North Palm author works to help teen moms one book at a time

North Palm author works to help teen moms one book at a time
Deana Cerniglia enjoys a cappuccino at one of her favorite restaurants, Prosecco Café, in Palm Beach Gardens. She is the founder and director of The Open Door, a local nonprofit that helps teen mothers.(Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)


Between caring for her husband and three kids, and directing a nonprofit that helps teen moms become independent and get off welfare, author Deana Cerniglia has to scramble to find the time to write.

“I get up at 4 in the morning,” the North Palm Beach resident said. It took her three and a half years to finish the most recent book, “The Open Door” (self-published and available at In it, she takes the reader through her past and painful family discoveries.

Cerniglia understands the trials of a teen mom not because she was one, but because she was raised by one.

Her mother, she said, was a scared, abandoned and confused 16-year-old who tried to do the best she could. At 17, she was forced to drop out of high school, soon becoming a bull’s-eye for domestic abuse while making ill-equipped decisions.

Cerniglia is executive director of First Presbyterian Church’s The Open Door, the North Palm nonprofit that helps teen moms, and helped launch two other charters at Christ Fellowship and Calvary Chapel.

Currently, she is preparing for The Open Door’s benefit featuring a cocktail reception, live/silent auction on Nov. 15 at Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens. (

And sometime, she said, she hopes to find a little time to promote her book. A portion of its proceeds will benefit The Open Door charity.

Favorite breakfast spot:

Sara’s Kitchen. It reminds you of some diner plucked from some place up north.

Sara’s Kitchen, 2000 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, 561- 540-2822,

Favorite lunch spot:

Prosecco Café in PGA Commons. They have this amazing bakery and coffee bar.

Prosecco Café, 4580 PGA Blvd., Suite 105, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-622-3222,

Favorite place to go out for dinner:

We like the River House. It has a great old Florida feel and great menu. Sometimes, we go by boat.

The River House Restaurant, 2373 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, 561-694-1188,

Favorite place to take out-of-town visitors:

We like outside venues like the Square Grouper. We also like to go by boat to the sand bar at Peanut Island. It’s a great afternoon with the kids and the dogs.

The Square Grouper Tiki Bar, 1111 Love St., Jupiter, 561-575-0252,

Peanut Island, a relatively small, manmade island, is just south of the Blue Heron Bridge and just north of the Lake Worth/Palm Beach Inlet.

Favorite weekend activity with the kids:

We like taking the kids out on the boat tubing or wake-boarding. We live on Little Lake Worth and love the water.


Unlock the Future Soiree

What: Event features a cocktail reception, cigar rolling, wine and beer tasting, live/silent auctions.

When: 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Nov. 15

Where: Old Palm Golf Club, 11089 Old Palm Drive, Palm Beach Gardens.

Tickets: $75, proceeds help The Open Door.

Info: Call Angela Ball, 561-236-8489 or email