Highlights – 12th Annual Earl Morrall/NFL Alumni Golf Classic

by Kelly Merritt

David R. Thomas, Scott Relf, Pat & David M. Thomas, Don Nottingham and Patricia Wacker

David R. Thomas, Scott Relf, Pat & David M. Thomas,
Don Nottingham and Patricia Wacker

It’s hard to find the words to express our gratitude to America’s soldiers, who serve and defend this country. And when they are lost in that process, the strongest among us rise to honor their memory.

Kara Scialdo chose to honor her husband’s memory by founding the Marc Scialdo Scholarship Fund and last month, some of the sports world’s biggest champions came together to support that endeavor and the Trauma Imaging Foundation.

The 12th annual Earl Morrall/NFL Alumni Celebrity Charity Golf Classic was truly an all-star event. More than 25 NFL Hall-of-Famers and Miami Dolphin Perfect Season players participated in celebrity golf pairings, dazzled guests at a cocktail party and silent auction, in partnership with the Hilton Naples Hotel and Hideout Golf Club in Naples. Other contributing sponsors included Shula’s Steakhouse, Meyer Corporation, and First National Bank of the Gulf Coast and many other local businesses, too numerous to list.

Staff Sergeant Marc Scialdo was killed in Afghanistan in March of this year. The scholarship fund that bears his name provides educational grants to children and grandchildren of veterans. Proceeds from the event benefited the fund as well as the Trauma Imaging Foundation’s research and treatment for military veterans and NFL players who have suffered brain and neck injuries.

Matt, Jane and Mitch Morrall

Matt, Jane and Mitch Morrall

The event chair Earl Morrall, former Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts quarterback and Naples resident invited several of his teammates and other players. As a result, some of the most legendary names in sports were involved including Don Shula, Charlie Babb, Bob Griese, Dick Anderson, Larry Little, Mercury Morris, Don Nottingham, Dwight Stephenson, Steve Thurlow and Garo Yepremian as well as professional baseball player Derick Lowe.

Participating former NFL players played with foursomes in the soldout golf tournament with the winning foursome moving on to compete in the Super Bowl of Golf Championships with winners from the other 32 NFL alumni tournaments around the country. For more information or to support this cause, click to www.nflalumnigolf.com/earlmorrall.

Music To Lift Your Spirits

Claudia Polzinby Claudia Polzin
Director of Development – Southwest Florida
Classical South Florida – 88.7

Do you remember December “up north”? I do – and it was cold, cloudy, and snowy. Compare it to December in Naples – never need to put on boots , unless they are a fashion statement; never need to scrape the ice off the car and never hire the snow plow to keep your driveway cleared out!

Add to that the most fabulous season of opportunities for concerts and events – December is full of variety. I remember when we first moved here and the family came here for Christmas, and we decided to revive an old tradition – Christmas caroling. Very quickly we added several to our group of carolers and found many new friends. Maybe this is your year to try that – start a new tradition in your neighborhood.

If starting a new tradition is not for you – there are many opportunities that will get you out of that easy chair and into our beautiful community. If you did not find the Naples Concert Band in November – join them on December 1 at 2 p.m. in Cambier Park to start the holiday season – they will be featuring holiday music from around the world and American classics – like White Christmas. (They probably won’t mind if you want to sing along, quietly!)

Two plays await you during the month of December – Gulfshore Playhouse, performing at the Norris Center puts a new spin on a classic tale – Jacob Marley’s Christmas Tale. You can catch this tale from December 6-22. But if a Christmas tale is not to your liking – don’t miss the Naples Players’ production of Our Town through December 21 at the Sugden Theatre.

But we are just getting started in keeping you busy during December. From December 6 through 9 you can choose from jazz, classical piano, traditional Holiday concerts and the world premier of a concerto. One of these four days will certainly provide you with a smile and the thrill of a live performance. If you are like me, though, you will be on the go all of these days not wanting to miss anything. So join me on December 6 at 7 p.m. at the Edison Campus in Collier County and listen to the amazing talent of Priscilla Navara, a student at FGCU’s Bower School of Music and winner of the Steinway Piano Society Young Artists award.

December 8 provides us all with some major decisions – at 2 p.m. we can be at Edison Campus in Collier listening to the jazz sounds of Danny Sinoff; and then head to one of three traditional Christmas Concerts. Any one of these concerts will be a thrill and unfortunately we will have to choose as they are all at 4 p.m. on December 8 – beginning downtown – First Presbyterian Church will have their annual Christmas Concert. Moving a little further north the beautiful Bower Chapel on the campus of Moorings Park will have Trinity-by-the-Cove choir performing their Christmas concert.

