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VIM Fit Fest Wellness Fair and 5K Color Run/Walk

21 Sept Volunteers in Med

Stuart - September 14, 2021 – The Friends of Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic are thrilled to announce a free community wellness fair happening on Saturday, October 23, 2021 from 7 am to 11 am in Flagler Park downtown Stuart, Florida. The fair will feature over 45 local health and fitness organizations with tables and booths set up to share their services, answer questions, and offer demonstrations. There will be presentations for yoga, stretching, Qi Gong, cooking tips, health screenings, and even a basketball free throw clinic. This is a rain or shine outdoor event and COVID-19 prevention plans will be in place including social distancing, recommendations for mask wearing, and hand sanitizer stations.

VIM Fit Fest is a unique event bringing together medical professionals, non-profit organizations, and local businesses like gyms, bike shops, spas, and restaurants. Patsy Conrades, president of The Friends of VIM Clinic board of directors said “We wanted to raise awareness about VIM Clinic and how interconnected health is in our community. Each organization participating supports a different facet of wellness. It’s heart-warming to see how committed everyone is to improving lives.”

The event will kick off with a 5K Color Run/Walk through downtown Stuart. A color run/walk involves passing through stations where colored powder is tossed on the participants shirts. At the end of the race the participants’ shirts have a tie-dyed appearance giving a celebratory feel to the event. Race registration is $30 but entrance to the wellness fair is free. There is even an option to participate virtually via VIM Fit Fest Quest, a wellness-themed scavenger hunt, using an app on a cell phone. The scavenger hunt is free to play and starts September 24th and continues through October 22nd. Players can win t-shirts and other prizes. All proceeds will benefit Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, which provides free medical care to low income adults without insurance or ability to pay for healthcare. To learn more about VIM Fit Fest, the virtual scavenger hunt, or to sign up for the 5K Color Run/Walk please visit vimfitfest.org or call 772-463-4128 X211.

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Martin County Sheriff's New Crime-fighting Helicopter Airbus H125

21 Sept SMC Hel 1

Stuart - On September 14, 2021 a new, $5.2 million helicopter, arrived in Stuart for the Martin County Sheriff to help with the continuing effort to keep Martin County safe.

The 2020 Airbus H125 landed by the Martin County Jail, where many peopel watched. Sheriff William Snyder talked about what the new aircraft means for the future of the sheriff's office. The helicopters have become a big part of the sheriff's office and advancing to patrol more efficiently.

This helicopter is fully equipped with state-of-the-art crime fighting technology. This helicopter is also outfitted with a rescue lift that will help extricate victims in remote areas such as State Parks, Preserves, as well as offshore. This lifesaving capability did not exist in Martin County, until today.

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Photo by: Martin County Sheriff’s Office

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Eagle Marsh Golf Club Hosts September Premier Women's Network

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Jensen Beach - On September 15,2021 the Treasure Coast Women's Network met for their September meeting at Eagle Marsh Golf Club. The Golf Club served a wonderful salad for the luncheon.  They are located at: 3869 NW Royal Oak Dr. in Jensen Beach. Contact them at: 772 692 3322.

Owners Niklas Österlind, Nina Österlind, Björn Bergentoft, Joakim Sabel, and Johan Tumba run Jensen Beach Golf Club. Joakim Sabel, former PGA European tour pro, and Johan Tumba, also former PGA European tour pro and a former 8 times senior European long drive champion himself, are at the club as managing partners. They have a plan for the club to be "Great Again"!

Created by Anna Tillery, the mission of the Treasure Coast Premier Women’s Network is to Uplift, Encourage and Inspire all women in business and career seekers to achieve their highest capabilities through networking and education.

As a brief overview, there are three meetings each month for women looking to network and promote. The Vero Beach Women’s Networking meets the 2nd Friday of each month. The Stuart luncheon meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month, and the Port St. Lucie luncheon meets the 1st Tuesday of each month. Each meeting opens for check-in at 11:30am and runs through 1:30pm with the program starting promptly at 12pm. The event host is Anna Valencia Tillery of White Glove Moving & Storage. To ensure your spot, one must pay online using Eventbrite and all questions can be sent via email to AnnaV@WhiteGloveUSA.net. Subsequently, our hostess will be your main contact before, during and after the event. For more information contact Anna: AnnaV@WhiteGloveUSA.net.

Out2News is your Treasure Coast online newspaper where you are the reporter, photographer and YOU report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. If you wish a high-resolution photo or would like to email your story or request to: rshall@out2news.com.

Photo by: Robin Hall - Out2News.com

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New Pump Station at Lakeside Ranch Expedited to Improve Water Quality in Lake Okeechobee

21 Sept Pump Station

Okeechobee - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the S-191A Pump Station, the final component of the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) Project. This project is one of the priority Everglades restoration projects identified by Gov. Ron DeSantis in his "Achieving More Now for Florida's Environment Executive Order."

The Lakeside Ranch STA and S-191A Pump Station are key components of the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program. Additionally, the project is identified in the Lake Okeechobee Basin Management Plan to improve water quality for Lake Okeechobee.

“This project will improve water quality flowing into Lake Okeechobee, the liquid heart of America’s Everglades,” said Ben Butler, SFWMD Governing Board Member. “Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, we continue expediting projects and making a real difference for people and the environment. Our residents and businesses rely on Lake Okeechobee for their livelihood, and this ribbon-cutting signifies another step forward for Florida’s natural resources.”

“We are truly dedicated to working with our partners, stakeholders and the public to expedite beneficial projects across South Florida,” said Drew Bartlett, SFWMD Executive Director. “I’m proud of the accomplishments of the hard-working staff at the District who routinely complete restoration projects that support our mission and improve our natural systems.”

“Protecting our natural resources and ecosystems continues to be a priority for Okeechobee County,” said Terry Burroughs, Chair, Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners. “It is critical that we continue to work with local and state partners to improve the health of Lake Okeechobee, which is the lifeblood of so many Okeechobee County residents.”

