AMI Kiwanis Key Club Scholarship Presentation

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis presented three $1,000.00
scholarships to three Kiwanis sponsored Key Club Members Erika Nguyen, Rayline Waldin &
Gabriella Reich, who attended the State College of Florida Collegiate Schools, Bradenton
Campus (SCFCS). The SCFCS are tuition-free public charter schools, with the Bradenton
campus sponsored by Manatee County District Schools.
Erika Nguyen will be studying at the University of South Florida and will be majoring in
biomedical sciences. She plans to apply for medical school and become a doctor as a diagnostic
Rayline Waldin will be attending Florida State in Tallahassee. Her major is information systems
management & her ultimate goal is to work for a large corporation in the technology field.
Gabriella Reich will be attending the University of Florida while pursuing a biology degree with a
premed concentration. She hopes to go on to medical school and become a doctor.

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 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

Foundation For Dreams, Dream Oaks Camp

Elena Cassella, Executive Director of Dream Oaks Camp, a program of Foundation for Dreams spoke to members of the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis.

Dream Oaks Camp was a living dream of its founder, Eddie Mulock.  In 1995 he set forth to build a camp designed to meet the needs of children with physical and developmental challenges.

Partnering with Southwest Florida Boy Scouts, the Foundation built Dream Oaks Camp in 2000.  In 2001, the first summer campers, 56 in total, were welcomed to the camp.  Today services are provided to more than 700 campers per year; with a 3:1 camper to counselor ratio or better.

Elena explained the strongest asset to the Camp is its staff members.  They are truly inspiring because of the level of energy and enthusiasm they each bring by seeking new ideas to a program or by adjusting an activity to include all the children.

Each child is assessed & a unique program is designed to focus on that child’s abilities to strengthen his or her social skills & behavioral skills.  Regardless of physical, medical or emotional challenges, each session includes the participation of all the children; as each staff member is dedicated to planning & modifying strategies to accomplish that.

Parents and staff collaborate to identify two targeted goals for the child to progress towards during their stay at the camp.  The low camper to staff ratios of 3:1 or better, allows each child to receive a very high level of individualized care & support.  The main ingredient is having fun while learning new skills and developing productive behaviors.

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

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



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