Another silver lining of this pandemic has been the support we’ve received from our Future Leaders Academy Scholars and alumni during the 2020 Giving Challenge. We asked a few of our scholars why they wanted to get involved and what they got out of the experience. Here are two answers:
The Giving Challenge is a unique opportunity for community members to show how much they care for and appreciate local organizations, which do so much to empower, inspire, and encourage the next generation of movers and shakers.
UnidosNow—being at the forefront of this unceasing, rewarding task—can and will always count on my support and participation. I especially enjoyed getting to be a panelist this year because I got to showcase just a sliver of what I have learned as a Future Leaders Academy scholar and UnidosNow alumna.
I hope that through this experience and future ones, I can become a role model for younger teens. I want to show them the importance of giving back to the people and organizations that shape you and help you achieve your goals. In that way, The Giving Challenge is as much of a gift to me as it is to our wonderful Dream Team and UnidosNow programs. – Leonela Tasé Sueiro
Because of COVID-19, I have had the privilege to come back home and connect with local nonprofits and other organizations that once served me. While I have been home, I have specifically extended a hand to UnidosNow. Their mission highlights my aspirations and passions; “to elevate the quality of life of the growing Hispanic/Latino community through education, integration, and civic engagement.”
My passion for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and their promotion of higher education within minority communities has given me the motivation to support organizations such as UnidosNow. When helping during The Giving Challenge, I felt empowered as a past Future Leaders Academy student who was now supporting other promising Latinx students. Through this experience, I got to stand on the other end of the program as I promised to support this organization in any way possible. – Liam Ordonez
Join us on Wednesday, April 22 at 5:30 p.m. to learn from experts about healthy living, good posture, leadership, self confidence, and more!
This online workshop is part of the 2020 Giving Challenge, an exciting giving event that connects nonprofit organizations with passionate donors. Support these community-based organizations that are making an impact in the lives of families in Sarasota and Manatee County.
Click here to attend via Zoom, or watch us on UnidosNow Facebook Live.
Altruism is win-win for everyone—for those who receive a gift (beneficiary) and those who give of themselves (benefactor). It’s like a circle that can’t be broken—each group evolving into the other.
For example, benefactors (donors, volunteers, and sponsors) are rewarded—deriving satisfaction from knowing they have made a difference in others’ lives. And beneficiaries (receiving money and other contributions) give back—especially to the community—when they use their newly found gifts for improvement.
As beneficiary, UnidosNow was most fortunate to work with Florida Studio Theatre (FST), under the supervision of Associate Artist Catherine Randazzo, who praises the Future Leaders Academy (FLA) for sharing personal stories.
Fifteen scholars were all-time beneficiaries because they learned so much more than playwriting, acting, and theatre. In this safe environment, many first-generation Latino students became role models for one another, learning about common challenges and ways to overcome them—striving to turn them into dreams.
Catherine was the ideal mentor, given her expertise and experience as a theatre educator in Manatee and Sarasota counties. “A large number of my students were Latino, drawn to the world of theatre—a discipline they didn’t have much exposure to—so it became my mission to introduce them to its importance. For some, it was life changing.”
Highlighting FST’s role as beneficiary, Catherine says, “I’m grateful that I could once again mentor a group of gifted Latino students. My gratitude goes to Executive Director Luz Corcuera, the UnidosNow team, and the students who made me realize how much I don’t know about their world. Their community-service project has changed me—for the better. That’s the POWER of theatre.”
And that power was evident when FST offered this poignant theatrical piece as a play reading to the public in May 2018. This performance helped “enlighten the audience,” to use Catherine’s words. Attendees learned about the unique experiences of Latino students and common issues faced as teens.
UnidosNow also helped FST promote its mission to create a public forum for the issues of our day that will foster positive change in our community and beyond—while FST helped to support UnidosNow in its efforts to empower Latinos—making a difference in this region.