The Lakeside Ranch STA is located in Martin County, and the S-191A Pump Station that supports the STA is located in Okeechobee County. The project was completed in three phases:

Phase 1: 919 Acres of Treatment Cells and Inflow Pump Station - Completed in July 2012

Phase 2: 788 Acres of Treatment Cells - Completed in September 2019

Phase 3: S-191A Pump Station - Completed in August 2021

Over 1,700 acres of natural wetlands were created in the first two phases, capable of treating stormwater runoff from the S-191 Basin. The new pump station houses four pumps (150 cubic feet per second capacity per pump) for recirculation and flood control. This project removes approximately 16 tons of phosphorus each year that would otherwise end up in Lake Okeechobee.

SFWMD continues to advance important Everglades restoration projects that will send more water south, reduce harmful discharges, and improve water quality in South Florida.

The Junior League of Martin County Announces its 2021-2022 board of Directors and Puts Out Call for New Members

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In Photo: Andrea McAvoy, Kathleen Dempsey, Emily Karr, Keri Gustafson, Erin Heck, Paula Chamberlin, Taylor Gilmour

Stuart. - The Junior League of Martin County (JLMC) is thrilled to kick-off its 29th year, introducing its new board of directors and committee chairs who will spend the year focused on community improvement projects.

The Junior League of Martin County, Inc. started as a service league and was founded in the spring of 1992. The purpose was to provide an ongoing program of education to train volunteers and encourage leadership in community service.  Since their inception, JLMC has contributed to countless local organizations including the Florida Oceanographic Society, Gertrude Walden Child Care Center, and Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast. This League year JLMC has continued their partnership with the 10th Street Community Center, providing literacy programs and donating books, clothes, and pantry items.

This year’s board of directors includes Emily Karr, president, Kathleen Dempsey, executive vice president, Andi McAvoy, president elect, Keri Gustafson, treasurer, Erin Heck, assistant treasurer, Taylor Gilmour, secretary, Karen Moore, nominating chair and Paula Chamberlin, sustainer director.

“We are thrilled to kick off another exciting year. Over the last 18 months, we have all been disrupted and continue to navigate our recovery. We are focused on building community engagement, delivering innovative leadership and development experiences for women and connecting our members across the community,” said president Emily Karr. “The Junior League of Martin County has remained strong in its mission and we are excited to continue our legacy, inspiring dreams of what we have yet to accomplish and setting the stage for the important work that lies ahead.”

Each year, JLMC welcomes new prospective members who will spend the year learning about the organization and developing a service project with other new members.

“We look forward to welcoming new prospective members who will help direct the future of the League’s work and mission,” said Ashley Connors, membership chair of the League.  “Those interested in learning more can join us this year at a series of recruitment events.”

The League is hosting a new member information session titled “What’s Brewing” at the Roasted Record on Tuesday, September 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Come out and learn about developing your leadership skills, creating long lasting relationships, and making a difference in the community.  To RSVP or learn more, call or text Ashley Connors at 772-834-7875.

For more information, visit jlmcflorida.org. You can also follow the Junior League of Martin County on Facebook & Instagram at @JuniorLeagueMC.

Mapp Road Town Center Ribbon Cutting

Amazon Announces First Fulfillment Center in St. Lucie County

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St. Lucie County - Amazon announced that the company will be opening its first fulfillment center and creating more than 500 full-time jobs in the city of Port St. Lucie.

Amazon will operate a traditional non-sortable fulfillment center in a 1.1-million-square-foot building to be constructed on 110 acres at Midway Business Park on West Midway Road near the Interstate 95 ramps. Site clearing has begun and construction is projected to be complete by late summer or early fall of 2022.

Employees in the retailer’s non-sortable centers pick, pack, and ship bulky or larger-sized customer items, such as sports equipment, patio furniture, fishing rods, pet food, kayaks, bicycles, and larger household goods. Distribution to individual homes will not be made directly from the center, which is considered a “first-mile” facility.

“We’re excited to expand our network to better serve our customers in Port St. Lucie,” said Mark Marzano, director of operations at Amazon. “We are grateful for the strong support we’ve received from local and state leaders as we broaden our footprint throughout the Sunshine State. We look forward to bringing more than 500 good jobs to St. Lucie County and contributing positively to the community.”

Earlier this year in Port St. Lucie, FedEx Ground began construction of a regional sortation center and has begun hiring for the first of what is anticipated to be 450 full- and part-time positions; and Cheney Brothers announced it was bringing a new distribution center and 380 jobs to the city.

“This latest, in a series of substantial corporate investments, shows the commitment of the county to stabilize our economy and ensure the employment options for all residents of our community,” said St. Lucie County Commission Chair Chris Dzadovsky. “It is also a testament of how the outside corporate world sees the benefit of local government cooperation that offers certainty and speed-to-market. Without the stability created through government agency cooperation, these investments would likely not come our way.”

"The city of Port St. Lucie is thrilled to be home to the latest Amazon fulfillment center. At more than 1 million square feet, the building will be the largest in Port St. Lucie," said Port St. Lucie Vice Mayor Shannon Martin. "More importantly, Amazon will employ about 500 local people, offering full-time jobs with fantastic benefits from Day One. There is much to be celebrated today with the announcement of these jobs, along with the $100 million capital investment in Port St. Lucie by Amazon and developer Seefried Industrial Properties."

Nationwide, Amazon offers a starting wage of starting at $15 per hour and provide comprehensive benefits starting day one on the job. The company also offers an innovative Career Choice program which pays 95% of tuition and fees (up to a yearly maximum) towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study, leading to in-demand jobs.

The Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County (EDC) assisted with the site selection, end-user due diligence, expedited site plan review and master site plan approval in 91 days. Local commercial real estate broker Jeff Chamberlin with SLC Commercial represented the property owner in the sale of the property.

