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SRQ DAILY Jun 5, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The many hours of screen time were counted, but the measurements of how those talks will continue to make a difference in our community are still being tallied."

- Roxie Jerde, Community Foundation of Sarasota County
 

[Education]  Inspiring Life Lessons to Take Beyond Graduation
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

The end of the school year signals the season of the traditional commencement speech.

Nobody sets out to be cliched and boring. It’s fair to say that most people who are invited to give commencement speeches strive to be clever, wise and memorable in the dispensing of wisdom to the next generation.

Even so, high school and college graduates waiting impatiently to turn their tassels from right to left can be understood for hoping for a brief, lively speech.

I’ve heard a number of commencement speeches, and certain ones stood out and withstood the test of time. Notable speakers reminded graduates of key attributes they could embody and take with them as they transition to the next phase of their life’s journey, and they gave examples of people’s stories to connect their sincere advice to real life lessons.

I have been thinking about the inspiring life lessons imparted by 35 local high school seniors, this year’s STRIVE award recipients, who shared personal stories of how they overcame obstacles to succeed in high school and prepared to succeed in life. (Go to EdFoundationSRQ.org/STRIVE-Awards for columns and videos.)

Venice High School graduate Kaela Coye, for example, epitomizes the power of positivity in accepting what she can’t change (a stutter) and turning an obstacle that literally could have silenced her into an opportunity to connect with and help others.

In particular, I noticed how the attributes embodied by Kaela and other STRIVE award recipients can be condensed into a unified commencement speech showcasing the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and teachable moments that can be valuable to us all at whatever point we are in life’s journey.

These students inspire immense hope in and for our next generation. Some salient tenets pulled from their examples are offered below:

  • Think for yourself. Be smart and courageous to stand by your convictions and beliefs, even in the face of adversity. There will come a day when you may be the only person in a group who wants to go left when everyone else goes right. Stand strong. Speak up and follow your instincts.  
  • Seize the day. Carpe Diem! Time is a limited resource, so make the most of it. Don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today. Take the time to give a hug, say “I love you,” help a friend. Take action. Run, go, decide, and become the amazing person you know you are.
  • Keep the faith. Trust yourself. There will be mountains and valleys, victories and defeats, prosperity and hardship, sickness and health, joy and sadness. Through all of life’s ups and downs, remember you matter and are capable of doing much more than you initially might think you can do. To quote from the movie, “Finding Dory”: “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.”
  • Fail forward. It’s far more rewarding to try and fail than never to try at all. Personal growth comes best when you are able to learn from your mistakes and have the tenacity to keep at it. Life isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding. When Thomas Edison was asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times before he invented the light bulb, he said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
  • Actively listen. We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Listen before speaking. A wise person knows how to control his/her tongue, so remember to be slow to speak and slow to anger.
  • Have an “attitude of gratitude”. Be thankful for all things, the large and small. Count your blessings, and bless others, too, by paying it forward. The act of giving truly will open your eyes and expand your heart and mind beyond what you can imagine.
  • Laugh often. It’s good for your health. Laughing also builds relationships, decreases stress, increases happiness, and gives levity to life. It’s free, fun, and contagious.
  • Uphold high values. Integrity, honor, humility, and courage are your life’s armor. Wear them with steadfast commitment. No one can take them from you, and people will remember you for them.
  • Reach for the stars. Aim high and go for it! Believe in yourself. Don’t let your potential go untapped. Stretch yourself and you will be amazed at how much you will grow and how far you can reach.
  • Remember your encouragers. It could be one person or an organization that helped you get to this important milestone. They believed in you. Remember to thank them. The best way to repay them is to keep giving them a reason to be proud of you.  

All of us at the Education Foundation of Sarasota County send all graduating seniors of the Class of 2021 our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for a future filled with purpose, self-fulfillment, and long-lasting success.

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

Image from Pixabay

[Community]  Sharing Time in Service of Others
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

There’s an idiom in business that what you measure matters. In philanthropy, there are many measurements – outcomes, lives changed, program results, financial management and years in business. But what is hardest to gauge is the changes made in our hearts and measured gains in our character through sharing our time in ways that create community.

