Hibiscus Founder LaVaughn Tilton Awarded


LaVaughn Tilton, Hibiscus Children’s Center Founder, was posthumously awarded the “Community Service Award” at the 5th Annual Sage Awards held at the Kane Center on May 19th.  LaVaughn was recognized by the Council on Aging of Martin County as “one of the Treasure Coast’s most successful and ardent child welfare advocates. As the founder of Hibiscus Children’s Center, the Treasure Coast’s only licensed emergency shelter for children, her vision, fortitude and generosity has ensured a better and safer life for thousands of children.  She leaves behind an incredible legacy. Her passion and vision live on in the mission of the Hibiscus Children’s Center.”

Over 3,000 abused, abandoned and neglected children have received safety, nurturing and love at Hibiscus Children’s Center since LaVaughn founded the child welfare organization in 1985.  Her dedication and passion for ensuring children could grow up safe and free from abuse launched an incredible movement for children on the Treasure Coast.  Over 35 years later, LaVaughn’s legacy continues every day as Hibiscus Children’s Center serves close to 200 children annually in residential programs, Tilton Family Children’s Shelter in Jensen Beach and Hibiscus Village in Vero Beach, along with community outreach services to over 1,600 children and families.   These critical services are providing children with safety, healing from trauma and abuse, educational and medical services, and opportunities to build a strong foundation for the future. 

We are so grateful to LaVaughn for her passion and determination to advocate for children and rally an entire community to help change the lives of children. There is no way to measure the lives that LaVaughn has touched with her gracious demeanor, kindness and generous spirit.  She was a genuine beacon of hope to our community and a voice for our fragile and traumatized children.  LaVaughn will always be our hero and remembered with love and gratitude for the priceless gifts she bestowed upon our children.  She will be greatly missed but her legacy lives on in the precious children we continue to save and help transform their lives for the better.

For more information about Hibiscus Children’s Center and how you can get involved to help children, please visit us at

Hibiscus CEO Matt Markley accepted the award on behalf of LaVaughn Tilton.