In February of 2015, a new idea was presented by the employee wellness OnBoard team that would help build strong relationships between residents and employees by bringing them together on a more personal level – enter Insights. Insights is a monthly event where a resident shares their story with employees at Plymouth Harbor on the fourth Friday of each month during January–October, from 12:00–12:30, typically in the Private Dining Room. Residents are invited to be the featured speaker, employees sign up to attend, and lunch is provided by the Plymouth Harbor Foundation. Part of the inspiration for the Insights series was the notion that, by residents sharing the paths to their remarkable lives, our employees would perhaps feel invigorated and inspired to achieve some of the things they otherwise felt were unattainable. What we have found is that there are many benefits to the series: connections, inspiration, admiration, and self-fulfillment.

The deepening of relationships that have been cultivated through these monthly connections has been noteworthy. Karen Smith, an employee in Resident Programming, has attended nearly all presentations. She shared, “…The Insights program has been tremendously valuable to me as I seek a more personal connection with our residents.” Paul Pazkowski, an eTech at Plymouth Harbor, says, “When I heard Anne Burroughs speak, I learned that it is important to have a passion in life, but you may or may not make your living at it. From Charles Gehrie’s talk I learned that many people have innovative ideas, but it takes an inventor and a team to make one successful.”

Some of the stories that are shared have deep life lessons and some are riddled with what we might consider strife, yet the storyteller found it to be part of their fulfilling journey. For instance, Sue Johnson’s story began in Manhattan, where she slept in the living room or hallway of their apartment most of her childhood. She wasn’t complaining. This was part of her life and contributed to what has made her the resilient and positive woman she is today. Reina Jay Aavri Troiano was reticent about telling her story, saying that her life was rather unremarkable. However, going through the process of reviewing her life, she found the experience to be uplifting and fulfilling, and she delivered a review of her life that was quite remarkable.

Insights is videotaped by resident Phil Starr every month, who then edits and produces a digital recording that is loaded onto our website at PlymouthHarbor.org/Category/Insights/. DVDs are produced and given to the speakers to share with their families, and a copy is placed in the Resident Library. If you are interested in telling your story through Insights, please contact Becky Pazkowski at Ext. 398.

Current Insights collection:
Charles Gehrie (March 2015)
Don and Peggy Wallace (April 2015)
Beverly and Bill Vernon (May 2015)
Jane Smiley (June 2015)
Senator Marlow Cook (July 2015)
Ted and Fran Rehl (August 2015)
Walt Mattson (September 2015)
Susan Mauntel (October 2015)
Terry and Maureen Aldrich (January 2016)
Phil and Barry Starr (February 2016)
Paul and Macky Groen (March 2016)
Tom and Marie Belcher (April 2016)
Judy Liersch and Al Jennings (May 2016)
John Goodman (June 2016)
Wendy and Jim Underwood (July 2016)
Jerry and Nancy Kaplan (August 2016)
Joe Berkely (September 2016)
Anne Burroughs (October 2016)
Lou Newman (January 2017)
Tom Elliott (February 2017)
Connie Meadows (March 2017)
Reina Jay Aavri Troiano (April 2017)
Sue Johnson (May 2017)
David Beliles (June 2017)
Connie Sanders and
Carl Koenig (July 2017)
Tom Towler and Nancy
Lyon (August 2017)

 

In previous issues of the Harbor Light, we have largely featured residents’ involvement within the greater Sarasota community. However, there are so many ways that residents give generously of their time within Plymouth Harbor, particularly in our Smith Care Center (SCC).

Residents lend a hand in the SCC in several ways. Activity Director Judy Sarnowski stresses that she has both official and unofficial volunteers — those who may not consider themselves formal volunteers, but make a point to stop in and check in on their neighbors on a consistent basis, in one way or another. Judy stresses that no matter how big or small their time commitment, both of these types of volunteers play an important role in the lives of SCC residents.

