For more than 20 years, the Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services Center has offered health and human services to Sarasota’s underserved community members. Founded by Betty Schoenbaum and the late Dr. Kay Glasser, the center is home to 17 nonprofit organizations that all function to improve the quality of life of low-income families.
Soon, Glasser-Schoenbaum will expand its services with the addition of a new children’s health facility. The current County Children’s Health Clinic is in need of an expansion to meet the growing demand for services. Clinical Manager Beth Smith says the clinic has seen the demand for services triple in the last seven or eight years.
“We’ve outgrown the space we’ve been in,” said Smith. “We’re in the middle of five underserved areas, and with the current demand, we’re at maximum capacity.”
Construction on the new $1.4 million 12,000-square-foot children’s health facility is expected to begin this summer and be completed by the end of 2013. The new facility will join the Glasser-Schoenbaum campus at 1750 17th St. and will be approximately double the size of the current clinic, allowing it to accommodate more children, offer more services and incorporate an additional full-time physician.
Smith said potential services could include increased access to specialists, child medical services, satellite pharmacy services, childhood obesity prevention and a family practice physician, who could also see children’s parents.
“Transportation is a big issue for a lot of low-income families,” she said. “So we hope to be able to provide more points of access to some of these additional services.”
The new children’s health facility has already received a $500,000 donation from Longboat Key philanthropists Sam and Sally Shapiro and an additional $250,000 gift from co-founder Betty Schoenbaum, which will be matched by other donations.
“We firmly believe that it all starts with the children,” said Sally Shapiro. “We’re glad to have the opportunity to help.”
Executive Director Phil King said the need to provide health care to children was a pressing issue.
“We think every child should have access to health care,” said King. “With the generosity of Sam and Sally Shapiro and Betty Schoenbaum and the help of the community, we can really have a great impact.”