Further north you can join me at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church (I say join me – as I will be one of the singers in the choir) – enjoy over a 100 voices, timpani, brass and holiday music to thrill the soul.

End these four days with a true American jazz legend – Dick Hyman – he will be performing with Classic Chamber Concerts at 8 p.m on December 9 – and the piece he will be performing is his composition of a Ragtime Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra.

Before you head north for holidays with family or they come here – December 14 and 15 will keep you in the spirit with the Naples Brass Ensemble at the Violin Shop in Naples on December 15 at 3; and the Naples Orchestra Chorus on the 14th and 15th – at Lely High School – their concerts will feature Baroque trumpets.

Don’t forget as you move around Naples and head to all of the performances – you have your own personal concert hall with no walls – and you can find it at 88.7FM in the comfort of your home or your car.

Vitamin Supplementation in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Dr. Philip Rosenfeld administers an injection to treat “wet” macular degeneration.

Dr. Philip Rosenfeld administers an injection to treat “wet”
macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects the retina and is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 50. This condition damages the macula, which is a small spot in the center of the retina that is needed for sharp central vision.

Depending on the stage of AMD, some notice a gradual decrease in vision, but in others the change in vision progresses much faster. As AMD progresses, central vision can become blurred. Blank spots may develop in the central vision and images may appear distorted. AMD does not cause complete blindness, but loss of central vision can interfere with ones ability to read, drive, write and perform simple everyday activities.

Age-related macular degeneration can begin without symptoms, meaning that only a dilated eye exam can detect AMD. The earlier stage of AMD is called dry AMD. In this stage drusen, small yellow deposits, are present under the macula. As dry AMD progresses, the light sensing cells in the macula and their support cells beneath the macula breakdown which causes vision loss in the form of geographic atrophy. Wet AMD is a later stage of the disease that is caused by abnormal blood vessels that grow under the macula and leak fluid and blood. This can cause swelling in and under the retina which can lead to sudden changes in vision, more rapid than vision loss caused by geographic atrophy.

Age-related macular degeneration is common in individuals over 50, and therefore age is the major risk factor for the condition. Other risk factors include smoking, Caucasian ethnicity, and positive family history. One can minimize the risk for AMD or slow its progression by avoiding smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eating a healthy diet rich in leafy, green vegetables.

Vitamin supplementation with a specific formulation of nutrients has been proven to slow the progression of AMD and is recommended for AMD patients. The results of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) which involved 4,203 patients from 82 clinical centers in the US were published earlier this year and support the use of a specific formulation that includes 500mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 80mg of zinc, 2mg of copper, 10mg of lutein and 2mg of zeaxanthin. A number of manufacturers offer nutritional supplements that were formulated based on the AREDS2 study.

Dr. Jaclyn Kovach examining a patient at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Naples.

Dr. Jaclyn Kovach examining a patient at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Naples.

This supplement can be taken in addition to a daily multivitamin. It has been shown that former smokers had an increased incidence of lung cancer with vitamin A supplementation, and consequently, vitamin A was omitted from the AREDS2 formulation. Also, recent studies have not demonstrated a beneficial effect for fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of AMD.

No benefit has been proven regarding the consumption of bilberry, grape seed oil, or euphrasia (eyebright) for the treatment of AMD. A benefit regarding AREDS2 vitamin supplementation for patients without a diagnosis of AMD has not been established.

Individuals with a family history of AMD and those concerned about AMD should visit their retina specialist for a dilated eye exam and retina evaluation.

Beating Back Childhood Obesity

by Kaydee Tuff

Freddy Sanchez

Salud Immokalee participant Freddy Sanchez enjoys playing soccer with other
participants under the direction of Coach Manuel Preciado.

The son of migrant farm workers, 11-year-old Freddy Sanchez loves soccer but may never have had the chance to participate without the Salud Immokalee program. Created by Healthcare Network psychologist and FSU College of Medicine assistant professor Dr. Javier Rosado, this innovative program combats the nation’s number one childhood health concern – obesity – with education and physical activity that encourages at-risk children and families to make healthy lifestyle choices.

“What we want to do is change behavior. Once these kids know how to take control of their health and weight, with the support of their parents, they’ll be empowered to live healthier lives,” explains Dr. Rosado.