Currently, Judy has 19 Plymouth Harbor residents on her official volunteer roster, along with six community volunteers. Together, they contribute more than 50 hours each month, helping to accomplish a large number of activities and programs that otherwise would not be possible without their time and dedication. Volunteering takes on many different forms — bingo buddies; room visits; arts and crafts; table games; seasonal decorating; distribution of communications like the Harbor Light or Weekly Flyer; and so much more. “We are blessed to have an in-house base of volunteers,” Judy says. “Because of them, we are able to increase our programming, and you can really see first-hand the positive difference in the lives of our residents.”

The most important part of working with a volunteer base is ensuring that the volunteer is doing something they truly enjoy and are passionate about. As an example, resident Jerry Kaplan began volunteering a couple years ago and indicated an interest in offering a type of current events program. Today, he holds a well-attended newspaper reading and current events discussion on Monday mornings in the SCC Living Room.

There is always a need for more volunteers, especially as we come closer to the Grand Opening of our new Assisted Living and Memory Care Residences. If you would like to learn more, or if you are interested in working in the SCC, whether that be on a regular or as-needed basis, please contact Judy at Ext. 260. As a volunteer, you will be given an informative orientation manual and asked to complete a short questionnaire in order to best match your interests and time commitment with resident need.

We thank our resident volunteers for devoting their time to enhancing the lives of their neighbors.

 

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Marty Martel as our new Director of Maintenance. Marty joined the Plymouth Harbor team in July 2017.

In his role as Director of Maintenance, Marty is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of Plymouth Harbor’s infrastructure, including the repair of all building functions, grounds, equipment and appliances; implementing an ongoing facility preventive maintenance program; supporting the remodeling/upgrade program; and supporting capital projects.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Marty served as Director of Engineering for Brookdale Senior Living in Sarasota. There, he was responsible for overseeing maintenance of the entire community; managing its team of technicians; maintaining building-maintenance budgets; and establishing maintenance contracts, policies, safety programs, and training.

Before that, Marty spent nearly 14 years at Post Properties, a developer and operator of multifamily communities. He served as Area Lead Engineer in their Tampa office before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2005 to serve as their Director of Property Services Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region, where he managed 10 residential communities in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and New York. Marty also served as Maintenance Supervisor and Maintenance Technician at two additional companies in Tampa, and attended Northern Virginia Community College in Manassas, Virginia.

In addition to his maintenance expertise, Marty served in the U.S. Army from 1987 until 1996. He spent seven years in Germany, five of which were spent patrolling the borders between East and West Germany. He experienced first-hand the end of the Cold War and the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Marty was also deployed during Desert Storm, and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Valor during this conflict.

Plymouth Harbor is excited to have Marty on board, and we look forward to the continued enhancement of our maintenance program.

 

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Stephanie Leathers as our new Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care. Stephanie joined the Plymouth Harbor team in July 2017.

In her new role as Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, Stephanie is charged with helping to open our new Assisted Living and Memory Care residences in the Northwest Garden Building as well as planning, organizing, developing, and coordinating overall operations. Stephanie will also help to establish policies and procedures, but most importantly, she will be instrumental in the development and implementation of our premier programming in the new residences.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Stephanie served as Administrator at Mount View Assisted Living in Lockport, New York, where she was responsible for the daily operations of the 150-bed facility with an internal certified Home Health Care Agency. In her time at Mount View Assisted Living, she was instrumental in the establishment and opening of a 118-bed sister facility in a nearby county, and managed a staff of over 80 employees. Before that, Stephanie served in several different capacities at Elderwood Senior Care in Williamsville, New York. Her positions there included Administrator, Resident Care Manager, Assistant Director of Nursing, and Unit Manager.

A Registered Nurse, Stephanie attended Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, New York, where she received her Associate in Applied Science degree with a major in nursing. While there, Stephanie received the Elena T. Perone Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have Stephanie as a part of our team, and we look forward to seeing her personal touch on the opening of our new Assisted Living and Memory Care residences.

