Ann has been an artist all her life, but she isn’t “a person who paints wide-eyed children and hibiscus.” To her, art is meant to challenge us. “It should create a reaction within people, challenge their beliefs, and stir our emotions,” Ann said. To do this, Ann’s work often references politics, environmental issues, animal rights, and overpopulation, just to name a few. Through her art, she expresses her ideals and opinions on the world around her.

The mediums she works with are just as varied as her subject matter. Ann has worked with oils, prints, textiles, and most recently (albeit 30 years ago) metal. As a metalsmith, Ann uses gold, silver, copper, and bronze to create all sorts of rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Using a torch, hammer, and a wide variety of pliers, Ann sculpts flat pieces of
metal into her desired shape, sometimes using chemicals to distort the metal’s color or adding various stones.

No matter the medium, Ann works in layers, allowing her works to claim a life of their own. When she begins her process, she has a good idea of what she wants to do technically, but it never turns out that way. “I find when a work is too controlled, too harmonized, and too predictable, it’s boring,” she said. She often turns an idea into a series so that she can “explore and develop all aspects of it and bring it to maturity.” Her collections typically consist of 10 to 20 pieces, each piece a unique part of a whole.

Ann comes by her artistic talent naturally, but she has also had extensive academic experience in the field. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in interior architecture, and over the years continued her technical education at six other art institutions. She continues her education by attending workshops, mostly for metalworking. “It challenges me,” she said. “There is always something new to learn.”

Ann has studied with many master artists and has shown her work both locally at the Ringling Museum of Art and internationally.

You don’t need to be a super hero to save the day.

Donating blood is a fast, simple, and safe way to help change, and even save, someone’s life. Luckily, Plymouth Harbor makes it easy to do. Thanks to a partnership with the Suncoast Blood Bank, the bloodmobile is on campus five times a year, making it quick and convenient for residents and staff to donate.

Plymouth Harbor has participated in blood drives through the Suncoast Blood Bank since August of 2006. Since then, Plymouth Harbor blood drives have collected 251 units of blood. Each unit can save up to three lives, and with our donations we have helped save approximately 753 lives in our community, according to Susan Weber-Hegge, our Donor Representative from Suncoast Blood Bank.

Plymouth Harbor has supported the Suncoast Blood Bank for over 12 years, and we have recently seen an increase in the number of residents and staff that are actively donating blood and learning more about the importance of blood donation. There is always a need for blood, and an average of 40,000 units of donated blood are used each day in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Suncoast Blood Bank (www.scbb.org). Volunteer blood donors provide nearly all the blood used for transfusions in the U.S.

When you donate blood, you also have the opportunity to learn more about your own body and information that is pertinent to your own health and wellbeing. “I have had staff share with me that they learned what their blood type was for the first time because of our blood drives,” said Summer Rentsch, Wellness Director. Everyone belongs to one of four blood groups. If you know what type you are, then you can know when your community is in need of your blood type. You just might be able to help the right person at the right time. To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 16 years old and 110 pounds, and you must pass a physical and health history exam.

Each donation is helping to save a life. What could be a more powerful way to give back to our community than that?

My parents Elsa and Donald Price moved to Sarasota in the mid-70s after looking for a warm climate in which to retire. They settled on Lido Shores in an old Florida style home. After many visits, I myself relocated to Sarasota in 1984. A few years later, my father called me to say they were ready to move to a community that had all the amenities as they aged and had put a deposit down in a place called Plymouth Harbor.

I was shocked, but my father assured me he was doing what he thought best—he did not want to be a burden to us. I did some research and found that Plymouth Harbor was truly a hidden gem. They waited 5 years for their apartment, and then spent the next 3-4 years traveling on their boat Priceless and at Plymouth Harbor. My father quickly immersed himself in Plymouth Harbor daily life. He was the first resident trustee on the board in 1997-98, which paved the way for future resident trustees. My mom’s 25 years now at Plymouth Harbor have been incredibly satisfying and busy!

