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School Board member Shirley Brown visits Rotary

“I firmly believe that the role of the School Board is to represent the public schools of the County and to watch the expenditure of our public dollars,” stated Sarasota County School Board member Shirley Brown when she addressed the Rotary Club of Longboat Key at its June 19th meeting. Brown, a School Board member since 2006 who served in the Florida Legislature from 1992 to 2000, is pictured with Rotary Program Director Judy Achre (left) and incoming Rotary President Susan McGuire (right).

In order to comply with state law recently passed to increase campus security in response to the Parkland shooting, a new internal police department will replace the past system of school resource officers employed jointly by the local police departments, the Sarasota County Sheriff’ Office, and the schools. Brown outlined the complex considerations behind staffing and funding the new system by the start of the upcoming school year.

Brown also outlined plans to “harden the outsides and soften the insides” of the schools. “Hardening” efforts include the installation of bullet-proof glass in school offices, establishing stronger perimeter fencing, having single points of entry to a school, and keeping doors locked. She lamented that today’s students are practicing lock-down drills where they are hiding behind their desks.  “Softening” efforts include helping students learn productive and peaceful approaches to conflict resolution and ending bullying, understanding and addressing signs of suicide, and stressing the importance of “see something, say something.” She concluded, “Our focus must be on the students … We want them to come to school ready to learn and we want them to graduate ‘college-ready’.”

Brown encourages all voters to study the issues, get to know the candidates, and plan to vote on Tuesday, August 28th.


JCMF Children’s Charities Announces 2017-2018 Rotary Water Safety Advocacy Awards

The Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Rotary Water Safety Advocacy Award Winners. Clubs were invited to submit nominations that included a description of their Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness program along with successes and outcomes.  One Rotarian shared the following with her club’s nomination: “I’m happy to be part of a program that teaches kids about an important and life-saving topic in such an engaging and exciting way.  This is one of the most rewarding things we get to do as Rotarians”.


The following eleven clubs were selected this year to receive the award:

Rotary Club of Emerald City in South Carolina

Rotary Club of Engelwood in Florida

Rotary Club of Kerrville in Texas

Rotary Club of Laurens in South Carolina

Rotary Club of Northwest Des Moines in Iowa

Rotary Club of Sarasota in Florida

Rotary Club of Susitna in Wasilla, Alaska

Rotary Club of Lake Wylie in South Carolina

Rotary Club of Longboat Key in Florida

Lincoln East Rotary Club in Nebraska

Vero Beach Oceanside Rotary Club in Florida

“Our town sits right on a river and we lose a child to drowning every couple of years.  Our teachers and families truly believe this program will make a difference and prevent future tragedies.  We are thrilled to have found Josh the Otter this year and plan to be involved and expand the program every year.”

Rotary International has been an active and engaged partner with Josh the Otter since 2010. This partnership started in Florida with the vision of the incoming President of the Merritt Island Rotary Club that year (Jim Underwood).  Jim saw the potential of Josh the Otter to save children’s lives and felt Rotarians would be a perfect group to help implement and expand the program, one club and one community at a time.  Jim implemented Josh the Otter with his own club and then took it to other clubs and Districts.  To date, Rotary clubs in nearly 40 states, plus clubs in Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, the Philippines and Pakistan, have been involved with the Josh the Otter Water Safety and Literacy Project.  The partnership with Rotary has truly moved the needle in reaching children and saving lives.

“Children drown every day in Florida. Our club decided to take action to prevent drownings. Several years ago, we introduced the Josh the Otter program to preschool and kindergarten classrooms in our local community. Since we started this initiative, there has not been one reported drowning incident from the schools where we have introduced Josh the Otter. This program makes a difference. It saves lives.”

The Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Program derived out of a tragedy experienced by the parents of the late Joshua Collingsworth, who drowned during a family get together at their home ten years ago.  Blake and Kathy Collingsworth started JCMF Children’s Charities in Joshua’s honor and to make an impact by working to decrease the number of drownings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children 1-4 and the number two cause of unintentional death for all children ages 1-14 in the United States.


In addition to Josh the Otter, the Float 4 Life program, also developed by the Foundation, is making an impact as more infants and toddlers learn the life-saving skills needed if they fall into a pool or body of water.  The Foundation is currently looking to expand Float 4 Life with a new national training center which will train instructors from across the country.

 “Our club was looking for a new project involving children, and this was the perfect fit. The literacy and education piece of the program matches our club’s program goals.  Our members went crazy for Josh the Otter and fought over who got to wear the mascot suit and be Josh!  It has lit a spark for our club.”

