Out2News Local

Bowl For Kids Sake

20 Dec St Lucie Big Brothers

Port St. Lucie - September, 2022 Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties will be holding their annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake on Saturday, October 29, in Port St. Lucie. This event hopes to raise over $50,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ programs, which provide one-toone mentoring, reading assistance and helps to “Power BIG Futures” for the kids in our community.

The 2022 theme, a 1950’s sock hop, will see attendees donning their best 50’s flashback attire and as they come together to support the more than 1700 children in the community served by Big Brothers Big Sisters each year.

Bowl for Kids’ Sake will take place at Lucie Lanes (6759 US-1, Port St. Lucie, FL 34952), with session times at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. There are plenty of opportunities for bowling, fun and games at Bowl for Kids’ Sake. Nearly 1,000 bowlers and community supporters are expected to join the fun and help a great cause. You don’t have to be a great bowler to join the celebration, it’s all about the kids and raising funds to support the mentoring programs offered through Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Big Brother Big Sisters is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

If you’d like more information, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at (772) 466-8535 or sign up via the link on their website at www.bbbsbigs.org/events.

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Ocean Ecocenter Wins Southeast Tourism Society Shining Example Award

21 Oct MC Tourism

Stuart – The Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing is thrilled to announce the Florida Oceanographic Society’s Ocean EcoCenter recently received the “Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year” award at the Southeast Tourism Society’s Shining Example Awards. The ceremony was held on the evening of September 8, 2022, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte Concord Golf Resort and Spa in Concord, NC during STS Connections.

“We want to thank the Southeast Tourism Society for recognizing the Ocean EcoCenter as the 2022 Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year,” says Mark Perry, Executive Director of the Florida Oceanographic Society. “The Ocean EcoCenter provides interactive experiences for all ages to learn about Florida’s coastal ecosystems, and why it is so important to protect them. Winning this award is a huge honor for Florida Oceanographic Society and recognizes that we are fulfilling our mission to inspire environmental stewardship in the thousands of people who visit the Coastal Center each year.”

Debuted in July 2021 as part of the organization’s latest capital expansion, the attraction was also recently named a winner in 2022 Environmental Stewardship Awards, organized by Keep Martin Beautiful. The Ocean EcoCenter was one of sixteen award winners of the night. The Shining Example Awards Program, an industry fixture since 1985, recognizes outstanding contributions to travel and tourism within the Southeast United States. The Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing nominated the Ocean EcoCenter for the prestigious award and accepted the honor on their behalf.

“The Florida Oceanographic Society has been a pillar of the community since its founding in 1964, and the Ocean EcoCenter allows the organization to share its noble mission with Martin County visitors and residents every single day,” says Nerissa Okiye, Tourism Director of the Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing. “We’re truly grateful for this humbling recognition from the Southeast Tourism Society and we know the Ocean EcoCenter will leave a lasting legacy for future generations to come.”

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Guardians for New Futures - Child Summit 2022

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In Photo: Keynote Speaker Betsy Goulet Clinical Assistant Prof. University of Illinois Springfield

Photos & Article by MaryAnn Ketcham
With over 200 registrants, in person and via Zoom, Guardians for New Futures hosted its 9th two-day Child Summit at the Public Safety Training Complex at the Indian River State College’s Fort Pierce Campus. Attendance came at no cost to those seeking to learn the latest trends, statistics, and remedies for maltreated children, the Child Advocacy model, how to provide trauma-informed care, the latest drug-related issues, and much more.

New this year, Nova Southeastern University students of the Sociodrama Club, under the guidance of Grace Telesco, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Maria Levi-Minzi, Ph.D. Assistant Professor presented “What’s Wrong with Joe,” a sociodrama about Child Sexual Assault and Interventions.

Staying in character, the students heeded audience suggestions on how to better interact with Joe, a sexual assault victim embarrassed and afraid to reveal his secret. Based on a true story, the scenario captivated the crowd and elicited a high degree of participation.

Keynote speaker Betsy Goulet, Clinical Assistant Professor from the University of Illinois Springfield, championed the CAC, Child Advocacy Center model, and the power of the multidisciplinary team. Before the advent of the CAC, abused children suffered through interview after interview, causing them to relive their trauma repeatedly, and they are now interviewed once.

“I’m impressed with how quickly this local CAC (encompassing the 19th Circuit) opened up and began helping children,” said Goulet. “Child Advocacy Centers breed cooperation.”

“It was a humbling experience to hear from Goulet, as she is one of the originators of the CAC model,” Caroline Vinyard, CEO of the new CAC. “She gave us words of wisdom and confidence that we are genuinely doing what is best for our children. We will continue to educate the community and provide awareness of this new multidisciplinary team approach for child abuse investigations. And, we are just getting started!”

Amy Gregory, Operations Manager at the Florida Department of Children and Families, agrees, “We are better together.”

Now, as a part of a team, Sergeant Dan Dulac of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office indicated that he now better understands “everything beyond my piece of the puzzle.”

Participants earned CEUs while they also heard from experts about working with victims with disabilities, understanding grief and loss in children, the impact of parental conflict and divorce on children, and more.

Want to help Stop Child Abuse? For just $12 a month, the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) will be even better equipped to provide the most innovative programs and services. To join the circle, please visit GFNF4Kids.org/circleofcareprogram/

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In Photo: Mary Sirmons, Christina Kaiser, Debbie Butler and Christopher Murray

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In Photo: Sheriff's Panel Nole Stephens, Dan Dulac, Sgt. Scranton, Sheldon Burkett and Brian Hester

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In Photo: Luzed Cruz, Betsy Goulet and Jeanie Raciti (CAC Brevard)

$1.5 Million in Scholarships Available for IRSC Law Enforcement Training

22 Sept IRSC Criminal

Fort Pierce - The Indian River State College (IRSC) Criminal Justice Institute announced it has received $1.5 million in scholarship funding from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) that will be available to those who qualify and may cover up to 100% of the costs to complete training. The funds will greatly assist those considering law enforcement careers and planning to attend the College’s law enforcement academy.

The Florida Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program (FLEAS) was created by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) to help local recruits complete their training. Indian River State College’s Criminal Justice Institute requested $1.5 million in scholarship funding and in September was notified by the DOE that the entire amount was approved. Funding is approved on a first-come, first-served basis, and IRSC was the second Regional Training Center in the state to request funds.

“This amazing program provides financial support for students that want to protect and serve their communities, but do not have the resources to attend a law enforcement academy,” said Dr. Raimundo Socorro, Dean of Public Service Education at IRSC.

Average in-state tuition at Florida’s law enforcement training academies is more than $4,000. For eligible recruits, the scholarship covers tuition entirely, plus up to $1,000 for additional fees and expenses for such items as the Basic Abilities Test, Physical Abilities Test, drug screening, fingerprinting and background checks, polygraph testing, the Integrity Test, the State Officer Certification Exam, the CJS curriculum, health insurance, tactical boots, uniforms and ammunition.

Eligible recruits must be Florida residents, accepted and enrolled in IRSC’s Law Enforcement Basic Recruitment Academy, and not already sponsored by a law enforcement agency or other sponsors.

“Since learning about the $1.5 million award, some 60 recruits have taken advantage of the scholarship program,” said Lisa Deleon, Director of IRSC’s Criminal Justice Institute. “We anticipate the number of eligible recruits will increase for the upcoming academy sessions in November, January, March and April. Our goal is to alleviate any financial concerns or hardships that might prevent an individual from their dream of becoming a first responder in the state of Florida.”

To apply or learn more about the Florida Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program, contact Dr. Socorro at rsocorro@irsc.edu. For more information about the TCPSTC and its other course offerings, visit www.tcpublicsafetytraining.com.

St. Luke's Episcopal Church Will Have a New Priest

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The Rev. Paul Hartt will be inducted as the Priest in Charge of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 5150 S.E. Railway Ave., Cove Road at Dixie Highway, Stuart, on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

The Right Rev. Peter Eaton, diocesan bishop, will preside over the induction. For more information, call the church office at 772-286-5455.

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Fort Pierce Advances to the Final Round to Receive a $90,000 Grant for a Free, Live Music Series

22 Sept Levitt AMP

Fort Pierce - St. Lucie Cultural Alliance along with St. Lucie Parks & Recreation Department have advanced to the final round of the Levitt AMP Grant Awards to bring a free, live outdoor music series starting in 2023.

Fort Pierce is the only city to be selected in the state of Florida and one of only 20 nationwide to have made it to the final round. If successful, Fort Pierce will host ten free concerts on the grounds of Museum Pointe Park, set against the backdrop of Indian River Lagoon and Fort Pierce Inlet. The Levitt Foundation will select the final grant recipients on November 15, 2022.

The Levitt AMP Fort Pierce Grant Award is a highly competitive, multi-year matching grant opportunity created by the Levitt Foundation to serve cities with populations up to 250,000. Nonprofits will receive a total matching grant of $90,000 over three years to produce their own outdoor concert series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians that reimagines an underused public space to create an inclusive destination for people of all ages and backgrounds.

“Bringing this music series to St. Lucie County will be an event that would bring the whole community together. Building a strong, thriving community is a major goal for the county and it aligns with our strategic plan,” Joyania Hawthorne, St. Lucie Parks & Rec. Dept. Asst. Director. The Cultural Alliance and Parks & Rec Dept are also planning to engage Treasure Coast musicians and include an arts marketplace to compliment the festival. With this grant, Fort Pierce would have the ability to promote not only local acts but also bring national acts to the area.

St. Lucie Cultural Alliance and St Lucie County thank the community for supporting them during the public voting phase since they could not have moved to the final round without them. For more information, email info@artstlucie.org or visit www.artstlucie.org/memberships to become a member of the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance today.

Former Foster & Adoptive Mom of Eight Becomes CCKids' First Kinship Navigator

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Port St. Lucie – Communities Connected for Kids unveiled its Kinship Navigator Program earlier this month to help relative caregivers access local resources to help them successfully care for and keep children out of foster care.

And it’s first hired employee knows a thing or 10 about navigating the system.

