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Rotary Club of Longboat Key provides Resilient Retreat care packages

Rotarian Sidney Turner, the Resilient Retreat founder, got a surprise from her fellow club members.

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  • | 11:58 a.m. October 23, 2020
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Thanks to dozens of care packages from the Rotary Club of Longboat Key, those served by Resilient Retreat can take some resilience and peace into their homes. 

Founder, Rotary member and Longboat Key resident Sidney Turner was presented with the packages, which are actually kits to help with Resilient Retreat workshops — book club, yoga class, aromatherapy and foam rolling. Former club president Nancy Rozance coordinated the charge. 

“We’re calling them care packages, but each one is a different workshop topic,” Turner said.

The organization is a nonprofit that aims to help survivors of trauma and abuse and first responders empower themselves to thrive. Many of those served have PTSD or depression as well as other mental and physical health concerns. The trauma-informed services are a way to help survivors cope and move past trauma. 

“If we were to do a yoga class, which has been proven to help with PTSD, we would just have yoga mats at the office and people would check them out and reuse them,” Turner said. “The Rotary Club really stepped in to help us get materials so people can do this at home.” 

For now, Turner and Resilient Retreat host their workshops online due to the pandemic, so getting the physical materials to those served is a step in being able to help them long-term. They’ll return to in-person workshops at some point, as Turner said it’s better in-person, but the upside to online is that they’ve been able to serve people all over the country, not just in Sarasota. Resilient Retreat may continue that even when in-person services resume. 

“No matter where they are the services are the same,” Turner said. 

Groundbreaking on an 84-acre Resilient Retreat facility in Sarasota will begin at the end of the month, making real the goal Turner has had for Resilient Retreat since the organization was born in 2018. The facility will provide overnight and long-term trauma treatments and offer a “retreat” for healing — the first of its kind in the country. 

“It’s been a two-year process in the making and it’s been a labor of love,” Turner said. “We’re projecting a two-year build, then we’ll be able to house people at the center.” 

Turner is a trauma psychologist and has worked in academia, but has been frustrated by the timeline of turning research results into practice, especially in the field of trauma care. She decided to turn her research skills to nonprofit organizations to make the translation time from research to practice shorter. 

“In a university setting, you publish in a journal and only other academics read it, not the people doing the work every day,” Turner said. “It was frustrating to me that that wasn’t happening and I was finding that nationwide, we really focus on immediate crises.”

Rather than an emergency-room approach, Turner and Resilient Retreat aim to help undo the effects of long-term trauma. 

“A lot of people we see at Resilient Retreat have trauma from (about) 13 years prior,” Turner said. “How do you help people heal and find hope and meaning after these experiences?”


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