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  • 22 Jan 2021 11:47 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    SARASOTA — After partnering for more than a year, Easterseals Happiness House and InStride Therapy have formally merged all business operations.

    The unification will expand Easterseals’ already-diverse inventory of therapies and strengthen offerings in south Sarasota County for individuals with disabilities and their families, according to a press release. 

    Easterseals began managing business operations at InStride in 2019. The merger completely marries business details of the two enterprises.

    “We are proud of the work that our organizations have accomplished and look forward to celebrating even stronger success as the two become one,” says President and CEO Tom Waters in the statement. “This will allow us to deliver an exceptional full range of services for our clients and their families, now with the powerful tools only the horses can provide.”

    The merger expands traditional Easterseals’ therapies, which include occupational, physical, speech and behavioral, to now fully include hippotherapy, which aids physical needs, and equine-assisted therapy, which assists clients with mental health, emotional and behavioral needs, including those associated with autism.

    InStride Therapy will maintain its brand identity and website, now anchored under the 74-year-old Easterseals umbrella of services, as well as its 25-year legacy of offering equine therapy at one of the premier equestrian facilities in the Southeast U.S., the release says. 

    Easterseals Happiness House provides therapies and services for individuals with disabilities and their families. The agency began serving the Southwest Florida region in 1946.


  • 22 Jan 2021 8:42 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    The Van Wezel is proud to announce a partnership with Impact100 SRQ to host the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry food drive on January 30, 2021. The event will be held in the Van Wezel’s parking lot from 9am to 12pm, and members of the community are encouraged to donate perishable and non-perishable food items for those in need during that time. Jane Gill Watt, President of Impact100 SRQ commented: “This year we have seen people in our community struggling and they need our help more than ever. We all have a role to play in ensuring everyone in Manatee and Sarasota counties has adequate food and can lead a healthy life."   


  • 21 Jan 2021 4:32 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    SARASOTA, FL – The law firm of Icard Merrill has renewed its long-standing pro bono program for the 13th year, continuing the firm’s legacy of service by providing vital legal services to those in need.

    Icard Merrill has worked for many years with The Florida Bar, Legal Aid of Manasota, the 12th Judicial Circuit’s Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) program, and key community partners on hundreds of pro bono cases in numerous areas of law, including estate planning, probate, family law, guardianship, property issues, and more.

    Despite a pandemic and virtual challenges, the firm continued to serve clients and engage in the program throughout 2020 with over 550 hours of pro bono work completed by attorneys and staff. Ten of the firm’s attorneys were recently honored for “exceptional pro bono service,” contributing over 20 hours each of pro bono work in 2019. The Supreme Court of Florida presented a pin and letter of commendation to Drew Clayton, Tom Icard, Bob Lyons, Tony Manganiello, Bianca Manos, Lindsey Meshberger, Nicole Price, Stephen Rees, Jordan Riccardi, and John Waskom. Paralegals and other staff members also devoted considerable hours to the cases.

    Program Coordinator Attorney Nicole Price was recognized for donating an astounding 100+ hours of pro bono work. She stated, “We are all committed to the success of this program and it’s not only part of our culture, but an integral part of our firm’s values, giving back and fulfilling community needs and expectations.”

    In addition, some of the firm’s attorneys also volunteer as mentors to local youth through Faces of Accomplishment, Inc., and Booker High School Law Academy.

    Icard Merrill’s pro bono program was created in 2008 when Chief Judge Lee E. Haworth approved Icard Merrill’s “Firm Commitment to the Community,” a voluntary firm plan for services. As part of the plan, members are committed to participate in pro bono activities to the fullest extent possible and to exercise leadership to address the legal needs of the working poor in our community and assist in building a local pro bono culture.

    Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc.

    Legal Aid of Manasota provides free civil legal services to low-income residents of the community who qualify for services by partnering with local lawyers. This group of volunteer and staff lawyers helps stabilize homes, health and families, making our community stronger socially and economically. Legal Aid of Manasota is committed to providing access to justice by making sure the justice system serves the poor and not just those who can afford a lawyer. Founded in 1990, they have three offices located in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice. Learn more at legalaidofmanasota.org.

    Florida Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program

    The Florida Bar Foundation’s pro bono program develops pro bono partnerships with bar associations, law firms, courts, law schools and legal aid organizations to increase and maintain the number of lawyers who take pro bono cases; increase the number of individuals, both low-income and special populations, that receive free legal assistance; and assist pro bono providers to be more effective and efficient through innovation and technology. The Florida Bar Foundation strives to provide greater access to justice in Florida by expanding and improving representation and advocacy on behalf of low-income persons in civil legal matters; improving the fair and effective administration of justice; and promoting public service among lawyers by making it an integral component of the law school experience. More information can be found at FloridaProBono.org.


  • 20 Jan 2021 4:18 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Sarasota, FL (January 20, 2021) – Children First, Inc., the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services in Sarasota County, is excited to welcome new directors and announce board leadership for 2021. Elizabeth (Liz) Stamoulis, partner at Williams Parker Attorneys at Law, leading the firm’s intellectual property practice, Linda Monda, community philanthropist, and Joe Stephan, former Vice President for the National Cash Register Corporation’s International Division, have all been named to the 2021 Board of Directors.

