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Rotary Happenings

May 9, 2014
Special to the Reporter ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

So much has been going on during our regular Friday morning meetings lately; there hasn't been enough article space in the column to include everything the last couple of weeks.

Why Kindergarten is Too Late!

Beth Lobdell, executive director of Child Care of Southwest Florida, said that science tells us that over 90 percent of the neurons used in the brain form and are stimulated (or not) for lifetime use between the ages of 2-5, while kindergarten starts at the age of 5. Child Care of Southwest Florida operates six high-quality child care centers in Lee and Hendry Counties, manages the USDA Child Care Food programs, manages Florida's Child Care mandated introductory training for child care providers, and hosts annual Circle of Care annual early education conference.

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Many of these locations also house family resource centers to help families find assistance with financial and personal stress. CCSWFL's concentration of effort is providing childcare, early-childhood education, and Pre-K to working parents who are struggling to just get by and are not eligible for government-assisted programs because of their income level. These are working families barely able to pay their rent and if they couldn't find good childcare would not be able to join the workforce at all. Children whose families are sometimes on the cusp of poverty are often excluded from the kind of quality educational experiences provided at CCSWFL. This agency works with support partners to help with tuition, however, the need continues to rise leaving far too many children without this quality childcare and early-childhood education experience.

Child Care of Southwest Florida, Inc. is the region's leading childcare resource. Established as a private non-profit organization in 1967, led by a volunteer board of directors, and through community partner involvement and fundraising events offers reduced rates and scholarships to struggling working-class families to provide a good start on the road to a brighter future in life for their children. Again, studies show children from lower-income environments are 18 months below normal development by age 4 and are at risk of never catching up to their peers, even though the potential was there in the early years.

Helping others have a brighter future is the common thread between the two speakers included in this Rotary Happenings. So many people only need a help up and Rotarians are active partners in providing that help. Our Rotary District 6960 provides an amazing leadership team that leads the way on many of the projects that provide help to so many.

Donations to help provide life-saving medical care.

Steve Agius, Rotary-District Gift of Life, Wheelchair Foundation, and Membership chair stopped by to share the news on a number of projects the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary has been involved with this year. Thanking us for our generous $10,000 contribution for the Rotary Gift of Life in Florida. That donation will be used to sponsor two medical teams of 20-30 doctors and nurses providing life-saving heart surgery on children at the Benjamin Bloom Hospital, El Salvador, and the Bustamante Hospital for Children-Kingston, Jamaica, this year. Along with their surgical time the medical team will provide training sessions to the hospital staff, so that in the future, the hospital's own staff will be able to do the surgeries. Each of the medical teams sent to Bloom Hospital and Bustamante Hospital will perform somewhere around ten to fourteen surgeries on their visits.

Wheelchair Foundation distribution events coming up soon. Steve invited club members to participate in distribution events this year, and Jamaica or El Salvador scheduled later this year. A quote from Steve: "Each time I make these trips and participate in the distribution process; it renews my spirit and energy to continue this work. My life is ever changed by being part of this program." To bring to life this experience Steve showed a heart-wrenching and heart-warming video made by Hector Manning, an earthquake survivor and double leg amputee with a personal family history of receiving help, love and support in his time of need. He filmed his own mission to distribute 200 wheelchairs in his native country of El Salvador. Receiving a wheelchair not only changes the lives of the recipient but also changes the lives of caregivers.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meets at 7:00 a.m., every Friday morning, at the Dune Golf & Tennis Club on Sanibel Island. Guests are always welcomed.



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