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SRQ DAILY Nov 19, 2016

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[Higher Education]  Developing the Whole Student
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

As we focus on degree plans, workforce requirements and graduation rates, it’s easy to lose sight of one of our core missions as educators. Our communities don’t just want employable graduates from their higher education institutions, they want potential leaders who can develop creative solutions to challenges in the workplace and community. We can never lose focus on developing the “whole student” and the role that personal development plays alongside academic development.

On our college campuses, extracurricular involvement is a key to personal development. Students who participate in extracurricular activities become more engaged with their fellow students and their campus and are more likely to stay in school through completion. Their engagement in campus-based activities enhances their academic learning, often providing practical experience to the theoretical classroom knowledge. Students learn to interact socially and professionally through extracurricular activities, gaining experience in negotiating, communicating effectively, managing conflict and leading others.

Employers actively seek graduates with these skills. Academic success is not the only thing employers are looking for in today’s highly competitive labor market. Leadership in extracurricular activities is seen as an indicator of future management potential. Employers want to hire well-rounded individuals with practical problem-solving and leadership experience. They are looking for graduates who are well-developed personally and well-rounded intellectually.

At the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, I see evidence every day that we are offering opportunities for personal and academic development. When I interact with our student government leaders, student athletes, musicians and the students from our many professional societies, like Phi Theta Kappa, I see students embracing and valuing extracurricular activities. These students are leading their campus-based organizations today, but it’s easy to see them leading companies and large organizations in the future.

As a community college, SCF’s extracurricular activities are what tie our students to our campuses and help create that feeling of belonging. Multiple studies show that students who feel engaged with their campus are far more likely to not only graduate, but to find satisfying careers after college. Students can participate in as many activities and clubs as fit into their schedule. They can experiment with new activities and discover hidden talents. We encourage them to take advantage of our extracurricular activities, including 38 student clubs. They can even start a new club if their interests aren’t yet represented.

These extracurricular activities are essential to creating the kinds of well-rounded students that transfer to the state’s university system or other institutions around the country or enter directly into the workforce. At SCF, we feel this is part of our core mission—to develop graduates who are not only prepared to continue their education or fill local employment needs, but who are also ready to be strong contributors to society and our community.

When we focus on developing the “whole student,” we help our students get the most from their experience at SCF. Students who chose to engage beyond the classroom realize a better return on their tuition investment and gain experiences they will value far into the future. 

Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

[Gulf Coast]  Mentorship Meets Apprenticeship To Lift Our Youth
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

If you look beyond the strong campaign rhetoric of our recent presidential election, there was a cry from our cities and rural regions alike—how do we participate in this new innovation economy filled with technology, overseas competition and shrinking incomes? Locally, we are seeing promising action that will go a long way to help our youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast just launched a new mentoring program for local high school students. The initiative is a positive community effort to better prepare our youth for life and career success right in their hometowns.

Beyond School Walls matches at-risk students with professionals at partnering businesses, who will host their “Littles” on a regular basis at their workplace. It kicked off by pairing a group of Venice High School sophomores with senior staffers at Venice Regional Bayfront Health, one of the region’s largest employers. Next, Riverview High students will meet their mentors at CAE Healthcare, a maker of medical patient simulators with customers around the globe.

For the students, opportunity abounds. Foremost, they gain an adult coach, confidante and friend at a critical point in their lives—the heart of any Big Brothers Big Sisters program. But they will also be exposed to diverse career options in a dynamically growing field (remember Health Innovation Week earlier this month?). And they’ll experience what it means to work for a large business, including the elusive but vital “soft skills” that employers bemoan as missing from newer workers—think punctuality, professional dress, communication.

At the program’s kickoff event at the hospital, Steve Cantees, who heads up high school education for Sarasota County Schools, told the students, “You are the first to step into this unique, innovative program, and that’s exciting.” Venice Regional CEO John McLain urged them, “Ask questions. Take this opportunity to learn everything you can.” I lobbed a friendly challenge to Joy Mahler, my counterpart at Big Brothers Big Sisters: Let’s try to double the number of matches lined up so far.

