The Plymouth Harbor Foundation awards scholarships annually to employees and their children who are seeking to further their education. This year we were able to award scholarships to the following 14 individuals, thanks to the more than 100 generous donors who have made gifts over the last few years to support their pursuit of higher education and professional development.

Melissa Berthold, Residents Association Scholarship
Melissa has been a Server in Plymouth Harbor’s Mayflower Café for over four years, juggling work and college at the same time. She is using her scholarship for further studies at the State College of Florida in preparing herself to become a Dental Hygienist.

Sandra Esparza, Plymouth Harbor Foundation Scholarship
Sande first joined Plymouth Harbor in Dining Services back in 2007. After a few promotions, Sande desired a management role and in 2017 was selected as Housekeeping Supervisor. Sande will use her scholarship to acquire the International Executive Housekeepers Association Professional Education Credentialing Program. This certification will allow her to further advance her career.

Christina Flanary, Bruce B. Crawford and Joan P. Sheil Scholarship, Alida de Jongh Scholarship
Christina is a busy single mother who is in her second year working towards obtaining her RN-Associates degree from the State College of Florida. She also works full time in the evenings at Blake Medical Center in monitoring and safety. She once worked at Plymouth Harbor as a Candy Striper! Christina’s mother is Liz Clark, who is Plymouth Harbor’s Administrator of Home Care.

Sandra Franca, Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship
Sandra is a Laundry Aide in Health Services at Plymouth Harbor. While researching herbal remedies to complement her health care plan, Sandra sought to educate herself about nutrition. She is using the scholarship to obtain a Master Herbalist and Aromatherapist Certification and hopes to learn what natural products will help support, rebalance and restore vitality for optimum well-being.

Hayden Menzies, Jeannette Gehrie Music Scholarship
Hayden is an 8th grade student at the Sarasota School of Arts and Science. She continues taking music lessons at Sam Ash Music on the alto sax and trombone. Hayden is the daughter of Danielle Menzies, who works as Plymouth Harbor’s Operations Manager of Dining Services.

Kate Meyer, Jane T. Smiley Scholarship
Kate is a freshman at Florida State University in Tallahassee pursuing a degree in criminology and pre-law. She would like to work initially as a criminal profiler and if she advances on to attend law school, then become a criminal prosecuting attorney. She is the daughter of Joy Meyer, who is the Health Services Operations Coordinator at Plymouth Harbor.

Stephen Moros, Doyle Scholarship
Stephen is our Human Resources Recruiter. He has his undergraduate degree in Finance and is using his scholarship to further his education by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Data Analytics from St. Louis University in Missouri online.

Trisha Roman, Plymouth Harbor Foundation Scholarship
Trisha is the Operations Supervisor for Plymouth Harbor’s thriving Housekeeping Department and has worked here for a total of four years. Trisha also oversees the Environmental Technician staff. Trisha is using her scholarship to acquire the International Executive Housekeepers Association Professional Education Credentialing Program. This certification will assist her in furthering her career in the hospitality field.

Sarah Osoria Ruiz, Gaylord Family Nursing Scholarship
Sarah began working at Plymouth Harbor as a CNA then as an LPN in Plymouth Harbor’s Smith Care Center. She is married and the mother two girls. She is using her scholarship towards the LPN-RN Transition program at the State College of Florida.

Alexander Ruiztagle, Collinsworth Scholarship
Alexander is in his junior year at the University of Central Florida where he is double majoring in computer science and mathematics. Alexander created a Coding Boot Camp for young children and is currently a software engineer intern at Universal Studios. After graduation, Alex hopes to make his way to Silicon Valley and work in the Artificial Intelligence field. He is the son of Luz Ruiztagle, who is an LPN for Plymouth Harbor.

Carolina Ruiztagle, Charleen Sessions Scholarship
Carolina is heading into her final semester at University of South Florida in Tampa and will be graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She currently volunteers at the Moffitt Cancer Center. She hopes to attend graduate school in Boston and pursue a Master’s Degree, which she will use to help treat those with anxiety, ADHD, Autism and PTSD. Carolina is the daughter of Luz Ruiztagle who is an LPN for Plymouth Harbor.

