12 Cheers for 20 Years: May

Happy birthday, Anna Maria Oyster Bars…. Volume 5

Cheers to 20 years…I’m enjoying this year-long celebration of our 20th year of Oyster Bars…any excuse to throw a party, right!!!…and what better subject for May than education…we had a great April for PACE Center for Girls…sold a lot of ducks for the Lucky Duck Race…a HUGE thanks to Dawn at our Landside location…she sold over $6,600 worth of Ducks for the Race…talking about MVPs…wow….I need to thank all of you that bought individual ducks, Quack Packs and Flocks…PACE raised over $100,000 at this year’s race…that will be such a HUGE help for the girls and all of it stays right here at The PACE Center For Girls of Manatee County.

Back to May’s Celebration…it’s all about education as another school year closes…they sure seem to go by a lot faster than when I was in school…but we won’t go there…This month’s recipient of Birthday Cocktails and Dos Equis proceeds is our own Horne and Moon Scholarship Social…we’ll be hosting our 4th Annual Social in October…more details later but Save the Date October 21st, 2017. We’ve raised over $250,000 for adult education in Manatee County…we’ve awarded scholarships for adults needing to go to Manatee Technical College to learn a new trade (Police Academy, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Digital Design, Culinary to name a few) or an online Excel Class to get a promotion/raise in their existing job.

There are numerous scholarships for graduating High Schoolers but not for adults needing to go back to school to complete their education after quitting to start their careers for whatever reason…we want to be able to help them get back in classrooms…our scholarships are available for Manatee Technical College, USF Sarasota-Manatee and State College of Florida.

We’re proud of the people that have used these funds to better themselves and to help them advance in their careers. Amanda and I are so happy to be able to put this fun event on with Stewart, Trudy and Stewart Moon, Jr. They make it a blast… OK, Lisa makes it easy, The Moons make it a blast.

Here are some photos from our reception we hosted for donors and Scholarship recipients in March at the Manatee Community Foundation …click here to see more photos.

stewart, john, trudy moon

So we’re not doing enough for education, right?

We’ve been working on another project to help educate our community… There’s a definite correlation between grade-level reading and success. Studies show that of the children who are reading at one or more grade levels below their age when they finish 3rd grade, a majority will NEVER graduate high school and many will end up in Juvenile Detention Centers. There is also a concept called the Summer Slide where children “stop” learning during summers and have a hard time catching back up. Click here to video on Summer Slide.

After talking with many concerned people in our community… in education & in the general community, we decided to come up with a Summer Reading Program where we bring a group of our great local guests and rising 3rd graders from local schools together. We will feed everyone breakfast then read to children and have them read to us. We’ve collaborated with the Manatee County School system and the Manatee County Library system to have them bring kids to our Ellenton location 3 days a week for the entire month of June. They’ll arrive in time for a hot breakfast and an experience in greeting strangers and shaking hands and learn table manners and then also learn to read every day. Thru the generosity of one family in town, each child will be given a book to take home after every visit to read before their next breakfast meeting. We’ll have same group of kids every Monday for 4 weeks. A different group of kids every Wednesday, and another every Thursday for 4 weeks. We are expecting to have ~35 each day.

How can you help?

I thought you’d never ask…….! We’re looking for volunteers that can commit to being at our Ellenton Store to meet and read to 2 children for 4 weeks…now that’s only one day a week for 4 weeks…and it’s only for 2 hours a day…plan on 8:30am til 10:30am at the latest…so you can choose every Monday (June 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th), or every Wednesday or every Thursday…you get the picture.

Of course, if you’re an over-volunteer-er like so many we know, you can enlist for more time…our optimum goal would be for our volunteers to continue the mentor/reader program and stay connected with “their kids” when school begins again in August and tutor/mentor in the classroom as often as possible…It’s crucial we have the best reading students in Manatee County so we can continue to live in the greatest community anywhere.

We are looking for one volunteer for every 2 students so we need ~18 per day…we hope you can help!

If you’re interested in joining us on our goal of Grade Level Reading on the Suncoast, please…

1) visit this link where you’ll select your day assignment. Click submit.

2) Within a few minutes, you’ll receive a confirmation email that contains a downloadable background check form to allow us all to be around the children…I passed mine!!!

3) Email your completed form back to Amanda at amobamanda@gmail.com and then we’ll confirm!

Easy as 1-2-3.

It’s going to be an awesome program and one of the things we like is all of the kids in Summer School will be tested at the beginning of the program as well as at the end of the program so we’re hoping to see better test results from the children that had breakfast with us in June…who knows, if we get the results we’re planning on we may be able to replicate this to more stores next year…we’ve already spoken to many restaurateurs that are interested in our program and our results.

Wouldn’t that be sweet!


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