I was traveling the world for work, but after a career change in 1998, I was able to spend my entire time in Sarasota. I am very fortunate to be in financial services with my wife, Leslie Juron, guiding families to achieve lifelong success. Leslie and I spend many hours giving back to the community and thoroughly enjoy our clients who are either about to, or have retired. Our experience in this community has helped us understand how to age with a better quality of life. It has also helped us teach our clients and families how to achieve better family dynamics and communication. When children or spouses are not the caregivers, relationships with family have better outcomes.

Having been on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation board for a number of years, I now serve as the chair. I
have also served on numerous Sarasota nonprofit organizations in the past. I feel fortunate to have been able to get to know many of the residents and staff throughout my visits to Plymouth Harbor and through serving on the Foundation board. The Foundation supports positive aging by adding new and exciting opportunities for residents and employees. Some examples include employee scholarships, leadership development, and programming or capital support to improve life at Plymouth Harbor. In the past few years we have upgraded Pilgrim Hall, the Wellness Center, and the Memory Care program. We have clients in many other similar communities, but none that I have seen are as dynamic and forward thinking as Plymouth Harbor.

We are excited to begin 2019 with many initiatives that will make Plymouth Harbor an even better place.
We look forward to communicating those to you as they develop–always with resident input. While we will
greatly miss Becky Pazkowski, she has left us with a great legacy and in good hands with a very capable board.

I am also excited that we have added four new trustees who will be a huge asset with their past experiences. I hope everyone gets to meet them in the very near term. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Plymouth Harbor Foundation for the next few years and look forward to continuing to meet all the residents coming to our gem on the West Coast.

Introducing yoga classes in our Starr Memory Care Residence

It is commonly known that exercise is important for everyone. Physical activity, whether it is
walking, working out at the gym, or any other type of movement you enjoy, can improve your
self-esteem, mood, and physical health. Maintaining a good level of fitness is key to healthy aging,
and it becomes even more important for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Incorporating regular
movement into our residents’ days is important to help maintain strength, flexibility, and a level of
independence. To help with this, we have begun a yoga program to keep our residents moving.

Through our partnership with Sarasota Memorial Health Fit, we now offer 30-minute yoga classes
for our residents in the Starr Memory Care Residence and Seaside Assisted Living Residences. Every
Saturday morning, yoga instructor Nancy Zampella holds classes in both the Ringling and Lido
neighborhoods of our Starr Memory Care Residence.

Nancy has been practicing yoga since 1991 and is now the owner of her own studio, Yoga Libre.
She was a student of yoga for 10 years before she decided to pursue a career as a yoga teacher.
The training program was a transformative experience for Nancy that helped her heal her own
carpal tunnel by improving her shoulder alignment. She completed the course with a feeling of
empowerment and a new mission to show others they don’t have to live in pain.

On Saturday mornings, Nancy teaches chair yoga to residents in the Starr Memory Care Residence.
Chair yoga is a gentle, non-traditional form of yoga that reduces strain on the limbs and joints.
“A lot of people don’t know that you can do yoga while sitting in a chair, but it is a lot of fun,”
Nancy said. “This class has been an opportunity for me to try new ways of teaching, which has
been a wonderful surprise.” Whether in a chair or on a mat, yoga is all about moving your energy
throughout your body. As a teacher of yoga, Nancy’s goal is to help people open up their bodies and
feel better, mentally and physically. The class focuses on simple, rhythmic movements to increase
circulation and develop muscle memory.

Yoga is not only an exercise for the body. It also works the mind and helps reduce stress and improve
mood. Alzheimer’s can be disorienting, and yoga’s emphasis on connection with your body, mind,
and breath helps people reconnect with themselves and their world. The group setting of the class
provides residents with an experience they can share in together, and friends and family of residents are encouraged to attend the classes as well. “Both caretakers and residents can benefit from a yoga class, and doing it together can be a meaningful experience,” Nancy said. “The more the merrier!”

Almost 7 years. Can you believe it? It has gone so fast, and together we have done so much. As I think back, you might first be drawn to the gifts you have given in the monetary form…over $10,000,000 in fact! But in reality, you have given me so many gifts much more lasting than monetary or tangible gifts. You have me given personal gifts that truly have made me a better person.

