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SRQ DAILY Sep 4, 2021

"It was great to see our students so engaged and enthusiastic. It is important that, as educators, we keep finding new and different ways to provide our students with hands-on learning experiences. "

- Susan Nations, Wilkinson Elementary School.
 

[Community]  Promise of Changed Futures, Postmarked with Gratitude
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

It was just as the fall semester was beginning at campuses both digital and physical that a small, unassuming envelope found its way to our offices at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Inside was a thank you note with the beautiful, hand-written words of Kiarra Louis, a recent graduate of the University of South Florida and longtime scholarship recipient of our foundation. As she described the pride she felt having been the first in her family to graduate not only from high school but also college – debt free, no less – we couldn’t help but hold her letter close to our hearts.

In a matter of weeks, Kiarra’s letter would be joined by hundreds of others – some coming in the form of emails, others as video – from past and current scholarship recipients. Each message recounted an inspiring story of those who bravely decided to better their lives through education in the face of a global pandemic. Not lost within a single word was the heartfelt gratitude expressed for the support they received along the way and optimism for all that lies ahead.

As unimaginable economic hardships continue to challenge local families and individuals, support from our community remains key to unlocking possibilities for students of all ages and journeys. It’s why, this year alone, our Community Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to positively change the futures of nearly 500 learners, young adults and parents who call our area home. Imagine what this assistance will do to break down barriers, alleviate stress and build opportunity, especially knowing that nearly 100 percent of our applicants who demonstrated financial need received at least one scholarship.

The celebration doesn’t stop with just these numbers, as personal touches from donors and review committee volunteers elevated festivities through Zoom calls, in-person gatherings and personalized awards. Ceremonies for recipients of the Bogner Family Scholarship, the Father Connie Dougherty Memorial Scholarship, and the Lela D. Jackson Family Scholarship included such moments, along with plenty of smiles, laughs and even tears. These opportunities – combined with 70 other scholarship funds in our Traditional Scholarship Program for students under 24 years of age – changed some 398 lives, a majority of whom are just starting their post-secondary paths at college or technical school.

This success accompanied tremendous momentum in our Adult Scholarships Program, which awarded 97 out of 98 students in the first of its two yearly cycles. You may be wondering what happened to that single student who didn’t receive an award. As it would turn out, shortly after submitting their application, they were able to graduate from their program and no longer required assistance.  

Responding to the needs of our students, however, is a year-round commitment. Our donors recognize this, and thanks to the 87 scholarship funds they’ve so generously entrusted to us, we’re able to expand and enrich opportunities no matter which semester happens to be a student’s starting point. This includes our Mid-Year Adult Scholarship application, which will be available later this month for students 24 years of age or older in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto or Charlotte counties.

With opportunity on my mind, I’d like to return to Kiarra’s thank you letter. After recounting her personal accomplishments and what a difference her scholarship had made in her life, she signed her message, “Thank you for believing in me.” Kiarra, I think it is we who should be thanking you for believing in us. Because the next generation of leaders – like yourself and every single one of our scholarship recipients – is helping create a future we have only just begun to dream of, bringing hope and optimism to learners of all ages.

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

[Education]  Immersing Learners in New School Year
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

One of the most popular and exciting immersive learning experiences supported by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County had to be put on indefinite hold in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic resulted in many campus activities being curtailed.   

In the spring of 2021, thanks to creative collaboration among partners, the reimagined immersive experience resumed with resounding success.   

A little background: It’s been proven that an environment that allows students to learn by doing and getting hands-on experience enhances long-term knowledge retention. In recognition of this fact, since the 2017-18 school year, the Education Foundation has provided schoolwide grants for science-based immersive events at elementary and middle schools across Sarasota County.

Simulated events included the “Great Impact” meteor landing, the “Big Dig” archaeological site, the “HOh No!” damaged watershed, and an “Outbreak” in a city.

Details changed according to the specific simulation, but a consistent element was the students’ surprise and excitement when they returned to campuses to “discover” and then be invited to participate in unexpected scientific explorations.

Our partners were the schools that hosted the events as learning opportunities for students and professional development for teachers, and Immersive Academics’ principals Mitch Ruzek and Dana Zeidler, both University of South Florida science professors and designers of the simulations.

Before the pandemic, the simulations were designed to invite curious students to join in the dig, put their heads together to examine a fossil, or pass around an ancient artifact.

Students eagerly participated, asking questions and exclaiming when they made their own discoveries. Teachers reported that students showed more enthusiasm for science and a better understanding of science-based inquiry.