    “We are excited to welcome Liz, Linda, and Joe, who all add so much to our incredible board of directors. Each brings a wealth of experience in their respective fields and a keen understanding of those we serve and will make our agency even stronger as we celebrate sixty years of changing the lives of generations of children and families within our community,” said CEO Philip Tavill.

    Stamoulis was recently recognized as the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce 2020 Young Professional of the Year and has been named a Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star for the past three years. Monda has helped create pathways and opportunities for those in need through a distinguished record of supporting initiatives such as grade-level reading, scholarships, and ending homelessness. Stephan has lived and worked internationally and has become a staple of support in the Sarasota community through serving on the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Board of Directors and other roles. They join the rest of the board in providing governance experience that helps Children First continue to provide the highest quality of comprehensive and family services to our community’s most vulnerable.

    Katherine Martucci, retired educator, will serve as Board Chair and Jacqueline Ray, Ph.D. as Vice Chair. Katrina Otchet, Community Volunteer, and Keith Johnson, Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor with Truist Wealth, will serve as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. Mike Keebaugh, former President of Intelligence and Information Systems at The Raytheon Company, is now Chair Emeritus.


  • 20 Jan 2021 1:08 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    ATLANTA- January 20, 2021, Southeastern-based accounting and business advisory firm, Mauldin &

    Jenkins, is pleased to announce the expansion of their Advisory Practice with the addition of (M&J)

    Human Resource Advisory Services .

    “We believe that in addition to traditional business advisory and consulting services, it is critical that we

    find new ways to meet client needs in these uncertain times, “ says Jeff Fucito, Partner in Charge of the

    Firm’s Advisory Practice. “We welcome the addition of Human Resources Advisory to our Firm as a

    valuable resource to our clients.”

    Led by Timothy (Tim) Evans, Senior Manager in the Firm’s Advisory Practice, Human Resources Advisory

    will include Recruitment and Selection of Employees and Management, Managerial Relations,

    Unemployment Consulting, Employee and Labor Relations, Performance Management, as well as Job

    Analysis and Job Design, and more.

    “In order to optimize success and alleviate challenges within an organization, you must understand that

    every organization is different,” Evans said. “By adding Human Resource Advisory Services to the list of

    services we provide, Mauldin & Jenkins is committing to help organizations through various human

    resources functions that they need to be tailored to them.”

    Evans’ experience includes providing executive leadership and project direction to Georgia state

    government and Federal and state partner agencies. Tim has 27 years of service to the State of Georgia,

    including serving as the Chief Operating Officer and Human Resources Director at the Georgia

    Department of Labor.

    Learn more about our Human Resources Advisory Services by visiting our website at

    www.mjcpa.com/human-resources-advisory-services.


  • 19 Jan 2021 9:26 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s has received a grant of $15,000 to expand yoga and mindfulness therapeutic programs to empower people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers to experience new levels of hope by optimizing function and restoring independence. These programs are adapted to meet all levels of the disease, valuable to newly diagnosed, progressed states and caregivers alike. “There is quite a bit of research available regarding the physical and emotional benefits of yoga and mindful breathing practices for those in all stages of Parkinson’s,” states Pamela Shackley, Executive Director, Yoga Project International.  “By partnering with Neuro Challenge, we are able to offer all those in the Parkinson's community access to programs that can help with the physical and emotional challenges of Parkinson’s Disease.” 


  • 19 Jan 2021 9:25 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    In partnership with Leadership Sarasota and the Junior League Sustainers, the Tidewell Foundation, Inc. is hosting a linen drive for Tidewell Hospice patients from January 17-February 14. Donated linens will be made available to Tidewell Hospice field teams, who will distribute the sheets and towels to resource-limited patients receiving in-home and assisted-living facility hospice care. “We are so grateful to partner with Leadership Sarasota and the Junior League Sustainers on this important initiative,” said Tidewell Foundation President Debbie Mason. “Many Tidewell Hospice patients — from younger ones facing financial hardship to older ones exhausting what's left of their money — don’t have the means or ability to purchase much-needed towels and sheets. It can be especially challenging for the latter group, with more than 22% of seniors in our region living alone and at least 13% living below the poverty line. We appreciate our generou s community for their support of patients in need.” 


  • 19 Jan 2021 8:42 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Optivon is selling some office furniture, equipment and supplies to those who might find themselves in process of setting up office or others who might be in expansion. 

    These are very slightly used, beautiful  wood veneer  desks and cabinets .  One executive desk,  a conference table, two office desks, one reception desk and coffee room round table w/4 chairs.  Chairs, files, small fridge & microwave. 

    Please contact Marie Rodriguez at Mjr_pr@yahoo.com for more information.