The gift of friendship.
My first task here, since I knew literally NO ONE, was to get to know you all. I had no idea who you were, what was important to you, and, well, vice versa. But when I called, you all (almost all) said yes when I asked if I could come and visit with you. You were warm and shared about your life with me. As a result, we became friends. Over the years, you shared more, I shared more, and our friendships deepened. I am profoundly proud to say that you are my friends.

The gift of honesty.
I said earlier that “most” of you said yes when I called to ask for a visit. I recall one resident who said no. He did not have any interest in the foundation or in giving to the foundation. He was honest, not mean, but honest. I thanked him and said I would still like to meet him and get to know him. He agreed, and one-and-a-half hours later, we each had a new friend. I knew that he was not interested in supporting the foundation, and I knew why, and we didn’t have to avoid each other at all. The gift of honesty is so important, because without honesty, you can never have trust.

The gift of trust.
People have asked me what I feel is the most important ingredient in fundraising. Without a doubt, it is trust. How could you ever expect someone to make a gift if they didn’t trust that the gift would be applied correctly, thanked correctly, and recorded correctly? Trust gives us all courage, commitment, and integrity. You have trusted me, and for that I am most grateful, because it makes me want to be a better person.

The gift of forgiveness.
No one is perfect, and I fully admit that I am far from it. I have made mistakes for which I am truly sorry. There are several examples I can think of, but one jumps to the top in my memory. A couple here had shared something about support for a project that I misunderstood. I was embarrassed and very sorry for having misinterpreted their intentions. I asked to meet with them and apologized for my mistake. They could have been angry and standoffish, but they were remarkably forgiving. It takes a strong person to forgive. I learned from that experience that forgiveness is a great gift to share. The world would be a better place if we all learned forgiveness.

The gift of generosity.
It takes a village to make things happen. Perhaps it is because of the way Plymouth Harbor was designed in colonies, but residents here are generous of their time, their wisdom, and their assets. The projects that the Foundation has been successful in supporting have come from the time and wisdom of residents, who think through the possibilities and ramifications of a project, and if feasible, end up generously supporting with their own assets. Friends and neighbors follow, and the result is something wonderful…a new wellness center, performance venue, educational scholarships, or a premier memory care program. Your generosity is overwhelming, and it makes Plymouth Harbor a better place.

The gift of compassion.
It is no secret that our residents here have experienced substantial financial success throughout their lives. It is also safe to say that most of our staff have modest means, and some struggle to pay the bills. Some have lost their homes or possessions to fire or hurricane. Some have lost their loved ones. Whatever the case, Plymouth Harbor leads with heart and comes to the rescue of those less fortunate or who are experiencing a catastrophic event. Two of our staff lost their homes to fire, and residents pooled their funds and helped to get each family back on their feet. Hurricane Irma left us all temporarily homeless for a short period of time. Residents and staff came together in nothing short of a miracle and survived 48 hours of anxiety, not knowing what the storm would leave behind. Everyone pulled together with a show of courage and compassion. I learned that together we can survive most anything if we allow compassion to be our guide.

The gift of empathy.
A lot can happen in 7 years. Our two sons have graduated from college (one is in graduate school), met the loves of their lives, are gainfully employed, and one has produced a beautiful grand-daughter for us. Alas, Paul and I have decided to return to our roots, Michigan, where our family grows. Given all that I have said earlier, you could be angry and claim that we are not being true to our Sarasota and Plymouth Harbor home. But, you haven’t. Many of you have taken a moment to talk to me and/or Paul and have expressed your well-wishes for us, understanding that family is important. For the empathy that you so graciously show us, we are ever so thankful.

Whomever replaces me will have new ideas and energy to make Plymouth Harbor better, stronger, and more fun! I know you will all help them get started, like you did me, building friendships, honesty, trust; forgiving shortcomings or unintended mistakes; and showing your generosity, compassion, and empathy for the gifts they have to share.

We will miss you, and we will visit. Sarasota has become our home away from home, truly.
Thank you.

-Becky Pazkowski

Sarasota is in the midst of a great reimagining of our bayfront, and Plymouth Harbor resident Karl Newkirk has taken on an important role in the future of our community as a member of the Van Wezel Foundation’s strategy committee.