Time has been on my mind as this year marks my 10-year anniversary at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. In the last decade, I’ve had the privilege to shake hands and give a hug (and recently, bump elbows) with a great number of people who have never failed to lend a helping hand. As we cross into the “after” pandemic transition, and welcome many newcomers to our growing area, it seems like the right moment to celebrate the service-based philosophy that guides our area’s generosity and spirit.

The Community Foundation’s commitment to helping our community — one voice, one cause, one person at a time — is cultivated by the visionaries that serve on our Board of Directors, each representing a spectrum of generations and industries, geographies and life experiences that enrich our charitable investments and strategic decision-making. Led by the courageous Nelle Miller, it is from this group of philanthropists, business leaders and community innovators from which our “Be The One” philosophy — that anyone can make a difference, regardless of means — transforms into impact and action.

Our board empowers us to help create the community we all want to live in alongside individuals, families, and nonprofit organizations. This stood resolute even when we were faced with the dual crises that defined the last year. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were positioned to swiftly react and prepare our region for longer-term recovery through a balance of governance decisions that ensured sustainability and encouraged innovation. Our other values of compassion, integrity and inclusiveness have been constant themes in our conversations this year to expand our culture to welcome diversity of people and thoughts through community engagement. The aim of these discussions being — ultimately — making the greatest impact on disparities we can positively affect following a year of dramatic shifts globally and locally.

All these thoughtful discussions were taking place while our board members were figuring out how to pivot their own businesses and lifestyles within the confines of a Zoom screen, in addition to conducting foundation work remotely. The many hours of screen time were counted, but the measurements of how those talks will continue to make a difference in our community are still being tallied.

I share these experiences with you in hopes that you too will recognize the volunteers in our area who intentionally come together to make our lives more meaningful. If you are new to the area like I was a decade ago, I encourage you to seek opportunities to become involved with causes close to your own heart. You can begin your journey to become a volunteer or board member with one of the more than 800 nonprofit organizations with a profile in the Community Foundation’s nonprofit database, The Giving Partner, at www.thegivingpartner.org. And if you’ve already found your calling as a volunteer, I’m sending you a heartfelt thank you for advancing our community, one hour of service at a time.

How and where we give our time is an expression of who we are. Share it thoughtfully.

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

Photo courtesy Community Foundation: Roxie Jerde and Nelle S. Miller

[Higher Education]  The “New Normal” for Higher Education After COVID-19
Ryan Lufkin

The past year of navigating the pandemic has accelerated many educational trends already gaining speed. One of the most important to the future is blended learning, which combines face-to-face teaching and online instruction. It’s supported by a technology framework that helps teachers organize course content, communication and common workflows. Perhaps most importantly, it builds on the strengths of both approaches — in person and online — ideally offering the flexibility of remote learning with the engagement of face-to-face interactions.

COVID-19 was the catalyst for propelling many types of everyday activities into a solely remote realm. Now as we create a blueprint for the “new normal” of many essential functions like school, adopting a consistent approach to technology-enhanced learning across the entire college or university is critical to addressing the next wave of challenges facing education.

Over the past decade, higher education in North America has been battling a troubling trend -- decreasing enrollment. As a result we’ve seen school closures, leaner budgets and a growing discourse on what steps higher ed should take to turn the tide.

This is where amidst all the stress and uncertainty the pandemic has created some bright spots; it’s created opportunities to support learners in new and evolving ways. There is currently a surge in demand to upskill and reskill adult learners. Over the past 14 months, many have decided or been forced to decide to change career paths. Doing so often doesn’t necessitate obtaining a traditional two- or four-year degree. For many, such programs are simply too resource- or time-intensive.

We must build new avenues for adult learners to cultivate the job and life skills required to shift career paths, and that work is happening now in companies and educational institutions nationwide. There is a lot of discussion on precisely what these varied new approaches will look like to support the new “continuous learner.” What is evident is that blended learning will be a key component. The technology underpinning equips faculty with the tools and support they need to support an ever-changing landscape. A blended course can more easily be adapted to new modalities to serve different types of learners.

One of the most common pieces of feedback edtech developers receive is about a subject we have the least control over, “make my professors use the technology more...make them use it better.” Students want a more consistent user experience between how their teachers use technology. We call that UX in the software world. Having a good UX results in a number of positive outcomes, such as students using feedback channels more often, consistent assignment workflows and leveraging features like to-do lists more frequently and effectively.