“This important project is evidence that successful economic development truly is a team sport,” said EDC President Pete Tesch. “For example, as part of the expedited review needed, city staff and county engineering worked closely together to effectively coordinate with the Florida Department of Transportation in simplifying the process so we could hit the challenging speed-to-market objective of what was then known as Project Midway.”

Amazon is not receiving any financial, tax or job performance incentives. Once the project is completed, the estimated $100 million in property and equipment invested will generate full tax revenue for the city, county, schools, fire district, South Florida Water Management District, Children’s Services Council, Florida Inland Navigation District, and help pay down the debt for the Crosstown Parkway.

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Guardians for New Futures Announces its 2021 Child Summit

21 Sept Guardians New Future

Article by MaryAnn Ketcham / Photo provided by GFNF4Kids

Port St. Lucie -Please join Guardians for New Futures on September 29 and 30 for the 9th Annual Child Summit at Baron Real Estate, located at 8555 S. Commerce Center Drive in Port St. Lucie, from 8:30 am- 4:15 pm.

Be a part of the solution and gain valuable insight on the topic of child abuse and how to better protect our children.

Register to attend in person or via Zoom. In partnership with Sandy Pines, CEUs are available for Psychologists, School Psychologists, Nursing, LCSW, LMFT, LMHC.

Keynote speakers, “Champions for Children” State Senator Gayle Harrell, and Representative Dana Trabulsy kick-off day one’s topic of “Changing the Child Abuse System in Our Community.”

Additional highlights include a discussion highlighting the advent of the soon to open Child Advocacy Center in Circuit 19 and the Circle of Protection led by its CEO Caroline Vinyard, LMHC, MBA.

A Sheriff’s Panel, moderated by Jon Shainman, News Anchor for WPTV, will include St. Lucie Sheriff’s Chief of Staff Garry Wilson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge DEA Sheldon Burkett, Okeechobee Sheriff Noel Stephen sand representatives from the Martin and Indian River Sheriff’s Offices. The discussion will center around issues currently impacting children.

Presenters from all disciplines, including mental health, victims services, domestic violence, law enforcement, and neurological psychology, will round out the agenda.

Several local nonprofits participating include Hibiscus Children’s Center, Safe Space, Treasure Coast Hospice, and more.

To view the schedule in its entirety and to register, please visit GFNF4Kids.org/2021treasurecoastchildsummitregistration/

For additional information or to provide a sponsorship, please contact dbutler@gfnf4kids.org or cvinyard@gfnf4kids.org

Guardians for New Futures, Inc. (GFNF) is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization that supports the unfunded needs of maltreated children and underserved youth, while increasing community awareness and education to further protect children. www.gfnf4kids.org

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Palm City Mapp Road Highlights

21 June Missi Campbell Multi

Article by: Missi Campbell - Executive Director Palm City Chamber of Commerce
Palm City -The morning of August 11 was very strange for me. For 34 years of my adult life, it was the “First Day of School.” Even though I was the teacher, and not the student, it was always an exciting day. Children are not the only ones that are anxious, nervous, and energized for the beginning of a new school year. There is a wonderful story called, First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg, highlights a teacher and her emotions as she goes to school on the first day. My Kindergarten students were always shocked to think that I was nervous and sharing their same feelings on this special day.

Covid has made the last 18 months an extremely difficult time on all of us. We don’t really know the effects the uncertainty is having on our children and their daily lives. We all count on our educators to be there to support, love and teach our children. I retired from teaching right before the Covid outbreak, and I can’t even comprehend all that has been expected of our educators. They were expected to teach to students in their classrooms and online simultaneously. Their responsibilities were multiplied as they prepared and instructed our children during the day. The support staff must work under new conditions to be sure the schools are cleaned properly, children receive healthy meals, and children are transported safely.

The beginning of the school year marks a new opportunity for friends and social and emotional growth. This year our children are excited to be together, yet they are still having to be cautious. I am always impressed to see little kiddos wearing masks like it’s no big deal. I wish I was as comfortable in mine as they seem to be. You can still see their adorable smiles if you look into their eyes.

This year, more than ever, our educators and students need our support. Thank you to the Martin County voters for passing a bond for a brand new Palm City Elementary School. The new school is being built on the same property and will address some traffic concerns. The residents of 34th Street will be happy to know the main traffic flow will be on Palm City School Avenue, which will lessen the traffic on their street and the new and improved Mapp Road. The projected timeline for the school to be ready is in 2023.

Drive safely in the school zones, and thank a teacher whenever you can.

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Call for Nominations: IRSC Foundation Accepting Candidates for Board of Directors

20 Dec IRSC New Resized

Fort Pierce — The Indian River State College (IRSC) Foundation—a Florida not-for-profit corporation organized and operated exclusively to receive, hold, invest and administer property and make expenditures to or for the benefit of Indian River State College—is seeking applicants for its Board of Directors. Representatives are being sought from Indian River County (2), Martin County (2) and St. Lucie County (1), as well as for an at-large position.

"We seek participation from throughout our service area to build on the success and strength of our Foundation Board of Directors while expanding its breadth and depth," said Michael Hageloh, Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement. "We invite all who share our vision of making access to education ubiquitous to apply and help IRSC achieve our goal of meeting 100 percent of qualified need."

Since 1965, the Indian River State College Foundation has enhanced access and quality of education for IRSC students by providing student scholarships, supporting instructional programs, supplying technology grants, and raising money for new and improved facilities. The Foundation attracts and manages private contributions from individuals, organizations, businesses, and private foundations to support IRSC's mission. It is a private non-profit entity recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and by the State of Florida as a direct-support organization for the benefit of IRSC.

The Foundation is a direct support organization (DSO) managed by a voluntary Board of Directors comprised of business and civic leaders representing the four counties in the College's service district: Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie. Foundation directors receive no compensation for their services on the board. Board membership shall reflect diversity in geography and donor representation and bring the expertise, business skills, visibility and vision needed to govern the IRSC Foundation.

