What to do when faced with a challenge: Mind in the Making

A diverse group coming together for a common goal of helping children makes for an enriched evening of brainstorming and conversation. Team Marvel had a mixture of participants including early educators, parents, and grandparents. I opened the dialogue by asking for examples of when we take on challenges.  I got a one word answer…life. Taking on Challenges It was perfect timing for this module. We were making the class up due to Hurricane Irma. One facilitator was missing due to illness, the ramp from the interstate was closed due to an accident, the meeting ...

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Opportunities For Growth

Editor’s Note: Each Mind in the Making workshop provides participants the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and practices, learn what researchers have discovered about how children learn best and discuss how to apply this research in their role as a parent or caregiver. This program is an excellent way for you to learn how to improve communication with your kids, become a better role model, and teach essential skills like Focus and Self-Control to your children so they will be ready to learn. Mind in the Making is made possible by the Suncoast ...

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Prosperity for Every Zip Code in Florida

While attending a two-day Business Leader’s Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity hosted by the Florida Chamber Foundation, I was introduced to this aspiration: Prosperity for Every Zip Code in Florida. Every Zip Code in Florida?  Is that even possible?  Prosperity for Every Zip Code in Florida seemed like a quintessential BHAG: a big, hairy, audacious goal. The statistics for our region of children under the age of 18 living in poverty are daunting. Children under the age of 18 living in Poverty Charlotte County 23.4% DeSoto ...

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Monday Night Motivation with Team Lilly…I wouldn’t miss it!

Editor's Note: Jenifer Johnson is a Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Engagement Team Member and a Mind in the Making facilitator. Why did 22 exhausted child care professionals take time out of their long day to attend Mind in the Making on Monday nights?  Was it the free food?  The entertaining facilitators?  Their need for continuing education hours?  Well, truthfully, it might have been any one of those reasons when they signed up. However, it morphed into so much more! Some of the women had worked tirelessly since 6am, and their experience in teaching ...

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Investing In Children’s Safety Net Pays Big Dividends

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the Herald-Tribune and written by Kathy Silverberg, a former publisher of the Herald-Tribune’s southern editions. It is a long-held belief by many Americans that people are poor because they do not have the ability, inclination or incentive to keep and hold a job, thus they are unable to take care of themselves and their families. Following this line of thinking, and assuming there are enough jobs that match the skills of the poor, public assistance programs would be needed only for those unable to work. ...

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The Kindergartners Guard: A Remarkable Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a land close, close by, named the Suncoast Kingdom, more than 5,000 children were getting ready to become kindergartners, the highest distinction for 4 and 5-year-olds in the Suncoast land. This new status would take them to live new and astonishing adventures in the knowledge castles. Their future started here. All the villages in the Suncoast Kingdom were putting their hopes for a better future into these children, but they knew the kids couldn’t go far alone, they needed helping hands to achieve these high expectations. So the villagers became ...

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Diving into program to help kids read

Editor’s Note: This editorial was originally published by the Herald-Tribune Since the creation of a bi-county Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and the precursor efforts that led to its formation, we and others have observed that producing successful students requires the engagement of not only parents and teachers, but an array of community-based organizations and individuals. Some of the barriers to early learning are high and can only be overcome by systemic political and social change: for example, ensuring that all pregnant women and their babies ...

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One Goal to Impact Thousands of Lives

The traffic was heavy as I rushed from my chemistry class to the magical space where the Kindergarten Readiness Bags were being filled. My head was buzzing with information about electrons, ionization, and countless chemistry rules. During those hectic moments in the car, I directed too much of my focus into the fast action of transporting myself from one location to another, not realizing what I was truly about to enter. I swiftly entered the space where the bags were being filled and received a quick review of the process. The organization and thought put into the ...

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Local Summer Reading Program Recognized Nationally

Anna Maria Oyster Bar received national recognition for their efforts to help children avoid summer learning loss through the Dive Into Reading summer program. During a special awards gala in Washington, DC, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) presented Anna Maria Oyster Bar with the 2018 Restaurant Neighbor Award for demonstrating a commitment to serving their communities through outstanding charitable service and philanthropy. The annual award is part of the NRAEF’s celebration of the “best of the best” in diversity and inclusion, ...

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Fulfilling My Passions While Helping Our Children

Editor’s Note: Amanda McNary is a third-grade teacher at Alta Vista Elementary School and a new Suncoast Campaign for Grade-level Reading (SCGLR) Engagement Team Member. She volunteered her time with SCGLR to prepare Kindergarten Readiness Bags that are being distributed to all elementary schools in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Family, education, and travel are three of my passions in life. Who knew it was possible to experience all three while volunteering for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading? My yoga sister, Heather Koester, contacted me recently and ...

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