I am a full-blooded Seminole Indian with ancestral lineage dating thousands of years, and I have been a resident of south Florida all of my life.
As a Certified Interpretive Guide with National Association for Interpretation, and with the title Traditional Interpretative Coordinator, I take it as an honor to inform and educate our visitors about my history, culture and heritage.
We all have a different and interesting story to tell the world, and I really embrace the beautiful rainbow colors of people in south Florida because we are all uniquely the same.
Add your story of what makes us greater together, and you could become the Greater Fort Lauderdale Face of the Month.
I grew up in New Jersey, and I have always enjoyed beer and have been homebrewing. In mid-2016 wanted to make a career change, so I finally decided to take the leap into commercial brewing. I had also wanted to live in Florida for many years and so I thought it would be a great time to combine the two new life directions. Six months later, I was living here and working at Funky Buddha Brewery.
Personally I'm into the ocean, food, and great beer so my go-to spots for welcoming people revolve around those ideas. But there’s something for everybody. Just invite newcomers out, show them the town – they're bound to love it.
To me, living in Greater Fort Lauderdale means you most likely love fun in the sun and the concept of Eternal Summer. When people in that like mindset come together it's always going to be a fun experience.
I was born here in GFL at Holy Cross Hospital during Hurricane Andrew, so I'm a true GFL native!
I love giving people insights and tips on my favorite places to check out while they are in town. I think it's fun and different to get the local experience of a city! I'm currently working on a fun interactive map of my favorite spots of the GFL to give to customers from out of town.
What I think is so wonderful about the diversity of GFL is that there is always something to do around town, and I feel that a lot of the places and events cater to everyone.
I love that everyone wants to help support each other, and as a community we focus on our local businesses. Despite how many people live here, it never ceases to amaze me how small it is. I feel that everyone knows everyone, in a good way of course, because we are all here to support our city to keep it thriving!
I came to Greater Fort Lauderdale in 1990 from Peru with my family for the American dream and in search of a better education.
Now I welcome people to our community with a free surf lessons every Saturday at Island Watersports. It’s a way to give back to the community and show Fort Lauderdale who we are.
Here [in Greater Fort Lauderdale] everybody is exposed to different cultures and people, and it broadens your perspective and outlook on life. It’s interesting to learn about other people and why they are here, whether it’s locals or tourists – there’s a mixture of both here – and I get to meet them everyday at my shop.
I love the sense of community. Everybody puts their differences aside and they lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed. People in Greater Fort Lauderdale go the extra mile to help their neighbors and help them have a positive day.
Nysa Joseph-Sealy, guest service representative, started working at the Residence Inn Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port a little over a year ago and is the first associate at the property to receive the Spirit to Serve Award from Mr. Marriott’s office. Nysa Joseph-Sealy at the Residence Inn Marriott Fort Lauderdale exemplifies the meaning of integrity.
Nysa ensures that any celebration a guest mentions upon check-in time is recognized by the staff. Nysa makes sure the hotel selects a guest of the day and they ring the front desk special bell when they arrive. Nysa loves taking pictures with the guests and presenting a surprise gift bag and a flyer with the guest name at the front desk. Nysa has such a great personality she was selected to be the front desk trainer and the Marriott quality assurance role play manager.
While on a family vacation, a large group arrived at the Residence Inn in Dania beach. The couple had hidden a bag of jewelry with sentimental value under their mattress before going to dinner. Early the next morning, in the confusion of gathering their family together for the flight home, they departed thinking the valuables were in the suitcase when they were actually still under the mattress. They called the hotel and Nysa answered. She went to the room, retrieved the forgotten bag and sent it back to the couple the next day. They are still singing Nysa’s praises.
I am in the service industry and frequently encounter people down on vacation, or who have just moved to the area. We have so much to offer in the GFL area that it's easy to tell someone, “Hey you have to go eat here, or check out this park or hop on the Water Taxi.”
The diversity is part of what has kept us here. There is nothing better than having a diverse community to live in. To live with different cultures, ethnicities and sexual orientations is to understand that we are all one. To live in a neighborhood that has old couples, young couples, gay and lesbian, and straight couples and families is amazing. That we all get along and interact and socialize is a very enriching experience.