 

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is among the largest public health systems in the state of Florida, offering specialties in heart, vascular, neuroscience, and cancer services, in addition to a far-reaching network of outpatient, long-term care, and rehabilitation centers and programs. That said, it is also one of Sarasota County’s largest employers, with over 5,000 employees, 900 physicians, and 600 volunteers.

There are many facets to Sarasota Memorial, which was founded in 1925 and is governed by a nine-member elected Sarasota County Public Hospital Board. This is one of the only politically-elected public boards where members serve on a volunteer basis, at no cost, weighing in on major issues such as overall hospital function, its operations and challenges, real estate acquisitions and expansions, and more. Plymouth Harbor residents have served as members on this board, including John de Jongh and Tom Towler. Tom served on the board for more than nine years and resigned in January 2016. John, who has been actively involved with Sarasota Memorial and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc., for many years, was appointed to fill Tom’s vacant at-large seat and served for one year. 

Sarasota Memorial also depends on its hospital volunteers, who are given a variety of assignments, usually once per week on a four-hour shift basis. Resident Nancy Lyon has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years in many different capacities, alongside Tom Towler who volunteered from 1991 up until last year. Additionally, Alida de Jongh became involved several years ago, formerly working in the gift shop and now serving in the dispatch office. “We’re assigned jobs throughout the hospital, so we’re walking a lot,” Alida says. “But we’re so glad to help because it frees up the nurses for the more important jobs they need to be doing.”

Another element, mentioned previously, is the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation. Established in 1976 as an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Foundation was formed to help raise and distribute funds to improve programs, education, and technological advancements. As such, the Healthcare Foundation may receive gifts, grants, and bequests for restricted or unrestricted funds, and expends those funds for equipment, clinical studies, research, training, education programs, and capital improvements. Resident Bill Stanford has worked with the Healthcare Foundation for close to 20 years. He currently sits on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees as Vice-Chair and formerly served as Treasurer and Chair. John de Jongh now serves on the Healthcare Foundation’s marketing and development committee, and Tom Towler also served on the board of the Foundation for nine years.

Furthermore, Sarasota Memorial’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for the ongoing review of research conducted at the hospital and protecting the rights of those who volunteer to participate in that research. It is guided by the principles set forth in the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research report, and IRB members are appointed by the President/CEO of Sarasota Memorial. Members include physicians, pharmacists, nurses, community members, legal counsel, and hospital employees. Residents Tom Towler and Barbara Balaban have served as community representatives of the IRB.

To learn more about the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, you may visit www.smh.com.

 

Plymouth Harbor recently participated in CareerSource Suncoast’s Career Academy program, running from June 12th through July 20th. In its third year, the Career Academy is a five-week program that provides high school students the opportunity to learn about careers in a variety of fields. These fields, or “career tracks,” include: Foundations, Healthcare, Information Technology, Manufacturing & Construction, and Business/Entrepreneurship.

The Career Academy grew out of a state grant to create annual programs targeted at low-income teens facing a barrier in one way or another. Forty students (juniors or seniors in high school) were admitted into this year’s program – 20 from Sarasota County and 20 from Manatee County. Each week, students visit various organizations in the community pertaining to that week’s career track to increase leadership skills, network with industry professionals, and learn a variety of skills.

In addition to receiving $1,000, each student earns college credit through State College of Florida for participating. Students are assigned a program mentor, with whom they meet each Monday and Wednesday; and on Tuesdays, they take a “field trip” to two different participating organizations. Additionally, throughout the program, they are invited to attend networking events at Manatee Technical College and Suncoast Technical College.

On Tuesday, June 20th, the Career Academy’s Sarasota County students visited Plymouth Harbor as part of the Healthcare career track. While introducing students to the healthcare field within a Life Plan Community was a top priority, our overall goal was to introduce students to the many different career paths available within an organization like Plymouth Harbor.

