my careers I have to admit that being a mother was my favorite and most rewarding. My marriage ended in divorce early in my dancing career and I needed to make a change in my profession.

I began working in the accounting field, which was my focus in high school. I worked primarily in the import/export industry in accounting and as a business manager. After several years in this field, the company I was employed with ended in bankruptcy and I decided it was time to go back to school to begin another career.

At this time in my life, I felt a strong desire and need for a more rewarding career. Because of all the hardships I had overcome, the death of my father and raising children on my own, I decided to seek a career in mental health. In this manner I could apply the knowledge and insights I had gained from my own life experiences to assist others with their struggles and hardships.

I began my pursuit, first obtaining a Master's Degree in Social Work and then becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), all while working full time and raising my two sons "teenagers" at the time.

I graduated in 1991 and began working at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, as a pediatric social worker in Dr. Simpser's office. In this position, I became involved in VACC Camp, the beginning of a tremendous opportunity and life-fulfilling mission.

I was involved in all the planning and preparations for camp with my primary focus on recruiting and training teen volunteers, and additionally overseeing the activities and teen volunteers throughout the week of camp.

I was never expected or asked to stay and sleep overnight at the camp. During my first day at camp, I was so touched by the spirit of camp created by the volunteers and the response of the campers and families that I immediately said, "Bring me a cot, I am staying" and I have slept at camp every night since.

In time due to reorganization I was assigned to another department in the hospital. I continued to stay involved in VACC Camp now over 15 years. As the saying goes, they can take you out of a department, but they cannot take VACC Camp out of your heart.

After leaving the hospital, I began working with children in the schools. Once again, I continued my involvement in VACC Camp. Camp has become part of me and my intentions are to continue my support and stay involved ongoing.

Gradually, or not so gradually, I have recruited my grandchildren to sleep over and be a part of VACC Camp. Three out of my four grandchildren have been there since they were small and the fourth will be next, soon! Camp has become a very important part of my grandchildren's lives along with me. VACC Camp is our priority that week and often throughout the year. My sons and family have been very supportive. My two sons daughter-in-laws know not to expect to see much of their children that week or make other plans for their spring break.

Working with the teen volunteers who dedicate so much of their time and heart has been one of my most cherished life experiences. I admire their willingness to give so much of themselves and it has inspired me to know we have such fine young people in our community. They have my utmost respect and are the kind of people whom I am grateful to have had an influence on my grandchildren.

VACC Camp is a "win-win" situation for everyone involved. Everyone gains by the experience, not only the campers. I am thankful for this experience and the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful and rewarding services provided in our community.