Well-respected figures in education like John Spencer have examined how educators can utilize the UX design approach to build more engaging and impactful courses. The basic tenets of UX design aren’t rocket science; they’re principles like: design for your users (not for yourself), provide clear workflows, gather feedback and use data.

Whether they’re taking Algebra 1 or Advanced Multivariable Calculus, it’s a reasonable expectation for students to get a similar experience navigating through their classes online, regardless of if it’s general ed, an upper-division course in their major, or even a fully remote course they’re taking as part of a non-degree certificate program from the same institution. The key here is that institutions must apply this UX design mentality collectively across all courses, programs and departments. Doing so requires prioritizing planning, instructional design support, utilizing “blueprint” courses and offering templates. Perhaps most importantly, we must prioritize the training of and support for less tech-savvy educators to make the switch.  

Data in education is a delicate subject. First and foremost, we must protect students’ right to privacy. At the same time, when used consciously and appropriately, data can greatly improve the quality of education. Striking that balance is both tricky and imperative.

We know from the broader use of technology that blind spots occur when a piece of technology is not adopted consistently across the user base. From those blind spots can emerge false narratives, which then result in an organization's inability to identify issues while they’re still addressable.

While it’s not the primary reason to implement blended learning, one added benefit is that it provides colleges and universities with much-needed, high-quality data to help them better make critical divisions to support their student populations. This data-driven decision making will be essential to help schools address challenges like declining enrollment and shifting student dynamics. Here too consistency matters. If classroom data — the most impactful and timely data we can have on our students — isn’t being collected consistently, we’re left with a woefully incomplete picture of our students.

As we turn our attention to life after COVID-19 and forging a new normal for our students, we have the opportunity to define what comes next. When used consciously and consistently, blended learning has the power to support our nation’s learners and ensure our academic institutions can continue to provide a high-quality education no matter what the future holds.

Ryan Lufkin is Senior Director of Product Marketing for Higher Education Instructure, the makers of Canvas. 



[SOON]  FESTIVAL: SHINE Festival and St. Pete Pride: Once Upon A Shine: A Gay Mural Scavenger Hunt , June 12 – June 19

Two of St. Petersburg’s best events, St. Pete Pride and The SHINE Mural Festival have come together to produce Once Upon A Shine: A Gay Mural Scavenger Hunt as part of this year’s Pride festivities. The event features freeFall Theatre’s award-winning actor and drag performer, Matthew McGee, as a fairy godmother providing clues to the whereabouts of Cinderella’s lost stiletto. Retrace her steps from mural to mural while deciphering clues using the free PixelStix app. The scavenger hunt can be completed anytime during Pride’s Arts & Music week, starting Saturday June 12 and ending Saturday June 19. Plan for 2-3 hours of mural hunting and social media challenges. Individuals or teams (up to 6 people) can compete to find the lost stiletto and be entered to win the grand prize, a 2 night stay at the new Tru by Hilton on Central Avenue. Every person that completes the scavenger hunt is eligible to receive $1 off a beer at Grand Central Brewhouse (21+) and a free yoga class at The Body Electric Yoga Company. Plus, SHINE is giving away other great prizes for the best photos and videos posted on social media with the hashtag #OnceUponAShine. Visit the website to see a full list of prizes, details and to register: www.stpeteartsalliance.org/PRIDE. Participants must download the free PixelStix app on iPhone or Android phone to play. This event is sponsored by Artistry St. Pete Apartments & Regions Bank. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, this event is free to the public but donations are encouraged to support the creation of more murals during this year’s SHINE Mural Festival, October 15-24, 2021. Donations can be made online 

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: On Screen: A Taxi Driver , July 15, 1pm