We are raising triplet boys and I think it would be difficult in some communities. A friend once asked me if we ever had any bad experiences while out with our boys, and to be honest, quite the opposite. We've had so many people, so many different types of people, approach us and congratulate us on doing this.
We take our boys and dogs on a walk every evening and hardly a day goes by when a car doesn't stop and comment on our family in a very positive way.
It's wonderful to see such a mixed group of people in our destination, as we have so many coming from all over the world- South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Not to mention, GFL is an LGBTQI friendly community, so having such a diverse mix of cultures and people truly creates an atmosphere for unique and interesting stories and experiences.
Thanks to my parents' hard work and sacrifice, I came to Greater Fort Lauderdale at the very young age of eight, from my home country of Venezuela. My parents wanted better opportunities for our family and made the brave and amazing decision to move to the United States. We happened to arrive in GFL right after hurricane Andrew had struck. GFL was the only area in our journey through south Florida that was not badly damaged, and we actually really fell in love with it... Needless to day, we've lived in GFL now for 25 years! I love that people at GFL are very warm, laid-back and welcoming.
Anybody can find their place in GFL. One day you may meet someone that moved here from Chicago or or Boston or DC... the next day you'll make a friend that came here from Venezuela or Cuba or Haiti. Broward also has one of the highest concentrations of gay couples in the US. Unlike many gay communities in bigger urban areas... you do not have to be under 30 to fit in with the gay community in GFL. When you go out on the town you will meet people anywhere from 18 to 78 all living and partying within a few blocks of Wilton Drive. TRUE diversity lives here - not just the political term which often means "people that agree with me". The diversity of GFL is not just a pompous political term used for good PR - its a way of life down here that most just naturally embrace.
Gilberto (in photo with his dog Gnocchi attached) came to GFL from Recife Brazil to study English. He soon made friends with many other Brazilians thriving here in Broward county and throughout south florida. GFL is also where he met his husband William where they married in March of 2015.
Broward County has one of the most diverse populations outside of NYC. A true American melting pot. Being so close to Miami-Dade we are just 30 minutes from what many call "The NYC of Latin America" right next door. Unlike NYC or LA living here allows a more relaxed "Southern US meets Latin America" vibe. All the amenities of other cosmopolitan regions of the USA with a more laid back "resort town" lifestyle - beaches and boating and lots of upscale outdoor dining.
Being born and raised in Italy, I grew up in a very non-diverse and close-minded environment. Living here has opened my mind to the fact that we are all human beings, despite our differences, and that we have a lot to learn from each other.
Having moved here Boston (and Milano), I can definitely say that the people down here are much friendlier, more caring and inclusive. Down here I feel like at home.
I was born in Israel and have lived in different cities in Europe, Puerto Rico and now in Hollywood, FL. We chose Hollywood as the place to raise our family. We travel frequently, but, there's no place like "home."
We open our home to friends and family from all over the world, some come for a holiday and some choose to make a home in our wonderful community. It is important for the world to know that we welcome everyone. We embrace our visitors. They add so much to our community. In Hollywood, I have met so many visitors from Canada, U.K, Germany and even China. We love it!!! With such a diverse culture i can choose to dine, be entertained, shop and engage in worldwide community events right here at home. My husband and I want our children to grow up in a place that represents the global community. We embrace diversity and multicultural lifestyles.
The people of Fort Lauderdale are well traveled and bring caring, community and humor from every corner of the world; this makes for never a dull moment in my daily life.
After 10 years of living in New York, I decided I needed a break from the always busy and exhausting lifestyle. Fort Lauderdale works perfect for me, as it is laid back, but still has a nice city vibe to it. People don't often expect such a diverse and welcoming community. Anywhere you go, you see people from different races, backgrounds, and lifestyles. People who come visit from all over the world are often surprised, and feel very welcome. I love the local events, community, and overall friendliness. I like to think of it as laid-back Miami.
After several years of visiting Caribbean islands we started to consider living there. Flying home after one trip, there was a map in a travel magazine that showed southern Florida in the northern Caribbean. Island living on the mainland? Yes please! A year later we bought our first Fort Lauderdale get away and started planning for the eventual move to full time. We got married in the sand on a Fort Lauderdale beach.
