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Fostering More Than Just Homes… 

Fostering More Than Just Homes… 

WORDS & PICTURES: Gabrielle Versmessen

Standing in a plot of uncleared land off Ellenton-Gillette Road in Palmetto, Bobbie and Floyd Price envisioned a community where foster kids could live with their biological siblings in a safe, Christ-centered foster home. A place where healing and growth could occur for the children and the biological families on their path to reunification. Nine years later, that vision has become beyond immeasurably more of

More Than Your Average Sisterhood…

More Than Your Average Sisterhood…

WORDS & PICTURES: Gabrielle Versmessen

Many good things can come from pairing a little wine and some good Italian food together. However, one of the better things to emerge must be the birth of Sisterhood for Good (SFG) at Angela Massaro-Fain’s home 11 years ago.

In 2011, Angela, President of SFG, had been a Board Member of Lakewood Ranch Community Fund (LWRCF) for five years. The LWRCF Board President spoke …

Teens Tackle Tough Topics… 

Teens Tackle Tough Topics… 

WORDS: Merab Favorite
PICTURES: Gabrielle Versmessen

Health education for high schoolers. Could there be a more frustrating topic? For parents, it invokes visions of awkward conversations filled with bad analogies like birds and bees, an egg sizzling in a frying pan, and of course, that oversimplified slogan, “Just Say No.”  

For teens, it’s even worse. The gut wrench that comes when the teacher asks them to answer an embarrassing question.

Time For Tech Breaks! 

Time For Tech Breaks! 

WORDS: Christa Hardin, MA

Not taking tech breaks is one surefire way that summer will come and go in the blink of an eye. This isn’t news to you, of course. We all KNOW we need them.  

We’ve seen the stats as well. Too much screen time poses several potential negative consequences, including vision impairment, sleeplessness, anxiety, and even addiction to the device itself (regiscollege.edu). 

And yet virtually everyone uses

Sharing a Love of Learning…

Sharing a Love of Learning…

WORDS: Carlee Colonneso
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

Speak to Dr. Kristina DeWitt of SCF’s Education Department, and you will immediately recognize the commitment she has to helping those in Early Education. Whether mentoring aspiring teachers in the classroom, volunteering to promote literacy, or reaching out to the community, Dr. DeWitt’s love of learning is positively impacting Manatee County. 

Her Journey into Education 

Long before Dr. DeWitt started working in education, she

Talent From The Heart… 

Talent From The Heart… 

WORDS: Sheri Roca
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

Talent appears in many varieties, styles, and proportions. There are those that can lift our emotions with music and brilliant scientists that help shape the world. We recognize talented painters and artists from decades and centuries past, and we pay to watch athletes, gymnasts, and dancers perform and compete. But it seems to me that true kindness and a giving spirit are completely undervalued

Paul Sharff and His Lasting Impression on the Community

Paul Sharff and His Lasting Impression on the Community

WORDS: Gabrielle Versmessen

A VISIONARY AND FEARLESS ADVOCATE…

How two long-standing ELC board members and child care providers remember Paul Sharff 

When the devasting news started to emerge on January 12th of this year that Paul Sharff, Chief Executive Officer at the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County, had suddenly passed away, there was an outpouring of profound grief. It hit hard. It was very hard for two ladies

Wading His Way In Agricultural Conservation… 

Wading His Way In Agricultural Conservation… 

WORDS: Merab Favorite
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

Just as the crest of the sun started to spill over the horizon, he placed his bicycle on the rack, hurled his bag of equipment over his shoulder, and headed down the familiar trail at Robinson Preserve. 

Once he arrived at the perfect spot, Mac Carraway assembled his camera. He waded into the shallow water looking to the mangroves for his most sought-after subject,

The Path To Philanthropy… 

The Path To Philanthropy… 

WORDS: Carlee Colonneso
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

Philanthropic Building Blocks 

Carol Butera’s path to philanthropy began with an interest in helping others. Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Carol received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Northern Arizona University. After graduating, she moved to Kentucky and started working as a Crisis Intervention Counselor from midnight until 8:00 in the morning. This experience of seeing the pain and struggles that families have

CATCHing on to Health! 

CATCHing on to Health! 

WORDS & PICTURES: Gabrielle Versmessen

“GO, SLOW, and WHOA!” are words one can hear children shouting when participating in the CATCH Early Childhood program. These catchphrases are readily recognized and easy to remember for young students when identifying healthful foods. Although the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program has been nationwide since 1988, Manatee CATCH has been around for about three years. The program is facilitated by the Early

Combating Parenting Burnout… 

Combating Parenting Burnout… 

WORDS: Christa Hardin, MA

“Mom, did you email my teacher back about the survey?” One of my teens was asking me while another one was simultaneously pulling on me to print something their other teacher wanted them to have before lessons began. The third child was giving me that painstaking look of trying to be patient while I tended to the other two.  

I loved that they wanted my

Cats on the Prowl! 

Cats on the Prowl! 

WORDS: Sheri Roca
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

“What are those kids playing?” is a question that is still asked by both adults and kids when they drive by GT Bray Park during a weekday evening, as both boys and girls practice for the Manatee Wildcats Lacrosse program. Lacrosse is stated to be the oldest game played in North America, with its origins stemming from the Native Americans in the Northeast as

The Glasgow Tree…

The Glasgow Tree…

WORDS: Emma Taylor
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

The USA Fence main office on East Cortez Road is a humble building that one may easily pass by without knowing what a bustling company operates within. The offices line one main hallway and all of the doors are open—an environment that seems to reflect the Glasgow approach to business and service. 

On the wall that flanks CEO and founder Butch Glasgow’s office and

Not Your Typical General Counsel…

Not Your Typical General Counsel…

WORDS: Gabrielle Versmessen
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

The title of General Counsel for the School District of Manatee County may sound like an ordinary job, but Mitchell Teitelbaum (MT) brings a vibrant personality and unique passion to his career that makes this particular General Counsel one of a kind. 

According to the school district’s website, the position of General Counsel is “hired by and reports directly to the Superintendent. He provides

A Greek Love Story…

A Greek Love Story…

WORDS: Sheri Roca
PICTURES: Whitney Patton

Popi’s Place Family Restaurant in Ellenton is a cozy, diner-style restaurant known for its home-cooked meals and friendly service. It is one of five Popi’s restaurants currently owned and run by the Ameres family. It is truly a family-run business in every sense and proudly advertised as “one of the few remaining Florida restaurants that is chef-family owned and operated (since 1983)”. The original