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SRQ DAILY May 1, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The need for an educated workforce is going to grow, not subside."

- Jennifer Vigne, Education Foundation of Sarasota County

[Community]  Fostering a More Humane Community, One Paw at a Time
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

Whether they bark, meow, neigh or squawk, animals are inseparable members of our families. My own family would be incomplete without our three Labradors, J.J. (Jogger Jerde), a chocolate lab and our twin sisters who followed her, yellow labs Sadie and Sophie. They gave my husband, Mike and I such companionship over the years. Memories of them resting their heads on our laps while reading or nudging us out of the house for a well-needed walk remind me of how their love brought all of us closer together.

Like many households this past year, we examined opportunities to focus our time helping others, including animals. We’re looking forward to sharing our home again with new companions as a host family for a local nonprofit organization. These relationships – no matter how long – sustain us and undoubtedly leave a pawprint impression on our hearts for years to come.

Promoting the wellbeing of all animals is a cause that has found a loving home with many of the charitable individuals and families who partner with us at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Personal connections with their own lifelong companions have inspired our donors to adopt an encompassing definition of care. From rehabilitative treatment to food and shelter, each donor’s vision – paired with nonprofit programs and initiatives – brings us one step closer to a more a humane community.

Animal Welfare Grants help foster this vision across Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Created with the generosity of the Helen C. Schwieder Fund, Robert Parker Fund and other significant funds, this annual competitive grant cycle recently awarded $203,000 to 14 local nonprofit organizations to serve animals in need. Many of this year’s supported programs focused primarily on providing veterinary care, covering expenses such as veterinarian visits, medicines and emergency medical services, which provide help to animals as well as their caretakers who may be facing financial hardship. Additional capacity building strategies to assist organizations in the development of volunteer and foster programs also resonated with the committee of community volunteers, staff and local animal welfare experts who were part of the evaluation process.

These services help people connect and heal emotionally alongside our animal friends. For example, Prospect Riding Center is strengthening its therapeutic horseback activities, as is Easterseals Southwest Florida through its partnership with InStride Therapy serving children and veterans in Sarasota County. Through its Partners for Pets program, Vintage Paws Sanctuary is collaborating with Senior Friendship Centers to provide seniors struggling financially by providing pet food and other supplies to sustain their companionship.

These and other programs show clearly how animals bring about our very human capacity to nurture others, while also accepting care. I cannot wait to get that knowing nudge again to head out on a walk that will put both person and companion on better figurative footing.

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

Photo courtesy Community Foundation: Roxie's yellow labs.

[Education]  Needed: More graduates enrolled in college or training after high school
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

The coronavirus pandemic’s impacts on students entering the college and career technical training pipeline are coming into focus, and the data show that we have reasons to be concerned about our short-term and long-term needs.

Two areas in particular call for our attention and action as a community that cares about our young people.

The Helios Education Foundation reported in its April issue that community college enrollment in Florida has declined 14% this year compared to the last academic year. That’s a bigger decline than the 10% drop nationally for the same time period.

Worse, first-time college freshmen enrollment (representing the class of 2020 high school graduates) declined nearly 21.7% nationally.

An inseparably linked indicator of concern is that financial aid applications (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA) are down nationally by 9.4%, according to the February 22, 2021, Hechinger Report.

Community colleges and career technical schools are the affordable and accessible gateway to education after high school for many graduates. With financial aid providing the means for many students to pay for higher education, including traditional college and career technical schools, the combined data present an alarming projection of a high number of young adults preparing to enter the workforce without the education that we, as a nation, need them to have.   

In thinking about the education pipeline, let’s consider how these lower percentages might translate to fewer primary care physicians. Engineers? Math teachers? Cyber security experts? Oncology nurses? Construction managers?

In education, we always are aware that we are supporting tomorrow’s leaders--today. The need for an educated workforce is going to grow, not subside.

We can view this through a local lens. FAFSA info specific to Sarasota County is provided by Thomas Williams, director of PLANit Sarasota, which tracks and reports the data on a month-to-month comparison from year to year.

“Sarasota County has promoted the importance of completing the FAFSA, and in 2020 our county finished first in the state for highest FAFSA completion rate for large school districts,” Williams said.

“However, Sarasota County was down 5% from the previous year, which took us to second place.”

The actual percentages of high school students completing the FAFSA were 46.8% for 2019, 51.5% for 2020, and 46.5% for 2021. Essentially, Sarasota County has rebounded to pre-pandemic numbers, but that’s still less than half of eligible students completing the FAFSA application.

There is a long way to go to catch up to current and future needs. The window to submit the FAFSA application is still open, Williams said, and Education Foundation of Sarasota County and PLANit Sarasota staff are prepared to help.