Most everyone we meet is from somewhere else, so the stories of their life are all so different.
It's never difficult to talk to people. Everyone loves to talk about where they're from. what they've seen, and how they got to GFL. From mid-western farmers that are able to winter here, to a sweet old New Yorker that used to be Joan River's interior decorator, every story is remarkable!
I love the artistic culture and musical talent that is spread throughout this community. There is such a unique.
The diversity of GFL shows that no matter where you're from you can be yourself. This was something that my parents taught me from a very young age.
My parents moved to South Florida from Texas when I was a little girl. Since then they have touched the lives of many people in the community. They have been mentors to countless couples and families from our church and have spread the love of music everywhere they go. Our home always had an open door policy and they have taken in and helped many people in need. I am so fortunate to call them my parents.
I was born and raised in Coral Springs, Fla. I have lived in the same house my entire life. I currently go to the University of Florida in Gainesville, but whenever I return for a break, Greater Fort Lauderdale is always there to welcome me home. After living somewhere for so long, you start to follow a routine and only go to the same places. However, this past summer I felt I like I was actually able to discover and see for the first time what amazing locations and opportunities GFL has to offer. I realized that it is even more unique and beautiful than I already thought it was. I can't wait for my next break so I can uncover more hidden treasures in Greater Fort Lauderdale with my friends and family.
At the University of Florida, there are some people here who go through a sort of culture shock when they arrive, seeing the diverse student population. I, however, have the privilege of growing up in Greater Fort Lauderdale--where diversity shines. As a child, I was exposed to all different walks of life, cultures and communities. I found my home in the local Jewish community. I went through various milestones at Temple Beth Am; my parents got married there, I went to pre-school and Hebrew school there and I was Bat Mitzvahed there. My friends from Broward County public schools attended my Bat Mitzvah, while I attended their Quinceañeras and Sweet 16's. It was an amazing environment to be raised in, knowing that we were all accepting of each others' differences. It definitely played a role in the positive and uplifting adult I am today.
GFL is full of families. The best part of growing up there was knowing that the streets would be filled with love. Halloween time was the perfect example of that. My neighborhood was a hot spot for trick-or-treating. I loved meeting new people and seeing how the community went all-out just to make others smile. I come home from college every year for Halloween because I want to give back to Greater Fort Lauderdale and bring light to more smiles-- just like they gave to me for all those years.
How did you come to Greater Fort Lauderdale (GFL)?
Meeting friends from Michigan for a lovely week in Florida!
What is so wonderful, in your opinion, about the diversity of GFL?
Great food, wonderful beaches and gorgeous ocean!!!!
What do you love about the people of GFL?
Friendly, hospitable and HAPPY 😎
I love that you can do everything or nothing in GFL and still have a great time from a relaxing day at the beach, to an evening out at so many different types of restaurants and clubs, or a night at the theater.
I moved in 1978, while still in high school to GFL with my family. Who doesn't love warm weather, palm trees and beautiful beaches? It was like always being on vacation.
I love that people come from all over the world, and also live here from countries all over. It adds such an international flavor and culture to this great city.
Born and raised here, I’ve lived in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area for 18 years. I attended public school for most of my life, where I encountered kids from a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and other backgrounds. Growing up in Broward County, I might have taken for granted the kind of diversity I was exposed to at such a young age. One of my best friends in elementary school was a Venezuelan-Iranian Muslim, many of my high school peers were part of the LGBT+ community, and most of my friends overall embraced and encouraged the differences among us.
I'd say the best thing about Fort Lauderdale's diversity is that it breeds a strong culture of unique talents, innovative ideas, and best of all, community acceptance. Such exposure to different groups of people not only gave me perspectives into a variety of cultures, but also insight into the plight that minorities face every day. Understanding the struggle of our brothers and sisters from every background helps foster a community that teaches us that together, we can turn fear into understanding, intolerance into acceptance, and apathy into action.
I love that the people in GFL have a strong sense of empathy and acceptance. It helps provide everyone a safe environment to speak their minds, to learn from others, and to encourage people to embrace their differences and be themselves.
Whether you live here or love to visit, submit your story below to be featured as one of the Faces of Greater Fort Lauderdale.