  • 15 Jan 2021 11:35 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Sarasota, FL (January 15, 2020) - Dr. Melania Kesoglou, Ed.S., Ph.D., and Director of Education at Children First, has been invited to serve on the National Head Start Association's Region IV Foster Care Challenge (FCC) Committee. In her role, Dr. Kesoglou will help to oversee the FCC’s work in Head Start’s Region IV, the southeastern United States, representing more than 170,000 children, 40,000 staff and 300 member programs.

     

    The goal of the FCC Committee is to find 'forever homes' for America's teens, ages 13-17, currently living within the foster care system. The FCC works in collaboration with the offices of Head Start and Child Welfare to promote teen adoptions, with recruitment efforts focusing on teens currently in foster care, experiencing homelessness, or in transition, as well as teens participating in the Early Head Start Expectant Parent Program.

     

    As Director of Education at Children First, Dr. Melania oversees the Head Start and Early Head Start Education programs at 15 locations throughout Sarasota County, which provide high-quality early childhood education to approximately 900 children annually, ages birth to five.

     

    With more than 34 years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field, her area focus is on educational practices that emphasize interpersonal relationships, cultural diversity, child-centered curriculum and the inclusion of children with special needs in all educational programs.

     

    Dr. Kesoglou has served the Head Start and Early Childhood Education communities at the local, state, and national levels. As a Federal Reviewer for the Office of Head Start (OHS) and a Program Validator for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), she works with agencies across the country to ensure consistent quality and accountability.

    "I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve the broader Head Start community through this special initiative of finding ‘forever homes’ for our nation’s foster youth. Because of their age, teenagers are often less likely to be adopted, and much more likely to age out of the system without strong or stable family support. I will continue to put my heart and passion into advocating for the health, well-being, and future successes of the thousands of children and teenagers currently in our foster care system,” says Dr. Kesoglou.

    About Children First:
    Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families. Through Children First, the children receive the social, emotional, and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. For more information, call (941) 953-3877 or go to childrenfirst.net


  • 15 Jan 2021 8:45 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    While there was no formal event due to the coronavirus, Goodwill Manasota recently recognized four fabulous volunteers who were especially helpful as the nonprofit organization worked through the challenges of the pandemic last year. Goodwill honored: Louise Cataldo: a retired math teacher who volunteers with Goodwill’s Job Connection customers, helping them to create and update their resumes; Jim Flora: a retired corporate executive who volunteers with the Job Connection and Veterans Services programs doing mock interviews, to help participants during the job search; Andrea Nierenberg: an e-commerce business developer and executive coach who donates her time, style, and fashion sense to help create videos showing how to shop Goodwill stores for different looks, for the holidays, and more; and Jo Rita Stevens: a retired Realtor who is the longest-serving volunteer – over 50 years – in Goodwill history. For more about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org.

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Recent Member News





Hook Kids on Fishing

 

Anglers for Conservation (AFC)

 a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, in partnership with Fisherman’s Village, is coordinating its engaging Hook Kids on Fishing Program to be held on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 10am- 12:00pm at Fishermen's Village (1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda).

 Kids ages 6 to 16, are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 kids registered and complete the training will receive a free rod and reel to take home! Registration is mandatory by calling King Fisher Fleet at 941-639-2628.

 This hands-on, conservation-minded program teaches casting, fishing safety, knot tying, boating safety, tackle box essentials, catch and release tactics, fishing habitats and conservation, and is taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers.

 Community support also provided by Fisherman's Village, King Fisher Fleet, local bait and tackle shops, and local Captains, Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Canoe Outpost-Peace River, Coastal Angler Magazine, Diiachi Hooks, Fish Florida Foundation and Rio Villa Bait & Tackle

AFC’s mission is to inspire new generations of marine stewards through angling education, habitat restoration and applied conservation practices. For more information, please visit www.AnglersForConservation.org.

 Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Theresa at tellershaw@aol.com or call me 321-433-3340/302-6260

If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact Heather Sears at Heather@AnglersForConservation.org or 321-474-8202.

Hook Kids on Fishing

 

Anglers for Conservation (AFC)

 a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, in partnership with Fisherman’s Village, is coordinating its engaging Hook Kids on Fishing Program to be held on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 10am- 12:00pm at Fishermen's Village (1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda).

 Kids ages 6 to 16, are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 kids registered and complete the training will receive a free rod and reel to take home! Registration is mandatory by calling King Fisher Fleet at 941-639-2628.

 This hands-on, conservation-minded program teaches casting, fishing safety, knot tying, boating safety, tackle box essentials, catch and release tactics, fishing habitats and conservation, and is taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers.

 Community support also provided by Fisherman's Village, King Fisher Fleet, local bait and tackle shops, and local Captains, Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Canoe Outpost-Peace River, Coastal Angler Magazine, Diiachi Hooks, Fish Florida Foundation and Rio Villa Bait & Tackle

AFC’s mission is to inspire new generations of marine stewards through angling education, habitat restoration and applied conservation practices. For more information, please visit www.AnglersForConservation.org.

 Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Theresa at tellershaw@aol.com or call me 321-433-3340/302-6260

If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact Heather Sears at Heather@AnglersForConservation.org or 321-474-8202.

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Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

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