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Rotary Club of Longboat Key's season of service

The Rotary Club of Longboat Key has been a steadfast pillar for the community, supporting philanthropy, youth literacy and conservation.

Josh the Otter visits one of Sarasota's elementary schools to talk about water safety.
Josh the Otter visits one of Sarasota's elementary schools to talk about water safety.
Courtesy photo
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Amid the sun-drenched landscapes and swaying palms of Longboat, the Rotary Club of Longboat Key has emerged as a pillar of service, fostering a legacy of philanthropy, camaraderie and positive change. Jeff Driver, who became president of the Rotary Club in 2022, talked about what the club has done this past season.

“Each year we have signature and ongoing events. One of the things we do is host annual speaker programs where we invite two speakers a month,” said Driver. “They are in-person at All Angels Episcopal Church or via Zoom on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.”

As of July 1, Jeff Driver is the new Rotary president.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer

Driver explained that the programs are for residents to learn about ongoing matters of interest. 

“They are always free. Back in March, we had the CEO of Save our Seabirds. We also had Bernie Quinn, who is the president and CEO of Manatee County’s Habitat For Humanity visit us in May,” said Driver. “He spoke about sustainable and affordable housing, which is quite important.”

Driver explained that the club's season started off with last year's Hot Diggity Dog Parade, which will also take place again this year as part of July 4 festivities.

“It’s a parade that we participate in with the Longboat Key Garden Club. Dogs dress up in patriotic-themed costumes and their owners dress up, too. We get the fire department involved as well and they go down Bay Isles Road adjacent to Town Hall. It’s a very fun event.” said Driver.

Driver explained the rotary club also takes part in the Children Literacy Program at Tuttle Elementary School. The club provides books to students for them to read and volunteers also read aloud to the students during the school year. 

“Adding to that, the club also participated in ‘Remake Learning Days’ at Tuttle Elementary in April where families completed art, music and cooking projects,” said Driver. 

The Rotary Club of Longboat Key also helped pick up trash off the highway this year as part of their Adopt-a-Highway initiative.

For decades, the Rotary Club has served as a catalyst for change, embracing the Rotary International motto of "Service Above Self." In addition to its local endeavors, the club is an active participant in global humanitarian initiatives. 

"Josh" the Otter and administrative secretary Janet Shapiro promoted water safety at the 2023 community open house.
Photo by Sidra Wali

“Our Earth Day event in April went so well this year. It was an opportunity to get like-minded people together to create a sustainable future in Longboat. Josh the Otter, our mascot, visited one of Sarasota's elementary schools to talk about water safety in April as well. The programs are all designed around education,” said Driver. “We have an upcoming project that will involve supporting education programs using film media for coastal environmental sustainability. I think it’s important to give back to the community. We like to participate in hands-on things while helping people in need.”



Sidra Wali

Sidra Wali is a staff writer for the Longboat Key Observer. She's worked as a newspaper reporter and written for several publications and organizations as a freelancer.

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