With the support of the FSU College of Medicine, University of Florida IFAS-Extension Family Nutrition Program, and Immokalee Arts in Health, Rosado assembled a team of medical personnel, nutrition educators, a soccer coach and a Zumba instructor to create “Salud Immokalee,” a 12-month multi-disciplinary program designed to help youngsters and their parents make healthy lifestyle choices.

The concept of managed healthcare is the core mission of the Healthcare Network, which provides primary medical and dental care to over 45,000 patients annually at 13 locations throughout Collier County.

The 12-month program will follow 30 Healthcare Network pediatric patients ages 6-11 with a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile. Most of these children have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and are already at risk for developing diabetes.

Without intervention, they face a lifetime of poor health.

To encourage healthier behavior, the children and their parents received 18 weeks of classroom instruction and hands-on learning built around three essential elements: nutrition, physical activity and behavior. Dr. Rosado will continue to monitor the children and their families on a regular basis.

According to UF IFAS Extension nutrition educator Suzanne Fundingsland, the key to classroom success was to present the information not as a “diet” but as a way of life for the family.

Salud Immokalee participants proudly display the certificates earned for completion of the first phase of the program.

Salud Immokalee participants proudly display the certificates earned for completion of the first phase of the program.

Beyond the health benefits, what pleased Rosado most was that during the program, parents discovered each other.

“It’s an immigrant community,” he said. “A lot of people come on their own. They don’t have extended family members. They don’t know many people. They end up isolated in their homes.”

Now they have a support group. And hope.

Many of Dr. Rosado’s study participants were identified aboard the Healthcare Network’s Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which will celebrate its 8th Annual Golf Tournament Thursday, April 10, 2014, at Quail West.

Call 239.658.3113 for information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities. Information about Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, its office locations and services, can
be found at www.healthcareswfl.org.

The Language of Color

toneI feel the biggest problem with a visit to a salon is communication.

This problem can leave a guest with undesirable results. This is especially true when it comes to hair color. So I would like to take the opportunity to share with you a bit of our language.

The two factors that we will be talking about this month are Tone and Depth.


Depth is the easiest of the two to understand. We as stylists have a system of measurement, it is based on a scale of 1-10 (some color lines have 1-11, however not a big difference between 10 and 11). In this system of measurement 1 is the darkest and 10 is the lightest.

Very simple to understand. One of course would be black and 10 would be palest blonde.


Tone however is a bit more complicated. So let’s start by looking at tone in its simplest form. The two basic tones are warm and cool.

Warm tones would be Gold, Red, and Orange (orange is a combination of mixing gold and red which are two of the three primary colors). Several people will see copper and red as both red tones, however copper is a combination of red and gold. Which of course puts it in the orange family.

Ash tones are Blue (blue is the 3rd and most dominating primary color) Beige, and Green (green is a combination of yellow and blue). Most times when a warm tone is mixed with a cool tone the cool will dominate. Beige leans toward a violet tone which is a combination of Blue and Red, that’s why if not used in a proper application, some beige can turn hair pinkish.

I hope that makes Depth and Tone seem a bit easier. Depth and tone used in a simple form is easy to understand. So if it is so simple then why are color results at times off target? This is where Underlying Contributing Pigment comes in, which we will talk about in the January 2014 issue and its effects with tones.

Our Town – Presented by Naples Players

Sharon True as Mrs. Webb consoles her on-stage daughter, Emily Webb, played by Brigid Wallace.

Sharon True as Mrs. Webb consoles her on-stage daughter, Emily
Webb, played by Brigid Wallace.

The Naples Players will present Our Town in Blackburn Hall November 27 through December 21, 2013.

Set in the early 20th century in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, the play explores the beauty of love, marriage, family and the everyday moments that may be taken for granted. Known for its minimalistic use of set and props, Our Town uses a stage manager, played by Jim Corsica, to narrate the love story of George Gibbs and Emily Webb. Brigid Wallace portrays the role of Emily Webb, and her husband, George Gibbs will be played by Michael Frank. Michael Scanlan directs this Pulitzer-Prize winning drama.

The show will be performed Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 p.m. There will be no show on Thanksgiving. There is also a performance on Tuesday, December 3 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for students 21 and under, and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 239.263.7990 with credit card information, or by visiting naplesplayers.org. Sugden Community Theatre is located at 701 5th Avenue South on the Plaza in downtown Naples.

Passing The Torch – Naples Players

One of Naples Players Longest Supporters Passes the Torch

Jim Rideoutte-1It is the end of an era for Naples Players. Jim Rideoutte is retiring from his post after many years of dedicated service.