Alena Scandura, Plymouth Harbor Foundation Scholarship
Alena joined Plymouth Harbor in 2017 as a Housekeeping Supervisor. Alena previously worked as Coordinator of Student Activities at New College. She has her BS in Exercise Physiology and Biology and her Master’s in Exercise Physiology. She will use her scholarship to acquire the International Executive Housekeepers Association Professional Education Credentialing Program, which will then enable her to take the Registered Environmental Services Executive exam.

Corey Schmitz, Veronica Holak Barton Scholarship
Corey is a familiar face at Plymouth Harbor, having worked as a server in the Smith Care Center and as a Mayflower Café bartender/server for many years. Corey is a registered CNA and is using the scholarship to obtain a Licensed Practical Nurse certificate, a year-long program at Suncoast Technical College.

Nathan Stotler, Evelin Corsey Scholarship
Nathan is in pursuit of becoming a Physical Therapist. He will be using this scholarship money to complete his last general education course for his Associates degree at State College of Florida, where he also plays soccer. He then hopes to continue his schooling and transfer to a university to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy. Nathan is also a Fit Specialist working at Happy Feet right here in downtown Sarasota. He is the son of Kay Stotler, who works at Plymouth Harbor as a CNA.

On June 4, 2019, The Rev. Dr. Jack A. Smith passed away in the very building that was named after him: The Smith Care Center.

He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in finance and then went on to attend the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology and Vanderbilt University where he earned his doctorate degree. Before coming
to Plymouth Harbor, he was a business owner.

The Rev. Dr. Smith became the second Administrator of
Plymouth Harbor in 1972. A former minister in the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, The Rev. Dr. Smith also had a business degree and administrative experience. During that time, Plymouth Harbor was struggling to keep pace with rising costs of operation and existing resident contracts contained clauses restricting increases in fees. In an impressive show of devotion, The Rev. Dr. Smith, trustees, and residents raised enough money to save Plymouth Harbor and get it back on solid financial footing. If it weren’t for him, Plymouth Harbor very well may not have made it to the present day.

Prior to the Smith Care Center, Plymouth Harbor had a small infirmary located on the second floor of the Tower, where the Callahan Center is now, with 43 beds in 14 rooms. In 1988, the North Garden was built and the infirmary was moved into the new, improved space and renamed the Health Center. It was later renamed again the Plymouth Harbor Health and Rehabilitation Center to more fully describe its capabilities. At its 40th anniversary celebration, the center underwent a final name change in recognition of the former Executive Director and became The Jack A. Smith Care Center.

In 1989, The Rev. Dr. Smith retired after 18 years as Administrator, however he returned as interim CEO in 2004 during the year before Harry Hobson came aboard. The Rev. Dr. Smith has left his legacy at Plymouth Harbor, and we are grateful to have had him as part of our story.

Beth Watson is a native Rhode Islander who comes to us with more than two decades of fundraising experience. Beth graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and has continued her education at various other institutions including Merrimack College, Emerson College, and Harvard University. Upon graduation, she secured a position at USA Today. She spent six years there bettering her writing, presenting, advertising, and sales skills. It was at this job that she was inspired to pursue career opportunities in the non-profit sector.

In 1988 Beth accepted the role of Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Providence Public Library. Over the next 12 years, Beth advanced the library’s visibility and assisted in her first fundraising project. Together with the Director of Development and Board, Beth helped organize a $2 million capital campaign.

In 2001 Beth took a step back from full-time work to care for her father who had been diagnosed with ALS. During this time, she began working to help launch Rhode Island’s only children’s bereavement center called Friends Way. She considers this project “one of her most significant contributions.”

In 2005 she returned to work full-time as the Director of Development and Communications for Children’s Friend and Services, then as the Director of Institutional Advancement for Redwood Library, and most recently as Director of Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Mercy, a group of Roman Catholic women committed to serving and advocating for those in need.

Throughout her professional life, Beth has employed a four-tiered philosophy: communication, expectations, accessibility, and accountability. Both her professional and personal experience have shaped her into someone who is deeply committed to helping others, and she feels “honored to continue to articulate a faith-based vision and mission for Plymouth Harbor and its donors, bracing them for future, sustainable growth for generations to come.”

Beth has two children. Her son is a boat-builder, and her daughter recently graduated and is now a Physician’s Assistant with plans to specialize in Women’s health and surgery. One of her favorite quotes is from the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.” In her free time, Beth enjoys gardening, yoga, and paddle boarding. Please join us in welcoming Beth aboard our team!