At its fifth annual Inspire Awards luncheon at Largo Public Library last week, the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce's Women in Business Council honored individuals who make a difference in the region.
The five Inspire Award winners, selected from multiple nominations, are Jennifer Reynolds of One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating, George Garcia of YMCA of the Suncoast, Susan Rolston of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gail Friedman-Barrett of New Life Solutions and Danny Leman of Village Inn on Walsingham Road.
This year's Inspire Awards were sponsored by Peace Wealth Management, Dr. K's Med Spa Wellness and Rejuvenation, Creative Sign Designs, DEX Imaging, Largo Medical Center and Greater Largo Library Foundation. Florist Fire provided flower arrangements.
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Dunedin North Rotary Club recently presented a check for $3,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County, which will help bring together several matches of "Bigs" and "Littles" in the Dunedin area.
"Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping students in our community for many years through the coordination of matches between adult mentors and children in need," said Jo Ann Rooney, member of Dunedin North Rotary. "We serve many of the same at-risk children through our Rotary programs such as Sing, Spell, Read and Write at San Jose Elementary. Supporting Big Brothers and Big Sisters was an easy decision to make."
"Bigs" and "Littles" are matched based on location, personalities and preferences. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides professional support from the start, so matches can grow into lasting friendships.
There are 194 children waiting to be matched with a mentor in Pinellas, Citrus and Hernando counties. On average it costs $1,200 for Big Brothers Big Sisters to make and professionally support one match per year. When someone expresses interest in becoming a "Big" volunteer, a background check and careful interview process are required.
Dunedin North Rotary's gift has provided the financial support Big Brothers Big Sisters needs to recruit new volunteers; cover the costs of background screenings and insurance while ensuring trained professionals match children to caring and responsible "Bigs"; offer one-on-one supervision and professional support for every match; and provide online interactive trainings designed to guide "Bigs" through their role as a mentor.
Dunedin North Rotary also invests in the community through its involvement in Rotary's Camp Florida for Kids, the Dunedin Youth Sailing Association, the Sing, Spell, Read and Write program and Students for Tomorrow's Leadership.
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