Cole M. Caruso, Founder
Cole Caruso founded the Community Resource Network of Florida, Inc. in 2009 when a similar organization had to close its doors because it was no longer able to provide for people who so desperately relied on the services they were receiving. Rather than see those people go unserved, Cole quickly developed CRN and poured his heart and soul into making it work for those who need it.
In 2011, Cole was approached to take on a struggling Life Skills Program providing daily schooling for 45 people in Cape Coral. Rather than turning down the extra work, he again stepped up and answered the call to serve those in need. That program now serves 100 people with disabilities each day, providing training so that they may join the workforce and become productive members of the community. The same situation happened again in 2013 with a Life Skills Program in Charlotte County. That program has grown from 40 to 100 individuals served daily.
Under Cole’s leadership, the company has grown 20-30 percent annually each of the last three years and provides support for more than 500 people with disabilities from Marco Island all the way to the Tampa Bay area. Community Resource Network of Florida Inc. is driven to help and advocate for individuals. Cole built the organization on the belief that every person should have access to individualized services to enhance their quality of life so that they may thrive at home and in the community.
Cole’s goal is to expand the organization’s reach so that it becomes the first choice for anyone in need. Still, Cole wants everyone behind the organization to remain true to their commitment to individualized, compassionate care, which is at the heart of who they are.
Cole is a dedicated businessman but loves to travel, often visiting Los Angeles and New York City, and anywhere on the water, at the beach, or on an island. He plays dad full-time to two adorable Yorkies, Samantha and Preston James, and he enjoys spending time with his family in Sarasota.
Alex Gonzalez, Head of Direct Support Services
Alex previously worked as a secretary for one of the largest schools in Lee County. Her experience with students from all walks of life has helped bring her a great sense of understanding and compassion. Before that, Alex worked for a CPA to personally manage business and personal finances. After a successful career in administration, she chose to further explore her educational path and graduated with honors from Florida Gulf Coast University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Service Administration, where she learned the art of human relations and work office functions in a healthcare setting.
Alex enjoys spending time with the new addition to her family by finding new and exciting local fun spots.
Michelle Nunley, Director of Life Skills Programs
When starting with CRN in 2007, Michelle worked with children in their homes, helping them with personal care needs. In August 2012 Beth Gulling informed her of a position available at the Cape Coral ADT center as an instructor. She went there, met with Amy Wright and started working there the following day. July of 2013 Amy asked her if she would like to help her in the office and become her Quality Assurance Specialist. January 2018 an email was sent out about the Director of Charlotte Life Skills Program position being open. She applied and has been the Charlotte LSP Director since.
Michelle and her family love to take short weekend trips. They have recently been to Disney theme parks, Atlanta’s Shakespeare Tavern and a quiet getaway to a Tennessee cabin.
Amanda G. Moore, LSP Program Manager - Port Charlotte
Amanda always knew that she wanted to work with others. After graduating high school, she worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for ten years, with most of her experience focused on working with individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease. She later found her passion working with individuals with acquired brain injuries and disabilities because she could make a difference in their lives.
Amanda started her career with CRN in 2017 as an instructor in the 1:3 ratio class helping individuals who need a bit more care and attention. In early 2018, she stepped up to accept the role as Quality Assurance Specialist in order to provide the best care for the individuals at CRN.
Amanda is the mother of five children, ages 5 to 17, who are her heart, pride and joy. She was very active with her church community when she lived in Kentucky, directing the choir and organizing member events. Her hope is to resume that level of activity in the church soon. Amanda also enjoy singing, swimming, going to demolition derbies, reading a good book and cooking Mexican food. Her favorite shows are Grey’s Anatomy and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. But most of all, she loves spending time with family and friends.
Clarissa Rivera, LSP Program Manager - Fort Myers
Clarissa started working with Community Resource Network of Florida, Inc. in 2013.
Clarissa has been working for individuals with disabilities since 2013. She worked with children and adults, serving them in their homes as a Direct Support Provider and as an instructor at the Lee County Life Skills Program. She is currently serving as Lee County Life Skills Program Manager.
Clarissa loves to read, watch movies, and play video games with her children.
Clarissa has a compassionate, caring, diverse fun family.
Eva Paterson, Authorization & Utilization Manager
Before starting with CRN in early 2017, Eva lived abroad for eight years in both the United Kingdom and Peru. After studying for her master’s degree in Poverty and International Development in England, she moved to Peru to help start a nonprofit organization serving disadvantaged children. She managed the organization, Volunteers Peru, for three years before deciding it was time to come back home to Florida. While in Peru, Eva learned how important it was to her to help others and knew that was the kind of work she wanted to focus on when she moved back to the United States. Eva has a passion for increasing the quality of life for people with disabilities and other disadvantages and found that CRN’s work closely aligns to her values.
Eva loves being in nature, going for hikes and especially being by the water – either boating or going to the beach. She also loves to read and watch movies.
Neilyn Diaz, Provider Specialist
Neilyn lived in Spain for several years in a city close to Barcelona. Growing up in such a cultural and cosmopolitan city helped her to understand different cultures, meet people with different backgrounds and have more empathy for families that really need help. Her first job was in a metal manufacturing company as an estimator. Working there taught her how to handle complicated situations and deadlines. She also learned how to work and deal with difficult people, which has helped in a lot of life’s situations. After working as an estimator for a year and a half, she decided that she wanted a change in life and applied at CRN where she now works at the front desk helping with phone calls and processing applications. She currently processes applications for Collier County and bilingual cases to help as many families as possible.
Neilyn enjoys traveling and visiting new places, going to the movies, watching baseball and soccer games with family and friends, and watching puppy videos.