Ever since he was a high school student, Yoni Nutovits has made it a priority to offer as much encouragement, education and care he can to young people in need within his community. From volunteering with the Florida Guardian Ad Litem program to conducting research in the UF Health pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, Nutovits has kept a compassionate, watchful eye on the next generation.
Nutovits’ passion for service was instilled in him at a young age by his mother, Susanna Taiar, who raised Nutovits and his sister while working as a teacher.
During Nutovits’ junior year studying psychology at UF, a loved one suddenly passed away. Nutovits recognized this moment as an opportunity to continue the legacy of caring for others that his loved one had created during her lifetime. To cope with the loss, Nutovits began volunteering with the Florida Guardian Ad Litem program, which supports abused, abandoned or neglected children across the state.
Nutovits was mentoring a 9-year-old Gainesville boy when the boy’s mother passed away. It was then when Nutovits realized the close connection he had created with the child and the impact he could have on his life as a big brother figure. Nutovits says he was motivated to stay in Gainesville to begin his medical training, so he could continue to watch his young friend grow and mature.
“My experiences with the Guardian Ad Litem program instilled a strong motivation in me to provide young people with resources, education, opportunities and support. My relationships with those kids mean the world to me,” he says.