PLANit Sarasota is a collective of community partners working on campaigns to help raise awareness of the importance of getting a college or career technical education after high school, especially in historically underrepresented populations.

With FAFSA filings remaining down at high schools with more students of color and those who are financially disadvantaged, PLANit Sarasota is focused on awareness campaigns that promote the importance of making plans for life after high school and taking steps to pay for the education they need to achieve their goals, whether it’s a two-year or four-year college or career technical training. 

This is where the community comes in: If anyone knows of students who are graduating and haven’t yet planned or perhaps are thinking of pausing their education beyond high school because of the pandemic impact, please suggest they reach out to any of our Education Foundation advisors or network partners.

We will listen, discuss, and help them consider alternatives and new avenues to get the postsecondary education that they and we, as a community, need. 

One place to start is by going to our web page devoted to this topic: edfoundationsrq.org/planit-sarasota/just-keep-planning/

Thank you for helping us help our students.

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

[SOON]  GALLERY: Florida CraftArt: Beautiful Bountiful Bowls Exhibition of Fine Craft , May 14 – June 26

Beautiful Bountiful Bowls is a juried exhibition of handmade bowls by outstanding contemporary fine craft artists. From around the state, 33 artists created 100 pieces in ceramics, fiber, glass, metal and wood.  Community programming (virtual and in person) includes a singing bowl sound healing and demonstrations about creating bowls in clay and wood. Glass artist and gallery owner Duncan McClellan will present an in-depth look at glass blowing bowls. At the virtual opening and awards reception on Friday, May 14 at 6pm, people will have the opportunity to virtually meet the artists and the show’s judge Catherine Bergmann (curator of Dunedin Fine Art Center). The show runs through June 26 when the People’s Choice Award will be presented. People can vote for their favorite work of art in the Florida CraftArt Exhibition Gallery and on Facebook. The exhibition’s sponsor is Tyler Jones of Premier Sotheby’s International Real Estate, along with support from Perry and Lisa Everett,  the City of St. Petersburg, and Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs. Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am to 5:30pm. and Sunday, noon to 5pm. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org. On Friday, May 14 at 6pm Virtual opening with artists and judge Catherine Bergmann, Curator of Dunedin Fine Art Center. On Tuesday, May 25 at 6pm “Throwing and Turning” Learn about throwing clay on the wheel with Tyler Jones and woodturning with Nick Reale at this virtual event. On Tuesday, June 8 at 6pm Singing Bowls sound healing with Master Gopali, virtual and in person (space is limited to 10, reservations are required.) On Saturday, June 12 from 5:30pm to 9pm Second Saturday ArtWalk - Visit ArtLofts on our second floor. On Tuesday, June 22 at 6pm Renowned glass artist and gallery owner Duncan McClellan talks virtually about creating bowls in glass.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: PGT Innovations Career Fair , May 1, 9am-12pm

PGT Innovations  (NYSE: PGTI), a national leader in the premium window and door industry, seeks to fill over 60 available positions with on-the-spot hiring at a career fair on Saturday, May 1 from 9am to 12pm at Venice-Nokomis Elks Lodge. The 3-hour employment event is geared toward filling open positions such as production team members, material handling technicians, loading technicians, automation technicians and maintenance mechanics. The company is also looking for production supervisors for its North Venice location with a starting salary of $60,000/year plus relocation assistance. No prior experience or certifications are necessary for production team member, loading technician, and material handling technician positions, as PGT Innovations provides on-the-job training for new team members. Candidates interested in automation technician positions can review experience requirements at http://bit.ly/pgtiautomationtech. Interviews will be held during the event, and on-the-spot job offers with a $2,000 sign-on bonus will be extended to qualified candidates. Applications will be provided onsite. In an effort to ensure the personal health and wellness of PGT Innovations team members and event participants, everyone will be required to wear a face covering during the career fair. Masks will be provided, if needed.  Candidates with all types of work backgrounds and skill sets are encouraged to apply for the career opportunities available with the company’s innovative team.  To learn more about PGT Innovations’ culture, visit careers.pgtinnovations.com or call 941-480-1600. To register for the event, visit https://www.pgtinnovations.com/jobfairs-venice.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Painting with Norma Althea Winter , May 3 – May 26, 10:30am-12:30pm