Those interested in serving on the IRSC Foundation board should send a letter of interest, a résumé and professional references with email addresses and telephone numbers to Susan O'Brien, IRSC Foundation, 3209 Virginia Avenue Room A-134, Fort Pierce, Florida, 34981 or by email at sobrien@irsc.edu.

Indian River State College is an equal opportunity/equal access educational institution.

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Madison’s Miracles Announces New Development Director

21 Sept Mark Sandler

Stuart - Christina Stamper, CEO and Founder of Madison’s Miracles, is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Sandler to the staff at this 501dC(3) with headquarter in Stuart, FL. Mark has over 25 years of experience managing organizations and helping them find solutions to business issues. His experience

has helped numerous organizations make the best possible decisions to improve and grow. He has worked extensively with non-profits organizations, including Career Source Florida, the Children’s Service Council of Martin County, the CSC of Palm Beach County and the Early Learning Coalition of Palm

Beach County. Mark was the owner and managing partner of Painting with a Twistin Stuart/Jensen Beach before selling that business just prior to the pandemic. Mark was also the President of Research 100 in Princeton, NJ prior to his founding of On The Mark Research of Stuart, FL which acquired in 2005 by a

Jupiter FL based research organization. He left to start Acuitim Market Research and Consulting in 2016 which he operates to this day. Mark has served as a member of Keiser University’s Business Administration Advisory Board and as a

Board Director and chair of the Family Selection Committee at Habitat for Humanity of Martin County. He is also a member of several Chambers of Commerce in his area. Madison's Miracles is a non-profit organization that provides support and resources to grieving parents who have experienced still birth and infant loss by placing Cuddle Cots in hospitals, offering funeral

expenses, free support groups and grief counseling. For more information, please visit https://www.madisonsmiracles.org.

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Palm City Celebrates with a Ribbon Cutting for Mapp Road Town Center

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Palm City - On Saturday, August 28, 2021, The Martin County CRA, District 5 Commissioner Edward V. Ciampi and the Palm City Chamber of Commerce welcomed the Palm City neighborhood to celebrate in the Mapp Road Town Center Ribbon Cutting. The event was held from 10:00 am to Noon with the ribbon cutting at 10:30. Tim Taylor and Sunshine Land Design did an outstanding job putting this project together! It looks amazing! The Palm City fire station invited the community for an Open House. In the children’s area there was face painting, fairy hair and games. Humane Society of the Treasure Coast volunteers were on site sharing information about programs and services the shelter has to offer!

Many businesses were open to share in the celebration and to welcome neighbors to show off their stores.  Many of the businesses along Mapp Road were happy that this day has finally come. Business can now grow and create a wonderful community place for people to come with their children, dogs or just to relax. More things are planned for the area in the upcoming months. 

Out2News is your Treasure Coast online newspaper where you are the reporter, photographer and YOU report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. If you wish a high-resolution photo or would like to email your story or request to: rshall@out2news.com.

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Treasure Coast Food Bank Food for Thought Tours

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Community leaders get up-close look at state-of-the art Food Production Kitchen

Treasure Coast - Treasure Coast Food Bank relaunched its popular Food for Thought tour last month, hosting community leaders from St. Lucie County for a tour of its Food Production Kitchen.

The group got an up-close look at how the state-of-the-art operation converts fresh produce into thousands of meals, a collaboration that supports area farmers and growers while providing nutritious food to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it. The tour included lunch prepared by students in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Culinary Training Academy.

The 10,000-square-foot Food Production Kitchen is housed in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s former distribution center in northern St. Lucie County, and is the heart of an extensive collaborative program. It benefits area growers by providing them an additional outlet to sell produce and ensures that nutritious produce is available to the one-in-four individuals on the Treasure Coast who don’t always have access to nutritious food. It also serves as a training outlet for students in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program.

“This small building used to be our entire food bank,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank as she led the tour. “But the landscape has changed since then. Now we have the opportunity to support farmers and growers while providing meals to children and seniors and others in need of food.”

The group learned how the production kitchen can convert whole produce into pre-cut, refrigerated portions through its wash/chop/packaging system, enabling fresh, nutritious produce to go from fields to household refrigerators in a matter of days. During a crisis, the production kitchen can turn out 100,000 prepared meals, complete with lean protein, each day.

“Everything was designed to be multi-functional. We can reconfigure this equipment for meal prep for cold meals for students and seniors,” Cruz said, explaining how Treasure Coast Food Bank prepares meals for St. Lucie County’s schools and for the Summer Meals programs.

The group also learned how the operation’s two programmable cooking kettles can turn vegetables and other ingredients into 300 gallons of ready-to-eat food in a matter of hours.

The Food Production Kitchen played a major role in feeding people throughout the state much of last year during the COVID-19 shutdown. Using its two large-capacity cooking kettles, Treasure Coast Food Bank took in thousands of pounds of produce and converted them to vegetable soup that was distributed to people in need throughout Florida. At full operation, the Food Production Kitchen can process more than 25 million pounds of fresh produce each year.

“Rather than let that produce go to waste, we made thousands of gallons of vegetable soup,” Cruz said. “What we do every day is package food,” she added. “We package it in cases, in Cryovacs, and in gallon bags, and it goes out in a variety of ways to those in need. Hunger never sleeps, and neither do we.”

Food for Thought Tours will be held on the last Friday of each month. For more information or to sign up for a tour, visit stophunger.org.

Out2News.com LLC. is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

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Mariner Sands Charity Week Awards Equine Therapy Grant to Hibiscus Children’s Center

21 Aug Hibiscus Ctr Photo a

In Photo: Matt Markley, Hibiscus CEO, Caroline Vinyard, Kristy Huddleston, Harmony Hope Stables, Molly Hoffman, Mariner Sands, Michelle King, Hibiscus CDO, and Jack Flanagan, Mariner Sands

Martin County – Hibiscus Children’s Center is pleased to announce it has received a generous $25,000 grant from Mariner Sands Charity Week for Equine and Music Therapy. Mariner Sands Charity Week is the giving spirit of the Mariner Sands Community, which has been generously supporting Hibiscus since 2008. Jack Flanagan, President of Mariner Sands Charity and Interim Grants Committee Chair, shared, “We are thrilled to be a part of an innovative program to reach kids in a positive way and be instrumental in making it happen. It’s rare to be in on such a novel and exciting program and make a difference for children”.

