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SRQ DAILY Dec 5, 2020

"Now is not the time for our young people to postpone postsecondary goals, and I am heartened to hear stories of students in Sarasota County Schools who continue to pursue their plans"

- Jennifer Vigne, Education Foundation of Sarasota County

[Community]  Community Care, Just in Time for the Holidays
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

Symbols of the season popped up early this year as many of us were eager for the comforting images that come with the holidays. Amidst the appearances of faux snowflakes, sand snowmen (complete with sunglasses), reindeer, and more in emails and advertisements in recent weeks, I was surprised to see a very early arrival: Father Time. I know there are many of us eager to wave goodbye to 2020, but I would like to keep him around a bit longer and invite him to impart all the lessons learned from this year to cherubic Baby New Year of 2021. After all, we’ve learned a lot about who we are and how we want to live, and that is something I do not want to forget.

For example, our friends at Catholic Charities in DeSoto County introduced us to Maria and Mario, the young parents of three children and a baby boy fighting for his life after being born premature. Facing reduced hours at work and long back-and-forth commutes from the hospital, Mario reached out to Catholic Charities – part of the Season of Sharing network – for help with rent and utilities to ensure that when the baby returned, its home would be there to greet him. After many months between Tampa and Miami hospitals, their baby boy had a successful surgery and the family has since been reunited.

Lifechanging stories like Maria and Mario’s can be found all around us. Everyone has their own story to tell about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted them. Those of us who were not deeply affected by previous troubles like hurricanes or other economic downturns cannot claim our lives haven’t been altered during 2020.

While you've heard more about Season of Sharing from me than ever before this year, there’s a reason for that. Because so many in our region are facing challenges they never expected, the usual funds raised along with emergency funds contributed this spring and summer that are here to help with rent and mortgage, utility bills, child care, transportation, food vouchers and other crucial expenses are on track to be depleted in just seven months.

Fortunately, our community is a caring one. Our partners at The Patterson Foundation are strengthening your generosity by providing $100,000 for every $500,000 raised by you, our community, towards Season of Sharing until January 31. These gifts of hope are often inspired by and given in honor of the precious relationships in our lives and can be “unwrapped” in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte or DeSoto counties, going directly to those who need it the most all year long.

This brings me back to our old friend Father Time and the parable I shared earlier. Perhaps after a year unlike any other, Father Time should be encouraged to walk right alongside an eager Baby New Year, bringing with him the guidance and insights of the past to illuminate a more inclusive present and an even brighter future. Only time can tell how we will remember 2020, but as the enduring nature of Season of Sharing shows us again and again, community care is truly timeless.

While our greatest challenges will not vanish with a quick change of the calendar, neither should the abundance of resiliency, hope and unity that we have found within ourselves and our communities. This sentiment, along with the relationships that bring it to life, has the staying power beyond any one year to transform even the darkest of times into brilliant moments of caring.

To make a gift or learn more about Season of Sharing, please visit www.CFSarasota.org/Season-of-Sharing. Thank you for your generosity.

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

Photo from Shutterstock

[Education]  The Power of Persistence and Planning
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

To listen to the news today, to wade through the deluge of uncertainty, can be paralyzing. For many high school students, the current situation has indeed had a detrimental effect, evident in declining college enrollment numbers. According to a recent ABC News article, Common App, a college admissions application used by numerous colleges and universities, notes a 4% decrease in unique college applications received through Nov. 16, down from 2019. More alarming, Common App notes a 10% decrease in applications of first-generation and economically disadvantaged students. 

Now is not the time for our young people to postpone postsecondary goals, and I am heartened to hear stories of students in Sarasota County Schools who continue to pursue their plans even as the college experience may look incredibly different than it did before the pandemic hit.

Recently at LaunchPad4U, a community space where College Career Advisors and mentors support students of Sarasota County Schools, one of my colleagues shared a story about a young man named Kaivon Moran, a senior at Sarasota High School. His story shows how persistence and planning can keep alive important dreams.

Kaivon has always wanted to fly. Undaunted by the numbers (2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that African-Americans make up 3% of the U.S. commercial pilots), he has been pursuing his pilot’s license, which he is on track to earn. While learning how to fly, he also plays forward on the Sarasota High School varsity basketball team, and he is enrolled in the AICE diploma program, a rigorous honors program, maintaining a 4.04 weighted GPA.

Because Kaivon wants to be a pilot and few colleges in America provide Professional Pilot degrees, his choices are more limited. This year, he began working with a College Career Advisor at the Student Success Center at Sarasota High to explore his options. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a private university in Daytona Beach, showed promise.  

Kaivon hopes to continue playing basketball, but earning a scholarship to play at the college level is challenging, more so when the list of schools is limited by such a specialized degree. To help Kaivon realize this dream, his advisor reached out to the Embry-Riddle basketball coach and discussed the possibility of Kaivon playing as a walk-on. She then spoke to his coach at Sarasota High and asked him to send Embry-Riddle footage of Kaivon.   