Rose Bailey has been involved with the local child-welfare system of care for more than 30 years. She and her husband, Brian, are former foster parents and are the adoptive parents of eight children.

She has been the turn-to person whenever someone was needed to speak to the public or to the media about foster care. And she served as a foster parent mentor for 16 years.

In fact, Bailey launched CCKids' Foster Parent Mentor Program in 2006, when she was asked to help new foster parents acclimate to their roles.

“I started with the program, and I was with it all the way to the end,” she said on her first day as Kinship Navigator. “It’s a bittersweet day.”

The mentor program was gradually sunset as CCKids’ child-placing agencies – those like Camelot Community Care and 4Kids, which train and license foster parents – took greater roles in retention activities.

As a kinship navigator, Bailey will apply the same skills she used as a foster parent mentor to helping another population of caregivers – relatives and non-relatives. (Non-relatives are neighbors, teachers, etc. who care for children but who are not related to them and are not fully licensed foster parents).

A second navigator – Farrah Whittaker – also joined the program this week, and another two are expected to be hired in the coming weeks.

Navigators will be the first points of contact for relatives and nonrelatives when children are placed in their homes. They also will help prepare them for Level 1 Licensing, a type of child-specific licensing that will open additional resources to caregivers.

Whittaker comes to CCKids with 15 years of early childhood development experience. She recently completed her bachelor's degree in human service with a concentration in youth and families studies.

Poole said she can can’t think of a better team to start the program.

"They will both help our caregivers navigate the dependency system successfully," Poole said. "And Rose comes with such a wealth of knowledge and lived experience,” she said. “I can’t imagine doing this program without her.”

IRSC Partners With Boulder Crest Institute to Provide PTSD Training for Local First Responders

22 Sept Struggle

Fort Pierce - Indian River State College (IRSC) is partnering with Boulder Crest Institute—a global leader in advancing the science of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG)—to provide Struggle Well training to local first responders. The first class begins on December 14 and 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the IRSC Treasure Public Safety Training Complex, located at 4600 Kirby Loop Road in Fort Pierce.

“Struggle Well—Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma” is both a training program and a bestselling book by Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg, experts in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The duo trains combat veterans battling the disorder to understand and achieve Posttraumatic Growth (PTG).

“Like combat veterans, law enforcement, corrections officers and other first responders are exposed to traumatic events and suffer from PTSD,” said Dr. Raimundo Socorro, IRSC’s Dean of Public Service Education. “This training is paramount for our Region 11 law enforcement officers and deputies who must understand and recognize the signs of PTSD, survive, and remain focused on positive growth.”

The goal is to train people to thrive in the aftermath of their trauma, Dr. Socorro said. Boulder Crest’s signature PATHH programs (Progressive and Alternative Training for Helping Heroes) teach participants how to make peace with their past, live in the present, and begin planning for their future.

“Boulder Crest is committed to addressing the epidemic of suicide and personal and professional struggle amongst the first responder and public safety community, including police, fire, dispatch, emergency management, EMS, and frontline healthcare workers,” said Bernie Gonzalez, Director of the First Responder Initiative for Boulder Crest in Florida. “At the heart of our comprehensive and sustained approach is a focus on normalizing struggle and decentralizing mental wellness. We are very excited to partner with Indian River State College to serve the first responders of Region 11.”

To register or learn more about this training course, contact Dr. Raimundo Socorro at rsocorro@irsc.edu. For more information about the IRSC School of Public Service Education and its other course offerings, visit www.tcpublicsafetytraining.com.

Help Family Promise of Martin County Buy a “Home” of its Own

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In Photo: Emmanuel and Carmen, a former guest family that was served by Family Promise

Article by: Jackie Holfelder / Photo by: Family Promise
The mission of Family Promise of Martin County, a non-profit, interfaith hospitality network, is to provide temporary housing, caring support, meals and a host of social services for families with children experiencing homelessness.

The housing takes place in local religious congregations that have joined in a consortium to support the guests who turn to – or are referred to – Family Promise of Martin County.
The heart and soul of the non-profit is its Family Center, which is open Mondays-Fridays from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. An on-site Family Service Coordinator, April Young, works with guests to develop an individualized plan to help them regain permanent housing and self-sufficiency. The Center also has laundry and shower facilities, as well as phone and Internet access for employment searches.
It’s the hub from which transportation to work, school, job interviews and medical appointments is offered by the Family Promise driver and van or public transportation.
Now, in a stroke of almost divine intervention, the building in Stuart from which the nonprofit (which was established in 2018 and opened its doors in November, 2020) has operated is available for purchase.

Madeleine Bozone Greenwood, Executive Director of Family Promise of Martin County, says the building fits their needs in virtually every way. “It’s close to stores, transportation, parks, medical facilities, just about anything our guests may need, even if they don’t have their own transportation.”
Adds Cher Fisher, Director of Development & Community Engagement, “We’ve got a gathering place for families, two offices, two bathrooms, a reception area, kitchen, laundry, garden with kids’ playground and a storage room for our guests to use. It’s perfect.”

The current asking price is $350,000. Family Promise has $40,000 that has been donated towards its purchase and is engaging in its first Capital Campaign to raise the balance.
Naming rights are available if you’d like to direct a contribution towards a specific room or part of the Center and plans are being developed for opportunities like personalized brick pavers.
Family Promise, which is an affiliate of a national 501(c)(3) organization with a 35-plus year successful track record, is helping change lives every day. But as Bozone likes to assure people, “Every cent we raise stays right here in Martin County. As a matter of fact, the way the national organization is structured, they return funds to the local affiliates – the opposite of many similar non-profits.”

Since it’s opened, Family Promise has served 288 families.
If you’d like to find out more about Family Promise or how your contribution can help them purchase their own “dream home” from which to service guests, visit www.mcfamilypromise.org or call 772-266-9327.

Treasure Coast Hospice Hosts Inaugural Summer Bash for Pediatric Families

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In Photo: The party participants

Article & Photos by MaryAnn Ketcham
The Treasure Coast Hospice Pediatric Team recently hosted its Inaugural Summer Bash at the Mayes Center in Stuart. Children and families in the care of the Little Treasures program came together for the opportunity to laugh, play, and, more importantly, connect.

“Families caring for children with complex medical needs often express feelings of isolation and share that it is hard to find activities outside of their home that the whole family can enjoy,” said Treasure Coast Hospice Licensed Clinical Social Worker Oralea Marquardt. “The Summer Bash event was created to provide an evening for our pediatric patients, their siblings, and parents to have some fun together as well as to connect with other families. Our hope is to continue to have events like the Summer Bash to help build a sense of community and bring joy to our patients and their families.”

Known for its traditional Children's Holiday Party, which occurs in December, the highly-skilled team of professionals strives to improve the quality of life for children and teens with life-limiting illnesses. With support from its partner, Little Smiles of Florida, the event provided enjoyment while helping the families build an added layer of community support amongst each other.

Pizza, fresh off-the-cart hot dogs and pretzels, ice cream sandwiches, and juice supplied nourishment for the evening of memorable family interactions during exciting games of Jenga, checkers, cornhole, Uno, Yahtzee, Connect Four, and more. Attendees sat entranced as they watched an exceptional performance by Eric the Magic Guy. Including his young audience members in his feats of illusion brought extra delight to all in attendance!

Parents later participated in a break-out session. Sitting in comfort, they closed their eyes and listened to the soothing sounds emanating from the guitar of Music Therapist Liz Lung. She quietly invited them to be in the moment, breathe in and out, and relax.

Under the caring watch and with assistance from staff members and volunteers, the children and teens created keepsake handprints on canvas boards, wrote thank you notes, and basked in the camaraderie of their peers.

Through palliative and hospice care, the Little Treasures Pediatric Team devotes itself to the medical, spiritual, and psychosocial concerns of its young patients and their families. Bringing them together to share insight, resources, and smiles will help them produce a community of kinship, hope, and even a few planned playdates.

Join Treasure Coast Hospice as it celebrates its 40th Anniversary by becoming a donor or volunteer. Opportunities abound!
Please visit TreasureHealth.org for additional information.

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In Photo: Anthony, Aida and Emma Chun with Dr. Delgado and Barbara Kirkpatrick

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In Photo: Dylon Southworth, Lillian Peters and Jonita Southworth

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In Photo: TC Hospice staff members- Barbara Kirkpatrick, Oralea Marquardt, Dalila Rodriguez, Dr. Delgado, Henry Lazos, Brittany Macy, Liz Lung and Nicole Scrivani

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In Photo: Leo Lagana plays checkers

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In Photo: Vincent Roberts writes a thank you note

Children’s Advocacy Center to Launch Capital Campaign for its Children’s Healing Garden

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The Guardians for New Futures 4 Kids Children’s Advocacy Center invites the community to join the festivities as it kicks off its Capital Campaign for its Children’s Healing Garden. The gathering takes place on October 15th at the Center, located at 8561 S. Commerce Drive in Port St. Lucie, at 6 pm.

Please take this opportunity to learn about the Center, how it advocates for physically and sexually abused children, and how you can help! Encompassing St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, and Okeechobee counties of the 19th Circuit, the newly opened CAC expects to serve over 1200 children each year.

The Healing Garden, located at the back of the Center, creates a curative sanctuary consisting of 17,000 square feet of sensory gardens and whimsical play structures such as a tiny town and a fairy hill. The Garden is set on a boulder foundation and provides quiet areas for adults and children, and it also creates an idyllic backdrop for mental health programs and services.

With sponsorships needed to bring this Healing Garden to fruition, a tremendous opportunity exists for Corporate Sponsors to push their brand to the forefront of the community while making life-changing differences in the lives of hurting, mal-treated children.

As a cornerstone of the Garden, a brick paved heart shows the kids that their community cares. Forever linking your heart to theirs, individual bricks can be purchased to be engraved.

The need for healing our children is crucial! Since opening its doors on June 27th, the Children’s Advocacy Center has served more than 125 children.