Therapeutic and healing services can be provided in many forms. Mental Health counseling is a main component of the intervention services provided at the Tilton Family Children’s Center in Jensen Beach. Equine and music therapy is a new, innovative therapeutic approach that will bring transformational healing for children and reach them in a way traditional therapies cannot.

The abused, abandoned and neglected children living at the Tilton Center and children who are referred through Hibiscus’ Community Mental Health Program in Martin County participate in the Harmony and Horses Program with Harmony Hope Stables in Palm City. This unique partnership is an expansion and welcomed addition to Hibiscus Children’s Center’s current mental health program for children.

The devastating effects of child abuse go far beyond its immediate physical and emotional impact on the child. The impact permeates throughout the child’s entire life cycle. Abused children show higher rates of school delinquency and failure, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, early entry into the criminal justice system, and domestic violence. The transformational impact for children who participate in non-traditional approaches to mental health care such as equine therapy and music therapy are truly amazing.

Kristi Huddleston is the Founder/President of Harmony Hope Stables and works with a terrific team who help the children learn about horses while building self-esteem and confidence and learn how to self regulate and learn life skills, such as how both horses and children benefit from a calm, composed and relaxed atmosphere. When a child is learning how to properly walk a 1200 lb. horse, it definitely builds confidence! The Hibiscus children participating in this special program have expressed it best, “I like how it is quiet and peaceful to deal with the horses”; “Sometimes my mind is full of negative thoughts and being with the horses helps my mind be quiet”; “I like being with the horses because they don’t judge me”; and “If I am sad when I go see the horses, I feel happy when I see them”.

Hibiscus Children’s Center is deeply grateful to Mariner Sands Charity Week for their ongoing support of the children in our care and this wonderful grant that will enhance the children’s mental health and overall well-being. For more information about Hibiscus Children’s Center and how you can get involved to help children, please visit us at hibiscuschildrenscenter.org or contact Michelle King, CDO, at (561) 452-5791.

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Young Professionals of Martin County’s Summer Bash Returns With A Whole Lot Of Fun!

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In Photo: Chelsey & Merritt Matheson

Article by: Katie Makemson - Executive Director / Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham

Martin County - The return of Young Professionals of Martin County’s annual Summer Bash was held on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast in Indian Riverside Park. Thanks to our sponsor and host, The Children’s Museum, 60 attendees were able to celebrate Summer with a mechanical shark sponsored by Mulligan’s Beach House, and enjoy an open bar sponsored by US Coating Specialists.

Attendees were welcomed by Camp Bow Wow, ate delicious food from Mi Cabana Taco Truck, sponsored by Stuart Photography Company, and played fun giant sized games thanks to Culver’s of Stuart. Attendees braved the jaws of the mechanical shark, sipped on fresh cocktails from Atoll Vodka, and tested their luck as they donated to a raffle, sponsored by Ooo La La and benefiting The Children’s Museum. Over all, Young Professionals of Martin County raised $439 for the Museum. All memories were captured by photographer MaryAnn Ketchum, sponsored by Kangen Water Center Stuart.

“We were so excited to be able to reintroduce our Summer Bash this year. Not only is it a great way for new members to get connected with us,but it's also a way for us to give back to the community. Our non-profit partners have always been great for this event, and the Children’s Museum was no exception.” Courtney Nientimp, 2021 Board President of Young Professionals of Martin County.

Young Professionals of Martin County’s mission is to provide a common meeting ground to promote professional and personal gain for goal-oriented and socially active people in their 20s and 30s, in order to positively contribute to the future of Martin County. YPMC hosts monthly events in person. Attendees can register for future events on our website www.ypmc.org.

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In Photo: Dale Rockefeller and Courtney Nientimp

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In Photo: Amber Strand and Ray Benoit

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In Photo: Bianca Nunez, Julian Maiucci and Megan Knott

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In Photo: Kristin & David Lewis

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In Photo: Jaime Vaccaro and Jason Cushnie

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In Photo: Brett Dugas, Kristy Char and Cristina Rose

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In Photo: Tammy Calabria and Katie Makemson

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In Photo: Lucie McGuire and Courtney Nientimp

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In Photo: Colleen Holmes and Kathy Carmody

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In Photo: Rick Schad and Kyle Nurminen

Tykes & Teens Appoints Cheryl Christie as Chief Operating Officer

21 Aug Christie Tyke and Teens

In Photo: Tykes & Teens Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Christie, MS

Palm City – Tykes & Teens, a leading provider of the highest quality, evidence-based mental health services and programs for children and adolescents for 25 years, has appointed Cheryl Christie, MS, as Chief Operating Officer.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Cheryl to the Tykes Team!” said Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW. “Cheryl’s nonprofit leadership experience combined with her clinical background will be instrumental in continuing our mission of prioritizing children’s mental health and our vision of building resilient communities that value mental health.”

“I’m thrilled to be part of a team that supports children and provides access to quality mental health services which positively impact the lives of children and families in a significant way, as well as communities as a whole,” said Tykes & Teens COO Cheryl Christie.

Before joining Tykes & Teens, Cheryl served as the Executive Director at the United Service Organizations (USO) in Fort Drum since 2018. She began her nonprofit work as the Director of Operations at Mount Carmel Veterans Center from 2016 until 2018. She also previously served as a therapist at a psychiatric hospital, and she operated her own practice in Colorado from 2014 until 2018. Cheryl earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Ashford University in 2009 and her Masters in Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology from Capella University in 2013. A mom of four, Cheryl is passionate about Tykes & Teens’ mission and supporting children and families. Outside of work you’ll find Cheryl spending time with her four kids, dogs and enjoying the Florida sun.

