Author: AMI Kiwanis

59th Annual Easter Sunrise Service

At 6:30am on Easter Sunday, March 31,2024 Kiwanis of Anna Maria Island will celebrate the 59th anniversary of the Sunrise Service held at the Manatee County Public Beach (4000 Gulf Dr. Holmes Beach). The crowd normally numbers 1200- 2000 people. There is ample parking. Trolley will be up and running at 6:00am. The Anna Maria Beach Café will also open at 6:30am if you need that cup of java. Bring chairs or a blanket to sit on and dress to the weather.

It is truly an uplifting service as the Island churches participate. Father Matthew Grunfeld of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation will deliver the invocation and benediction. Matthew Nowicki Director of Faith Formation of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church will deliver the scripture readings. Rev. Dirk Rodgers of Roser Church will offertory. Rev. Stephen King of Harvey Memorial will deliver the sermon. Inspirational Easter music for singing will be provided. All are welcome to join in.

Come and share this celebration on the beach as we show our gratefulness for this Island, we call our Paradise. The Offertory collected will be divided among the Island Churches and the Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria for their SCF Key Club Scholarship program.

We will be live streaming the services on You-Tube, using the services of Casey Hoffman. To view the Easter Sunrise Service LIVE at home you will need to go directly to You-Tube and type in Kiwanis of AMI Easter Sunrise Service.

On our Kiwanis of Anna Maria Island Web Site you will be able to follow the Easter Sunrise Service program handout and make an On Line Donation to the Easter sunrise Service. As always, the Offertory collected will be divided among Island Churches and the Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria for our State College of Florida Key Club Scholarship program.

AMI Kiwanis Club welcomes Toni Jefferies as guest speaker

On Saturday, May 7, 2022, the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club welcomed its guest speaker, Toni Jefferies, Community Engagement & Volunteer Recruitment for Guardian Ad Litem.

Guardian Ad Litem is a non-profit organization of volunteers that work with children that have been removed from parents by the courts & placed in safer environments.  Fifty-two percent of the children are under the age of 5 and all children age out of the system at 18.  In Manatee County, there are approximately 800 children needing care; as removal from the parents creates acute trauma for the child.  Guardian Ad Litem volunteers work directly with the children to ease that as much as possible by developing a relationship with the child & visiting them at least monthly in their new home.  

Volunteers are carefully screened and undergo 30 hours of training prior to being assigned a child.  To be a volunteer advocate one must possess compassion & empathy; awareness/perspective, willingness to learn, ability to advocate for children’s basic and immediate needs, able to volunteer 10-15 hours a month, at least 21 years old and must commit to at least two years.

“Advocating for the child’s best interest is the Program’s only purpose.”  The volunteers are an independent set of eyes and ears for the courts.  As part of a multi-disciplinary team, they work to protect children by ensuring: safety & emotional wellbeing, needed services are provided, interests of the child are expressed in court, education needs are met & permanency.

Children’s Guardian Fund is the supporting charity that helps meet basic needs of traumatized children & add “normalcy” to their lives.  The gifts to the Charity are tax deductible & the money is spent in your community.  Contributions may be money or other items such as laptops.  For more information, visit their website

Kiwanis Donation To Foundation For Dreams

On Saturday, April 30, 2022, the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club presented a check to Foundation for Dreams, Dream Oaks Camp. Diane Bartoszek, Community Outreach and Healthcare Coordinator accepted the check on behalf of the organization. Diane is also a staff nurse at the camp; and said they are gearing up for their 7 weeks’ summer camp. She said because of the specialized care provided, there are children from other states that make the trip to Bradenton FL for the summer camp. She thanked the Club & said the money would be put to good use for the benefit of the children.

The facility offers Summer Camp June-August, Weekend Camp August-May and Day Camp year-round. To find out more about this amazing camp go to their website at

Friends of the Island Library Thanks AMI Kiwanis

Sandy Haas-Martens
Kiwanis of Anna Maria Island
464 63rd Street
Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Dear Sandy,

On behalf of the Island Branch of the Manatee County Public Library System and the Friends of the Island Library, I would like to thank the Kiwanis of Anna Maria Island for their generous donation of $500.00. As Stephanie Katz, Youth Services Librarian noted, your contribution will be used to replace well-used children’s classic books. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to share the books that meant so much when our children were young!

