How Suncoast Charities for Children Impacts the Community
As sponsors of the Thunder By The Bay motorcycle festival for the last several years, we have grown to more fully appreciate Suncoast Charities for Children, the non-profit organization the festival benefits. There are a number of other events and community activities that contribute to this worthy cause as well. Since it so often gets glossed over as merely a great reason to have a good time, we thought we would highlight some of what this organization actually does.
The organization’s mission, first established in 1985 as Suncoast Foundation for the Handicapped Inc., is to provide grants in support of children, teens, and adults with special needs and their families. One of the most vital ways it has done this is through the $20 million dollars of construction that now houses four hands-on, non-profit organizations that serve Sarasota County, leasing them space for only $1 a year.
You’re likely fairly familiar with the Special Olympics, but you may not know that it’s not just an event that happens once a year. This organization works year-round to provide training in a variety of athletics in order to help adults and children with disabilities.
If you’ve spent a good amount of time in Sarasota, you’ve most likely also heard of Community Haven. The heart of the movement started in 1954 to provide education for developmentally disabled individuals in the Sarasota/Manatee area. Since then this organization, now usually just called “The Haven”, has done extraordinary things for this population, providing lessons and experience in socialization, vocations, job placement, housing independence, good health, and more.
In 1961, the Junior League of Sarasota established the Sarasota Day Nursery to prepare children from low-income families for kindergarten. The organization became Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start in the nineties and changed its name to Children First in 2000. Through its comprehensive approach to development, education, health and well-being, Children First was recently selected as one of nine nationally recognized Programs of Excellence out of 1,800 Head Start organizations in the U.S. Through 13 different locations, this organization provides 50% of the necessary nutrition for 600 children in the Sarasota community every day.
Of course, Suncoast Charities for Children doesn’t only provide for children. The Loveland Center has been serving developmentally and intellectually disabled adults for over 50 years. Presently, they provide residential services, as well as classes in creative arts, wellness, life skills, health and safety, practical academics and more.
Envisioning a time “when every child will be loved, nourished and encouraged to reach their full potential,” the Florida Center for Early Childhood was formed in 2003 through the union of the Family Counseling Center and the Child Development Center. Today, it is nationally recognized for its excellence in early childhood development, child abuse prevention, infant and early childhood mental health and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
While there are a number of events and organizations that support Suncoast Charities for Children, we wanted you to know how much your contributions mean. Through this variety of services, it is estimated that over 8,000 residents in our communities receive life-changing help that would not be available if these organizations didn’t exist. We’re capable of doing some pretty amazing things in our community when we put our minds to it.