Family Promise 2nd Annual Bed Races Doc Myers Park

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Do you know that there are 535 registered homeless students in Martin County?

Family Promise of Martin County is doing everything we can to lower that staggering number. Family Promise is a national organization with a proven model in which we utilize an interfaith network that implements a community approach to prevent childhood homelessness. We also move families experiencing homelessness to financial stability and permanent housing. We are the only shelter in Martin County that is able to keep families together.

The Bed Races is our biggest fundraiser of the year! It represents the hardship homeless families feel wondering whether or not they will have a bed to sleep on each night. Let's come together this year and raise money for the families that are struggling in our very own community!

If you are interested in getting involved email mcfpbedraces@gmail.com or visit our website at www.mcfamilypromise.org to learn more.

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United Way of Martin County Awards $30,000 to Tykes & Teens

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In Photo: United Way of Martin County Board Member and Chair Elect Martin County Supervisor of Elections Office Kherri Anderson; Tykes & Teens Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern Kevin Lane, M.S., NCC; Tykes & Teens Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Agnieszka W. Marshall, Psy.D., CAP; Tykes & Teens Director of Outpatient Services Dr. Alethia DuPont, Psy. D.; Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW; United Way of Martin County President/CEO Carol Houwaart-Diez
Photo By: Chaplain L C Campbell Jr - Treasure Coast Seawinds Funeral Home and Crematory

Funding to support agency’s Youth Enrichment Services and Social Communicative Competency Program
Palm City – The United Way of Martin County has awarded $30,000 to Tykes & Teens, a leading provider of the highest quality, evidence-based mental health services and programs for children and adolescents for 25 years. The funding includes $20,000 to support the agency’s Youth Enrichment Services and $10,000 to support the agency’s Social Communicative Competency Program.

“The United Way of Martin County has been a valued Tykes & Teens partner for 13 years and we are very grateful for their continued support in prioritizing children’s mental health,” said Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW. “As the number of youth struggling with social interactions and those on the autism spectrum continuing to rise, there is a great need for our social-cognitive skills building groups that help children on the spectrum and those with social skills deficits to better succeed at school and in the community.”

“Living through the pandemic has been hard for everyone, but it has been especially difficult for those who face unique challenges,” said United Way of Martin County President/CEO Carol Houwaart-Diez. “More than ever, it's critical that essential mental health services like those provided by Tykes & Teens be available for youth who are struggling.”

Tykes & Teens’ Social Communicative Competency Program provides social-cognitive skills building groups for elementary, middle and high school-age youth who struggle to achieve successful social interactions and those on the autism spectrum. Building social skills at a young age can prevent a lifetime of difficulties, including bullying, low self-esteem, difficulties in relationships, difficulties in work settings, and more. This Tykes & Teens’ program is designed to help children and teens strengthen skills, including active listening, perspective taking, self-awareness, conversation initiation and appropriate use of humor. The program provides fun and dynamic interventions during 14-session social-cognitive skills building groups based on Social Thinking® concepts, designed to target and remediate underlying social-cognitive deficits that lead to difficulties navigating the social world using evidence-based practices. The therapist to client ratio rarely exceeds 1:5.

Tykes & Teens’ Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program provides individual, family and group services for at-risk children and adolescents to prevent substance use and to eliminate use by adolescents who have already used substances. The program also provides individual and group therapy for youth who struggle with emotional regulation and suicidality.

The YES Program includes a number of intervention components:

• STARS (Strengthening Teens in Acquiring Resiliency for Success) – STARS gives local pre-teens and adolescents who are struggling with alcohol, drugs or other dangerous behaviors the chance to make positive long-term change. Each youth participates in a two-phase 24-week program, including group sessions, individual/family sessions and a six-session twice-monthly parent group. STARS uses evidence-based curriculum to help youth identify underlying reasons for their substance use and alternative coping strategies. Individual/family sessions seek to eliminate risk factors within the family system, as well as address co-occurring disorders. The parent support group focuses on providing support to parents, providing them with psycho-education on teen development, including changes in the teenage brain that explain some of the youth’s behaviors, effective strategies for parenting teenagers, and education regarding drug facts and current trends with specific signs and substances of which to be aware.

• DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) – Tykes & Teens’ DBT therapy helps middle and high school students learn to control emotions, manage conflict, resolve family issues and tolerate things not going the way the youth intended. The program is for youth who struggle with emotional dysregulation, including self-injurious behavior such as cutting, burning and suicidality. DBT is an evidence-based program which assists youth in developing skills to manage strong emotions in the healthiest way possible. DBT was originated in order to assist those who were chronically suicidal. Youth learn that they can be themselves and feel strong emotions without necessarily acting on them. Two major components clients learn during DBT are acceptance and change skills, which help them manage difficult emotions and decrease conflict. Youth must first learn to accept themselves and then learn ways to change their emotional responses in order to best succeed in life.

• In addition to these groups, Tykes & Teens provides a Parent Support Group which gives parents psycho-education regarding normative teen development, emotional regulation (for their teens as well as themselves), healthy communication, boundary setting, relationship strengthening and substance abuse knowledge.

• LGBTQ Support and Social Group called PLUS – Tykes & Teen also offers a support and social group for LGBTQ teens called People Loving and Uniting Safely.

Guardians for New Futures Announces CEO for Children's Advocacy Center

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In Photo: Caroline Vinyard

Photo by: MaryAnn Ketcham / Article by: GFNF

Port St. Lucie - Guardians for New Futures recently announced that Caroline Vinyard, LMHC, MBA has joined the organization and will serve as CEO of the GFNG4kids/Baron Children’s Advocacy Center in Port St. Lucie.

