Anna is not only the founder and developer of YouImpact, an online program that serves as catalyst for behavioral change; her story is one of those featured in the program.
On New Year’s Day in 2000, Anna, her son Whitaker, then a 2-year-old, and baby daughter Grace were on a walk in Palm Beach County when a car struck by an impaired driver careened onto the sidewalk and hit them from behind.
Grace’s infant body was devastated by the impact and died instantly. Whitaker and Anna were seriously injured but survived.
The man responsible for the accident had a history of impaired driving. His blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was three times the legal limit. He was eventually convicted but died a week later in prison.
Soon after the tragedy, Anna devoted herself to improving public safety, particularly as it related to impaired driving. She worked to have pedestrian barriers installed on the Blue Heron Bridge – where Grace died – during the Bush administration. She also worked on three different pieces of legislation to improve public safety and has volunteered on victim impact panels around Florida since 2001.
She eventually realized that live victim impact panels, while effective, varied widely in quality. After years of therapy and personal introspection, Anna came to forgive the man who took her daughter. That’s when the anger subsided, and her focus turned to helping defendants understand the possible consequences of their actions and the possibilities to turn this into a positive through videos of real victims and offenders and impressing upon them their duty to the community.
Anna worked to create national best practice guidelines for live panels and YouImpact has integrated all those best practices into its program to create a consistent, powerful and uncompromising online educational program. Online programs like YouImpact are nine times more effective than traditional programs. Because it is an online program, judges can order defendants to attend it anywhere in the world, 24/7. This program is proving to be one of the best programs of its kind.