Our Friends-Together Family
Friends Together is one organization made up of many amazing volunteers.
Cathy Robinson Pickett
Cathy and her late husband Steve founded Friends Together in 2000. Cathy’s journey with HIV began when she was infected as a result of a sexual assault in 1984. Their dream was to help make a better future one person at a time through education and compassion.
They began by helping families in Central Florida while educating thousands of students across the state. Their mission quickly expanded to serving families across the state of Florida and presenting countless programs in various organizations and universities across the country. Eventually, their dreamed crossed the world to help children and families in Tanzania, Africa.
Cathy continues to spread her message of compassion and education. Her unique perspective of living with HIV for over 30 years gives hope to those in need and inspiration to those in her classes.
My name is Garrett Robinson and I have been a Friends Together volunteer since the very beginning. As Cathy’s son, and Assistant Director of Friends Together, I have watched this organization change the lives of so many on our very emotional and powerful journey. Throughout the years I have been involved in every major event: camps, fundraisers, charity bike-rides, educational events, etc. In 2015 I took on Mt. Kilimanjaro during our third relief trip to Tanzania, Africa. It is my goal to make this organization something that continues to inspire and change the lives of others.
Outside of Friends Together, I am the PT Director at Gold’s Gym in Lakeland, Florida.
I have met some truly incredible and inspiring people through this organization. We are a large family of misfits that never judge, only love & accept each other while doing our part to change the world for the better. Everyone is truly valued for their strengths and differences. Organizations like Friends-Together are a once in a lifetime opportunity and I have been truly blessed to be a part of this family since 2005. As a public health worker, my hope is that we can all accomplish things that make the world better. We hope you can join us as we truly try to do just that.
Friends Together and Cathy would have such an impact on my life.
After visiting the Friends Together website and StraightTalkWithCathy.com I had to get involved.
I have been in video production since 1983 and have come to a point in my life where I can donate my craft to help others. There is no better way to share the people and experiences in Tanzania other than moving pictures.
Cathy, Garrett, and the other volunteer’s commitment to helping others is the perfect example of
unselfishness. Cathy is an amazing woman who has overcome so many harsh obstacles in life and she always has a smile on her face.
As a video producer, I try to distance myself from the subject matter. In Tanzania, I became
Immersed with the cause of empowering HIV positive women and their children. I have seen poverty in third world countries before but not the volume of extreme poverty and hunger among women and children that I saw in Tanzania.
Our 3 current goals for solar lights, reusable sanitary pads and the construction of the Friends
Together Tailoring School at TAFCOM is my priority.
Empowering these women and their children has become a focus in my life.
Julie was elected to the Collier County School Board, District 4, in November of 2008 and served two four-year terms including being elected as Board Chair twice. She retired in November 2016.
Julie has been active in the community having served on the Board of Directors of the Immokalee Multicultural Multipurpose Community Action Agency for seven years and the Champions for Learning Education Foundation Board for three. She also served as the School Board liaison to the Collier County Head Start program. She served on the American Heart Association Community Board, coordinated walkers for the AHA Heartwalk and coordinated a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She has volunteered for the nonprofit organization FriendsTogether, Inc. which assists HIV/AIDS infected and affected children for the past twenty years and has completed several 500 mile/5 Day bicycle rides from Tallahassee to Naples to raise funds for the group. In addition, she has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro twice to raise awareness and financial support for the group. While in Africa, she also did medical mission work with the group.
I am currently the Web Director at Maximize Digital Media in Lakeland, Fl.