A community working to reduce substance abuse among Indian River County Youth

Our Purpose

The purpose of the Coalition is to develop, implement and promote environmental strategies to reduce substance abuse in Indian River County. The Coalition operates under these guiding principles:

  • Develop long and short-term goals to reduce substance abuse and strategies to achieve goals.
  • Encourage collaboration among all key leaders in the community in reducing substance abuse.
  • Disseminate current and trending issues surrounding substance abuse-related issues to the community.
  • Ensure adequate sustainable funding for programs and services to reduce substance abuse.

Who We Are

  • Law Enforcement
  • School
  • Youth
  • Parent
  • Religious or Fraternal Organizations
  • State, Local or Tribal Governmental Agency with expertise in the field of substance abuse
  • Media
  • Business
  • Healthcare Professional
  • Civic Group or Volunteers
  • Youth Serving Organizations
  • Other organizations involved in reducing substance abuse

Meet Our Team

Michele Buldo

Michele Buldo

SAFIR Coalition Director

Michele Buldo began her experience in the prevention field more than 15 years ago. In her first position, she worked for RWJBarnabas Health in Toms River, NJ where she was the Finance Manager for 10 years. For the past 5 years, she worked as the Coalition Coordinator for the DART Coalition of Ocean County, NJ.  

Michele has advocated and established several ordinances and policies surrounding underage drinking;  trained over 1,000 servers and bartenders in TIPs (Responsible Beverage Server training); advocated additional Rx drop boxes in the county; and coordinated several county-wide events and initiatives surrounding underage drinking, the illegal use of marijuana, and prescription misuse.

She relocated to Vero Beach in November 2018, where she was hired as the Director of the SAFIR Coalition.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Montclair State University and a master’s degree in Administrative Science from Farleigh Dickinson University in NJ.  Michele has 2 children and enjoys the beach and traveling.

Phyllis Schneider

Phyllis Schneider

SAFIR Coalition Coordinator

Phyllis served as  an active coalition member for over four years before she joined SAFIR as their Coalition Coordinator. Although her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were in business, she quickly found her passion in teaching, training, and mentoring youth.  

She has logged in hundreds of volunteer hours aiding in elementary and middle schools in the nine states that she has lived in and she was a long-term guest teacher for six years in Pennsylvania.

Phyllis moved to Vero Beach in 2008 and worked as the Director of Operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County for eight years.  She loves to read, travel, play tennis and visit her three children.

Ross Partee

Ross Partee

SAFIR Coalition Chair

Ross started with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office in 2009.  Since then, he has worked in road patrol, criminal investigations and school resource. In April 2017, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the School Resource Unit.

While at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Ross has actively participated in the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee, the SAFIR Coalition, the United Way Campaign as a Loaned Executive, and the Vero Beach High School Baseball Team.  Ross is married and has two kids.

Ross was born and raised in Vero Beach, FL.  After graduating from Vero Beach High School, he earned his Criminal Justice degree from Armstrong State University in 2008. Ross is married and has two kids.

Barbara Pearce

Barbara Pearce

SAFIR Coalition Vice Chair

Barbara is the Executive Assistant at the Gifford Youth Achievement Center. She has a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University and is a 2016 graduate of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. She is a board member for the Circuit 19 Advisory Board and Visiting Nurse Association Hospice Board, and the Chairperson for the Racial Ethnic Disparity Committee (RED) for Circuit 19, member of the African American Achievement Community, African American Core team and the Moonshot Community Action Network (MCAN).




1507 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960