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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 1 year ago

Looking toward the future: Plymouth Harbor Foundation awards scholarships

In September, the Plymouth Harbor Foundation awarded 16 scholarships to employees and employees’ children.
by: Katie Johns Community Editor

Six years ago, Claudia Cavero came to the United States from Peru with her young son on a green card.

“Basically, we had to start our lives from zero, and at the beginning, I started working as a CNA. I found that’s really my passion, my calling,” she said.

Cavero is a certified nursing assistant at Plymouth Harbor. She attends Rasmussen College and plans to graduate in December as a registered nurse. Then, she wants to go on to get her four-year nursing degree, then a master’s degree.

“It feels so good helping people and taking care of my patients and my coworkers. That’s why I decided to go forward with my education,” she said.

Now, the journey will be a bit easier.

Dee Gaylord and her late husband Jim starting the Gaylord Nursing Scholarship. Courtesy photo

Cavero is this year’s recipient of the Gaylord Nursing Scholarship at Plymouth Harbor. This was the first year this specific scholarship was awarded, however the Plymouth Harbor foundation has been giving out scholarships since 2013.

Cavero, who has been working at Plymouth Harbor for almost five years as a CNA in the home care department, said this scholarship will help pay for her tuition and supplies.

“It is really nice to know that there are some good people who want to help others,” Cavero said.

Since its inception in 2012, the nonprofit Plymouth Harbor Foundation has given nearly $100,000 in scholarships. 

In September, the Plymouth Harbor Foundation awarded 16 scholarships to employees and children of employees as part of its employee assistance fund.

“It’s sort of a win-win,” said Becky Pazkowski, senior vice president of philanthropy at Plymouth Harbor. “The first thing would be our residents are really grateful for the care. I meet with every one of our residents when they come to live here, and one thing I ask is, ‘What do you like best?’ The No. 1 answer is ‘the people,’ including residents and staff. It’s just like being a family here.”

The second part is that Pazkowski said it’s a great way to  recruit and retain employees.

Each scholarship falls between $1,300 and $2,000.

Dee Gaylord and her late husband, Jim, started the Gaylord Nursing Scholarship.

Before retirement, Jim Gaylord had owned 18 KFC restaurants and gave scholarships to those employees. He got satisfaction out of seeing them progress in their education, Dee Gaylord said.

During his time at Plymouth Harbor, Jim Gaylord was critically ill. He had renal failure and needed to be checked twice a day.

“They did that so well,” Dee Gaylord said. “Plus, as we were here, we watched CNAs becomes LPNs, and we watched LPNs become RNs, and we were so pleased. We wanted some way to pay back.”

Hayden Menzies received the Jeanette Gehrie Music Scholarship. Courtesy photo

Funding the scholarship is a way for Dee Gaylord to feel like she and her husband made a difference.

Hayden Menzies, a student at the Sarasota School of Arts

and Sciences, received the Jeanette Gehrie Music Scholarship. With her scholarship, Menzies is able to take trombone and saxophone lessons at Sam Ash Music, something her mom said might not be able to happen otherwise.

Danielle Menzies, the dining services operations manager at Plymouth Harbor, said as a parent you want to be able to afford things like this for your children.

“She’s a very busy young lady and puts her heart into everything she does,” Danielle Menzies said of her daughter. “It’s not just music.”

In addition to playing trombone and saxophone, Hayden Menzies is on the cross-country team, she’s enrolled in the Florida Virtual School, she’s a Girl Scout and she participated in student government last year. The list continues to grow. She told her mom recently that she joined a photography club.

“You never want to tell them no because they don’t know what they can’t do until they try it,” Danielle Menzies said.

Hayden Menzies tried different instruments before deciding on trombone and saxophone. 

I’m Katie. I’m the Longboat Observer community editor, which means I cover all people, places and things pertaining to Longboat Key. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 364.

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