After receiving a general overview of Plymouth Harbor by President/CEO Harry Hobson, students were given a tour of the campus and introduced to the following career tracks and opportunities within our organization: Health Services, Wellness, Security/Concierge/Transportation, Sales/Marketing, Maintenance/Grounds, Communications, and more. The students ended their tour with a meal and presentation by Dining Services, Accounting, and Resident Programming.

We are proud to be part of this exciting partnership within the community, helping students to identify, at a young age, careers and opportunities that are available to them right here in their backyard. We hope to continue to partner with CareerSource on similar initiatives in the future.

 

With its iconic architecture and exceptional performance lineup, the city-owned Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is known far-and-wide as Southwest Florida’s premier performing arts hall. In fact, in 2017 it was ranked the No. 1 Performing Arts Hall in North America in the 2000-seat category of “top spots” for the sixth time in Venues Today magazine.
 
The Van Wezel offers Broadway musicals, popular comedians, world-class symphony orchestras, top international performers, and classical, ethnic, and modern dance. With over 100 of these events per season, the Hall also hosts close to 50 events presented by the Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Ballet, the Sarasota Concert Association, and the Ringling Library Town Hall Lecture Series. In addition, what many may not realize is that the Van Wezel runs an educational program that brings over 30,000 of our youth (K–12) to the Hall for special performances, and sends visiting artists into our local schools and community. Through a partnership with the Sarasota County School Board and the John F. Kennedy Center Partners in Education program, teachers also have the ability to participate in development workshops, learning to teach through and about the arts.
 
Like so many organizations in the Sarasota community, the Van Wezel depends on volunteers to assist in offering the finest performing arts experience. Resident Don Fosselman was introduced to the Van Wezel by friends shortly after he moved here. Today, he has been volunteering as an usher for nearly 15 years. His love of the arts and the Hall’s variety of performances has kept him there.
 
In 1987, the Van Wezel Foundation was formed to support the overall mission of the Hall. Established as a charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Foundation operates independently, but as a partner, of the city-owned and-operated Hall. Since then, the Foundation has directed millions of dollars in support of the Hall’s capital improvements, programs, and ongoing educational efforts, like the initiatives described above. Resident Karl Newkirk has been a member of the Van Wezel Foundation Board since 2007.

According to Karl, an important focus of the Foundation Board today is the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 initiative first started by Michael Klauber, the restaurateur, some three years ago. This is an independent group working to plan the future of 42 acres of mostly open, city-owned Bayfront land. The vision is to support the creation of a long-term master plan for the Bayfront area that will establish a cultural and economic legacy for the region, while ensuring open, public access to the Bayfront.

There are over 50 community stakeholder organizations involved in Sarasota Bayfront 20:20, including Plymouth Harbor. In 2016, based upon the recommendation of Bayfront 20:20, the City Commissioners formed the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, an independent, privately funded, 501(c)(4) organization with a nine-member board, whose objective is to ensure the delivery of a professionally-prepared master plan to the City. Representatives of the Van Wezel Foundation Board regularly attend the organization’s meetings, providing input as requested and advocating for the Hall’s needs, which include a vision of a brand new, state-of-the-art iconic facility replacing the nearly 50-year-old Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Karl stresses, however, that this does not mean the Hall’s beloved purple building would be torn down, but rather more likely repurposed. That said, decisions are yet to be made and planning is expected to continue over the next year.
 
“All of us are proud of, and value, Sarasota’s recognition as the arts and culture center of Southwest Florida. The Van Wezel is clearly the centerpiece for that Brand,” Karl says. “Fully developing the 42 acres for use by the community at-large is a once in a generation opportunity and I cannot stress how important this will be in maintaining Sarasota’s leadership and commitment to that Brand.”
 
