MANATEE COUNTY -- The State College of Florida helped honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory this week by contributing to a series of service projects.
State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota awarded $121,193 for 21 community projects as part of the communitywide 2014 MLK Day of Service. The college received funding from the Florida Legislature to allow Manatee County community members to honor King with a day of community service. The grants, part of a pilot program, focused on Bradenton and Palmetto efforts.
Carol F. Probstfeld, president of SCF and Manatee County Schools Superintendent Rick Mills celebrat
ed Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary school's courtyard revitalization effort designed to inspire students to respect diversity and become ambassadors for Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideals. SCF donated $6,617 for the project.
Fifth-grade students who visited the MLK museum in Atlanta, Ga., also attended the courtyard project and shared experiences from their field trip.
Mike Mears, vice president of SCF, took part in a project with Ortygia restaurant.
Ortygia LLC, in partnership with Meals on Wheels, Salvation Army, Am Vets and Elder Services, received $8,424 to provide meals to elderly, disabled and special needs residents who live in and around the Village of the Arts community. Participants helped deliver meals prepared at Ortygia from noon to 7 p.m.
County Commissioner Michael Gallen, Brabara Harvey of the Manatee County School board and Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells joined Probstfeld and Jones in Palmetto, where renovations to the Kelly-Brown Center were underway. SCF granted Education Consultants Consortium Inc. $8,500 to renovate the center in Palmetto to create a safe environment for youth.
Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County Inc. also encouraged parents to read with their children by distributing books to students that address King's values of community collaboration, nonviolence, volunteerism and social equality.
Books were distributed Monday at Kelly-Brown Center, as well as at Saturday's parade in Palmetto. The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County Inc. received $6,528 for the project.
Other projects funded by the grants:
A series of workshops, "How to Grow Your Business," to increase the knowledge base of Bradenton and Palmetto business owners.
A workshop by Beauty, Health and Nature to educate young women about hygiene and hair care.
Black Entrepreneurs Club workshop to teach minority students how to start their own business and encourage their entrepreneurship efforts through mentoring.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County to provide breakfast for 500 at-risk youth, families and the homeless and give students backpacks filled with school supplies.
Charisma Café and Teahouse "Mommy, Daddy and Me" tea party and activities, including family portraits, face painting, family-oriented games, art projects and storytelling.
201 Church of Christ forum for African-American and Latino males to address the importance of good mental and physical health.
JJ Frost Holdings Inc. vendor fair with an opportunity for community members or groups to express their cultural heritage in dance or spoken word.
Sarasota-Bradenton Kappa Alpha Psi computer literacy skills and training to increase students' academic performance and develop positive social skills through mentoring.
The Ivy Foundation Inc. luncheon and workshop to provide basic computer training to veterans and homeless youth in Manatee County.
Manatee-Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus eight-week civics course for minority students to equip young people with the skills to become responsible voting adults.
Natural Protection Inc. workshop to help youth develop healthy lifestyles and boost self-esteem.
Palmetto Youth Center program "Unity the Path to the Dream," an essay and speech contest to help middle school and high school students understand the value of education and appreciate the community's diversity.
Redeemed Christian Center program "Unity in the Community" to promote respect for diversity, wellness, and collaboration. Underprivileged students also will receive school supplies.
The SCF Collegiate School National Junior Honor Society and Diversity Club program "The Dream Preferred Project." Students also mentor, tutor and provide academic guidance to at-risk students in Manatee County.
Simple Science Books Corp. will give 500 free science books to students and provide hands-on projects to increase students' interest in science and mathematics.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and Five Pearls of Excellence Inc. program "Social Media: Are Teens Killing the Dream" to explain how inappropriate uses of social media can limit teens' opportunities in higher education, employment, scholarships and military service.