A lot has changed since he and his wife ‘came north to Naples’ as they like to say, 24 years ago.

“My last assignment was in the Caribbean trying to get tax treaties and we lived in Nassau, Bahamas working at the Embassy there,” he says. “We realized how nice it would be to live somewhere that you only had to have one wardrobe.”

The couple rented a car in Ft. Lauderdale and drove all over Florida. As the plane taxied down the runway, he turned to his wife and asked, ‘Dear, where did you like best? and she said, ‘Naples is by far the best place I’ve seen.’

“I said there is no disagreement there, so we flew back to Nassau and I gave notice with the Federal Government. I said, ‘Ship my effects to Naples, Florida.’”

The rest is theater history – because upon moving to Naples the Rideouttes bought a subscription to Naples Players. The couple has always loved live theater.

“On our honeymoon we went to a play every night and some afternoons too,” says Rideoutte, whose government work had nothing to do with theater. “When I
was living a nomadic life during my time with the federal government, we always found theaters to patronize.”

Rideoutte, who hails originally from Columbia, South Carolina, has always admired actors and how they can perform on stage. In Naples he became involved in several organizations. His tenure was expiring on two different boards. A friend on the city’s planning board with him invited Jim to lunch with the then president
of the Naples Players.

jim-rideoutte-2jim-rideoutte-2“They asked me if I could come on the board and chair the fundraising steering committee, which they were already in the process of raising funds to build their own theater – they wanted to realize a long dream of having their own theater space,” says Rideoutte. “I joined in the middle of the campaign but eventually we wound up getting all of the funds we needed.”

The facility has never had a mortgage and is fully paid for. After moving into this building the company hired an executive director on a one year contract.

“She was a New York City gal and when her year was up she departed, at which point I became treasurer, but the search committee was having a difficult time finding a replacement,” he says, of the busy time in his life and that of Naples Players. “So at one of the meetings, I said, ‘Time is running out – I can keep the place running for a couple of months.’”

After Rideoutte stayed in the position, he realized he could bring something to the table in a financial respect. He loved the people and the activity. The second time they asked if he’d stick around for the job, he said yes.

“That was 14 years ago,” he says. “I guess they are still looking.” Under Rideoutte’s guidance and sheer love for the theater, Naples Players has experienced much success and growth. The company has been in the building for 15 years, with the main theater at 326 capacity and the studio, or black box theater, seating 90-100 depending on how it is configured. The children’s programs keep the theater extremely busy, in addition to the main theater program.

“I went to a meeting at the University of Wisconsin of executive directors of community theaters, which they have every other year and when I came back I told the board we stacked up with community theaters around the country except for one area of deficiency – the kids’ program,” he says. “Back then we only ran one or two kids’ sessions in the summer and when John Sorey, who was president at the time heard that, he got right behind it and said, ‘We will definitely correct that.’ And we did.”

Now Naples Players runs several hundred kids through the program each year.

“We have been very successful with almost sold out houses and a substantial endowment,” says Rideoutte. “Not only am I proud of what we collectively have done here, but it has been an enjoyable experience.”

When it comes to a select few special people who elevate the organizations they love, it’s easy to wonder why, at the pinnacle of Rideoutte’s time with Naples Players he would retire. But the answer to that question is much like the man himself – it’s all about class. And a Southern gentleman always knows when it’s time to make a change.

“I’ve been thinking about it for some time and nobody goes on forever,” says the 83-year old who dashes up and down the theater stairs like it’s nothing. “I wanted to go out on top – and not wait until someone said, ‘Hey, that guy is slipping.’”

Rideoutte says he has seen people delude themselves, especially in government, who were real firebrands at one time but did not realize they needed to retire. His humility and love of the theater overrides what might be most enjoyable for him. Those and other character traits have earned him the respect of so many throughout the years.

Mayor John Sorey was chair of the executive director search committee and says the two men entered into a blood brother pact whereby they agreed Rideoutte would be executive director for two years and the rest is history.

“Jim has contributed so much to the Naples Players including over $1 million in in-kind services and the development of his staff has helped make it one of the best community theaters in the country,” says Mayor Sorey, who adds that Rideoutte will be missed also for his wit, short fuse, salty language and just being a great guy.

Delores Sorey agrees Rideoutte is known for putting the Naples Players in a sound financial position, but she goes a step further.