Redesigning an experience that was built around “hands-on” engaging was a big undertaking, but having her students lose out on the exciting learning opportunity was not acceptable to Susan Nations, principal of Wilkinson Elementary School.

A team of Wilkinson educators, led by Nations, collaborated with professors Ruzek and Zeidler and Education Foundation staff to creatively adapt the “Great Impact” simulated meteor landing in a way that kept its deep immersive, engaging aspects while following public health social distancing guidelines and safety protocols.

The successful result unfolded when students and teachers returned from spring break to discover a meteor had landed and created a crater on campus. The weeklong immersive project brought earth space science and geology to life for Wilkinson students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Principal Nations said, “It was great to see our students so engaged and enthusiastic. It’s important that, as educators, we keep finding new and different ways to provide our students with hands-on learning experiences. Our Wilkinson community is committed to our focus on STEAM integration, and we are thankful to the Education Foundation for funding this project that helps us keep moving forward despite the pandemic.”

Our team at the Education Foundation shares Susan Nations’ desire and commitment to “keep moving forward despite the pandemic.” With that responsibility to our students and teachers in mind, I am happy to announce that we will provide at least two more immersive grants for science-based scenarios during this school year.

We continue encouraging innovative and creative teaching models and formats that engage students and support teachers.

We invite anyone who wants to learn more about our work in support of education to visit us at EdFoundationSRQ.org or give us a call.

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



[SOON]  MUSIC: St. Armands Circle: Sol of the Circle: Songs on the Circle , June 1 – September 7, 6pm-9pm

Life on the Circle only gets better when days are bathed in the summer sun. Enjoy a breath of fresh air and immerse yourself in the perfect setting for adventure and fun. Join us for the “Sol of the Circle,” a series of special events for the entire family. Songs on the Circle will take place every first Tuesday from 6pm to 9pm. Dates are June 1, July 6, August 3, and September 7.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Uptown Gallery: Cortez, The Fishing Village by Frank Bibbins , October 30 – November 26, Gallery hours.

This November, Art Uptown Gallery will feature the work of local photographer Frank Bibbins in an exhibit entitled ”Cortez, The Fishing Village” with art that captures the beauty, energy and determination of the historic village and its people. The exhibit runs from Sat., Oct. 30 through Fri., Nov. 26. The public is also invited to a public reception on November 12 from 6pm-9pm. Art Uptown Gallery welcomes you to the 1367 Main Street gallery, where the diverse art works of 29 local artists are shown Monday-Friday 11am-5pm (except First Friday when open until 9pm), Saturday 10am-3pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm. Telephone: 941-955-5409 for further information. www.artuptown.com.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Children's Cancer Center: 9th Annual Chick-fil-A Fall Stampede , September 1 – September 30

This year marks the 9th annual Chick-fil-A Fall Stampede benefitting the Children’s Cancer Center. The event is held every September, Childhood Cancer Awareness month. We challenge you to virtually walk or run with your herd for the Children’s Cancer Center. Run/Walk: We challenge you to set a mileage goal to complete by the end of September. All participants will be entered in a chance drawing where 30 people will win FREE Chick-fil-A for a MONTH; 1 Mile, 5 Miles, 10 Miles, 25 Miles, 50 Miles, and 100 Miles. Raise: Create a fundraising page and raise funds throughout the challenge for the immediate needs of children battling pediatric cancer. The top 10 fundraisers will receive FREE Chick-fil-A for a MONTH. Packet Pickup: Drive by our COVID-19 compliant Packet Pick Up Party on Monday, August 31 from 8am to 10am or 6pm to 8pm where all participants will receive a t-shirt, swag bag and a Chick-fil-A sandwich. Tampa: Children’s Cancer Center (4901 W. Cypress St. Tampa) or Sarasota: Fruitville Chick-fil-A (5384 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota). Free Chick-fil-A for a Month consists of 30 promotional cards redeemable for a free Chick-fil-A entrée (Chick-fil-A Sandwich, Original or Spicy, Chick- fil-A Nuggets, Original or Grilled (8-count) or a Grilled Chicken Sandwich). Valid during lunch and dinner hours only.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Friends of the East Manatee Library: Heather Graham Interview , September 19, 1pm