Vinyard has more than a decade of experience in child welfare and mental health, specializing in system improvements and a track record for leading innovative programs for children and families. She previously served as the COO for Hibiscus Children’s Center where she implemented the Sanctuary Model, an organizational change model, grounded in trauma theory. During her tenure at Hibiscus, she also served as the Director of Mental Health Services and the Program Coordinator for the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program.

Vinyard began working in the mental health field in 2007 at a day treatment program for the severely mentally ill in Broward County. While in graduate school, she worked as a counselor for victims of domestic violence and in the Batterers Prevention Program. Upon receiving her master’s degree, she began working with children in the dependency system at Family Preservation Services. Caroline was also the Clinical Director at a DJJ program in Okeechobee for at-risk juvenile males.

Vinyard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South University. She received her MBA degree from Liberty University in 2017. Caroline Vinyard is a licensed mental health counselor and qualified supervisor for registered mental health interns seeking licensure.

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IRSC’s Linton Brown Named FCSAA 2020–21 Male Athlete of the Year

Linton Brown
Headshots for Menís basketball. Photographed on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, on the Main Campus in Fort Pierce.

Fort Pierce - Indian River State College Men’s Basketball team member Linton Brown has been named the 2020–21 Male Athlete of the Year by the Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA). The Executive Board for Council for Athletic Affairs announced Brown's selection on July 7. His honor is among the highest accolades for the season from the organization for Florida student-athletes and teams.

“The entire IRSC Athletic department is so proud to see Linton awarded this top honor from the FCSAA,” shares Scott Kimmelman, IRSC Athletics Director. “His outstanding performance throughout the regular and post-season was inspiring, and Linton is among the greatest representatives of true IRSC Pioneer spirit.”

Brown led IRSC to the Southern Conference Championship and an appearance in FCSAA State Championship Game, aiding the Pioneers to earn their at-large berth to NJCAA Tournament—the team's first trip to Hutch since 1975. At the tournament, they advanced to the National Quarterfinals. Among other highlights of Brown has been named National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) First-team All-America, FCSAA Player of the Year.

Nominees for Male and Female Athletes of the Year were selected from the Player of the Year recipient from each FCSAA-sanctioned sport, as well as any nominees submitted from non-FCSAA sanctioned sports such as swimming and diving, golf, soccer, and track, and field.

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Grand Harbor Community Outreach Awards $20,000 to Tykes & Teens for Infant Mental Health

21 July Tykes and Teens gRAND

Palm City – Grand Harbor Community Outreach has awarded $20,000 to Tykes & Teens, a leading provider of the highest quality, evidence-based mental health services and programs for children and adolescents for 25 years. The funding will support the agency’s Infant Mental Health services.

Tykes & Teens’ Infant Mental Health is an evidence-based program for children from birth to age 5 that is done in multiple different settings. Tykes & Teens is the only Infant Mental Health provider in the region serving clients from newborn to age five and their families. In addition, Tykes & Teens provides Mental Health Consultation and is the only provider of this high-fidelity, evidence-based programming on the Treasure Coast.

“We are grateful to Grand Harbor Community Outreach for supporting our mission of prioritizing children’s mental health,” said Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW. “In addition to family and individual therapy, this funding allows us to support infants and families and foster the social emotional development in early childcare settings in order to promote long-term community wellness.”

“In today's world of stressful situations and events, mental health has taken on a greater importance than ever,” said President of Grand Harbor Community Outreach Kathy Tonkel. “Grand Harbor Community Outreach is extremely proud to support Tykes & Teens and the life-changing work that they do with both very young children and teenagers. The assistance they offer to teachers at our childcare centers is also critical.”

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Charity Softball Game to Benefit the Baron Academy

21 Apr Baron Academy Logo
21 July Baron Academy 1

Photo by: MaryAnn Ketcham / Article by: Kristine Erice

Join Marine, Bank and Trust, the only community bank headquartered in Indian River County, as they present a Charity Softball Game on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at 2:00 pm at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie.

The event will teem with excitement and is sure to be a home run for all in attendance!

The theme of the charity event will be focused on Autism and helping to raise Autism Awareness within the community. A family-friendly Autism Resource Fair will be going on inside of Clover Park during the charity game. Proceeds from this event will benefit Baron Academy, a Port St. Lucie based non-profit, private learning academy that specializes in serving children in grades K-8 with Autism and related disabilities.

There are many local celebrities on the roster! Get ready to cheer on PSL Vice Mayor Shannon Martin, SLC Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Brian Hester, Commercial Real Estate Developer Jeremiah Baron, Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie CEO Will Armstead, and other community leaders as they swing for the stars! Notable guests in attendance at the event will include Former NFL players Yamon Figurs and Luther Robinson II. Students from the Baron Academy will also appear on the field. The Fort Pierce Central JROTC will perform a Color Guard during the National Anthem.

Tickets for the September 18th Charity Softball game can be purchased beforehand or on the day of the event at the Clover Park Box Office. The same game ticket purchased for the 2:00pm Charity Softball Game and Autism Resource Fair will be honored at the 6:10pm Autism Awareness themed St. Lucie Mets game at Clover Park, 31 Piazza Drive, Port St. Lucie, later that evening.

There are vendor booths and sponsorship opportunities for both of these events. Please contact Kristine Erice kerice@exceptionalacademypsl.com or William

Talley wtalley@marinebank.bank for more information.

To learn more about the event sponsor Marine Bank and Trust, please visit www.marinebank.bank For additional information about the Baron Academy, please visit www.exceptionalacademypsl.com.

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Innovative College Prep School Trains Students for Emerging Careers

21 July Synergy School

The Synergy School of Tomorrow Junior College embraces an educational concept unlike any other on the Treasure Coast. Now offering scholarships, the school is accepting students in grades 6-12.

Fort Pierce - When it comes to a forward-thinking, team-oriented approach to education, The Synergy School of Tomorrow is one of the Treasure Coast’s best-kept secrets.