“This campaign is a great opportunity for the community to support child victims of abuse and help facilitate their healing,” said CEO Caroline Vinyard.
“Every donation to the campaign goes directly to making the Healing Garden a reality by next fall. Child abuse is dark and ugly, but hope grows here!”
Please join us on Oct. 15th to learn more.

To invest or sponsor any portion of the Garden, please contact Debbie Butler at 772-359-2824 or dbutler@gfnf4kids.org

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Martin Youth LEADERship Welcomes 40 Students to Class 24

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Stuart, FL– On Thursday, September 8, Martin Youth LEADERship (MYL) resumed its prestigious program after a two and a half year Covid hiatus. MYL welcomed 40 students to this year’s class.

Students from Clark Advanced Learning Center, Jensen Beach High School, Martin County High School and South Fork High School and their parents were welcomed by MYL Program Chair Diana Bruton at the Martin County Realtors of the Treasure Coast during an informative Orientation. Both students and parents participated in ice breaker sessions coordinated by Ms. Bruton and Jim Atkinson. Students learned that they had been selected for their leadership potential amongst a large pool of applicants vying for a spot. Alec Connolly, Chair of both LEADERship Day and a ropes course day named COPE, presented an overview and calendar for the year. Program Coordinator Jeanne Dunn reviewed Attendance, Communication, School Contacts and Transportation Issues.

Congratulations to the following students and their families:

Annabella Adams,Alli Berger,Vaughn Berhoff,Gabby Camacho,Kylie Crumpler,Skylar Crumpler,Goldie Davilmar,Alex Dill,Jack Elliott,Grace Fenedick,Dalton French,Graham Garner,Zoe Gozdz,Gerard Grate,JP Holloran,Gretchen Howe,Zoe Jendrusiak,Courtney Jones,Christina Josie,Savannah Kautz,Aiden Levy,Bella Marcucci,Melody McAfee,Nick McAfee,Riley McGuire,Grady McKinney,Ameera Mehan
Hannah Molinia,Anna Oppenheiser,Lilly Parr,Kate Parr,Emma Peck,Will Perry,Willow Rudge,Aydan Schwerdtfeger,Tanjila Shawkat,Kaylie Strom,Ross White,Elizabeth Wire,Kate Zoetmulder

The program would not be possible without the support of our generous Sponsors: LEADERship Martin County Alumni Foundation for Youth, Martin County School District, Children’s Services Council, Stuart/Martin Chamber of Commerce, Ampersand Shirt Shack, Publix, Treasure Coast Legal and Treasure Coast Realty as well as session contributors: 19th Judicial Circuit/Public Defender’s Office, 19th Judicial Circuit/State Attorney’s Office, Gulf Stream Council/BSA, House of Hope, Out2News, Indian River State College, Martin County Fair Association, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Seacoast Bank, Stuart 10th Street Center, Treasure Health and Tykes & Teens.

Additionally, the program runs as a result of the dedication of the Planning Committee: Debbie Banta, Denisha Bonds, Robert Bruton, Jeanine Bushman, Joe Catrambone, Alec Connolly, Linda Fitzpatrick, Joe Flanagan, Laura Haase, Robin Hall, Brett Hawkins, Jay Jenkins, Trisha Kukuvka, Cindy LaConte, Patty McAuley, Julie McHenry, Tracey Miller, Kate Muscarella, Nancy Sailer, Jay Spicer, Marianne Vinette and Brad Weaver.
The Martin Youth LEADERship Program for high school students is in its 24th year. The group is continually striving to better serve the students that have made application, and been accepted into the program. The program is an opportunity for high school sophomores and juniors throughout Martin County to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Students must apply and only a maximum of 40 are selected to participate in this comprehensive nine-month program that is modeled after LEADERship Martin County. Upon completion, these young Leaders have learned about their community including history, government, business, arts and culture, criminal justice and the environment. Class members are given a rare opportunity to reach their highest leadership potential through sessions focusing on Covey’s Effective Habits and other leadership enhancing activities. Every effort is made to select a racially, gender diverse class representing various levels of leadership experience.
For more information about Martin Youth LEADERship, and how you too, might become a sponsor, donor, event coordinator, advisory board member or obtain a student application for next year, please see the group web site at: http://www.leadershipmcalumni.com/youth_leadership.asp, email MartinYouthLeadership@gmail.com or call (772) 486-4695.

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IRSC to Host Martin County Career Fair on Sept. 30 More Than 50 Local Companies Will Be On-Site

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Stuart - Is a career in Aerospace Mechanics in your future? How about a career in Nursing or Engineering? Find out if these or other jobs may be within your grasp at Indian River State College’s Martin County Career Fair, set for 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, September 30, at IRSC’s Chastain Campus in Stuart.

More than 50 Martin County companies will be represented at the Fair from the marine, aerospace, construction, healthcare, financial, government, education, sales, hospitality, and manufacturing industries, among others. The Fair will be held in the Johnson Auditorium of the Wolf High-Technology Center, Building C, on IRSC’s Chastain Campus, located at 2400 S.E. Salerno Road in Stuart.

Admission is free and open to the public.

“Indian River State College is here for our career partners,” said Dr. Alessandro Anzalone, IRSC Chastain Campus President. “In the current job market, we all have been struggling to get the talent we need, and this job fair can help ameliorate this situation. We will have a number of different sectors represented in the fair with many job opportunities and we invite our community to participate.”

These are the Martin County companies that will be represented at the Fair:

Air Concepts USA, ARC of Martin County, Armellini Express Lines, Inc., Bealls, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, Brancaccio & Associates, Brother’s Construction, Inc., Career Connect Martin-Stuart (Martin County Chamber of Commerce), CareerSource Adult Services, CareerSource Youth Connections
Carr, Riggs & Ingram, City of Stuart, Courtyard by Marriott (Hutchinson Island Oceanside/Jensen Beach)
Courtyard by Marriott Stuart, Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, Coastal Detox, Compass Health
Crary Buchanan, EB Airfoils LLC., ESI Works, Evergreen Private Care, Express Employment Professionals
Fastenal Staffing, Hammer Roofing, Helping Hands, Inc., Hog Technologies, House of Hope, Indian River State College (IRSC), Jenoptik North America, Inc., Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Martin Correctional Institution, Martin County Board of County Commissioners, Martin County School District
Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Martin County Supervisor of Elections, Mystic Valley Dunkin’, Panera Bread, Pinder’s Nursery, Inc., Safe Space, Inc., Stuart Lodge, The Collaborative Behavior Group, The Miles Grant Country Club, Thrivent, Treasure Coast ABA Services, Treasure Coast Hospice, Trey Yelton State Farm, Water’s Edge Dermatology, Willis Custom Yachts, YMCA

Treasure Coast Food Bank Names Four to Board of Directors

22 Sept Food Bank

In Photo: Christine Kelly-Begazo, Major Petri Hayes, Richard P. Tambone, Scott Bass

Fort Pierce - Treasure Coast Food Bank has named four community leaders to its Board of Directors. Christine Kelly-Begazo, Richard P. Tambone, Scott Bass, and Maj. Petri Hayes all recently began their board service. The new members add expertise to the board in the areas of agriculture, education, public safety, and economic development.
“We welcome Christine, Richard, Scott, and Maj. Hayes to the Board of Directors and look forward to the wealth of expertise they have to share,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “Their knowledge and longtime dedication to the Treasure Coast will help us as we work to fight hunger and alleviate its causes.”
Christine Kelly-Begazo has been an agriculture educator for nearly three decades, starting with a 4-year stint in the Peace Corps in Honduras. She is a County Extension Director and Agent in the University of Florida/IFAS Extension office located in Vero Beach.
Kelly-Begazo holds a master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Florida and has worked with the agricultural community in Indian River County since 2004. She initiated the Peanut Butter Challenge in Indian River County, a food drive among all the ag extension offices that collects peanut butter for local food banks. In 2020, she received Distinguished Service Awards for Excellence in Extension Education Programs from both the Florida Association and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. Kelly-Begazo will serve as Treasurer of the Board.
Richard P. Tambone is a leading Florida and New England commercial, industrial and multifamily real estate developer responsible for the acquisition and development of more than 15 million square feet of office, research, industrial, medical, and multifamily projects in South Florida, the Southwest, and the Greater Boston markets.
From 2016-2022, Tambone Companies had the opportunity to serve as the master developer for the City of Port St. Lucie to market and expedite the sale and development of land within the 1,200 acres of Tradition Center for Commerce with the goal of spearheading economic development in the region.
Scott Bass is Deputy Superintendent of the School District of Indian River County. He has served nearly 30 years in public education, beginning as a science teacher and sports coach in Glades County. After leading several schools as a principal and assistant principal, he served as Assistant Superintendent for the Glades County School District, supervising operations, human resources, career and adult education as well as principals. He was elected Glades County Schools Superintendent in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
Under his leadership, the school district experienced significant achievements, including third-highest graduation rates in Florida and second-highest kindergarten readiness scores. He was named Deputy Superintendent for Indian River County in 2020, and oversees school safety, district operations, human resources, and supervision of all the district’s principals.
Major Petri Hayes commands the Department of Detention within the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, which includes numerous divisions that oversee inmates. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice and a graduate certificate in Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University. He served with the Indiana Department of Corrections for 10 years prior to moving to Florida.
Petri joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office after completing the Florida Corrections Officer Proficiency Course through Indian River State College in 2009. He was a member of the agency’s Gang Intelligence Task Force, serves as Commander of the jail’s Emergency Response Team, and worked to develop a physical fitness training course for members of the Emergency Response Team. Petri also serves the community through tireless work organizing and coaching basketball camps and leagues for youth in St. Lucie County.
Mitch Hall, General Manager of Walmart Distribution Center #7038, will continue in his role as Executive Board Chairman for the 2022-23 year. He will serve along with Vice Chairman Peter Tesch, President of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County, and Secretary Mark Satterlee, Deputy County Administrator of St. Lucie County. Professor Emeritus Ed Skvarch is Past Immediate Chairman.
Returning to the board are David Jackson, legislative aide to Congressman Bill Posey, and Karl Zimmermann, a community advocate from Vero Beach.