Kaivon was recently accepted to Embry-Riddle. His persistence in the classroom paid off, and he’s waiting to hear about a spot on the basketball team. Now Kaivon is searching for ways to pay for school. He has completed his FAFSA, and while a Bright Futures Scholarship will provide some assistance, he will need to secure national and local scholarships. Knowing this, he continues to work with his advisor to find the best opportunities. He embraces the unknowns as he pursues the ultimate goal of piloting planes.   

While courses on Zoom and a socially distanced dorm experience may limit the sense of community that college students crave, it is important that our young people follow their postsecondary goals. It’s not too late to formulate a plan for a pathway after high school. Parents, grandparents, mentors, even neighbors—you can help. Please encourage our students to keep planning for their future. Encourage them to persist. To break barriers and to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing, increasingly uncertain world, our young people must follow their dreams. And we must empower them with our support.

Jennifer Vigne is executive director for the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 

Photo courtesy Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

[SOON]  HEALTH: Van Wezel: Bay Park Yoga , November 21 – December 26, 9:30am-10:30am

Relax, stretch and enjoy a free fulfilling yoga session every Saturday from November 21 until December 26, 2020 from 9:30am to 10:30am on the Sarasota’s scenic bayfront while instructor Erin Hurter guides you along the way. Participants should plan to bring their own yoga mat and water bottle.

Van Wezel Lawn

[SOON]  GALLERY: Ringling College and Madeby Gallery: Student Show , November 18 – December 11, 9:30am-4:30pm

Please join Ringling College of Art and Design and Madeby Gallery for the Eleventh Annual Student Zoom Art Show.  The Zoom Opening Reception; a juried show of innovative and creative artwork by Ringling College of Art and Design Students. The show gives students the opportunity to experience the procedures for submission of their artwork, the jury process, preparing their artwork to be gallery ready, exhibiting their artwork, and attending the Zoom Opening Night event. All Zoom guests have the opportunity to purchase original artwork, digital art design prints, and fine crafts by the students. The Student Show runs through Friday, December 11. 

Madeby Gallery, 2700 North Tamiami Trail

[SOON]  GALLERY: 530 Burns Gallery: On the Sunny Side , November 13 – December 7, Gallery hours.

'On the Sunny Side' features artists like Teresa McCue and Alreen Joseph who explores the way light and nature interact on canvas. From shimmering abstracted scenes in yellow hues to more literal depictions of the perfect day, the artists in this exhibition remind the viewer that there is always something for which to be grateful. The exhibition will run from Friday, November 13 through December 8 2020. The sun rises each morning as it always does, casting a warm glow and illuminating pathways into nature. This feeling of comfort is evident in Teresa McCue’s work, despite being painted during the global pandemic. McCue paints her spiritual connection to nature through patterns, textures, and rhythms with acrylic paint and pastel. Color is an important factor in her abstracted paintings that seek to evoke the spirit of the landscape. Living near the water in New Hampshire, McCue is continually pushing the range of color found within the landscape to their abstracted forms.

530 Burns Gallery, 530 Burns Lane

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Florida CraftArt: Annual Fine Craft Artist Festival , December 5, 10am-5pm

This Saturday, December 5 from 10am to 5pm, 18 fine craft artists will be featured in Florida CraftArt's 23rd annual festival. Because of the pandemic, it will be a smaller version of Tampa Bay's highly anticipated annual fall festival that typically showcases 100 fine craft artists and attracts collectors and enthusiasts alike each fall in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. This year's festival, free to the public as always, will be held outdoors by the Florida CraftArt gallery at 501 Central Avenue. It is the perfect opportunity for people to purchase quality, handmade original gifts created by Florida artists.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Drive-Thru Winter Wonderland Experience and Holiday Toy Drive , December 5, 4pm-7pm

Join Safe Place And Rape Crisis Center from 4pm to 7pm on December 5, 2020 at 2139 Main Street for a "touchless" drop-off event and winter wonderland experience to make the holiday season extra special for survivors and their children and raise funds to help SPARCC’s life-saving, free and confidential programs and services.

Safe Place And Rape Crisis Center, 2139 Main Street

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 2020 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony , December 5, 6pm

Newtown Community presents 2020 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at Fredd "Glossie" Atkins Park on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 6pm. Help give local children a special holiday with a toy drop off at 1782 Dr. MLK Jr. Way. Free event, masks are required.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Virtual: Mote Marine: Environmental Science Scout Merit Badge , December 5, 1pm-3pm

Our Environmental Science Scout Merit Badge has gone virtual. Join us on December 5, 2020 from 1pm to 3pm as we review the badge workbook and explore the concepts with some demonstrations. Your registration confirmation email will contain your workbook and a guide containing a list of household materials to gather to be used in a few hands-on activities. All merit badge requirements will be completed during this workshop. Your child's safety is our priority. These programs are run via a secure Zoom webinar, and your child's personal identifiers will be kept private. Video and audio will be turned off for all participants. Participants will be able to interact with Mote Educators via the moderated chatroom and messages will only be seen by Mote staff. This is an interactive program. Your child will be able to participate in Polls, ask questions in the Q&A space that are answered live by our Educators, and follow along from home with the activities and demonstrations during this virtual program. $15 for all.

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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