Based on a true story, in 1980, a foreign journalist hires a down-on-his-luck taxi driver to take him to Gwangju, South Korea. They soon arrive to find a city under siege by student protesters and the military. A Taxi Driver is Not-Rated. AWARDS: 2017 Motion Picture Association of South Korea (Grand Bell Awards) – Best Film, 2017 Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles - Best Film. Join us at 1pm on July 15 at the Historic Asolo Theater for big-screen movie magic in the Historic Asolo Theater. July is dedicated to Asia in the Movies, an ongoing series of film screenings and conversations showcasing a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. The initiative celebrates established and emerging voices, contemporary films and classics, animated films, as well as documentaries. The series builds on The Ringling’s mission to represent and center diverse voices and celebrate various cultures, as well as to become a space for relevant conversations around current social and political topics. For her final project, Anna Green, the performance Intern from New College of Florida has thoughtfully selected films for a series that educates, provides opportunity for conversation, and fosters understanding. We recommit to our values of equity, to providing a space for representation, and to highlighting the diversity and beauty of the Asian Community through Ringling’s film programming. Asia in the Movies strives to deepen our understanding of Asian cultures and our community. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13.50 for members, and $10.00 for students.

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: On Screen: Raya and the Last Dragon , July 16, 6:30pm

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon travels to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together in harmony long ago. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well. Raya and the Last Dragon features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, a warrior whose wit is as sharp as her blade, and Awkwafina as the magical, mythical, self-deprecating dragon named Sisu. Characters also include a street-savvy 10-year-old entrepreneur named Boun, the formidable giant Tong and a thieving toddler Noi with her band of Ongis. This film is Rated PG. Audience members are invited to participate in a post film conversation around themes from the film with Anna Green. Join us at 6:30pm on July 16 for big-screen movie magic in the Historic Asolo Theater. July is dedicated to Asia in the Movies, an ongoing series of film screenings and conversations showcasing a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. The initiative celebrates established and emerging voices, contemporary films and classics, animated films, as well as documentaries. The series builds on The Ringling’s mission to represent and center diverse voices and celebrate various cultures, as well as to become a space for relevant conversations around current social and political topics. For her final project, Anna Green, the performance Intern from New College of Florida has thoughtfully selected films for a series that educates, provides opportunity for conversation, and fosters understanding. We recommit to our values of equity, to providing a space for representation, and to highlighting the diversity and beauty of the Asian Community through Ringling’s film programming. Asia in the Movies strives to deepen our understanding of Asian cultures and our community. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13.50 for members, and $10.00 for students.

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: On Screen: The Joy Luck Club , July 22, 1pm

In San Francisco, a group of aging Chinese women (Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin, France Nuyen, Lisa Lu) meet regularly to trade familial stories while playing Mahjong. In a series of sixteen vignettes that spans generations and continents, this adaptation of Amy Tan's bestselling novel explores cultural conflict and the often-turbulent relationships between four first-generation Chinese-American women (Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, Rosalind Chao) and their mothers. This film is Rated R. Join us at 1pm on July 22 for big-screen movie magic in the Historic Asolo Theater. July is dedicated to Asia in the Movies, an ongoing series of film screenings and conversations showcasing a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. The initiative celebrates established and emerging voices, contemporary films and classics, animated films, as well as documentaries. The series builds on The Ringling’s mission to represent and center diverse voices and celebrate various cultures, as well as to become a space for relevant conversations around current social and political topics. For her final project, Anna Green, the performance Intern from New College of Florida has thoughtfully selected films for a series that educates, provides opportunity for conversation, and fosters understanding. We recommit to our values of equity, to providing a space for representation, and to highlighting the diversity and beauty of the Asian Community through Ringling’s film programming. Asia in the Movies strives to deepen our understanding of Asian cultures and our community. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13.50 for members, and $10.00 for students.

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: On Screen: A Simple Life , July 23, 6:30pm

A film producer (Andy Lau) helps care for his family's lifelong servant (Deanie Ip) after she suffers a stroke and must move into a nursing home. This film is not rated. Audience members are invited to participate in a post film conversation around themes from the film with Anna Green. Join us at 6:30pm on July 23 for big-screen movie magic in the Historic Asolo Theater. July is dedicated to Asia in the Movies, an ongoing series of film screenings and conversations showcasing a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. The initiative celebrates established and emerging voices, contemporary films and classics, animated films, as well as documentaries. The series builds on The Ringling’s mission to represent and center diverse voices and celebrate various cultures, as well as to become a space for relevant conversations around current social and political topics. AWARDS: 2011 Hong Kong Film Awards – won Best Film, Best Director Ann Hui, Best Actress Deanie Ip, Best Actor Andy Lau; 2011 Venice International Film Festival – won Best Actress Deanie Ip and was nominated for Best Film. For her final project, Anna Green, the performance Intern from New College of Florida has thoughtfully selected films for a series that educates, provides opportunity for conversation, and fosters understanding. We recommit to our values of equity, to providing a space for representation, and to highlighting the diversity and beauty of the Asian Community through Ringling’s film programming. Asia in the Movies strives to deepen our understanding of Asian cultures and our community. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13.50 for members, and $10.00 for students.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce: All Together Limitless Scavenger Hunt , June 5, 9am