“He is undoubtedly the best executive director I have every worked with, totally dedicated to the Naples Players, but he is also funny, gracious, understanding and is always a true Southern gentlemen,” she says. “Jim is the heart and soul of this outstanding organization and I can’t imagine him not being behind his desk.”

What does the future have in store for Jim Rideoutte? He is about to join the airport authority board and says he will continue to do what he can to help the City of Naples.

“The one thing I fear in life is boredom – I have to have something to do,” he says. “The federal government made a gypsy of me, so I have lived all over the country, but Naples is the finest place I have ever lived.”


The River Runs Dry – Jeannie and Les

Jeannie McKenneyby Patrice Magrath

Well, the game was up, at least for Jeannie. She, and her brood of four, Frannie, Zoe, John and Chas, spent the last few months wandering at various depths in that quiet Egyptian river called Denial. They were vaguely concerned that there were signs of dementia in the behavior of their father, Les.

They had collectively “diagnosed” him with early onset Alzheimer’s. But not to worry, if it worsened, his needs could easily be managed by Jeannie coupled with remote support from the kids. At least, that was their thinking.

But Jeanie also seemed to be having some problems herself. Her chronic back pain was worsening, she was quite often dizzy, and strangely enough, she seemed to be shrinking in her very clothes! But this paled in significance to the family’s fears about Les.

Then, unexpectedly, all hell broke loose. The river ran dry.

Jeannie took a fall, a bad fall, and was now in the ICU. What’s worse, the fall was taken near the check-out counter in the local Publix, so everybody in town now knows. In fact, it was Chas’s former high school classmate who first alerted him, who in turn alerted the rest of the family.

Frannie was quick to come home that day, and John arrived a little later.

It turned out that Jeannie’s trauma was very serious. Her X-rays strongly indicated the diagnosis of osteoporosis, showing one major new spinal fracture as well as multiple hairline fractures of various ages. Her back pain was by far her most pressing issue; she registered it to be at nine on a level of 1 to 10.

But there was more. Her blood pressure was off the charts and an EKG disclosed a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, possibly what caused her to feel dizzy at the grocery store and ultimately fall.

When Frannie arrived late in the afternoon, Jeannie had just come out of ICU. She was in a brace to stabilize her spine, had been given a high dose of steroids, and would be starting intravenous pain medication immediately. The overall plan of care was still unclear, and given the severity of the fracture there was some discussion about possible surgery (either vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty.) Surgery could help with the pain and help prevent the deformity that often results from vertebral fractures. All Jeannie could think of was the pain and Les.

Les was home alone and did not know what was going on with his wife. He had long since stopped checking phone messages and was watching Fox.

Frannie called John to have him go directly from the airport to the house to check on Les. John found him seriously agitated, well into his scotch, and looking for Jeannie. He hadn’t eaten all day.

It became abundantly clear in a flash that Les could not be left alone – period.

A day later Jeannie was discharged from the hospital. Facing a difficult road, she will be considering surgery, pain medications, testing for osteoporosis and possible treatment options. At the same time she will need to see a cardiologist to check the underlying atrial fibrillation.

But how will she manage all this, her house, and Les too? She is in no condition to drive and is in considerable pain.

She can’t call on her kids as they all have their own lives and responsibilities.

What to do?

As an executive of a Home Health Care company, it would be trite for me to say get a home healthcare company.

But seriously, it is not trite for me, or anyone, to say get a plan, and get it well thought-out and tested before you need it.

Patrice Magrath is a principal in McKenney Home Care
Contact: 239.325.2273; info@mckenneyhomecare.com.
ACHA License #299994144

Galleries of Crayton Cove

Jim Hertz/Houses-Random Acts

Jim Hertz/Houses-Random Acts

Crayton Cove has been an area of commerce and recreational activities for many decades in Old Naples.

From its inception, the marine activity has been the “heartbeat” that has kept it going. Today, Crayton Cove has become a ”beehive of activity” in the Naples art world, with seven galleries currently calling this area their home.

The exciting thing for these artists and galleries is that it is the first time in Naples’ history that there are this number of artistowned studios and galleries in one concentration in the downtown area. The Galleries of Crayton Cove, a professional artist community, are all within a one-block walk, making them easily accessible to everyone visiting Naples.

The newest gallery in the area is Guess-Fisher Gallery: Nestled in the Cove, recently relocated from 5th Avenue South. It is now located in the Old Cove Building at 1187 8th St. S., #1 and represents six of our areas most respected artists, including Jan Ellen Atkielski, Phil Fisher, Natalie Guess, Lionel Heddy, Carol McArdle and Jerry Vallez, in a cozy spot that leads you into wanting to see more.