Palm City Chamber of Commerce and New Hope Fellowship Hosts the First Housing Symposium

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Article & Photos by: Robin Hall - Out2News.com

Palm City - On Wednesday, September 7, 2022 the Palm City Chamber of Commerce and New Hope Fellowship hosted the first housing Symposium. Executive Director of the Chamber Missi Campbell started the symposium with a warm welcome to all who attended. Ms. Madeleine Bozonne Greenwood with Housing Solutions Council and Commissioner Ed Ciampi also welcome everyone.

The topic to discuss at the event was, Martin County's unique struggle with affordable housing.

The first panel to discuss Non-Profits and their needs were, Captain Deanne Jones - Salvation Army, April Young - Family Promise, Rob Ranieri - House of Hope, Madeleine Greenwood - LAHIA and moderator Carol Houwaart-Diez. The panel spoke for fifteen minutes about the needs of each of these organizations. Who is struggling and what the community is hearing.

The Second panel to discuss was business sustainability when their employees have no place to live. On this panel were: Superintendent Martin County School District - Dr. John Millay, IRSC Campus President - Dr. Alex Anzalone, Martin County Realtor Association President - Andy Spears, Dr. Rob McLaughlin - Access 365 and Back in Action, Bob Thornton - O'Donnell Impact Windows & Storm Protection, Rep. John Snyder - Employment Simplified, Inc., Missi Campbell - Executive Director of the Palm City Chamber was the moderator. Each business owner gave their opinions of what needs to be done in the county to make living more affordable to live in the county where their employees live and make wages match so employees can afford to stay in the communities where they live and work.

The Third panel identified the barriers and what the solutions might be to end those issues. On the panel were: Nicki VanVonno - VanVonno Consulting, Susan Kores - Martin County CRA Manager, Stephanie Heidt - Economic Development and Intergovernmental Programs Direct of the Treasure Coast, Christy Yonta - Real Estate Attorney, Mike Meier - City of Stuart Commissioner and Madeleine Greenwood - Housing Solutions Council. All of the panel identified what each struggled with throughout the communities with each of their business.

Commissioner Ed Ciampi was the final speaker for the symposium. He spoke about working to find solutions throughout the county to help with the problems discuss this morning, and doing his part to see and follow up with things he can help get done on the commissions part. This is the first of many that will be schedule in the future.

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Soroptimist of Stuart to Welcome Potential New Members

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Article & Photo by: Jackie Holfelder
Stuart - Soroptimist of Stuart is a nonprofit that believes in promoting friendships, providing community service and applying skills, talents and resources to improve access to education for women and girls - and they also know how to party with a purpose.

If you’ve been wanting to learn more about this organization that’s been a part of Stuart’s heart for more than 50 years, get ready for a Mix & Mingle Tiki Cruise set for Thursday, September 22. Relax on a delightful 90-minute sojourn on the waters around Stuart and stay afterwards for an optional casual dinner.

Plan to arrive at the dock in downtown Stuart at 5:45 p.m. for a 6 p.m. departure on the Stuart Tiki Taxi. Enjoy two drinks and snacks on your cruise, all for just $20 per person (cash only please, the night of the event.)

RSVPs are requested to ensure there’s room for everyone onboard. Respond to Debbie Banta at debbanta01@gmail.com.

For information about Tiki Taxi, visit www.tikitaxiandcruises.com.

Twin Sisters Receive Dental Hygiene Scholarships to IRSC 

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In Photo: Gabrielle Ebert, left, and her twin sister, Danielle, with Mary Pelletier, center, Associate Professor of Health Science.

Article by: Jon Pine - Writer & Editorial Assistant | Marketing Media & Brand IRSC

Fort Pierce - It’s exciting when a family member becomes the first to attend college, but it’s doubly exciting for twins Danielle and Gabrielle Ebert. Not only did they both complete the Dental Assisting program at Indian River State College, they recently were granted scholarships to continue on and complete the Dental Hygiene program at IRSC.

The sisters, of Port St. Luce, each received a $1,000 Dental Hygiene Scholarship from Heartland Dental, a dental industry support organization serving more than 1,600 offices in 38 states. They will use the scholarships to complete the Dental Hygiene Associate in Science program at IRSC, graduating in 2023. The awards will help offset tuition, fees, or book purchases.

“Because of your passion for patient advocacy and your dedication to the work in the hygiene field, you have proven to be students that Heartland Dental wants to recognize and encourage to continue your educational effort,” writes Conner Backus of Heartland Dental Campus Recruiting.

Scholarship recipients are encouraged to participate in the voluntary externship program at Heartland Dental where they shadow other hygienists and team members in a local Heartland Dental office, Backus said.

“We want to thank Heartland Dental for choosing us to be recipients of this scholarship,” Danielle and Gabrielle Ebert said in a joint statement. “Without the help and generosity of those awarding these scholarships, we would not be where we are today.”

“Danielle and Gabrielle demonstrate passion for patient advocacy, clinic excellence, and are dedicated to the dental hygiene field,” shares Dr. Ann Hubbard, IRSC Dean of Health Science. “We are proud of both of them and we are grateful to Heartland Dental and their commitment to supporting our students who are training for rewarding careers in dental healthcare.”
About Indian River State College:
A leader in education and innovation, Indian River State College transforms lives by offering high-quality, affordable and accessible education to the residents of Florida’s Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties through traditional and online delivery. IRSC is recipient of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. The College serves nearly 22,000 students annually and offers more than 100 programs leading to Bachelor’s degrees, Associate degrees, technical certificates and applied technology diplomas. Learn more at www.irsc.edu/.
About Heartland Dental:

From humble beginnings in Illinois to a network of supported offices across 38 states, Heartland Dental has grown out of a commitment to dental excellence to become the nation’s largest Dental Support Organization with more than 1,600 supported offices. Learn more at www.heartland.com/

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Hunger Action Month Record Need Calls for Record Response to Fight Hunger

20 Sept TC Food Bank
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As record inflation has pushed up the cost of food and other basic needs this year, Treasure Coast Food Bank has seen another record – more people seeking help than at any time since the Great Recession.

One in four people on the Treasure Coast are facing food-insecurity as inflation has made it impossible to keep up with rising costs. That is why Treasure Coast Food Bank is encouraging everyone to get involved during Hunger Action Month.

“The need is as great as we’ve seen since the Great Recession,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “When costs for basic needs rise as fast as they have this year, many people have no recourse but to cut back on food. Fortunately, we have a generous community, and we encourage everyone to join us in taking action to fight hunger during Hunger Action Month.”

September is Hunger Action Month when Treasure Coast Food Bank and the Feeding America national network of food banks join forces to mobilize the public to end hunger on the Treasure Coast and across the nation.

There are numerous ways to take part. Download Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Hunger Action Month Calendar with 30 ways in 30 days to take action. Download the kids’ calendar with puzzles and coloring activities to get them involved as well. Sign up for a volunteer shift. Host a food drive in your neighborhood or office. Or take part in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s featured events – Our Laugh Hunger and Our Run Hunger. Find all the details at stophunger.org/HAM.

On Sept. 10, Treasure Coast Food Bank presents its 5th Annual Out Laugh Hunger event, a family friendly comedy show featuring Devin Siebold, Miguel Colon Jr. and Jake Klark. Thanks to the generosity of Indian River State College, it will be held in the Bailey Auditorium on the Fort Pierce campus. General admission tickets are $40, and each includes two drinks. A table for 7 is $250, a discount off the individual ticket price. In addition to two drinks per person, it includes a charcuterie board appetizer for the table.

On Sept. 17, join the hundreds of people expected to gather at the Causeway Cove Marina for the 2nd Annual Out Run Hunger 5K run and walk. The flat course is perfect for participants of all fitness levels. Awards will be given to the top 3 male and female finishers in each age category, and everybody will receive a t-shirt and finisher medal.

On Sept. 21, Sailfish Brewing Company will host Fall Flavors: Food and Beer Pairing to benefit Treasure Coast Bank. Join the breweries, winery, cidery and restaurants of the Treasure Coast for the 4th Annual Food & Beer Pairing – a tasty competition judged by all ticket holding guests.

Throughout the month, businesses, civic organizations, and elected officials will be doing their part as well. Join in by wearing orange, the color for hunger awareness, on Sept. 23, designated Go Orange Day. Make sure to share it online. Wherever there’s the glow of an orange light in a store window, it’s a sign of support for the fight against hunger. Cities and Counties also will be proclaiming September as Hunger Action Month and encouraging everyone to get involved.

Already, area businesses are collecting food donations, a critical need this year. The Treasure Coast’s craft breweries are holding Hops Against Hunger again this year. It’s a friendly competition to see which of them collects the most food donations for Treasure Coast Food Bank. Remember to drop off non-perishable items to drop in the bins.
“Every little bit makes a difference in the fight against hunger and no action is too small,” Cruz said.

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Martin County Property Appraiser Office Cautions New Property Owners About Solicitation Letters

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Stuart – The Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office cautions property owners about solicitation letters periodically mailed to residents. These letters are being targeted to new property owners and encourage them to pay a service fee for a copy of their recorded deed and a Property Profile, which includes property information such as legal description, parcel ID number, assessment, and tax information.

Below is a sample solicitation letter. In this instance, a $89.00 service fee is charged for this information.

IMPORTANT: All this property information can be obtained for FREE from the Martin County Property Appraiser’s website (pa.martin.fl.us) and a copy of your recorded deed can be obtained from the Martin County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller’s website (martinclerk.com). You do not have to pay for these services.

“With such an active real estate market, new property owners may feel this is a necessary expenditure. It is not.” said Martin County Property Appraiser Jenny Fields. “In addition, I caution property owners that these data reports can be inaccurate. It is always best to call, visit or email our Office if you have questions about your property and we will be happy to provide you the information you need.”

For more information about the Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office, please visit their website at www.pa.martin.fl.us, call (772) 288-5608, or email at info@pa.martin.fl.us

Jaycee Park Playground to Close 

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The City of Fort Pierce Public Works Department will be closing the playground at Jaycee Park until further notice, to remove the old equipment and prepare for the Community Rebuild Initiative.

