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Black Tie Monday, Mar. 16, 2020 1 year ago

Sarasota philanthropy parents map out quarantine plans

Neuro Challenge shares the love, Sarasota parents prepare for family time, and more.
by: Harry Sayer Staff Writer

Just A Pause

So, my schedule is looking pretty free. How about yours?

It’s true, most if not all of the local philanthropic events have been postponed, some outright canceled. Some organizations decided to push on — A Life Story Foundation held its annual gala at the circus’s Ulla Searing Big Top on Saturday — but as it stands, the coming weeks will be looking much thinner than usual. We’ll be keeping an eye on how things develop and updating our Black Tie app and website constantly, so keep a close watch with us.

It’s tough to say what happens next (I’m hoping everything blows over, but doesn’t seem like that’ll be happening in the near future), but I no doubt speak for everyone when I say we hope things resume to normal soon.

But for right now, be responsible — wash your hands and stay at home if possible. It’s good for you and everyone you know. 

Family Time

So the schools are shut down, which means several local parents are having much more quality time with their kids than they anticipated. Good luck, everyone.

Diana Buchanan has planned a Longboat Key staycation with her husband, Matt. The gang will be focusing on outdoor games and arts and crafts to keep spirits high. Plus, in the absence of proper education, Diana will try something new — homeschooling her kids. She says she hasn’t done it before, but she’s up for a challenge. 

Britt Riner is planning on plenty of family music parties and games to keep her three young children entertained. Outdoor scavenger hunts where her two children, Magnolia and Rhodes, will hunt for items in the backyard and bring them inside to make a collage. Beyond that, they’ll be having reading time where they discuss stories from the Bible. They’ll also be having “Action time”, where the kids will draw pictures and drop them on the doors of elderly neighbors. Said drawings will include a Riner phone number in case the neighbors need anything. 

SPARCC's Mary Ellen Mancini said her children are teenagers, which presents its own challenges. She has bought more frozen pizzas than ever before, picked up some new video games, and given them an ultimatum to exercise at least once per day. 

Flowers for All

Now a case of turning the proverbial lemons into lemonade. Neuro Challenge Foundation had a unique problem when postponing its Cause 4 Hope event on March 14 to next fall. The group had 400 pink shimmer roses that were meant to be used as table centerpieces. Not to be wasteful (and to recoup some of its losses), Neuro Challenge hosted an online auction last week in the hopes of finding a generous buyer. After a bidding war, an anonymous donor purchased the roses for $500 — but then gave them to the second bidder, Annette Gueli of Pro-Motion Notions, who delivered the flowers in the community.

"My intent was to share a little sunshine in all this doom and gloom of coronavirus," Gueli said. 

Gueli and her staff received the flowers at 1 p.m. last Friday, and quickly set about wrapping and delivering 350 roses to 19 women from Lakewood Ranch to downtown Sarasota. She says more than anything that she respects her employee's hustle in delivering the flowers. We respect the gesture. 

Season Nominations
We’re still moving forward with our Season Standout nominations, so be sure to submit your personal Standout Man and Standout Woman on our Black Tie app, or at The nominations will end Friday, March 20 and voting begins Monday, March 23. It’s still a close race, so your vote just might make the difference. Yes, I’m talking to you.

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Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 

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