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Tampa Bless presents Team Do Good's next featured member and honoree: Ana Stooks

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

It is with pride and joy I present to you the next member of Team Do Good, the mighty Ana Stooks. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate Ana here via Tampa Bless and Team Do Good. Her willingness to participate in this feature and to provide feedback is highly appreciated. And now, without further ado...

Name: Ana Hidalgo Stooks

Place of birth: Atlanta, GA

Currently reside: Odessa, FL

Heritage: Proud to be a first-generation Cuban American!

Family: Married to David since 1995; five teens and young adults ranging in age from 16 to 23.

Alma Mater: Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

Occupation: Executive Director, Guiding Star Tampa - *Update: Guiding Star Tampa is now LifeChoices Family Medical

Activities you organized or participate in related to helping others and uplifting humanity? I realize this is an uncomfortable question to answer because it feels self-promotional, yet it's important to share so to inspire others:

Transforming health care in the United States with a new model. Health care needs to be about the whole person: Body, Mind & Spirit. Founding director of a natural, comprehensive care, non-profit women’s health care clinic offering medical services (body), educational opportunities (mind) and ongoing support (spirit). Besides seeing insured patients, we also take Florida Medicaid and Medicare, and accept many Christian medishare type plans. We also are able to give uninsured women over 18 with a state-issued ID a free physical, Pap and labs.

The Tampa Bless 12

1) Favorite pastime or hobby? Why? Please explain.

Finding treasures on Facebook Marketplace or at Goodwill. My kids make fun of me but I am one of the most resourceful people you will ever meet. I have been able to furnish our clinic, furnish my kids' college apartments and our own home with treasures from second-hand stores.

2) Favorite sport, team, or player? If not into sports, your favorite musician or album? Or answer one of each if you’d like or any combo. Please explain why for any one or more of the questions you answered.

New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, a pro-life Christian. He is a strong supporter of the sanctity of life from the womb to the deathbed. He has been a part of a new documentary that he hopes will inspire dialogue and empathy about the controversial issue of abortion. His goal is to unveil the truth about abortion, the laws, the history and where our country is headed. We need more celebrities to stand up for the right to LIFE.

3) Favorite movie? Why? Please explain.

I love love love the writings of C.S. Lewis. I fell in love with the 1993 movie on his life called Shadowlands. Some of my favorite quotes from the movie include: “I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me.”

4) Favorite place (country, city, town, etc…) you have visited and why?

It would have to be New Orleans (only for the food; not the bars and entertainment options). The complex flavors of foods that are Creole and Cajun are absolutely to die for! Love that my husband David has mastered this type of cooking and that our kids really enjoy this type of food. We are definitely a foodie family!!

5) Last meal? You could have anything, what is it? Why? Please explain.

My last meal would have to be at Emeril’s New Orleans. I’ll start with Scallop Pan Roast as an appetizer, the Baby Iceberg Lettuce Wedge, the Gumbo of the Day, followed by the Andouille Crusted Gulf Drum: Grilled Vegetables, Shoestring Potatoes, Glazed Pecans, Creole Meunière. And for dessert, I will have J.K.'s Grand Marnier Chocolate Soufflé!!! We absolutely love the experience of being in New Orleans and have treasured all of the food options in such a dynamic city!!

6) Three activities or routines you would highly recommend? Please explain your reasoning for each.

1. Every day I start in prayer - in the Word. I ask God to put people in my life to make me closer to Him. Every person that comes into our clinic is a “divine appointment.” It is an opportunity for me to share God’s unconditional love with them and for me to be blessed by their presence.

2. Highly, highly recommend having frequent family game nights. We play cards and board games for hours. It is such a great way to connect and stay close.

3. Regardless of what time we end up eating, we have always sat down for dinner together as a family. If that’s the only thing you can do as a family daily, it is by far the best thing you will ever do!

7) A) Personality trait you highly value? Why? Please explain. B) The personality trait you highly dislike? Why? Please explain.

A. As part of our culture at Guiding Star, I have always instilled four traits that are key to all of our team members. It is RICE: Respect, Integrity, Compassion, and Enthusiasm.

