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Workman updates Rotarians on Heights Foundation’s mission

By Staff | Jul 11, 2011

Julie Workman, Director of Programs & Community Relations, Harlem Foundation, speaks at last week's San-Cap Rotary Club meeting.

Even though we’re right smack dap in the middle of summer, it always amazes me that so much of our club’s work and planning gets done at this time so that we’re up and ready and in full swing for the upcoming season of activities on the Island. It’s also the time, when we get a chance to invite other local service clubs, non-profits and organizations to visit with us and let us know what type of projects they are working on and give us an overview of how we might be able to help them.

Just last week, our Board of Directors had to make a decision on once again being a sponsor for the annual “Ding” Darling Days, held in October. Of course, that was a no-brainer. Our decisions for funding support are not always that easy one of the criteria for giving is how the organization’s mission fits with Rotary International focused projects and programs.

Last week, Sanibel-Captiva Rotary invited Julie Workman, Director of Programs & Community Relations, of The Heights Foundation to be our guest speaker. At this time, The Heights Foundation’s main goal is finding and providing funding to complete the construction of The Harlem Heights Cultural Arts and Community Center. This project has been a labor of love and perseverance for a group of extremely dedicated volunteers since 2005, led by Victor Mayeron, former owner of The Mucky Duck on Captiva.

Construction of the building was well underway when in 2008 our national economy took a nose-dive and some very substantial pledges had to be withdrawn. The building campaign stalled for a time but with resolve the Foundation sought support from members of the extended community surrounding Harlem Heights and local and national businesses in the area.

Funding got back on track with a lot of hard work and funding has now reached over the $6 million mark and the capital campaign with three months to go is only $400,000 short of its financial goal to complete construction of The Harlem Heights Cultural Arts and Community Center. If you would like to help reach this goal, just give them a call at 482-7706. There are giving opportunities at all levels. Julie said the main goal of the Center will be “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty through Enrichment and Education.”

The Center will be the hub for social and educational experiences in the Harlem Heights Community. The Foundation is already active in after school programs, outreach programs, play groups, summer camp and job training by partnering with other non-profits, service organization and businesses in the Fort Myers Community.

When the Center is built families in Harlem Heights will have access to the resources needed to help them meet their life goals. It will house Family Development Resources, Economic Self Sufficiency Programs, Community Connections and Resources, Wellness and Health Advocacy, Cultural & Expressive Arts, Computer Learning Lab, Culinary Arts Training Kitchen, and support Lifelong Learning Opportunities.

“The Heights Foundation’s goal is to promote family and community development, support education and wellness, and provide the benefits of the cultural and expressive arts,” Workman said. “The foundation is a grassroots, hands-on organization that celebrates the strength and diversity of the community.”

Harlem Heights residents, organizations and friends efforts are completely focused on making the Harlem Heights community a viable, safe, and active community. A community everyone can be proud of.

Upcoming Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club speakers are (July 15) Rotarian Chet Sadler-his recent trip to Tanzania; (July 29) Shelly Radovan, Lee County Mosquito Control District Deputy Director for Education & Communications; (Aug. 5) Teresa Riska Hall, Director of Volunteers, Events and Community Relations-Ronald McDonald House; (Aug. 12) Russ Luther, Faith Relations Manager ECHO, The Global Food Crisis; and (Aug. 19) Shannon Vicksler, Nurse Practitioner-Dr. Haiken Dermatology-Skin Cancer and Prevention. If you would like to attend one of our upcoming Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meetings or would like information regarding Rotary, please call Shirley Jewell at 337-1099.

The San-Cap Rotary Club meets at 7 a.m. every Friday at The Beachview Steakhouse, located at 100 Par View Drive on Sanibel. Guests are always welcomed.