After moving to Sarasota upon retirement, a friend invited him to join the Van Wezel Foundation board of directors in 2007. “As I got to understand Sarasota, I realized that the Van Wezel is one of the city’s special things,” Karl said.

The Van Wezel is an iconic piece of Sarasota, but at 50 years old, the building’s infrastructure has started to show its age. Karl and the Van Wezel Foundation Board evaluated whether the purple performance hall would be able to meet the future needs of the Sarasota community, and sadly the answer was no. Icon or not, the Van Wezel would need to be replaced with a new performing arts hall for Sarasota to continue its role as the art and cultural center of the west coast. “For the good of Sarasota, it needed to be done,” Karl said.

Around the same time, a dialogue about the future of the bayfront was beginning among community leaders. Enter the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 initiative.

Started by local restaurant owner Michael Klauber, Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 is a group of local community organizations who “support the creation of a long-term master plan for the Sarasota bayfront area that will establish a cultural and economic legacy for the region while ensuring open, public access to the bayfront.” According to the initiative’s website, “more than 55 arts, neighborhood, foundation, and business groups have had their boards unanimously vote to support a common vision statement.” Thanks to Karl, Plymouth Harbor was one of them.

With so much support from the community, Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 caught the attention of the City Commissioners, who agreed to creating the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO). Karl, as a member of the Van Wezel Foundation’s strategy committee, worked closely with SBPO as they studied the area and developed a plan to best utilize the 53 acres. Fortunately, these acres reside in a trust that prohibits large-scale commercial development.The plan, which the City Commission approved last September, places a new performing arts hall at the hub of the design, along with walking trails, boat docks, and shops and restaurants. The beloved current Van Wezel will remain open and operating during the years it will take to fundraise, design, and build the new performing arts hall. Then, the City will decide how to re-purpose the old building. The goal is to create an accessible, walkable facility that has something for everyone, no matter their age or status. With three large pedestrian ramps crossing U.S. Highway 41, people will be able to traverse the area by foot or by bike without worrying about motor vehicle traffic.

“I love being able to be a part of something that will solidify Sarasota’s premier status today as a cultural center,” Karl said. “It is important we continue educating our community and exposing our children to the arts.”

This is a massive project, one that has been met with its fair share of pushback, but “it is important that future generations have the ability to experience what we have gotten to,” Karl said. “I want to see it through.”

Cheryl Mooney has been an art teacher for thirty years. Time and time again, she has seen the positive, therapeutic impact art can have on people’s lives, no matter their age or stage. “Therapy has always been a part of art for me,” she said, but now that her husband Tim is a resident in the Starr Memory Care Residence, its importance has been heightened.

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that encourages self-expression through media such as painting, modeling, drawing, collage, and coloring. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, art can enrich the lives of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. When practiced in a supportive environment, art allows people to express themselves without fear of being judged. “There is no right or wrong way to make art,” Cheryl said. “The important thing is just making it a part of residents’ routines.”

Art allows residents to express their thoughts and feelings. It can trigger dormant memories and emotions and brings up the most important pieces of someone’s life, whether it’s their favorite childhood pet or a family trip. “Art becomes a form of communication,” Cheryl said. “From someone’s art, you can see what they’re thinking about and what is important to them, creating an opportunity for caregivers to start a meaningful conversation.”

When therapists and caregivers encourage those with dementia to explore their feelings by engaging in the creative process, it enhances the quality of life for not only the resident but also the caregiver. It can aid in managing behavior, processing feelings, and reducing stress for all parties involved. Art therapy provides a way for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s to preserve their sense of self and validates them, regardless of how far their disease has progressed. It shows the person that their story matters to others (www.alzheimers.net).

“Art helps remind them that they can still add beauty to the world for others to enjoy,” Cheryl said. “It does not matter what it looks like because the important part is that they were able to make something themselves.”

Brandi Burgess, Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, echoed Cheryl’s statement and encourages the use of art therapy. “The value of art with dementia is immeasurable,” Brandi said. “Art allows those who are often without a voice to speak and share about their experiences with the world around them,” said Brandi.

Providing opportunities for those with dementia to engage in art is a simple, but incredibly important, way to help. Taking the time to create something with a resident can make all the difference in their lives and shows that it truly is better to give than to receive.