This year’s group of Water Safety Advocacy Award winners reached thousands of children with the message to “stay away from water unless accompanied by an adult”.  Their work and reach to daycares, preschools, elementary schools and libraries was simply incredible.  Congratulations to this year’s winners and a big thank you to ALL of our Rotary clubs and partners for helping to keep kids safe in and around the water.

Longboat Key Rotary Receives 2017-18 Rotary Water Safety Advocacy Award!

THANK YOU for your continuing passion and support for the “Josh the Otter Program”.
Your efforts have not gone unnoticed by the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation.
If we save just one child – it is all worth it.
“Learn to Float”!

Event to honor Longboat Key’s Police and Fire First Responders and their Families


This is what we all expect and receive when we are in need of these professionals.  The folks who receive the help are appreciative in a very one-on-one way.  The LBK Rotary wanted to show our broader community appreciation, acknowledgment, and support of these important personal by holding a thank you event.

The event was AWESOME!  But we could not have done it all without community participation.  97 people attended – not including Rotarian and Friends of Rotary.  Here are some photos to share the experience of all who are there when needed.
 And a thank you shout out to Chef Edgar for the terrific job that you and your staff from Webber’s Hot Dogs did today in catering our event at the
Bay Isles Beach Club on Longboat Key

Arbor Day Success — Trees Added to Ted Sperling Park

A crew from Ted Sperling Park and our Rotary planted two new trees Friday April 27.

A group effort to prepare the first site.


With a successful planting.

Now with careful attention to watering we hope to see well established trees in several months.

Thanks to all who participated in this community Long Boat Key Rotary project.

Making sure Tuttle Elementary school’s pantry is staffed and stocked

Hello rotary volunteers!

Thank you so much for donating your time and efforts to make sure Tuttle Elementary school’s pantry is staffed and stocked!

To sign up to help, please follow the links below.

>>>>>>>>>>>> Tuttle Bag Labeling

>>>>>>>>>>>> Tuttle School Pantry

It will take you to Longboat Keys private registration page, one for each “event”. From there you will have to create a profile and then choose your dates!

If you need ANY assistance, feel free to call or email!

Remember to register as a volunteer at PALS Screening

Have a great day!


Volunteer Coordinator Heather Cline

Direct 941-549-8156

Main 941-379-6333 x156

8171 Blaikie Ct. Sarasota FL 34240

All Faiths Foodbank

Trees to be planted on Arbor Day April 27

Albritton’s Nursery is going to deliver the trees on April 26th. Ted Sperling Park has asked that we are there on April 27th at 8 am for pictures with the staff of Ted Sperling Park as the trees are planted. We will coordinate with the Ted Sperling Park staff about watering. Proper watering for the first 60 days is important to establish the trees in their new home.  Look forward to seeing you on Arbor Day April 27th.

Dr Martin Bobzien’s speaks about Living and Working in an Islamic State

Longboat Key Rotary Club President Jay Sparr (left) toasts guest speaker Dr. Martin Bobzien at the conclusion of the Club’s March 13th meeting. Dr. Bobzien is a Rotarian from the Cologne, Germany area who has wintered with his wife, Barbara, on Longboat Key for over 30 years. He has shared his extensive knowledge of the Islamic world in two recent presentations to the Rotary Club, drawing upon his experiences and contacts during his many years with E.I. DuPont de Nemours. The Bobziens have announced that this will be their last winter in Longboat, and the Rotarians bid them a fond farewell with a champagne toast.

Jay Sparr and Dr. Martin Bobzien

Enhancing the natural habitat at Ted Sperling Park!

Proceeding with the Tree Challenge our Board approves the expense for two Southern Red Cedars!  We hope for an April 27th Arbor Day delivery.

Ted Sperling Park is visited by thousands of people from around the world every month to enjoy the natural environment of coastal Florida and these Southern Red Cedars are a perfect addition to enhance the natural habitat.

Finding Ted Sperling Park

2017 Member of the Year named by the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce

Sandra Rios, Director of Communications for Zota Beach Resort and The Longboat Key Club has been named 2017 Member of the Year by the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce.  Notably she is a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Longboat Key! She is pictured with Jeff Mayers, General Manager of The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Sandra was presented the award in recognition of her “unparalleled leadership and drive to always go the extra mile.”

Sandra Rios with Jeff Mayers