Prepare your mimosas, sit back, and relax while Heather Graham shares intimate knowledge about her career and sneak peek into her upcoming book. “The Unknown” is the latest in the Krewe of Hunters series and takes place in New Orleans. A suspicious fire sets off an investigation that sends an agent to catch a serial arsonist roaming the shadowy streets of New Orleans... before the city burns down. Registration is open for the virtual event that takes place on September 19, 2021 at 1pm. Tickets begin at $15 and can be purchased at https://libraryfriendsemlwr.org/events. New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. She has written over 200 novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, and the occult.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Ecoperformance Week , September 6 – September 12

The John and Mable ringling Museum of Art is pleased to present Ecoperformance Week, Sept. 6- 12, 2021. Ecoperformance events at The Ringling have an arts-driven focus on conversations, performances, activities and films about ecology, climate, culture and environmental justice. The field of eco-performance looks at climate change and environmental justice as multifaceted environmental and social phenomena that can be transformed through cultural engagement. The week will kick-off with a streaming presentation of Ludic Proxy: Fukushima on Sept. 6. Set a few years after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the film is a video adaptation of Brooklyn-based theater-maker Aya Ogawa’s play Ludic Proxy. The presentation, which runs approximately 35 minutes and is presented in Japanese with English subtitles, may be viewed anytime during the day. Additionally, all ticketholders will have access to an “on demand” version, available from Sept. 6-12, 2021. Performance and Environmental Justice: A Panel Discussion will be offered via ZOOM on Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. This panel presents perspectives that elucidate and redefine environmental justice and how culture, performance and storytelling impact awareness and social transformation around these issues. The series will include two films that will be screened in the Historic Asolo Theater. TrashDance will be presented Sept.9 th at 1 p.m. Trash Dance follows choreographer Allison Orr as she finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and in the unseen men and women who pick up our trash. Waste Land will be shown Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. The week will close with a workshop on Sept. 11 via ZOOM. Decolonizing Theatre Basics with Groundwater Arts will examine the nuances of colonization and how they intersect with how we live and work. The workshop will entail both active and passive activities, videos and discussions, creating radical access points for everyone of all levels to leave empowered.

The Ringling Museum , 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Friends of the East Manatee Library: Author Luncheon Presents Author and Journalist Mary Walton , October 6, 11:15am

Author Luncheon presents acclaimed author and journalist Mary Walton. She will share the historic account of one of our nation’s leading suffragettes, as featured in her book, A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot. Where HIStory meets HERstory will celebrate the perseverance and self-sacrifice of Alice Paul that resulted in the unalienable right for all women, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Registration is open for the in-person fundraiser that takes place on October 6, 2021 at 11:15am. Very limited seating. Masks strongly encouraged per CDC guidance. Tickets begin at $45 and they can be purchased at https://libraryfriendsemlwr.org/events. Sponsorships available. Mary Walton is a retired journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer for 22 years, where she wrote scores of articles as a staff writer for the Sunday Inquirer magazine. She has also written for the New York Times, Washingtonian, the Washington Monthly, the American Journalism Review, and PBS. She is a graduate of Harvard University.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative: The Arts And Racial Justice/Discovery Series: The Black Experience in the Arts in Higher Education , October 4, 5:30pm-7pm

The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative (SBAC), a nonprofit organization that uses the unifying power of the arts to nurture inclusion and diversity across the regional arts and cultural landscape presents “The Black Experience in the Arts in Higher Education,” as part of its four-part Arts & Racial Justice/Discovery Series, Monday, October 4, 5:30-7pm, at Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave. The moderator for the event is Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, director, Florida Center for PAInT, USF. Panelists are: Dr. Karen A. Holbrook, regional chancellor, USF, Sarasota-Manatee; Dr. Patricia Okker, president, New College of Florida; Dr. Carol Probstfeld, president, State College of Florida; and Dr. Larry Thompson, president, Ringling College of Art and Design. The event also features faculty and students from area higher education institutions. This event is a fundraiser for SBAC’s programs and is limited to 100 guests. Masks are required to be worn at the event. Tickets are $100 per person and are not available for purchase until September 1. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org. The Arts & Racial Justice/Discovery Series is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and is a collaboration with Florida Studio Theatre’s Diversity Forum Series.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Women's Council of Realtors Sarasota: 2021 Fashion Show: The New Roaring 20s , October 22, 11am-2pm

