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SRQ DAILY Sep 1, 2018

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Change is inevitable and it seems fitting this anniversary falls at a time that arguably is the Education Foundation's most transformative period since our founders experienced the thrill of beginning something important."

- Jennifer Vigne, Education Foundation of Sarasota County

[Community]  Helping Those Who Help Others
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

When my husband Mike and I were weighing whether to move to Sarasota, one of the important factors we took into consideration was the level of quality healthcare available in the region. It’s no secret that we are all fortunate to have a number of world-class institutions like Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Tidewell Hospice that are leading the way in ensuring our community’s residents are well taken care of when it comes to their health.

While providing world-class facilities needed to meet our region’s healthcare demand is important, the bigger undertaking is ensuring those facilities are filled with passionate and highly qualified professionals. Fortunately, to counter a critical and prolonged nursing shortage in Florida, we have organizations like the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition to help.

After learning the mortality rate of patients decreases as the qualifications of the nurses treating them rises, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation partnered with the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition in 2014 to strengthen the educational opportunities available to nurses working in our local hospitals and those with dreams to become nurses.

By collaborating with local hospital, nursing, academic and community leaders from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, the partnership has created a robust pipeline of highly educated nurses in our region. The best part is none of the financial burden of being a student is put on the nurses, as community supporters provide scholarship awards stewarded through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

At a recent award ceremony, SNAC announced 22 new scholarship recipients that totaled up to $74,000 for this semester alone. Since the partnership began more than $214,000 in scholarship awards have been distributed, and while the numbers are impressive, the real mission moment was when attendees of the ceremony got to hear from USF student, Damon McIntire.

Damon had always been passionate about helping people in any way he could and was working hard as an EMT. However, a tragic accident in 2013 landed him on the receiving end and changed the course of his life. The nearly-fatal event left Damon in the hospital for 30 days on a ventilator and the following years consisted of more than a dozen surgeries.

Through his new perspective on healthcare, Damon realized the people who made the biggest impact on him during his recovery were the nurses working on his care. It was then he had an epiphany he wanted to be more than an EMT; he wanted to be a nurse. He enrolled in college three years ago, juggling the responsibilities of being a student and working to pay off his medical debt, and I’m proud to share he is now set to graduate this year.

As he spoke to the attendees at the awards ceremony, Damon shared he “wants to help make the miracles happen in other people’s lives.” His story demonstrated his drive and commitment to become a nurse.  It was so inspiring and made me realize I would love to have Damon by my bedside should I find myself needing care. He made me also reflect about my mom, Edie, who was so proud to be a nurse.  While she took time off to raise four kids, once we were off on our own she appreciated she was in a profession she could return to after her child-raising years. 

Damon was given a second chance, and I couldn’t help but think of the countless miracles that happen each day in our community thanks to our region’s nurses. I want to give a community-wide long and overdue shout out to all of our nurses. Thanks for being the ones to make a difference in so many lives.  We appreciate you!

Roxie Jerde is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[Education]  Honoring the Past, Toasting the Future
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

Take a walk with me down memory lane to 1988.

George H.W. Bush was elected as the 41st president. Big with Tom Hanks and Die Hard with Bruce Willis were hit movies. The Dell Computer Corp. was incorporated. The Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl. Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child o’ Mine” played on the radio. The term “World Wide Web” made its way into conversation. Cameras required film. A portable cell phone cost $2,500 and stood 10 inches tall. The big hair look was in for women and an unfortunate number of men sported the mullet style.

In Sarasota, young comedian Jay Leno performed at the Van Wezel. The Sarasota Babe Ruth Little League All-Stars went to the World Series. And private citizen Shirley Ritchey, a woman with a strong will and stronger passion for public education, gathered a group of Sarasota-area business leaders and educators to lay the groundwork for an independent organization dedicated to supporting programs and services to benefit students and teachers of Sarasota County Schools.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, as we know it today, traces its beginning to this grassroots effort led by Shirley and joined by leading citizens who served with commitment over the years.

Thanks to the continuing involvement of Shirley and early board members, the Education Foundation today is a nonprofit organization with the personality of a big supportive family that is celebrating our 30th anniversary year by honoring the past while looking to the future.