To learn more about the Van Wezel, visit www.VanWezel.org/support/ or call 941-955-7676. You may also place a note in Karl’s mailbox (T-25A) and he will be glad to get in touch with you.

 

“A true American fairytale”— that’s how Barbara “Bobi” Sanderson describes her life.

In the 1600s, both sides of Bobi’s family traveled from England to settle in the early North American colonies. Before that, her father’s side of the family relocated from France to England. In fact, after continually being referred to as the “French family,” they legally changed their last name to “French” (Bobi’s maiden name).

Bobi’s oldest-known relative was buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1691, and was recognized as the building project director for Harvard University. Years later, when the government began offering land grants to those willing to farm and improve land in the western region, her father’s side of the family loaded up their wagons and moved west.

On the other hand, Bobi largely knows her mother’s side of the family as river and canal engineers, who worked on canals ranging from Canada to the Chicago area. In the 1800s, they eventually settled in Ottawa, Illinois, where the Illinois River and the Fox River meet. Later, her father’s family was also drawn to this small town, becoming bankers, judges, and other central figures of the community.

Many years later, Bobi herself grew up in Ottawa, with her parents and one brother. With a population of roughly 15,000 people at the time, she was related to many members of
the community. “I thought everyone grew up this way, in a small town, where you knew most people,” Bobi remembers. “Everyone was part of the community – as a doctor, barber, grocer, or by helping set up civic organizations. It wasn’t thought of as ‘volunteering,’ but rather helping your neighbor.”

After high school, Bobi wanted to experience other parts of the world. She left Ottawa to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts; however, after World War II began, she transferred to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, to be closer to family.

During her time at Northwestern, Bobi went on a blind date with a lawyer by the name of Edward “Sandy” Sanderson. After a few months, the two were engaged, and were married by the end of Bobi’s junior year in college. They settled in Sandy’s hometown of Evanston and had two children together, a daughter and son. Today, they have blessed Bobi with four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

In 1972, after the children were grown and Sandy retired, the couple visited with friends on Siesta Key. They fell in love with the area and, before leaving, put an offer on a piece of land on Longboat Key. They used it as a vacation home for two years before they relocated to Sarasota full-time. Coincidentally, it turned out that a number of people they had known in the Chicago area had moved to Sarasota as well. “It was like having our own little Chicago community right here,” she laughs.

In 1992, Sandy passed away, and at the urging of her children, Bobi decided it was time to get back to traveling. They signed her up for a trip around the world on the Holland-America Rotterdam cruise ship. It left in January of 1993 and didn’t return until April, 103 days later.

“That trip changed my life,” Bobi says. “I realized I had a lot of living left to do.” While Sarasota remained her permanent residence, she made a point to continue her travels.

Later, in 1999, Bobi was introduced to Dr. Jim Griffith. They “met” over the telephone and, ironically, the two had both signed up to live at Plymouth Harbor before meeting. They remain together to this day, enjoying art, music, and traveling. In July, the two are setting off on a three-week cruise to Norway.

Throughout her life, Bobi has always been involved in the community in one way or another. In Evanston, she served as a tutor for local grade schools, worked with the YMCA, the garden club, local government, and much more.

In Sarasota, Bobi boasts a 23-year volunteer career with Mote Aquarium. Junior League of Sarasota, the Sarasota Garden Club, and the Longboat Key Chapel Board of Governors have also benefited from her service. When it comes to Plymouth Harbor, Bobi says she couldn’t be happier. “Moving in here was one of the best decisions we ever made,” she says. “There are so many fascinating people. It’s like living on a cruise ship, but you always have your friends with you.”

 

Thousands of boys and girls have walked through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County (BGCSC) since they first opened in 1970. The mission of the BGCSC is to enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.

