Kids doing good things – that’s Rotakids in action
If you are not familiar with Rotakids, it’s a club for third, fourth and fifth graders developed by Rotary International and sponsored locally by the Rotary Club of Englewood. Rotakids meet once a month and have projects during the year benefiting the community as well as the larger global world. There are Rotakid clubs at Myakka River and Vineland Elementary Schools.
This article focuses on the Myakka River Rotakids who meet after school one day a month. Rotary International is a service-minded organization and this program introduces students to its principals and ideals in the format of making a positive difference in their school, local community and globally. The Rotakid Pledge reads “As a Rotakid, I promise: to be fair to all, to serve my community, to show respect for others.”
The Myakka River club participates in year-long projects such as collecting prescription eyeglasses in collaboration with L.A. Ainger and Lemon Bay High School. Glasses collected are sent to Mexico. Monthly projects include the following: October - Helped to restock the Homeless Coalition of Port Charlotte hygiene closet by collecting personal items. They also raised money for a local five-year old with leukemia by setting up a photo booth where families could have their photos taken and make a donation at the October annual carnival. November: Sent letters for the troops and had a food drive. December: Rotakids paired up with a pre-K student who received pajamas and a book. February: Made cards and placemats for the elderly which were taken to assisted living and nursing homes. March: Cleaned up their school campus by collecting trash around the grounds.
These examples show how Rotakids are learning to be responsible young people who help their community and show care for others. The teacher advisor for the group is Carrie Dillmore with Kara Wakley as her assistant. A representative from the Rotary Club of Englewood acts as mentor to the group.
The Myakka River Rotakid club members are Anna Alderman, Isabella Beirwaltes, Trace Beno, Anthony Bernicchi, Amelia Bernicchi, Orrie Butler, Makayla Cerbone, Kaley Fitzgerald, Jacob Garland, Bella Goff, Hannah Grim, William Henry, Olivia Jones, Sunil Kumar, Neveah Keene, Heather Mason, Seamus McCarthy, Trey Motuzas, Gavyn Oliva, Willow Parker, Dominic Parla, Laila Pennix, Kaylee Pernak, Jenna Perry, Lily Redman, Neaveah Redman, Logun Robert, Braydon Simmons, Kayden Vanatta, Ryan Wagar and Christopher Worley, Jr.
Free Meals for Students
Sky Academy Englewood, 871 S. River Road, will be a food distribution site until school resumes. There will be free lunches for all students ages 5 to 18 regardless of which school they attend. Hours are 11am to 1pm. Students must be present in order to collect the meal. In order to know how many meals are needed to be prepared, parents/guardians must complete a confidential form that can be found on the SKY Academy website – www.skyatthey.com - and Facebook page. Adults who accompany the students will receive a lunch provided by Mango Bistro. Students over 18 that are home from school may bring proof of their need to Sky Academy during these hours to receive a voucher for a lunch at Mango Bistro.
Charlotte County students, ages 5 to 18, can get a free breakfast and lunch through the Charlotte County Schools’ Champ’s on Wheels program through April 15. The Champ’s Café will be providing curbside service 10am to 1pm weekdays at Myakka River Elementary School, 12650 Willmington Blvd and L.A. Ainger Middle School, 245 Cougar Way. The child must be present to receive the meal. For questions, call Champ’s Café office at 575•5400, ext. 109.
The School Backpack Ministry which provides weekend bags of food for Englewood Elementary School students has those bags available for pickup at the Jubilee Center at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 401 S. Broadway. Families and individuals who are in need of food can request one when they stop by for food. The Jubilee Center is open Monday through Thursday, 10am to noon. To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Jubilee Center is offering curbside pick-up. For questions, call 681•3550.
Englewood Helping Hand, 700 E. Dearborn Street, is also offering free food for families with children. Pantry is open Monday through Thursday, 9:30am to 2:30pm, for families and individuals needing food assistance.
A growing list of restaurants are offering free meals to children while they are out of school. Isabella’s Bistro, 6880 Placida Road, is offering food to children in need. For more information, call 698•8880. Mango Bistro is providing a meal for college students who are home and in need of meal. They must present themselves at Sky Academy between 11am and 1pm weekdays to receive a voucher for a meal at Mango Bistro, 301 W. Dearborn Street. Mini City Food Stand is stepping up to provide a free meal for children while they are out of school. Children will receive a free meal from a limited menu along with bottled water. They will continue to offer a regular menu for the public as well, featuring their Sliders. Mini City will be moving around to various Englewood sites so visit their Facebook page for upcoming locations. Phone: 733•0289.
FC Egg Hunt Postponed
Fellowship Church of Englewood has postponed their Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza that was scheduled for April 4th. Follow them on fcenglewood.com for updates.
Easter Festival Cancelled
Due to health concerns, the Easter Festival set for April 4th at Gulf Cove United Methodist Church has been cancelled. For further information, call the church at 697•1747.
Egg Hunts Cancelled
Charlotte County’s Annual Adaptive Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 4 and the Annual Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 11 have been cancelled. For more information, contact Lonne Moore at 627•1074 or Lonne.Moore@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.
Kids’ Fun Hotline
Charlotte County Parks and Recreation is offering a Home Fun Hotline! The Home Fun Hotline will allow parents to call and speak to someone at one of the county’s recreation centers and get a list of activities parents can do with their children. The activities will range from games that can be played at home or ways to use open spaces here in Charlotte County. Recreation staff will be available from 9am to 5pm, Monday- Friday. The number parents should call 743•1510. For information, contact Erin Murphy at 681-3742 or Erin.Murphy@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.
Lemondrops Summer Theatre Camp
For the eighth year in a row, Lemon Bay Playhouse will host The Lemon Drops Summer Theatre Camp. Registration for the camp starts Wednesday, April 1. Camp will be held July 6 – 24 from 9am to noon, Monday through Friday, ending with two evening performances on July 24 & 25. The cost for the three-week camp is $210 per camper. The camp is limited to 21 students ages 8-14. If a child has” aged-out” and has been part of the camp in the past, they are welcome to enroll. Openings fill quickly and early registration is encouraged. A $40 deposit is required at registration time. The application and deposit are due by June 15. Applications can be found at www.lemonbayplayhouse.com or can be picked up at the Lemon Bay Playhouse box office, Monday-Friday, 10am to 2pm. For more information call the box office at 475•6756.