***Please note, this DOES NOT include the entire park; only the playground area.***

The Community Rebuild of Jaycee Park is headed by the Fort Pierce Sunrise Kiwanis and is currently looking for volunteers to join the rebuilding of the new playground. Whether you are skilled with a circular saw, or a true novice, you can help make a lasting impression on this project.

Please consider signing up to help get this project off to a great start! Many hands make light work, so grab a friend or two and help rebuild a playground that will be enjoyed by children in the community for years to come.

For more information or to sign up please visit the city’s website at: https://cityoffortpierce.com/188/Public-Works

Former Foster Youth Ensures Kids Return to School with Supplies

22 Aug Connected Kids

In Photo: Tonia Fede donates bags of supplies for 25 children in foster care

Vero Beach - As a young person who spent much of her childhood in foster care, Antonia Fede received federal funding that would help her make a successful transition into independence while also navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

She budgeted carefully and used what she needed. And with the rest, she purchased school supplies for children in foster care so that they, too, find success.

Antonia Fede, who goes by Tonia, bought 25 backpacks, stuffed them with supplies and donated them to Communities Connected for Kids, the nonprofit that oversees the very child-welfare system that provided her foster-care services and helped place her in an adoptive home.

The former resident of both St. Lucie and Indian River counties earned an associate’s degree from Indian River State College and is now attending Florida A&M University for advanced degrees in social work.

Eventually, she wants to attend law school and become a civil rights lawyer.
“I have been in and out of care growing up throughout my life. I have always had a passion for helping those around the world, standing up for what’s right, and, most importantly, those in need. I feel as though elders and children are the most mistreated in society.”
Tonia said she wanted to give back to the community that helped her when she was in foster care. She says she is especially grateful to a former case manager and her adoptive mother, who she credits for guidance and keeping her motivated through college.
“Words are not even enough to express how much I’m thankful,” she said.

Tonia’s donation of backpacks brought CCKids’ total collection to nearly 300 bags – enough to send every child in out-of-home care to school with new supplies, or about 40 percent of all children in the child-welfare community of care in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie County.

The United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee County also contributed supplies as part of its Back to School Bash initiative.

Kelley Decowski Joins EFMC Board

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In Photo: Kelley Decowski

Article by: Jackie Holfelder / Photo provided by Education Foundation of Martin County

Kelley Decowski, an award-winning realtor at RE/MAX of Stuart, has joined the board of directors of the Education Foundation of Martin County (EFMC).

Lisa Rhodes, Executive Director of the nonprofit shared news that the Palm City resident has become part of the team that enriches and enhances educational opportunities for all students and teachers in the Martin County School District, through effective fundraising efforts, positive collaborative partnerships, innovative programming, and efficient allocation of resources.

Decowski is a product of the Martin County School District, graduating from Martin County High School in 1993. She went on to earn a B.A. in Communicative Disorders and an M.A. in English Education from University of Central Florida.

After working in real estate from 1997-2004, Decowksi taught in public schools in Orange and Martin counties from 2004-2014, before re-entering the world of real estate as a full-time agent in 2014.

As Team Leader at The Kelley Decowski Team at RE/MAX of Stuart, she’s also known for philanthropic endeavors, which have always included education. She says she joined the EFMC board “in order to work with other like-minded individuals who want nothing more than to see our schools succeed.”

Decowski is a former board member of Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast, past president of Hibiscus Children's Center Guild, supporter of Martin County High School and Gertrude Walden Child Care Center. She’s also a member of Cleveland Clinic/Martin Health System’s Mum Ball committee.

Her two children, Tyler and Sarah, are learning to follow in the footsteps of their community-minded mom who says, “I think it's really important for kids to learn about social responsibility from an early age. There are all sorts of ways we can help other people and it's not always monetary. Sometimes the best gift we can give is our time.”

In her spare time, Decowski loves to run and is an avid reader.
She’s looking forward to working with the EFMC Board of Directors under the direction of EFMC’s new executive committee, Kate Cotner, president; Patrick McNealy, first vice president; Karina Talalay, second vice president; Michael Moehring, treasurer; Tyson Waters, secretary and Arati Hammond, immediate past-president, to ensure that the not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), community investment organization comprised of business leaders, community volunteers, and school officials has its most successful year ever.

To learn more about the Education Foundation of Martin County, visit www.educationfoundationmc.org.

2nd Annual Lincoln Park Business Expo

22 Aug Lincoln Park

Fort Pierce - The City of Fort Pierce will host the 2nd Annual Lincoln Park Business Expo on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, from 11 am - 6 pm at the Percy S. Peek gymnasium and Indian River State College’s Blackburn Education Center, located at 2902 Avenue D, Fort Pierce, FL 34947. The Expo is FREE and open to everyone.

The Expo’s inaugural agenda is packed with presentations and educational workshops focusing on all things business. Workshop topics include ‘City of Fort Pierce Tips and Tricks: Permits, Zoning, and Business Tax Licenses;’ ‘Marketing Your Small Business;’ ‘Financial Management for Small Businesses;’ ‘Maximizing Marketing and Public Relations;’ Team Building’; ‘Non-Profit / Government Contracting’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Mindset.’ Expo attendees will receive gift bags and raffle tickets for prizes that will be given throughout the event.

The Expo will also have Small Business Grant Applications.
Eligible Applicants Small businesses (with 5 or fewer employees – including part-time) located in target areas within City limits to the citizens of Fort Pierce. Applicants can only apply for ONE grant per funding cycle.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
• Small Business Technical Assistance – representatives from small businesses must attend technical assistance from IRSC SBDC to qualify. This grant can be utilized for marketing and advertising.
• Startup Technical Assistance - representatives from the startup businesses must attend technical assistance from IRSC SBDC to qualify.

A ‘Community Pop-Up Shop’ for small local businesses to showcase their products and services will be open to the public from 4 pm-6 pm at the gymnasium, located adjacent to the Blackburn Education Center.

The Expo is FREE and open to everyone; however, registration is recommended.
Small businesses wishing to reserve FREE space to showcase their business in the Pop-Up Shop from 4 pm-6 pm must pre-register. To request registration information, please contact Teresa Miller at grantsadministration@cityoffortpierce.com or by calling 772-742-9831.

Contact: Joe Sweat, Communications Specialist
772.467.3031 | jsweat@cityoffortpierce.com

Martin County High School Student Sophie Araque-Liu Wins National Google Doodle Contest

22 Aug GOOGLE

Martin County - On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, Martin County High School Junior Sophie Araque-Liu was announced winner of the 2022 Doodle for Google National Competition.

Google has awarded Sophie a $30,000 college scholarship and Martin County High School will receive a $50,000 technology award.

Google made the announcement Tuesday - https://doodles.google.com/d4g/. Sophie was named the Florida state winner in May.

Doodle for Google is an annual contest that encourages students in grades K-12 to submit their own versions of the Google logo. Doodle for Google is an annual contest where K-12 students create their own versions of the Google logo. A nominee is selected from each state and U.S. territory, and from those 54 nominees, one student's artwork is featured on the website's homepage for a day.

The theme for this year's 14th annual Doodle for Google competition was "I care for myself by...". Sophie completed that phrase by writing "I care for myself by accepting others care for me."

In her submission packet she wrote "often I struggle to shoulder a burden on my own and forget that I have so many people, like my mom, who care about me and want to help. Opening up and letting others support me not only relieves my stress, it lets me tackle things I could never do on my own."

Sophie's winning "doodle" is titled "not alone". She has explained that her image is a representation of herself hugging her mother. It is now featured on Google's search page.
Araque-Liu was also granted a $30,000 college scholarship and $50,000 tech package for establishing or improving a computer lab or technology program at Martin County High School,located in Stuart.

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Guardians for New Futures, Treasure Coast Child Summit 2022

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In Photo: Sheriff's Panel at the 2021 Child Summit.  Moderator Jon Shainman, Garry Wilson, Sheldon Burkett, Kyle King, Ysenia Carde, and Noel Stephens.  

Article and Photos by MaryAnn Ketcham

Treasure Coast - Excitement is building for the 2022 Treasure Coast Child Summit as it returns to its original venue, the Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex, Frank & LeVan Fee Bldg. located at 4600 Kirby Loop Road in Fort Pierce, on Sept. 21st from 8:30 am- 4:15 pm, and 22nd from 8:30 am-4 pm.
Attendees will experience two days of informative presentations and in-depth looks at issues facing maltreated and underfunded youth and leave with a better understanding of how to approach and improve their outcomes.

"GFNF4Kids' mission is to support the unfunded needs of maltreated children while increasing community awareness and education to further protect children, "said CEO Caroline Vinyard. We continue to make a significant impact in helping children, even more so now with the advent of the Children's Advocacy Center. This year's Child Summit will showcase our partnerships with child welfare professionals and advocates across our circuit. We are committed to bringing innovative and experiential solutions to our system of care, and together we can make a difference."
Day 1 will focus on Child Advocates in Action. Topics include: Interviewing Perpetrators in Child Sexual Abuse Cases; Special considerations when working with Victims with Disabilities; The Difference Between CPT (Child Protective Teams) and CAC (Child Advocacy Center) models; and, Circuit 19 CAC Model Originators- Roles with a Children's Advocacy Center.
Day 1 also includes a Keynote Speech from Betsy Goulet, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Springfield. Goulet is the originator of the CAC model and has worked in child protection for over 30 years. She also served as the Children's Policy Advisor to the Illinois Attorney General.
Topics for Day 2 of the Summit provide a focus on Better Understanding the Needs of Our Children. They include: Adverse Childhood Experiences: How to provide trauma-informed care and promote resilience; Impact of Parental Conflict & Divorce on Children; What's wrong with Joey: A Sociodrama about Child Sexual Assault and Interventions; and, Understanding Grief and Loss in Children.
Day 2 also includes a Sheriff's Panel discussion on current issues impacting youth moderated by Chief Garry Wilson (retired), St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.
While Psychologists, School Psychologists, Nurses, LCSWs, LMFTs, and LMHCs can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), the event is open to anyone interested in learning about the different topics from various experts in their respective fields.