Located at 2810 S. Federal Hwy. in Fort Pierce, the college-preparatory, nationally accredited, faith-based school provides students the opportunity to pursue vocational pathways and trade programs with certified teachers. With the ability to utilize the facility’s state-of-the-art equipment hands-on, students develop self-confidence, a sense of pride, and the concept of teamwork and problem resolution. Students can select from the following Training Academies: Cosmetology/Barbering; Pre-Med; Multimedia Production; Culinary and Baking; Technology; and Esports.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines synergy as the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately. The Synergy School of Tomorrow wholeheartedly embraces this concept and strives to personalize each student’s individual educational experience by combining standard, college preparatory, vocational, and trade disciplines. Dual enrollment is also available for eligible students.

“Inspiring young leaders will create a better future for all of us,” said Superintendent/CEO Dr. Donnelyn Khourie. “At Synergy School of Tomorrow, we not only teach the skillsets for future jobs and careers, but we also teach how to tap into innovative ideas and recognize global opportunities.”

In addition to providing no charge breakfasts, lunches and snacks, transportation, dance, sports, and a variety of after-school clubs, Synergy also arranges apprenticeships so that students may work and study in their field of interest!

“Part of the mission at Synergy School is to raise up entrepreneurs that are ready to take on economics and revitalize our cities. I believe great days are ahead, and our young people will lead the way!”

Synergy School of Tomorrow is currently accepting students grades 6-12, while its feeder school, Florida State Christian Academy, located on Oleander Ave. in Fort Pierce, accepts students grades K-5. Scholarships are available for eligible students.

For more information, please visit SynergySchoolofTomorrow.com or call 772-801-5522.

Martin County Total Market Value Increases by More than $2 Billion

21 July Jenny Fields

Stuart – With 2021 tax roll figures in today, the Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office announced that the County saw an increase in total market value to more than $36 billion. This is an increase of more than $2.1 billion or 6.42% as compared to last year’s figure of $34 billion. Taxable value increased more than $1.2 billion or 5.27% as compared to last year’s figure of $23.8 billion. Reported values are based on market conditions as of January 1, 2021.

Residential properties experienced one of the largest growth years since 2006 with 7.89% increase over last year. The median sale price of single-family homes increased to $388,945 compared to $365,000 in 2019. Median condominium sale prices increased to $168,500 compared to $148,750 in 2019.

“This year’s residential market value growth may be attributed to the overwhelming amount of demand which has far outpaced local supply,” said Martin County Property Appraiser Jenny Fields. “Listing times have shrunk significantly, properties are receiving offers above asking prices, and many properties are being purchased sight unseen. Home buyers are relocating to Martin County from out of state and highly populated counties in Florida.”

Commercial and industrial properties logged another year of growth this year with a 5.9% increase compared to last year.

“Net new construction growth was $297 million this year which is comparable to the past three years,” said Fields. “We are however, seeing many multi- family projects in the pipeline that may finish construction this year and will go on the 2022 tax roll.”

Fields and her team of professionals certified the 2021 Preliminary Tax Roll to the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) on Friday, June 25. This is the earliest the Office has ever submitted preliminary numbers to the DOR. A deadline is set for July 1 each year for all property appraisers’ offices throughout the State to submit their values. The early tax roll submission was a result of a multi-year conversion project to upgrade the software used for appraisal and assessment administration. The new system is already creating efficiencies by reducing the time to run and validate technical tax roll reports.

Taxing authorities will use these values next to help them prepare for their upcoming budgets and to determine their proposed millage rates.

21 July Taxable

Founded in 1925, The Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office (MCPAO) is one of 67 county appraisal offices in the State of Florida. Governed by the Department of Revenue, the MCPAO values more than 100,000 real, commercial, industrial and tangible personal properties throughout the County for a total of 543.46 land area square miles. The MCPAO is one of 52 offices in the United States and Canada to receive the prestigious Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration from the International Association of Assessing Officers.

Kiwanis Club of Stuart raised $71,000 for Construction of Sensory Sensitive Garden Play Area in Stuart

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21 June Sensory Park 1a

Stuart - The Kiwanis Club of Stuart, one of Martin County’s most active and involved community service organizations, recently raised $71,000 that will go towards the construction of a Sensory Sensitive Garden Play area as part of a renovation of Kiwanis Youth Park at Woodlawn in downtown Stuart.

Partnering with March for Maddie, a fund established by Jeff and Malia Schramm in 2013 after their two-1/2-year-old daughter, Maddie, passed away from medical issues since birth, the two organizations held a Park After Dark dinner at Kiwanis Youth Park featuring dinner, auctions and raffles. The Sensory Sensitive Garden play area, which is geared towards children with autism, sensory or physical issues, will be named Maddie’s Garden.

According to Cher Fisher, president of the Kiwanis Club of Stuart, Maddie’s Garden will be just one part of the overall planned $700,000 renovation of the park built in the ‘90s. The renovation will also include a separate ‘tot lot’ for two-to-five year old children as well as an area for 5-12 year-olds which will feature a two-story slide, rock climbing wall and a ropes course.

“Kiwanis Youth Park is an extremely popular part of the culture here in Stuart,” Fisher explained. “But as the popularity has grown, so has the need to make certain areas more accessible to physically challenged kids and kids with sensory issues. For those children, Maddie’s Garden will be a small, quiet area for two or three kids at a time.”

So far, with proceeds from the Manatee Island Ladies Fishing Tournament, online magic show and the Park After Dark event, along with donors and funds accumulated, the club has raised $127,000 and a check will be presented to City of Stuart June 14. Work will begin on Maddie’s Garden and the tot lot-with plans to be finished by Fall, 2021. Work on the other area will be dependent on acquiring donations.

To see a drone integrated 3-D panorama of the finished park, go to www.kiwanis clubofstuart.org. While you’re there you may scroll down to the donate button and donate towards the park renovation.

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Salute to Stuart 2021 - Stuart Air Show

21 Mar Stuart Airshow Logo