With a goal of having all members on track to graduate high school with a plan for the future, the BGCSC provides after-school and summer programs for more than 5,000 children and youth, ages six to 18. Through its five Clubs – three in Sarasota, one in Venice, and one in North Port – the organization offers educational programming/classes, outdoor activities, art, culinary lessons, and more. In addition, “satellite Clubs” are offered in schools throughout the county, which are administered by teachers and available to children who are out of reach of their local Club. While there are several full- and part-time staff members, the BGCSC operates with the help of its many volunteers.

Resident Susan Mauntel has consistently worked with children in after-school programs, so when she relocated to Sarasota, the BGCSC seemed like the perfect fit. Today, Susan volunteers once a week as a tutor, helping grade school students with their homework. Resident Harriet Josenhanss began working with the organization in the late 1990s. She served as a member of the Foundation Board, and became a member of the “Heritage Club” after including the BGCSC in her estate plan. Today, Harriet serves as an as-needed volunteer, helping with mailings and bringing groups by – particularly from Plymouth Harbor – for outreach and tours of the campus. “It’s a great organization. I can’t say enough about it,” she says. “It’s an emotional experience when you enter the facility and see all the positive activities taking place.”

Lee DeLieto, Sr., a member of both the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. and the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees, began working with the BGCSC in 1996. A friend and BGCSC board member invited him to attend a Christmas event and, as Lee puts it, “That was it. I was hooked.” Since then, he has served as a board member, Chair, Secretary, and now Treasurer for the organization. “Working with these kids is one of my greatest pleasures in life,” he says. “There are so many stories of how the Boys & Girls Club changed, and in many cases, saved their lives.”

Additionally, Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board member Lee Bryon spent years as a fundraiser for Community Youth Development (CYD) before the agency merged its youth leadership and service programs with the BGCSC in August 2016 – specifically STAR Leadership Training and SRQVolunteen. She has helped raise money for the organization’s teen programming and annual Leadership Breakfast – an event that Plymouth Harbor is proud to participate in each year.

Many lives have benefitted from the hard work and dedication of the BGCSC. To learn more, visit bgcsarasota.com or call 941-366-3911.

 

Plymouth Harbor recently participated in the State of Talent Conference hosted by CareerSource Suncoast in partnership with the Patterson Foundation. This is the first year for the State of Talent Conference, which was held on Friday, May 19th, at the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus.

The conference was aimed at Human Resources and Operations Executives, and its purpose was to bring together employers from Sarasota and Manatee counties who wish to learn how better to recruit, train, and retain talent.

Plymouth Harbor was the sponsor for the Age-Friendly Workplace Panel discussion. Harry Hobson, our President/CEO, was joined on the panel by Kathy Black, Ph.D. (gerontologist and professor at USF), and Mike Jeffries (owner and operator of Mader Electric, Inc.). Laurey Strkyer of the Patterson Foundation moderated the discussion. The topics discussed included demographics of the current workforce, how companies like Plymouth Harbor and Mader Electric recruit and retain employees of all ages, and some of the highlights of each generation.

Harry Hobson kicked off the session by introducing Plymouth Harbor, as an employment leader in Sarasota for over 50 years. He cited the challenges we face in recruiting staff for the new Northwest Garden Building, especially our new level of care in the memory care residence, with the increasing demand in Sarasota for hospitality talent. He also stated the importance of Plymouth Harbor and other Life Plan Communities in Sarasota to make themselves known as an industry where individuals can build their careers in nearly every field, such as accounting, marketing, culinary, healthcare, trades, philanthropy, and hospitality.

“At a recent meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, it was surprising for us to learn that when naming industries that exist in our state, the Life Plan Community industry was not even recognized,” said Harry. “It was an eye-opener to us and we decided to take some action and get involved to introduce our industry to the budding and existing workforce.”

Other organizations participating in the sessions included Department of Economic Opportunity, Dr. Rick Goodman, the Herald-Tribune, Intern Bridge, Game On Nation, FCCI Insurance, PGT Industries, Design Concepts Marine Concepts, and Anna Maria Oyster Bar. The conference was sold out, with approximately 150 participants.