As you can see, we made the change to IMG Country Club in January. I am happy to report that the lunch was very good, especially the cheesecake dessert. It was served efficiently and the view was great as usual. The only drawback, of course, was that we missed our friends at Renaissance who always took such good care of us. I do like the light at IMG for photos. They are much sharper, but they do tend to wash the subjects out a bit. I will try to handle the light better next time.
Our speaker was Susan Atherton, Director of Charitable Legacy Planning and Development at the Manatee Community Foundation. She encouraged us to consider leaving funds in our wills for scholarships for students who pursue careers in education. She also reported that there are scholarships available for such students right now. If you know someone who is planning to enter or who is already a student at a college, encourage him or her to call the Manatee Community Foundation for information.
Thanks to your continuing donations of books, we have 50 new ones to take to Samoset Elementary. Judi Ussery, Diana Buell, and Judy Shostrum will see that they get there and are given to students. Now we need a new destination for our books. If you would like to volunteer to distribute some, let me know. We are trying to choose schools where there is a an abundance of children who do not have ready access to books of their own. So far, we have been to Oneco, Rogers Gardens, and now Samoset.
In my childhood in a remote area of Maine during the Great Depression, I still remember the excitement when our teacher opened the box of books that came from the state capitol of Augusta a few times a year. We waited on the edge of our seats as she slowly pulled them out one at a time, describing the story in each. When she finished, we were allowed to raise our hands and hope to be the one chosen to get a book. Usually, there were enough to go around. We were allowed to take a book home for a week and then return it for another. I don't remember how long the box of books was ours, but I do remember hurrying to read one to get another, so it must have been a relatively short period. Perhaps our books might have a similar effect.
Speaking of books, the elementary school book fairs serve much the same purpose. We may quibble a bit about the high prices on the offerings, but the children that come with their classmates to shop for them have much the same anticipation that I had back in Maine. The downside, of course, is that often the families cannot afford the prices, especially if there is more than one child in the family. Helping out at a book fair, I have seen parents come in with a handful of dollars and change to purchase just one that their child had pleaded for, and then be crestfallen when they had not taken into account that there would be a sales tax on the book. Fortunately, the librarian usually had a slush fund of some sort to help with that. Volunteers often chipped in to help buy a book or two also.
Besides the books, please remember that we are collecting non-perishable food for the Manatee Food Bank and toiletries and other items for the Salvation Army to disperse to their clients. The winter has been rather harsh this year and it must have been miserable to be homeless.
Our speaker in February will be Aedan Stockdale of Guardian Ad Litem. I hope to see you all there. Remember the IMG Country Club is the old El Conquistador Country Club located on El Conquistador Avenue. If you do not hear from your caller, call Mary Ann Jensen, 756-7603.