Second Heart Homes is deeply grateful for all of the talented volunteers who help bring our mission to life. We could not be as successful as we are without them.

We’re always looking for dedicated partners who want to share their skills, time and love. If you would like to join us as a volunteer, please contact Megan Howell at 941-201-9353 or We have short and long-term opportunities, front of the house, back of the house and other opportunities available.

Meet a few members of our volunteer brigade, below, each of whom we consider family!

Volunteer Spotlight

Dr. Sean Downing — our emergency physician

Meet Dr. Sean Downing our emergency physician

Dr. Sean Downing — our Irish guardian angel — has been providing ad hoc emergency medical services to Second Heart Homes clients since 2020. The son of immigrant parents from County Kerry, Ireland, Dr. Downing has been a practicing primary care physician for more than 20 years. He graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine. In 2019, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of opening his own family concierge medical practice in Sarasota — a first for the community. During his spare time, Dr. Downing enjoys entertaining family and friends from Ireland and Boston, that is, when he can’t get back to The Emerald Isle himself.

Maureen Gebhardt — our donor and communication database consultant

Meet Maureen Gebhardt — our donor and communication database consultant

Maureen worked for 15 years in a national property/casualty insurance company. When she “retired” to be a stay-at-home parent, she left the company as Assistant Vice President of Operations. Maureen has a B.S. in Business Administration from Caldwell University. She has volunteered for fundraising projects and the PTA and has been a board member for a non-profit dance company and condominium association. She and her husband Len are supporters of many cultural and social service organizations in the community. While Maureen has lived in Sarasota for more than 10 years, she’ll always be a Jersey Girl at heart.

Meet Bubba Henson — our property manager

Meet Bubba Henson — our property manager

Bubba is as colorful of a character as his name suggests — and our clients love him for it! Bubba worked for MTV in the mid ‘80’s and co-founded the marketing company Seismic Communications. He was a creative consultant for NBC, ABC, SyFy Network, USA Network, Comedy Central and ESPN before leaving the media and marketing worlds to teach middle and upper school English. He tutors students from around the world in becoming better writers. Having also worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker, Bubba loves volunteering as our property manager where he oversees four of our homes. Bubba has B.A. in English from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing in Poetry from Columbia University.

Meet Melanie Stanek — our fundraising and public relations consultant

Meet Melanie Stanek — our fundraising and public relations consultant

Melanie’s career as a global marketing communications director in the healthcare and high-tech industries has prepared her well for the challenges of raising awareness and funds for a new nonprofit like Second Heart Homes. Mel has a passion for helping folks who struggle with mental health issues, and she believes that it’s vitally important to tell their stories. She holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Minnesota. Her favorite fortune cookie message that she loves to share with others reads: “The purpose of life is to discover your gift; the meaning of life is in giving it away.”