Community connections are vitally important to the Friends’ mission to support out Library and we are very grateful for the Kiwanis of Anna Maria Island’s recognition.

Jan Riggs

Photo by Barbara Baker Pictured left to right: Sandy Haas-Martens, Secretary, AMI Kiwanis; John Chappie, President of AMI Kiwanis; Stephanie Katz, Youth Services Librarian, Island Library; Jan Riggs, President, Friends of the Island Library; Debbie Wartschlager, VP, Friends of the Island Library; Darrel Shinn, AMI Kiwanis Board Member - Membership & Nominations Chair

Friends of the Island Library – Anna Maria Island

The Anna Maria Island Kiwanis presented a $500.00 check to The Friends of the Island
Library organization. Stephanie Katz, Youth Services Librarian at the Island Library
explained the donation will be used to replace 40-50 classic books that have become
very well worn from so much use by the young people that visit the library. Young
people love reading the classics & also love the experience of touching the books. The
generosity of the AMI Kiwanis Club will allow this purchase outside the library budget.

The Friends of the Island Library is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that expands
library services beyond what tax dollars alone can provide. The mission is to sponsor
programs and add to the cultural life of area residents and visitors & to promote
community awareness of the library and its programs. The library accepts donations of
books; however, at the present they have no place for storage. Donation of a storage
space would solve this problem & allow the library to continue to accept book donations
& exchange with other libraries.

The Friends support an array of programs for adults, children and teens, as well as
enhance the Island Library holdings and facilities. Becoming a friend helps keep the
Island Library resources and services up to date and available for all. Friends will be
conducting a Membership Drive in October. For more information visit their website at

ANNA MARIA ISLAND KIWANIS: 57th Easter Sunrise Service

The 57th Easter Sunrise Service was held at 6:30 a.m. on April 17 at the Manatee Public Beach.  The event is sponsored by The Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island.  AMI Kiwanis President John Chappie & his crew of Kiwanis volunteers welcomed around 4,500 guests to the service.  This is estimated to be one of the biggest gatherings for this event.  Sandy Haas-Martens, Secretary of the Club, welcomed the guests and Vocalist Morgan Bryant sung the Prelude “King of Kings” followed by the Invocation given by Father Matthew Grunfeld, Episcopal Church of the Annunciation.  A member of the AMI Kiwanis Club, Darrel Shinn, Lt. Col., USAF, ret., recited the military prayer.

The opening hymn was “Amazing Grace” (My Chains are Gone) beautifully sung by Morgan Bryant.  Scripture reading Isaiah 65:17-25 & John 20:1-18 was by Rev. Edward Moss, Crosspointe Fellowship Church.  The sermon was by Rev. Douglas Kings, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.  The Offering Prayer was by Rev. Stephen King, Harvey Memorial Church.

Hymn:   “Easter Halleluiah” was by vocalist Morgan Bryant.

Collection of offertory was done by Kiwanis members & SCF Collegiate Key Club Members.

All donations benefit the Island churches and the Kiwanis AMI SCF Key Club scholarship program.

The service ended just after sunrise with the Benediction by Rev. Dirk Rodgers, Roser Community Church.

Closing Hymn by Vocalist Morgan Bryant “Because He Lives”

Thanks go to all who made this service possible:

Morgan Bryant (Music); Chuck Caudill (Sound System); Crosspointe Fellowship (Program Inserts); AMI Beach Café Facilities; Holmes Beach Public Works Department; Holmes Beach Police Department and The Islander Newspaper

Kiwanis Club Easter Sunrise Committee and SCF Key Club

Kiwanis members setting up stage
The members of the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club arrived at the Manatee Public Beach at 5 a.m. to begin setting up for the Sunrise Service at 6:30 a.m.  The weather was perfect & the full moon lit the beach & water with a wonderful glow of hope & thanksgiving.