Sponsorship opportunities are available! For additional information and to register for this free event, www.gfnf4kids.org/events or email info@GFNF4Kids.org

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In Photo: Chief Garry Wilson (Retired), St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office

Library Encourages Community to Explore Local Attractions

19 Aug MC Library Small Final

Stuart – Celebrate National Library Card Sign-up Month in September (restrictions apply) with free admission into local attractions by simply showing your Martin County library card! Local attractions include the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast, Florida Oceanographic Society, and the Elliott Museum. Please contact attraction or museum prior to visiting. Passes are provided year-round by The Friends of the Martin County Library System. Search www.library.martin.fl.us using the keyword “passes” or call 772-288-5702 (extension 5) for complete details.

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to coincide with the start of the school year. Throughout the month, the American Library Association and libraries unite together in a national effort to encourage every child to register for a library card in order to ensure they have access to the numerous resources available. Award-winning entertainer and philanthropist Idina Menzel (Frozen, Wicked) and her sister, author and educator Cara Mentzel, will serve as honorary chairs of this year’s endeavor. Idina and Cara are excited to remind everyone that one of the best places to find your voice is at the library. During Library Card Sign-Up Month, they want us to explore all the library has to offer, including new children’s books, access to technology, and educational programming.

For additional information on this and other library services, visit www.library.martin.fl.us or call 772-288-5702.

The Bonneville Foundation, Helmets and Heels

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In Photo: Michael Bonneville and Jill Todd

Article & Photos by: MaryAnn Ketcham

Port St Lucie - The Inaugural Helmets and Heels fundraising event benefitting The Bonneville Scholarship Foundation kicked off at Los Cocos Bar & Restaurant in Port St. Lucie recently. Donning high-heels, a spirited team of local women strutted in, ready to learn football terminology, player positions, and score-keeping from former Arena and Indoor League player Michael Bonneville.  

 

Together with Port St. Lucie resident and uber-volunteer Jill Todd, Bonneville owns the Bonneville Football Academy, a College Prep Program designed to further develop vital athletic and academic skills in a one-semester, post-graduate setting between high school and college. Foundation funds assist underprivileged youth in the community.  

 

Sponsored by Jennifer Fleschner, Realtor, South Florida Dance Company, Scott's Heating and Air, LLC, Los Cocos, an array of raffle item donors, and several on-site vendors, the event culminated with a Call to the Heart appeal by community advocate Nikki Leserra.

 

Todd excitedly said, "We raised over $2300 to help deserving young men achieve their college goals through football!" 

 

"Jill did an amazing job putting this event together on short notice," said Bonneville. I'm very grateful for ALL the extraordinary ladies that come out to support our cause and help our young student-athletes."

 

With a newfound grasp of the game, thanks to the crash course in Football 101, the ladies plan to attend the Bonneville Football Academy Emporers vs. Prestige Worldwide Sports Academy game on Saturday, Oct. 22, at South County Stadium (across from Clover Park) in Port St. Lucie at 5 pm. But don't expect them to show up in heels!

 

For ticket information, please

visit: bonnevillefootballacademy.com

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In Photo: Loretta Gibbons, Erin Lowry, Bonnie Spector, Sandee Dougmore, Jacqueline Mikels, Jill Todd, Jennifer Fleschner and Nikki Leserra

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In Photo: Nancy Santiago, Michael Bonneville, Janna Vargas

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In Photo: Lisa Finn, Michelle Leckenbusch, Jill Todd and Barbara Ortiz

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In Photo: Evans and Reneie Latortue, Michael Bonneville and Eddy Latortue

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In Photo: Christine McIntosh, Lisa Iannelli and Beverly Beauchamp

Helping People Succeed’s White Shirt Night Event Honors Veterans

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In Photo: Beth and Ward Williams

Article by: Jackie Holfelder / Photos by: Cara Rose DeMichael
Summer in Martin County brings one of our favorite events: White Shirt Night, the colorful and joyful fundraiser that benefits Helping People Succeed.

For over 10 years, Taste Casual Dining in Hobe Sound has welcomed some of the Treasure Coast’s premier artists to an evening in which they paint original expressions of their own unique art on white shirts, aprons, tote bags and caps.

This year, those award-winning artists – who donated the gift of their time and talent – were Susan Clifford, Laura DeBerard, Sharon Ferina, Barbara Lyons, Don MacIntosh, Dan Mackin, Pamela Patterson, Diane Raymond, Sue Ann Mosley Saleeby, Marian Vitale and Theresa Krueger Woleslagle.

Premier Event Sponsors were Celebrities Fore Kids, Inc. sponsored by Marlene K. Filer and a contribution honoring the memory of Sue Herskowitz; VIP Reception sponsors included Seacoast Bank, CarMax, Mary Kay Buckridge, EW Consultants and Karine Rich – honoring the memory of loved ones; Artist “Painting” sponsors were Marcia Benson – Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway, Donna E. DeMarchi, Esq. of The Eberst Law Firm, Jenkins Landscape Company and Kim Boosinger and The It’s for the Kids Sponsor was NisAir Air Conditioning.

Beautiful silent auction baskets were decorated by Vicki Davis, Martin County Supervisor of Elections, with one more breathtaking than the next. There was something for every taste.
During the evening, military veterans – who received a 50-percent discount off the entry fee – wore special medals given to them by Helping People Succeed in recognition of their service.
All proceeds from White Shirt Night benefit Helping People Succeed’s Camp Success, a free therapeutic summer camp led by master’s level therapists for children six-12 years of age. The camp is available to families who fall below the federal poverty line. Each year, kids embrace this eight-week camp as an incredible cultural and educational experience – one that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Helping People Succeed is a local nonprofit that has been serving the Treasure Coast for over 58 years. Through its diversified, effective program services, the most vulnerable local children, families and adults have been able to improve their lives through education, counseling, training and employment.
To learn more, visit www.hpsfl.org.

Conchita and Jose Vallecillo a

In Photo: Conchita and Jose Valecillo

Honoring Our Veterans a

In Photo: Veterans were honored with special medals

Ken Fajardo, Melanie Douglas, Cheri and Pat Vancura a

In Photo: Ken Fajardo, Melanie Douglas, Cheri and Pat Vancura.

Marcia Benson, Lori and Ben Posdal, Lou Benson a

In Photo: Marcia Benson, Lori & Ben Posdal and Lou Benson

Mary Frasier and Deb Harsh a

In Photo: Mary Frasier and Deb Harsh

Maureen DeThorne, Kathy Lowery, Jenny Yingling, Amanda Yingling a

In Photo: Maureen DeThorne, Kathy Lowery, Jenny Yingling and Amanda Yingling

Auction Takes a Bite Out of Summer Hunger

2022 Summer Hunger Auction Winner a

Treasure Coast - Bidders participating in the Summer Hunger Online Auction helped Treasure Coast Food Bank raise more than $16,000, enough to provide 131,576 meals for kids in need this summer.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who took part in our Summer Hunger Online Auction,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “Summer is always a time of difficulty for families who struggle to make ends meet, and this year with rising costs, it’s especially important to have extra support for our programs that help the community’s most vulnerable.

The auction, which wrapped in June, featured more than 100 items, including theme park passes, entertainment tickets, restaurant gift cards, and several pieces of artwork.

“Thank you to all the businesses and individuals who donated items to our auction, and thanks to everyone who placed a bid,” Cruz said. “It was more than just a bid for a gift. It was a bid to beat hunger.”

Auction donors were 2nd Street Bistro, 11 Maple Street, 12A Buoy, A.E. Backus Gallery & Museum, Beachside Dog Spa, Bonefish Mac’s Sports Grille, Ann Brown, Brevard Zoo, Chuck’s Seafood, Citron Bistro, Coastal Comforts, Conchy Joe’s, Condon Jewelers, Suzanne Cook, Dinosaur World, Dolphin Bar, Drift Away Massage & Spa, East Coast Lumber & Supply, Environmental Learning Center, the Evgeniou Family, Marie Ferraro, Fellsmere Police Department, Garden of Esther, Historical Society of Martin County, Hurricane Grill and Wings Palm City, Islamorada Beer Company, Just Breathe Aerials, Kyle G’s Prime Seafood, Sara Lucas, Mash Monkeys Brewing Company, McKee Botanical Gardens, and Meating Street.

Additional donors were Moon Golf, Mulligan’s Beach House, Neurostrive Hydration & Med Spa, Ocean Grill, Pareidolia Brewing Company, PGA Golf Club, Rapids Water Park, Greg and Maureen Pringle, Reel Art by Pat Sievers, Riverside Theatre, St. Lucie County Fire District, St. Lucie County Jewelry & Coins, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Salt Vero, Salty’s Watersports, Sandridge Golf Club, Sebastian Golf Club, Ed Skvarch, Southern Eagle Distributing, Southern Social, Stringers Tavern and Oyster Bar, Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery, Sunshine Furniture, Dana Trabulsy, Vero Fitness, Yard Doc, YIP Fitness, Zoo Miami, and Zoo Tampa.

Treasure Coast Food Bank’s online auctions are a popular way for people to support those in the community in need of food. The next auction is slated for the 2022 holiday season. Follow Treasure Coast Food Bank on social media for more information.

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2022 Summer Hunger Auction Winner_Robert Lord a
Screenshot 2022-08-03 a

Florida Irrigation Society Presents Water Conservation Award to Martin County

22 Aug Fl Irrigation society Logo

Stuart – Today, the Florida Irrigation Society recognized the Martin County Board of County Commissioners with their prestigious Water Conservation Award in support of the county’s new landscape watering ordinance. Accepting the award at the Florida Irrigation Society’s 2022 Florida Water Summit, Martin County Commissioner Harold Jenkins shared, “We designed the ordinance to ensure the efficient use of landscape irrigation; to conserve and protect water resources and ecosystems for future generations.”