Showing our youth real career opportunities in a growing sector while equipping them to make responsible choices through mentorship is a worthy investment. Fortunately, innovative opportunities like this are sprouting across our region. Consider the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County’s new Tom and Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center up the road in Sarasota. It targets 10th through 12th graders who aren’t sure about their futures and teaches them about high-demand jobs in our community—potential careers with family-sustaining wages and paths for promotion.

Through smart workforce investment, our region has learned a lot about the value of career ladders. They lift individual employees to better situations and catalyze growth for their employers, creating capacity for new workers to start climbing. Tools that power people up those ladders include targeted training and experiential learning. With efforts like Beyond School Walls and the Shapiro Career Resource Center, our community extends the strategy to our next generation of talent. We also tell them they are worth the investment.

Fundamentally, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ new workplace mentoring initiative targets a telling indicator: high school graduation rates. Job one of the program is to help ensure that these students graduate. But its holistic and forward-thinking approach also says that the participating students aren’t merely figures—they are our future.

Joy summed it up by telling her Littles, “We don’t see high school graduation as the pinnacle of your success. It’s the pathway to get there.” Or the ladder.

Mark Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

[Argus]  We are Argus
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

Over the past 33 years, the Argus Foundation has been a vocal, enthusiastic proponent for Sarasota County. With over 170 members from 50 different industries, our nonprofit’s mission is to apply business leadership to identify, educate, advocate and collaborate on solutions to important community issues that will enhance the quality of life, environment and economic well-being of our community.

These area leaders—from major economic, business and professional organizations—come together in a creative non-partisan effort to better facilitate communication and cooperation between the public and private sectors to improve our community. 

Over the past two years, Argus has completed an administrative and internal overhaul. We have improved our technology, put new internal processes in place to be more current, and we have reassessed our goals for the future through strategic planning and a new mission statement. Now as we shift our focus back to tackling critical local issues, we are poised well to advocate for solutions to make this a better place to live, work and do business. That is and has always been the common thread among our leadership. It is epitomized by our recent Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Michael Saunders, a past Argus Foundation President and an accomplished entrepreneur, community advocate and philanthropist. 

I think Michael said it best when she addressed the crowd at the awards banquet, saying: “My passion is making a difference. For over 30 years, Argus has done just that by forging public, private collaborations to make our community a better place. All Argus members know that there is still much work to be done so none of us can rest on past achievements. None of us can do it alone. I look forward to continuing the journey of giving back with all of you.”

She’s right; our work isn’t finished. In order to maintain the quality of life in our community, we need to continue to work together on the issues facing us. We will do this by keeping a broad community perspective and coming to the table with solutions. We will try to understand the underlying nature of problems and will not expect to solve problems with quick fixes. We believe in systemic change, persistent attention, and time in moving us to a better community. We live here, work here and raise our children here. We believe in Sarasota County and its people.

Education on issues will continue to be a focus through our Meet the Minds luncheons, which inform and stimulate with guest speakers who discuss the important issues impacting the community, state and world. Last year we experienced record-setting attendance at these luncheons with candidate forums, state officials addressing transportation and work force training, our own Ringling College addressing education and economic impact, and a business executive focus on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Our signature events, including the Low Country Boil which is a casual mixer with our elected officials and candidates saw over 250 attendees, and our Lifetime Achievement Awards, which honors and teaches us about the history of our important community leaders, saw over 375 attendees. This is a community that wants to learn, wants to engage, and wants to take action. These civil community conversations, which move all of us to action, are vital to our prosperity.

We look forward to working with the community to solving problems affecting our home. We are Argus and we are ready to apply business leadership to important community issues.

Christine Robinson is executive director of the Argus Foundation. 