Since its inception, the Foundation provided programs and services that support and enrich the learning experience for students and teachers in our district. Here are a few highlights of how we have invested in our district over the first three decades:

The Foundation held the first teacher recognition event in 1989. We produced Academic Olympics in 1992 and Sarasota Thinks Festival in 1995. Our first annual “Evening of Excellence” was held in 1996. “Building Blocks for Success” grants were awarded in 1999. In 2003 we began a five-year literacy partnership with the Junior League. In 2009 we marked the 20th year of awarding “Edge of Excellence” classroom grants. We funded the first digital learning lab at Laurel Civic Association in 2013 and the first annual Hackathon was held in 2016.

And this year our College, Career, Life Readiness Initiative is taking off with the opening of new Student Success Centers, staffed by dedicated College Career Advisors provided by the Education Foundation, at North Port High School and Riverview High School.

With the passing of time we are glad to see some things fade—the mullet hairstyle, for one—and nostalgic for others. Along the way, we have said sad farewells to beloved friends and supporters, most recently James Ritchey, the husband and stalwart supporter of our founder, Shirley Ritchey.

As we honor the past with pride and respect, we are preparing toasts to a bright future for the Education Foundation and our students and teachers.

Change is inevitable and it seems fitting this anniversary falls at a time that arguably is the Education Foundation’s most transformative period since our founders experienced the thrill of beginning something important.

The Education Foundation’s many past accomplishments have been possible through the ongoing support of community and philanthropic partners, the cooperation of district leaders and the generosity of corporate and individual donors.

We continue to count on invaluable community backing as we adapt programs and services to meet the needs of a changing world and prepare our students to succeed in their own future plans.

Jennifer Vigne is president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[SOON]  Business Development Training for Entrepreneurs

Over the last ten years the City of Sarasota has coordinated the North Sarasota Community Entrepreneur Opportunity (CEO) business course. The City and SCORE work in partnership with CareerSource Suncoast to present an Introduction to Business Development course which focuses on the core basics for new and aspiring small business owners. Business consultants and experts will teach business planning including market strategies, competitive analysis, financials, and operations and management plans. The next 10-week course starts September 11. While the course is free, attendance and participation are mandatory. To learn more contact rowena.elliott@sarasotafl.gov. 

CareerSource Suncoast

[SCOOP]  Barancik Foundation awards $60,000 to Education Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation has awarded $60,000 to the Education Foundation of Sarasota County to support the Future Ready Initiative and provide staffing and resources for Student Success Centers at North Port High School and Riverview High School.The one-time grant is dedicated to funding the staffing and establishing a baseline to measure the effectiveness of new Student Success Centers that are key to the Education Foundation’s College, Career, Life Readiness program. “These new advising hubs will give nearly 5,000 students in grades 9-12 access to comprehensive resources, including dedicated college and career advisers provided by the Education Foundation, to supplement the personalized guidance of a school-based counselor,” said Barancik Foundation President and CEO Teri A Hansen. 

Education Foundation of Sarasota County

[SCOOP]  Asolo Rep's Costume Shop is a Cut Above

This season, Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Costume Shop will build and compile more than 200 costumes for their eight theatrical productions, with the theatre’s highly anticipated season opener, The Music Man, constituting 85 of the 200 and the shop building approximately 65 of the incredible costumes by hand. At the height of season, the shop has 15 highly skilled artisans on staff creating costumes and wigs. The shop has built costumes for Broadway, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Tanglewood Music Festival and more. 

Asolo Repertory Theatre

[SCOOP]  "SHINE on" Earns Top Honors

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL) has been honored with two statewide awards for public relations.  The awards were presented August 7 in Ponde Vedra Beach at the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Golden Image Awards ceremony.

AAASWFL earned an Award of Distinction and a Judges’ Award for the agency’s “SHINE on” public affairs campaign.  “SHINE on” educated Southwest Florida residents about the importance of free, unbiased Medicare counseling and encouraged citizens to advocate for continued federal funding for these programs. The campaign was planned and executed by AAASWFL Director of Communications Kirsten O’Donnell with assistance from the Agency’s SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) staff and volunteers.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve earned this level of recognition,” explains Marianne Lorini, AAASWFL President & CEO.  “The agency earned some local and state public relations awards in the 1990s and early 2000s.  It’s really an honor for our agency to be recognized by our peers across the state once again.” 

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida

SRQ Media Group

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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