Warmly, Luz remembers how an individual in the audience approached her after the show. “He said, ‘Keep doing this amazing work,’ folding a check in my hand—a significant donation to add to the Giving Challenge goal. He left as quickly as he came.”
UnidosNow received other donations. FST donated the proceeds of the evening to UnidosNow, and together they received Best Community Event Award during the Giving Challenge. The Latino organization reaped tremendous benefits from this experience.
The gifts UnidosNow gives to the community know no bounds. Dedicated to empowering low-income, first generation Latino students and their families, it also helps fortify the community—and beyond:
100% of its scholars entered college—40% to selective institutions—culminating in earning over 2.5 million dollars in scholarships and grants.
Many high-school and college students volunteer at UnidosNow and elsewhere. Recently, a Princeton student interned at an Ohio nonprofit media thinkhub, and a high-schooler was chosen to spend a week at the Florida Capitol in the House Page & Messenger Program.
Future Leaders Academy for Girls prepares younger students to explore different and careers, notably related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Luz proudly says, “We are building the next generation of leaders through education, leadership, and community service.”
As exemplified by the 2018 Giving Challenge, benefactors and beneficiaries will evolve—for the better. Most important, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Giving Challenge partners, continue to be the catalyst.
Cultivating talent, intelligence, and hard work for the benefit of our community and beyond, UnidosNow looks ahead to the April 2020 Giving Challenge.
Last week, UnidosNow board member Kathy Schersten was recognized as a 2020 Women in Power by the National Council of Jewish Women. Congratulations, Kathy! We are very proud and grateful for her many years of service—empowering women and youth. Her passion and commitment have made a difference in the Latino community.
State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota’s (SCF) Dental Hygiene Clinic is accepting new patients. SCF’s Dental Hygiene Clinic at SCF Bradenton, 5840 26th St. W., Building 2, provides teeth cleanings, oral examinations, dental X-rays, fluoride and sealants to individuals 6 and older. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Tuesday through Friday.
Care is provided by SCF students under the supervision of licensed dental hygiene instructors and dentists who check the services provided to patients. The clinic gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience so they are prepared to work as dental hygienists after graduation. The cost ranges from $10 per quadrant for sealants to $37 for adult complex cleanings with medicaments. No insurance is required.
SCF dental hygiene students also regularly participate in community service projects for low-income children and families. SCF students, instructors and recent graduates provide oral screenings, fluoride applications, education and referrals for homeless or at-risk children.
Students’ hands-on experience combined with the education they receive from qualified SCF faculty prepare them to excel at state competitions and on the national examination they are required to pass after they graduate. Since the program began, graduates have continued the tradition of SCF’s 100 percent pass rate on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination.
Over 160 people attended the event and generously donated over $50,000 towards the future of our promising students. Our guests enjoyed a lively opening by Mariachis Los Arrieros, delicious Latino food, and joyful dancing with the music of Trio Fusión.
A very special thanks goes to Kathy Schersten, an UnidosNow board member and the chairperson of this event. Kathy inspired us to dream big which resulted in UnidosNow exceeding all expectations for this inaugural event. ¡Muchas gracias, Kathy!
UnidosNow’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration is around the corner -one week to go-, and we wanted to invite you all to check our terrific silent auction items. Everyone can find something that they’ll like! Plus, there are more to come.
If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, what are you waiting for? You can make your reservation here. We look forward to seeing you next Friday to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and our scholars and families.
We look forward to seeing you this Friday, September 22nd at 6 p.m. at Michael’s On East to benefit UnidosNow scholars and their families to achieve their Dreams of Higher Education, and to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Please be aware that Valet parking at Michael’s On East is now facing their Wine Cellar since South East Avenue is under renovations (please see map below for your reference). We will have signs guiding you, but wanted to let you know in advance.
The Hispanic Heritage Celebration will have live entertainment both before and after our gourmet dinner. Come and enjoy the music of Mariachi LosArrieros and Trio Fusión while supporting UnidosNow scholars and families to Dream Big.
We have all these items in our silent auction: what are you planning to bid on?