Anna Maria Kiwanis BUG (Bring Up Grades) Program

The Anna Maria Kiwanis BUG (Bring Up Grades) program began in 2000.  The program is designed to recognize and reward academic achievement for those students that raise their grade up one full grade level.  The AMI Kiwanis Club works with Kim Sherburne, School Counselor, at the Anna Maria Island Elementary School.  Kim is a really strong supporter of all the Kiwanis programs and is grateful for the support from Kiwanis in helping children to achieve their full potential.

On Friday, April 8, Patricia Webster represented the AMI Kiwanis Club when certificates of achievement were handed out to 59 4th & 5th grade students at Anna Maria Island Elementary School.  It was evident there is a great group of teachers at this school that provide support and incentive to their students to improve their grades.  All the students supported one another and clapped with wonderful enthusiasm for those who received the awards. 

AMI Kiwanis Sends Support For Appropriation 19341 To Governor

Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Honorable Governor DeSantis:

As your constituents and as registered voters, we are writing to express our support for Specific Appropriation 19341 for funds to be provided for the Gulf Shellfish Institute – Clams & Seagrass Restoration – Three estuaries SW Florida (HB 9161) (Senate Form 1510).  We are respectfully requesting your support of this appropriation when you review and sign House Bill 5001, 

You have made historic steps in Florida’s fight to protect water quality and conserve the state’s natural resources.  The Clean Waterways Act, SB 712, is a prime example; and demonstrates a pledge that clean water is a top priority.  

Restoring seagrass meadows and clam populations will result in improved water quality, reduced algal blooms, and healthier habitats for commercial and recreational fisheries in Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor estuaries.  This funding will provide the framework and resources necessary for a team of industry experts, managers and scientists to implement planting efforts, evaluate the environmental response and demonstrate the comprehensive impacts of the clams and seagrass.  This innovative ground-truth science will be used to quantify large scale water quality improvements and benefits to seagrass communities.

Governor, please take this opportunity to provide funds to ensure a healthy, thriving future for the Gulf Coast & all of Florida.


John Chappie, President Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island 

464 63rd Street, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club Welcomes A New Member

On Saturday, April 2, a new member, Gretchen Dorr, was welcomed into the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club.  Gretchen and her husband moved to Florida in 2012 from Minneapolis.  As a young person, she & her family visited an uncle that lived on Anna Maria; so that is how she became acquainted with the area.  Then over the years, she & her husband vacationed on the island with their daughter & son.  Now adults, her daughter lives in Wisconsin and her son lives in Chicago.  Gretchen is a retired RN and she & her husband have two grandchildren.  She has agreed to serve on the Scholarship Committee. 

Care Net Empowers Women And Families Through Christ-centered Counseling and Instructional Support

Brittany Keller, Director of Client Services for Care Net, Manasota Pregnancy Center, brought a poignant message to the members of the AMI Kiwanis Club regarding the life changing event of an unexpected pregnancy.

Care Net offers many services to their clients:

  • FREE Pregnancy Test
  • FREE Ultrasound upon qualification
  • One-on-one Counseling
  • Medical, legal and social service referrals within the community
  • Parenting Education, maternity and baby supplies through “Earn While You Learn”
  • Medically accurate education on all choices available
  • Post abortion support and healing
  • Sexual Integrity education and STD prevention
  • Adoption is an Option which includes referrals
  • Men’s Knighthood Integrity Program

While Care Net Manasota Pregnancy Center does not offer, recommend, or refer for abortions, they are committed to offering accurate information about abortion procedures and risks.

Their Vision Statement is “Our vision is to empower women and families through Christ-centered counseling and instructional support, to choose abundant life for their families.”

No matter what situation has brought a client to the reality of an unexpected pregnancy, the message from Care Net staff is they are loved and there are people who want to help them.  At Care Net Manasota, they provide encouragement and counsel while meeting practical needs in order to help them sort through the next steps they’ll be facing.  No one has to be alone and Care Net staff will walk the journey with them regardless of what their decision is regarding the pregnancy.

For more information, please visit their website

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Kiwanis of Anna Maria Island
464 63rd Street
Holmes Beach FL  34217



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