The county’s year-round ordinance aligns closely with the South Florida Water Management District's (SFWMD) mandatory year-round Landscape Irrigation Conservation measures and applies to landscape irrigation within the unincorporated portion of Martin County. The ordinance permits landscape watering for existing landscaping within specific parameters, allows for some exceptions and incorporates a process to apply for a variance.

The not-for-profit Florida Irrigation Society (FIS) promotes sound irrigation practices through awareness and education. With 9 chapters throughout the state, FIS’s membership ranges from irrigation professionals to municipalities, distributors, manufacturers and students. FIS provides members with extensive education opportunities, updates on regulatory and legislative matters and a quarterly electronic magazine (the PIPELINE.)

FIS president, Matthew Shreves, in announcing the award stated, “It was a unanimous decision of the Board to select Martin County for its precedent-setting water conservation ordinance. The County Commission worked in collaboration with FIS members and SFWMD to develop a workable variance for contractors, district and county agencies, and the public that will best serve the community. Our expectation is that other counties will follow Martin County’s lead when developing their own ordinances.”

Detailed information about the ordinance can be found at www.martin.fl.us/waterwisely. To learn more about Martin County – projects, upcoming meetings, services and news, visit www.martin.fl.us and connect with us on social media by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Martin County Media Contact:
Martha Ann Kneiss | Office of Communications Office: 772-463-2810 | Mobile: 772-214-2790 | mkneiss@martin.fl.us

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Project LIFT Awarded $5M to Expand Programming through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Building America (ABA) Grant

Project Lift Carpentry a

Palm City - Project LIFT has been awarded $5,000,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Apprenticeship Building America grant to fund the Community I.M.P.A.C.T.S. (Innovative Model for Pre-apprentices & Apprentices in Construction, Transportation, & Solar) project. The goal of this project is to increase the skilled workforce for construction-related trades in southeast Florida by expanding pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship offerings at existing and new Project LIFT locations, in partnership with Associated Builders and Contractors Florida East Coast Chapter (ABC-FEC).

On July 7, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it awarded $121.7 million in Apprenticeship Building America (ABA) grants to “strengthen and modernize Registered Apprenticeship programs and enable workers to find a reliable pathway to the middle class.” Project LIFT was one of only 30 applicants selected nationwide, and the only Florida applicant selected.

Four categories of grants were offered with different funding caps for each category, ranging from $1M to $8M. All applicants were required to “incorporate cross-cutting principles to ensure access to quality Registered Apprenticeship Programs, including equity, job quality, sustainability, evidence-based approaches and new opportunities for innovation, engagement, and ease of access.”

Project LIFT requested and received the maximum funding amount of $5M for a 4-year project. ABC-FEC, through its education and training arm ABC Institute and Apprenticeship College, will serve as the Registered Apprenticeship Program provider for the Community I.M.P.A.C.T.S. program. In addition to skilled construction workforce training, ABC Institute and Apprenticeship College will also offer Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training to Project LIFT participants.

“Thirteen years ago, Project LIFT set out to change a system and disrupt the way that traditional mental health programming was delivered to at-risk teens”, said Bob Zaccheo, Project LIFT founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Since then, we’ve worked with almost 5,000 teens and young adults and more than 100 industry partners to incorporate mental health supports in the workplace, provide paid training and employment opportunities to fill the trades gap, and destigmatize mental health through industry. This grant focuses on expansion and complements the philanthropic support that Project LIFT has received from funders and donors who have helped us build a replicable, national model of workforce development that will continue to move us forward.”

The four goals of Project LIFT’s Community I.M.P.A.C.T.S. program are:
1) Increase the number of participants in Solar Installation, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)Training, and Construction Related Trades pre-apprenticeship programs at Project LIFT locations over the next 4 years.
2) Increase enrollment in Construction-Related Trades Registered Apprenticeship Programs.
3) Increase awareness, exposure, and relationships with pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs among organizations serving youth.
4) Secure and deepen partnerships with workforce development entities, industry associations, and employers to increase their investment in and use of pre-apprenticeships and RAPs.

“Associated Builders and Contractors Florida East Coast Chapter is excited to work alongside Project LIFT to educate and train skilled construction workers, which are essential to our economy,” said Peter Dyga, President and CEO of ABC-FEC.

Welding a

Martin County Receives $2 Million for Water Quality Project Senator Gayle Harrell Championed Funding Request

21 Sept MC Logo

Stuart – With strong support from Senator Gayle Harrell, Martin County was recently awarded an appropriations earmark through the Fiscal Year 2022/23 budget in the amount of $2 million to eliminate 22 commercial septic systems and service county landfill operations. “The reduction and elimination of septic systems is one tangible way we can proactively improve the health of our environment,” said Don Donaldson, Martin County Administrator. “And the funding approved by Governor DeSantis and the legislature shows their commitment to enhancing water quality in the St. Lucie River and Estuary and complements the county’s existing Connect to Protect program to convert 10,000 septic systems in 10 years,” he continued.

By eliminating these commercial septic systems and drain fields, the project will enhance water quality in the St. Lucie River and Estuary by helping achieve the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) goals for nutrient criteria. The reduction of nutrients will also contribute toward the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) goals as well as complement the state's Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program. Additionally, the county will be able to convert an increased amount of water to reuse-quality water for irrigation.

“Working with Martin County and the Martin County Delegation, I was pleased to sponsor this important budget item. It will have a significant impact on enhancing water quality in the St. Lucie River and Estuary. Our rivers and estuaries are truly the treasures of the Treasure Coast,” Senator Gayle Harrell said.

The Martin County Board of County Commissioners, Leadership team and staff work to advance the legislative priorities of the county at the state and federal levels while building diverse partnerships across state and federal agencies, regional local government entities and community stakeholders, as well as our Martin County legislative delegation. “Working alongside Senator Harrell as she supported this request further strengthened relationships with agencies that are working toward enhanced protections for Florida’s precious resources,” added Legislative Coordinator James Kennedy.

Residents are encouraged to visit www.martin.fl.us, Martin County’s online resource for services, news and information. Residents and visitors can connect with us on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Media Contact:Martha Ann Kneiss | Office of Communications / Office: 772-463-2810 | Mobile: 772-214-2790 | mkneiss@martin.fl.us

CarMax Foundation Provides Sensory Kits to Helping People Succeed

22 July Car Max Foundation

Article by: Jackie Holfelder / Photos provided by CarMax

Some unexpected love came to Helping People Succeed, thanks to employees of the CarMax located in Jensen Beach.

They recently assembled 25 sensory kits for the nonprofit, something that was greatly needed, according to Glenna Parris, Gift Planning Officer.

A sensory kit is a collection of items that may help calm overstimulating situations. They can aid in the development of language, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem

solving skills, and social interaction.

Additionally, they can aid the child's development in physical skills that require many different muscles to work together at once, such as shaping, splashing, scooping, or molding.

Since every child has different needs, there are many different types of sensory kits unique ones can be assembled.

One thing is certain though: the youngsters served by Helping People Succeed are the perfect recipients of sensory kits.

The CarMax Foundation promotes the causes their associates care about to impact the communities where they live and work through their Volunteer Team-Builder program. When five or more associates volunteer together with a qualifying nonprofit, the organization may also be eligible to receive a donation from The CarMax Foundation.

Helping People Succeed also received a $1,000 grant from the Foundation.

To learn more about programs and services it offers, visit www.hpsfl.org.

In Photo: Agueda Mejia, Carolyn Moses, Jessica Alkire, Stacy Cook, Reshna Lee, Mercedes Perez and Janet Cooper

In Photo: CarMax staff members work on Sensory Kits

In Photo: Noah Belliard

In Photo: Racer Lynch

Water Safety for Summer

Mar Communities connect
22 June Summer Photo CCKids

Article by: Lisa McBride, RN, BSN CCKids Nurse Care Coordinator

It's that time of year again; time to jump ocean waves, swim in a pool - and talk water safety! So let's get straight to the point. Please follow these rules to keep yourself and your children safe near water this summer:

1) Learn to swim. This one step can reduce by 88 percent the risk of drowning for children, ages 1-4. Check with your local YMCA, American Red Cross and other vendors for lesson times and cost.

For all you foster families, the Sunshine Health Child Welfare Specialty Plan offers a care grant for members through age 21, and provides $150 per child per calendar year for services or supplies for social use or physical activities.

In other words, this could pay for swimming lessons! Check with your dependency case manager, or if you are receiving post-adoption services, call Sunshine Health Member Services at 1-855-463-4100.

2) Always swim with a buddy.

3) Continuously watch kids in the water. A child can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text.

4) Create barriers/fences around your home pool with secure locks and audible alarms.

5) Swim at a guarded beach, and listen to the lifeguard’s instruction.

6) Face the ocean so you don’t get caught off guard by a rogue wave.

7) Know the weather forecast for the day, and stay out of water when thunder or lightning is in the area.

8) Wear sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.

9) If trapped in a rip current, swim parallel to shore until you get out of the current. Then swim to shore.

10) Do not dive or jump from cliffs or bridges. There could be many unknown hazards, such as submerged rocks or shallow water.

11) Wear life jackets approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while boating and/or near open water, no matter how good a swimmer you are.

12) If you fall into fast moving water, such as a river, do not try to stand up. Standing could result in your leg being pulled under and trapped beneath rocks or boulders. Instead, lie on your back with your feet pointing downstream and toes pointed up to fend off rocks and other hazards until you can get to shore.

13) Lastly, follow this advice from from the American Red Cross: Reach or Throw, Don’t Go! If you see someone struggling in the water, do not try to swim out to rescue them. Alert the lifeguard, and throw out a life ring or rope.

From our team to your family, may you have a fun and safe summer!

20 Aug Shears of Joy Business Card a
22 Sept Women Club Of Stuart a

Photos by Sevin Bullwinkle

Local Big Brothers Big Sisters match from Indian River County, Nancy and Olivia, have been awarded the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Florida’s (BBBSAF) highest honor: Match of the Year.
The Association represents all eleven BBBS agencies across Florida and each year is tasked with choosing two exceptional pairs from the thousands of professionally managed mentoring teams across the state. The mentor, “Big,” and mentee, “Little” spend an hour a week focused on social, emotional and behavioral support that is rooted in individual needs and interests. The Big works alongside the Little’s family and Match Support Specialist to create safe learning environments and fun local experiences.