I love to share with new team members the analogy of a grain of RICE. A grain of rice by itself doesn’t serve a purpose. It has to be among many grains of rice. It has to allow itself to be transformed by putting it in water and it has to cook - it has to be seasoned and it needs a wee bit of butter! All of us at Guiding Star together, create the culture by our RICE. We need to live out these traits throughout all aspects of our lives.

B. I cannot stand when people are dishonest. I often have much compassion for people that live their lives by lying to others. I can only imagine how wounded they must be.

8) Favorite thinker (author, philosopher, theologian, etc…)? Why? Please explain. And what is your favorite piece of advice, quote, or text from them or in general? Why? Please explain.

I love St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. My favorite quote from her is, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” She has become like our patron saint at Guiding Star. That’s what we do at the core of our ministry - taking care of the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for. Women need other women to build them up, to tell them they can do it, to be part of their tribe - their support system regardless of what they are encountering in life.

9) Biggest influence in your life or a top one, and what was it about them that really stood out?

I would have to say my parents, Matilde and Alberto Hidalgo. My parents escaped Cuba in 1961 to find freedom in the United States. Coming with only 10 pesos, my parents taught me resourcefulness and determination. My dad was in his senior year of completing his Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering when his university closed in Cuba. In the first five years here in the USA, he sat for his qualifying exam and went on to complete his master's and PhD.

Meanwhile, my mom was his biggest cheerleader even though she was managing four little kids at home and didn’t know English. She went on to have six children! Both of my parents have strived to excel and give back to the greater community. All six of us as first-generation Cuban Americans take pride in who we are. My parents have ingrained in us the 5 F’s: family, faith, friends, freedom, and fun.

10) If there is one thing you could change in the world, what would it be?

Health care that upholds the dignity of women is what I would like to change not only here in Tampa but across our nation. Women have been so wounded by our society not valuing the gift of our fertility. So many of us were never given the tools we need to understand the power, the wonder, and the beauty of our natural female cycles. Women’s true freedom will come from knowing their body and the way it was meant to function. If you’re ready to ditch the artificial hormones and metal devices that treat our bodies like an enemy, to be in control of your fertility while still respecting your body’s natural functions, to get a window into your well-being, and be empowered to know yourself more fully - then the health care we provide at Guiding Star is for you!

11) Where did your desire to help others and uplift humanity come from? Please explain.

My parents always instilled in us a strong conviction to help others who are in need. When my parents came to this country with nothing, they could never have triumphed if it wasn’t for the help of organizations like Catholic Charities, the Church, and individuals that helped them with everything. It is part of our core that we give back to our community. I can’t remember a time in our lives that we weren’t volunteering at our Church or at an organization. We have instilled in our own children to do the same.

12) What are you working on now and how can people get involved?

We at Guiding Star Tampa are being called to be bold and courageous! Help us change the world. Together we can transform women’s health care, not only in Tampa, but across America. We want to continue to partner with you to uphold the dignity of women by offering them health care that focuses on natural, holistic and life-affirming options. Thanks to the ongoing financial support of individuals who believe in our vision and mission, Guiding Star Tampa has become a pioneer in providing comprehensive women's health care offering medical services, education and ongoing support.

You can do two things: -make us your healthcare provider and tell others about our services. - *Update: Guiding Star Tampa is now LifeChoices Family Medical -support our ministry with your financial gifts - Editor’s Note: Guiding Star Tampa is located in the Chateau Professional Park at 18560 North Dale Mabry Hwy in Lutz, just south of the main entrance to Cheval. Easily accessible from the Veterans Expressway. To make an appointment, you can call 813.948.7734.

Additionally, AmazonSmile customers can now support Guiding Star Tampa in the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android mobile phones! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations:

1. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device.

2. Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into 'Settings.'

3. Tap 'AmazonSmile' and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

If you do not have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app, update your app.

Thank you so much for your time Ana and for all that you do. The place we live in is that much better because of you. I hope that this feature has served to inspire you, as well as successfully celebrate those that help others and uplift humanity.

If you like, please subscribe below to the Tampa Bless blog and be on the lookout for the next featured member of Team Do Good as well as check out the Tampa Bless store for the latest offerings. Let's go! May God bless y'all and thank you for your support. Much love and appreciation.


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