On Friday, October 22 we’re asking our members, business partners, and guests to share in our commitment to supporting the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” Walk by joining us for the 2021 Fashion Show. This is the 27th show our network has staged, and after the lights were dimmed in 2020, we are back and better than ever with a show like no other. Women’s Council presents our Models of Courage: Sarasota’s Hometown Heroes. Doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, teachers, and first responders – we rely so much upon them and celebrate their pledge to our community. This year’s event will be held at the Art Ovation Hotel, and would not be possible without the generous support of our business partners. Berlin | Patten | Ebling, PLLC is our 2021 Diamond Sponsor, with Media Sponsorship by SRQ Magazine. Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite and are expected to sell out quickly. Seating is limited, so reserve your seat or table and lock in your low price of $95; after October 1, tickets are $105. Guest tables of 12, and VIP Tickets are also available. Please e-mail us at sarasotawcr@gmail.com to join our Fashion Show Committee, or for additional information on this epic event. 2021 Fashion Show: The New Roaring 20s. A portion of the proceeds benefit "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer." Seated luncheon by Art Ovation. Men's and Women's Fashions by Jackie Z. Models of Courage: Sarasota’s First Responders. LIVE Music & Entertainment. LIVE Auction. “The Bee’s Knees” LOTTO Tree Raffle. Spiffy, Swell & Swanky: Our Online Silent Auction. Speakeasy Style: Our Vendor Boutique.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: Blue Star Museums Initiative , May 15 – September 6, Museum hours.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art announced it will join museums nationwide in the Blue Star Museums initiative, a program that provides free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families this summer. The 2021 program will begin on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, and end on Labor Day, Monday, September 6. Find the list of participating museums at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums. Blue Star Museums is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and participating museums nationwide. Blue Star Museums include children's museums, art, science, and history museums, zoos, gardens, lighthouses, and more, and hail from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The current list of participating museums will continue to develop over the summer as organizations are welcome to register to be a Blue Star Museum throughout the summer.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Florida Studio Theatre: Jukebox Saturday Night , September 7 – October 31

FST’s 2021 Summer Cabaret Series concludes with an all-new show from Sarasota’s favorite swing-era territory band, The Swingaroos. A jazzy new music revue, Jukebox Saturday Night features some of The Jukebox’s greatest hits: “Get Your Kicks On Route 66,” “Heart and Soul,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Jukebox Saturday Night will play in FST’s Bowne’s Lab beginning Tuesday, September 7 and will play through October 31. Countless musical genres emerged during the first half of the 20th Century, and there was only one place you could find them all: The Jukebox. In this jazzy music revue, The Swingaroos put a dynamic twist on the Jukebox’s greatest hits, including “Get Your Kicks On Route 66,” “Heart and Soul,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Tickets are no longer available for this show.

[SOON]  HEALTH: St. Armands Circle: Sol of the Circle: Breathe: An Outdoor Yoga Series , June 9 – September 8, 6pm-7pm

Life on the Circle only gets better when days are bathed in the summer sun. Enjoy a breath of fresh air and immerse yourself in the perfect setting for adventure and fun. Join us for the “Sol of the Circle,” a series of special events for the entire family. Breathe: An Outdoor Yoga Series will take place every second Wednesday from 6pm to 7pm. Dates are June 9, July 14, August 11, and September 8.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto: Leadership Breakfast , September 9, 7:30am

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto and Intertape Polymer Group present the 15th Leadership Breakfast on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 3100 Fruitville Rd. honoring Archie Griffin, two-time Heisman Trophy Winner, and Lisa Bechtold, Executive Director of Take Stock in Children Sarasota. Registration and breakfast service begins at 7:30am and the program begins at 8am. Tickets are $50 per person.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The City of Sarasota: Public Input Meetings for Penny Sales Tax , September 15 – October 6, 6pm-7pm

The City of Sarasota will host three community meetings to welcome input on infrastructure projects for the continuation of the countywide Penny Sales Tax. Residents are invited to suggest infrastructure projects during the following public listening sessions: Wednesday, Sept. 15 6pm– 7:30pm at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, 1845 34th St., Thursday, Sept. 16, 6pm – 7:30pm at Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex, 2650 Waldemere St., and Wednesday, Oct. 6 6pm – 7:30pm at City Hall Annex – SRQ Media Studio, 1565 First St. Input also can be provided online at www.SarasotaCountySurtax.net. The Sarasota County Penny Sales Tax, also known as the sales surtax, surtax, or one cent tax, is a countywide voter approved one percent sales tax used to invest in local infrastructure improvements, including parks, libraries, schools, sidewalks, police vehicles, street resurfacing and mobility upgrades. Sarasota County voters approved the Penny Sales Tax in 1989 and again in 1997 and 2007. The current surtax expires at the end of 2024. Voters throughout Sarasota County will have an opportunity in November 2022 to continue the Penny Sales Tax for another 15 years to fund local infrastructure projects.

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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