Olivia lives with her Grandmother and Grandfather and was facing issues in being comfortable with learning and stability. Her aversion to learning to read caused much worry for her grandparents. Because her Grandma had previous experience with a family member benefitting from the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters, she knew this was the place to seek help. “Olivia told me her Big always listens to her and helps her to figure out how she can do things differently to achieve the best result. I have seen more confidence with not only her reading and math but her attitude as well,” said her Grandma Deb.

Nancy and Olivia were matched four years ago and even during quarantine were able to connect through Zoom with books and materials provided to both the Big and Little to accomplish “together but apart,” activities said Match Support Specialist Kari Tankersly. “I have been blessed to see the BBBS model in live action form over the years of working with Olivia and Nancy. Their commitment to one another is admirable and something to be desired. I am truly honored they allow me to know them and be part of their lives. It has been an amazing journey and I am so excited to see where these two will go.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters has served the Treasure Coast since 1984 and the joy of seeing such successful mentorship is felt by everyone who comes in contact with this mentoring model. CEO Stacey Watson-Mesley said, “Mentoring is absolutely the most powerful way responsible adults can give back to our communities and children. It is a small investment of the gift of time, consistency and lived experience, which are three of the greatest ways to support young people as they grow.”
Olivia, now nine, who was matched with Nancy when she was five, agrees. When asked what makes her Big Sister Nancy special, Olivia said, “She always makes me feel loved. She is always there for me and makes me feel comfortable. She always wants to know how I am and my opinion during our conversations. She helps me with my school work when I am having problems or if I have a bad day she helps me figure out what I can do differently next time.” Olivia is excelling at school and recently was named a 2022 Young Scientist and had her artwork as one of only 50 student pieces displayed at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

“Congratulations to our Florida Big Sister and Little Sister of the Year, Nancy and Olivia, as well as the Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties Agency. This match, which is in its fourth year, exemplifies our vision of meaningful one-to-one mentoring relationships that help youth reach their full potential,” said BBBSAF State CEO Dan Prinzing.
If you are interested in volunteering to become a Big Brother or Big Sister, or have a child that could benefit from mentoring, please call 772-466-8535 or visit the BBBS website at www.bbbsbigs.org.

Christine Georges Recognized for Services

11 June Georges

During the May Children’s Services Council board meeting, Christine Georges, the Council’s Administrative Services Manager was recognized for 5 years of service and for achieving her Human Resource Manager Certification from the Society for Human Resource Management. Christine is responsible for facility management, human resources management, records management, and Council Board Administration. Christine was described by David Heaton, Executive Director of the Children’s Services Council as a valuable and committed team member who is dedicated to the organization’s success. He said that Christine makes certain the Council’s meetings, facilities, board members, and staff provide the best possible service to our community. According to Mr. Heaton, Christine’s daily effort on behalf of these responsibilities often goes unnoticed but is essential to the Council's mission and community service. Happy Anniversary Christine!

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William and Estelle Turney Commit $1,000,000 to GraceWay Village

Graceway Village Logo

Fort Pierce - GraceWay Village’s Board of Directors is excited to announce and celebrate the generous gift of $1 million from William and Estelle Turney of Port St. Lucie! The Turneys have pledged to match up to $1 million in donations to the Family Restorative Living Facility Capital Campaign which has just been launched. “A gift of this magnitude highlights the confidence that the Turneys and others have in the ongoing work of GraceWay Village, as well as the bold plans for the future,” said Cathie Mouring, CEO of GraceWay Village. “In just a few short months, we’ve been fortunate to purchase the property necessary to expand our services and launch the Capital Campaign with no current debt! We are so grateful for the Turneys and are confident that this will be the first of many gifts from the Treasure Coast Community.”

The Family Restorative Living Facility will provide homeless families a path forward towards healthy self-sufficiency, instilling hope for their future. Along with housing, professional guidance will assist in developing and strengthening the skills necessary for financial independence and healthy family relationships. Their success will positively impact those around them, increasing the benefits received from this much-needed residential program.

Children depend on a healthy childhood in order to become adults capable of caring for themselves and their families. This facility will be a positive springboard towards that end.

Founded in 2009, a powerful vision was cast by the original board of directors. Their vision was to give Treasure Coast community leaders and citizens an opportunity to address the needs of those marginalized by poverty and homelessness, those Jesus referred to as the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40). God has led this process step-by-step; with your faithfulness and support, this vision will be realized in a way that will improve the lives of every person in the Treasure Coast area and beyond.

For more information on how to become involved with GraceWay Village and the Family Restorative Living Facility, contact:Chief Executive Officer Cathie Mouring at 772-529-7860 or Director of Development Tracy Ebarb at 325-320-1377

GraceWay Village is located at: 1780 Hartman Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34947

www.gracewayvillage.net /info@gracewayvillage.co

Older Americans Month More Seniors Turning to Treasure Coast Food Bank for Help

20 Sept TC Food Bank

May is Older Americans Month, a time each year to honor the nation’s seniors and the contributions they’ve made to the country. But this year, with inflation keeping food costs high, many of the nation’s seniors are finding it especially hard to make ends meet and more seniors living on the Treasure Coast are turning to Treasure Coast Food Bank for assistance.

Each month, Treasure Coast Food Bank provides thousands of food boxes to low-income seniors to help them supplement their monthly groceries. Treasure Coast Food Bank also has been helping more seniors apply for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“This year has been especially difficult for seniors,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “Many of our seniors whose limited budgets might have afforded them a comfortable life in the past are finding themselves squeezed by the high cost of food. We’re seeing many seniors seek help for the first time in their lives.”

Between 2020 and 2021, Treasure Coast Food Bank saw a 53 percent increase in the number of seniors served at its Your Plate Health & Wellness Center in Fort Pierce. In the past months, seniors list the rising cost of food as their main reason for applying for SNAP benefits.

A recent USDA Food Price Outlook for 2022 released on March 31 predicted that the cost of food is expected to increase between 4.5 and 5.5 percent overall this year. In some food categories, the anticipated increases are higher - 16 percent for beef and veal, 12.5 percent for poultry, 5 percent for dairy, 10 percent for fresh fruits and 4 percent for fresh vegetables.

According to an annual report on food insecurity among seniors 60 and older, the rate of food insecurity persisted at higher rates than prior to the Great Recession in 2020, the most recent data available. The annual State of Senior Hunger report was released by Feeding America earlier this month. Among older Americans ages 50-59 the food insecurity rate in 2020 grew to 10 percent nationwide. It’s a 35 percent increase since 2001.

“Many older Americans who were working before the pandemic, especially those who worked front-line jobs, never were able to return to the workforce because their health makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19,” Cruz said. “Now they’re dealing with very limited resources and rising costs of food and other essentials.”

Treasure Coast Food Bank works with senior resource organizations and housing developments to provide mobile distributions and food boxes on a monthly basis. The Market Fresh on the Move mobile grocery store also targets low-income senior communities to provide another outlet for them to obtain food.

To support Treasure Coast Food Bank’s programs for seniors, make a donation at www.stophunger.org.

Former Boys & Girls Club COO is New Board Chair for CCKids

22 May Melanie Wiles

In Photo: Melanie Wiles

St. Lucie West - Communities Connected for Kids congratulates Melanie Wiles for her new position as chair of the nonprofit organization’s Board of Directors.

Wiles, the director of parish development at St. Anastasia Catholic Church and former chief operating officer of the St. Lucie County Boys and Girls Club, is taking the place of Kathryn Hensley.

Hensley served as chair for five years and is stepping down from that post to focus on other projects. She will remain on the Board.

During her time as chair, she oversaw CCKids’ growth as the organization transitioned to a new name, became financially viable, instituted new program to reduce the number of children.

Wiles, who served as Hensley’s vice chair, said she looks forward to serving with a team that will provide families with the support services they need.

“I am honored to serve as the chair of CCKids’ Board and have enjoyed the last few years working with our Board of caring adults and dedicated staff to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children in our area,” Wiles said.

Wiles also has served on the Treasure Coast Opioids Taskforce Education Committee and the Economic Development Council. She has been involved with youth development for more than 10 years and has an extensive background in marketing and resource development.

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City of Fort Pierce Announces Impact Fee Moratorium for New Residential and Commercial Construction in Redevelopment Area

21 Sept City of Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce - Considering building a new home or business in the urban core of Fort Pierce? Take advantage of this economic incentive! Fort Pierce impact fees are currently suspended for new construction in the redevelopment area until September 7, 2022.

The City of Fort Pierce is pleased to announce an incentive that will reduce development costs for new residential or commercial construction in the redevelopment area. On March 7, 2022, the Fort Pierce City Commission approved an ordinance suspending the collection of City impact fees in an effort to stimulate and encourage new development within the boundaries of the Urban Infill and Redevelopment Area. Act now! Time is of the essence as this moratorium is temporary and set to expire in six months. To view the boundaries of the Redevelopment Area, visit: FPRA-District-Map (cityoffortpierce.com)

Urban infill and redevelopment projects are intended to improve existing neighborhoods and encourage investment within these areas. The intent of this moratorium is to assist businesses and residents in the redevelopment area by reducing startup costs and contribute to the sense of vitality that occurs when buildings are occupied by commercial businesses and new homes are constructed. Since infill locations are within the urban core of our community, typically they already have much of the needed infrastructure. Unless extraordinary capital improvements are required, infrastructure costs can be substantially lower for infill development relative to a similar project in an undeveloped area.

The moratorium applies to all new residential and commercial construction within the boundaries of the City’s Designated Urban Infill and Redevelopment Area for which a building permit is issued between March 7, 2022, and September 7, 2022.

For more information, please contact the City Manager’s Office at ecodev@cityoffortpierce.com.