We are pleased to announce our partnership with Nathan Benderson Park to host the first-ever inclusion and cultural scavenger hunt event on June 5 at 9am. The scavenger hunt will have several components that allow for social distancing; it will promote inclusion at all levels with team-building activities between disabled and non-disabled people. The event is part of a week-long initiative, "All Together" held in West, & Central Florida from June 2 to June 9. The GCLCC is a key organizer in the “All Together” Exchange and Social Inclusion Camp, which highlights the "Survivor Assistance Program," --an initiative supporting police, military, and civilian personnel affected by improvised explosive devices in Colombia. The goal of “All Together” is to educate the greater community on the correlation between efforts to eradicate illicit crop production in Colombia and the sacrifices these individuals have made to do so. It is also intended to generate awareness and establish ties to survivors, helping the community to recognize and value the contribution of people with different backgrounds, experiences, capabilities, and perspectives. Collaborative partners include BlueTie International, the Intercultural Learning Center, & local organizations. Registration Qualifications include: Each team must have 5 individuals and show diversity and inclusion with its participants, $500, Registration Deadline: May 21 at 4pm.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Pups at Premier , June 5, 9am-12pm

Finally, an event truly designed for your dog. Join us on June 5 from 9am to 12pm for the first ever, Pups at Premier event in Lakewood Ranch. Come for fun, or to compete and try your pup’s paw at winning amazing prizes or raffles. Meet local rescue pups and shop at vendors catering to your pup’s needs and wants. There will be splash pools and an agility course – and so much more. And come hungry – we are bringing the best food trucks for you and your pup. Event entry is just $10 per vehicle. Pre-registration is not required but encouraged. Sponsored by Bayside Pet Resort. Main Stage Activities: Running of the Pups: Is your little pup the fastest of them all? Will they bee-line to the finish line? Low Rider Dachshund Rescue of Florida is hosting Lakewood Ranch’s first ever Running of the Pups. Pups must be under 20 pounds to compete. Doggie/Owner Ice Cream Eating Contest: You and your pup will team up against other owners and their pups in this fun ice cream eating contest! Ice cream donated by JB's Doggie Delights of South Florida. "Beauty and the Leash" Dog Pageant: Dress your pups up to compete for the title of Best Matching Owner/Pup, Best Florida Themed Pup, Overall Most Creative Costume. Prizes will be award to winners from each Main Stage category: a blue ribbon, bragging rights and a $25 value gift basket. There will also be a variety of super fun, pay-and-play as you go carnival-style activities. Carnival activities include: Bobbin’ for Bacon, Egg-on-a-Spoon-on-a-Leash Race, Longest Tail Waggin’, Best Pooch Smooch, Diggin in the Boneyard, Doggie Caricature Artist, Pawdicures, Splash Pools, Agility Course, and more. Come hungry. Food trucks for dogs and humans: Mouthole BBQ, Willy-Yums Hot Dogs, Big Blue Grilled Cheese, and The Carousels Icery.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Parkinson Place Summit , June 5, 9am-3pm

Parkinson Place is a 501 (c) (3) in Sarasota that offers more than 65-classes, programs and webinars per month FREE to people living with Parkinson’s disease and care partners. They have a 9,000-square foot facility that will reopen when safe for all members but offer everything on ZOOM. The Virtual Summit is FREE to all at https://parkinsonplace.org/. The Parkinson Place Virtual Summit will take place on Saturday, June 5 from 9am to 3pm. Guest speakers include Kelly D. Foote, MD Neurosurgery Specialist, Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA Occupational Therapist at Positive Approach to Care (PAC), Angela Roberts, MA-SLP, PhD Professor at Northwestern University, Carley Rusch, MS, RDN, LDN Clinical Dietitian at Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health, and Rebecca Henson, MPT, MN, RD Physical Therapist at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.

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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