[SCOOP]  The Giving Match

The Libertore Fund for Children, Inc. is thrilled to have recently received a donation from an anonymous Sarasota business leader. To honor this gift, the foundation has committed to match up to $5,000 per participating charity beginning on Giving Tuesday, November 29 and continuing through December 2. The participating charities are Achievement Academy, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lakeland, Child Protection Center, Children First, Children’s Healthy Pantry, Children’s Home Society, Easter Seals Southwest Florida, Everyday Blessings, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida, Mothers Helping Mothers, Parker Street Ministries, SOLVE Maternity Homes, Learning Resource Center and Heartland for Children.  

The Libertore Fund for Children

[SCOOP ]  Manatee Memorial Hospital Implants First Elite Valve System

Manatee Memorial Hospital became the first facility on the West Coast of Florida to offer patients suffering from aortic valve disease a new device for surgical aortic valve replacement. The surgical team led by Alessandro Golino, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and program director of the Valve Institute, successfully implanted the Edwards Intuity Elite valve in an 80-year-old male patient last week at the Manatee Heart and Vascular Center at Manatee Memorial Hospital. Dr. Golino is the only cardiothoracic surgeon trained to use this procedure at Manatee Memorial Hospital.  

Manatee Memorial Hospital

[KUDOS ]  Sarasota YMCA Provides Thanksgiving Meals

On Saturday, November 19 the Sarasota Family YMCA will be providing 384 Thanksgiving meals to families in need at the Frank G. Berlin, Sr. branch YMCA Bari Brooks Teen Center. These families are currently being served through Y programs such as Achievers, Operation Graduation and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). This is the 13th year that YMCA volunteers have passed out Thanksgiving meals to those in need, thanks to generous community donations. 

Sarasota YMCA

[SCOOP ]  Audition Boot Camp

Music Compound is hosting an Audition Boot Camp to prepare anyone interested in auditioning for America’s Got Talent, local idol or any other audition in the near future. Attendees will receive 15 hours of professional coaching including 12 hours of audition coaching, two hours of private one-on-one lessons and one mock audition. This opportunity is open to all ages to take advantage of this unique experience and professional expertise. “We have several students interested in auditioning for American’s Got Talent Auditions January 7 in Jacksonville,” says Jenny Alday Townsend, President/Owner of the Music Compound. “Music Compound hopes to turn dreams into reality. This type of workshop allows our team assist musicians hoping to make it big!”  

Music Compound

[KUDOS ]  Reading Fur Fun

The Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) brought four–legged guests to the grand opening of the new media center at Emma E. Booker Elementary on November 15. HSSC works with Booker Elementary to provide humane education programs, bringing certified pet therapy dogs to classrooms to promote respect and compassion for animals in the youngest members of society. HSSC has its own corner in Booker’s new media center for the Fur Fun Reading program, where children struggling to read can practice their skills by reading to therapy dogs. This practice boosts students’ confidence and helps create positive associations with reading.  

Humane Society of Sarasota County

[SCOOP ]  Goodwill Offers Thanks to Supporters of Veterans Program

This Thanksgiving season, Goodwill Manasota has much to be thankful for. Just shy of the three–year anniversary of the launch of Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program, the organization has helped more than 1,500 veterans and their families. To celebrate this achievement and thank its supporters, Goodwill Manasota will be reducing prices on select items during the entire week of Thanksgiving. The week will culminate with Black Friday specials for those who subscribe to Ambassador Connector, Goodwill’s newsletter.  

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP ]  Children First Receives Grant From Barancik Foundation

Children First received a $150,000 grant from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to help stabilize families and provide children with high–quality early childhood education. This gift is part of Children First’s Raise Your Hand campaign to enhance and expand current programs. In addition to assisting families with emotional and behavioral health needs, the campaign aims to reduce the waiting list of over 400 children, intensify the role of family advocates who support families served by Children First and offer more individualized attention for children in preschool classrooms.  

Children First

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SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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