This class offers a new approach to rendering and applying acrylics as a fluid, water-based medium. In this course, you will learn how to apply and build layers of colors, how to mix colors, various stroke techniques, and the use of reference materials for clarity. Take one session or both. Mondays & Wednesdays from 10:30am to 12:30pm with Instructor Norma Althea Winter. Session I dates include May 3 & 5, 10 & 12, 17 & 19, 24 & 26. Fee per session of eight is $140 for nonmembers and $125 for members.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Selby Gardens: Botanical Briefing:  A Taxonomist's View on the Essence of Water lilies that Inspired Claude Monet , May 19, 12pm-1pm

Botanical Briefing:  A Taxonomist’s View on the Essence of Water lilies that Inspired Claude Monet, presented by John H. Wiersema, PhD, Research Associate in the Botany Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History on May 19 from 12pm to 1pm. What is it about the nature of water lilies that provided the inspiration for Claude Monet’s gardens and so many of his impressionist paintings? This talk will examine the role of water lilies in the aquatic landscape, explore the relationships among the various forms of water lilies throughout the world, and probe the aesthetic qualities that have made them the ultimate aquatic ornamental. We will also investigate the early history of water-lily hybridization in Europe in relation to the water lilies available to Monet when he established his water garden in Giverny in the late 19th Century, with a closer look at those that successfully established on his estate. Finally, an appreciation of the sheer beauty and serenity of both a pristine waterlily setting and a Monet impressionist rendering of it. Members will receive an exclusive email with the registration link for this event.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Selby Gardens: Everything's Coming Up Roses Watercolor Workshop , May 24, 10:30am-2:30pm

Capture the essence of roses using reference materials while painting along with the instructor, Carolyn Merenda. This workshop will take place on May 24 from 10:30am to 2:30pm at the Downtown Sarasota Campus and is open to all levels. The Class Fee is $70 for nonmembers and $60 for members.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Wheel Base and Gentlemen Drivers Group: Exotic Automobile Show , May 1, 10am-3pm

If you are lucky enough to own an Aston Martin, where do you store it safely? In this region, that place is Wheel Base Premium Garage Condos, a unique, hurricane impact-rated, build-to-own garage condominium facility that was designed specifically for the personal warehousing of rolling assets – especially car collections – where owners enjoy their prized belongings in a social setting. If you don’t yet own a Lamborghini but want to see one in person, Wheel Base and Gentlemen Drivers Group is inviting the public to a free car show on May 1 from 10am to 3pm, at 1600 Sarasota Boulevard. Sponsors of the event will be on hand that day with cars on display and welcome tents, including Gentlemen Driver's Group, Lamborghini of Sarasota, Dimmitt Automotive, Hagerty Insurance, and Corsa 7. The event will also feature food trucks and live music. For info, call 941-356-7718, or RSVP to JoannaBenante@MichaelSaunders.com.

[SOON]  : Virtual: Van Wezel: Titanique: The Maiden Voyage Concert , May 2, 7:30pm

What happens when the music of Céline Dion makes sweet Canadian love with the eleven-time Oscar-winning film Titanic? You get Titanique, an upcoming musical celebration that turns one of the greatest love stories of all time into a hysterical and joyful slay-fest. On Sunday, May 2 at 7:30pm, we’re sailing straight into your living room for Titanique: The Maiden Voyage Concert. Streaming live from New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge, this hilarious new musical comedy reveals what really happened to Jack and Rose on that fateful night, as told by Céline Dion (who hijacks a Titanic Museum tour and recharts the course of Titanic’s beloved moments). The evening will feature a powerhouse cast performing 15+ of Céline’s most iconic hits, including “My Heart Will Go On,” “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” and “All By Myself.” Girlfriends, it’s time to feel joy again. It’s time to feel love again. It’s time to strap on your life vest and and never let go! We’ll see you on the Ship of Dreams. Early Bird Pricing: $25 (available March 29 10am through April 11 at 11:59pm). General Pricing: $29 (beginning April 12). VIP packages with extended access and merchandise, ranging from $35-$125.

[SOON]  FILM: FST's Suffragist Project Documentary Premier: Dangerous Ladies , May 2 – May 6, 2pm and 6pm

Dangerous Ladies: Voices of the Suffragists, the documentary following the theatre’s Suffragist Project—an artistic celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (August 20, 2020), the woman’s right to vote—will premiere at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival. Produced by Manatee Educational Television (METV) in association with BTN Films, Dangerous Ladies chronicles the events of FST’s year-long project, which brought together over 60 community organizations from Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Dangerous Ladies is one of the few select films included in the Festival that will have in-person screenings for the public. Dangerous Ladies will be screen publicly on Sunday, May 2 at 2pm and on Thursday, May 6 at 6pm at CMX Cinébistro Siesta Key. Tickets for these in-person screenings are $15 each and can be purchased at SarasotaFilmFestival.com. The film will also be screened virtually, and tickets cost $8 each.

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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