Atkielske-Everglades Sky

It has a fresh feel of new works continually gracing its walls, as the artists mostly paint “en plein air” and can even be found at the gallery, painting one of Crayton Cove’s quaint scenes that catches their eye. It’s not unusual to find one of the artists at the gallery offering the chance to chat with them in a relaxed environment, surrounded by enchanting works of art.

This personal involvement by each artist produces an energy that exudes from this “nest of creativity” and is something felt throughout this artist community.

Among the charming establishments in Crayton Cove, one of the galleries that catches attention in an animated way is “Random Acts of Art”, located at 761 12th Ave. S. This fine business also moved here recently from 5th Avenue South where they gained a wonderful reputation as a contemporary fine craft gallery that specializes in original hard-to-find art, all handmade in America.

Colorful houses and recycled metal fish cover the walls amidst fanciful fairies hanging from the ceilings. The gallery features cases full of unusual jewelry while the shelves are full of fun, functional pottery and beautiful blown glass. From funky to traditional, whimsical to practical, owner, Rani Richardson represents a number of award winning American artisans and craftsmen, creating a collection of enviable works.

A wonderful addition to our galleries is a working ceramic studio, Earth & Fire, in Crayton Cove since 1995, which is now located at 749 12th Ave. S. They offer the opportunity for some hands-on art action where anyone can make and or glaze a ceramic piece and take it home with them. The capable and talented instructors walk you through the process and help nurture an enjoyable experience.

They are known for their inventive ceramic parties for all ages where they have helped create memories such as tiny footprints, birthdays to remember, special events shared with special friends, and facilitated bursts of creative energy.

All of these things are part of the history of this little studio, nestled between the Gulf and the Bay.

These three are just a part of the professional artist community known as The Galleries of Crayton Cove. Along with Arsenault Gallery, Nora Butler Designs, Phil Fisher Gallery and Art Gallery Old Naples 2, they host an event on the Second Saturday of each month during season. From 6 until 9 pm, the public is invited to stroll the galleries and studios and view the artwork, while music from local performers fill the air to create an enjoyable experience for all whom attend. Conveniently, they are all within a one-block walk, intermittent among some of the finest restaurants in town.

When in the downtown area, this charming commercial niche should be on your itinerary of “what to see” in Naples.

Join us on December 14, at 12th Ave. S. & 8th St. S. Meet by the flagpole by the Bay.

Drug Free Collier Brings Good News

NHS CORE students at Drug Free Collier’s 5th Community Awareness Luncheon

NHS CORE students at Drug Free Collier’s 5th Community Awareness Luncheon

In today’s world, it can be easy to feel discouraged about the future. Heartbreaking headlines and negative images are commonplace. With this barrage of disappointing news, it is nice to be reminded that many of today’s youth are making great choices and encouraging their friends to do the same.

At 11 schools across Collier County, a great many teenagers have taken a formal pledge to be drug–free. In this pledge, they promise to live a drug-free life, show their friends that a drug-free life is more fun, learn more about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol, and encourage their family and friends to be drug-free and healthy too.

These students have joined Drug Free Collier’s CORE Society and are working together with their peers to make a positive impact on their community.

That is something to be celebrated!

Membership into the CORE Society communicates a clear and refreshing message: “Everyone isn’t doing it!” With a strong focus on the vision of building character, opposing drugs, making responsible choices and maintaining high expectations, the CORE Society hopes that all Collier County teens will become responsible adults who make healthy choices and contribute to our community in a positive way.

LHS CORE students with their “Friday Night Done Right” banner.

LHS CORE students with their “Friday Night Done Right” banner.

The CORE Society started at Naples High School in 2009 with a handful of students pledging to remain drug and alcohol free. With the support of Drug Free Collier, the CORE Society is now at 11 schools and growing. Drug Free Collier aims to reach students in every local middle and high school in hopes of changing teen perceptions about drug use. However, support from the community is essential.

By supporting Drug Free Collier’s sponsorship of the CORE Society, local businesses have a unique opportunity to change adverse outcomes and show that our community truly honors and respects youth who make healthy lifestyle choices.

A financial commitment to CORE includes compensation for a faculty advisor to oversee the group’s activities and materials to support student outreach initiatives. The CORE Society is made possible in our local schools thanks to generous contributions from: Arthrex, Inc., Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Trinity-By-The-Cove, Marco Island Marriott Resort, Barron Collier Companies; Victor Foundation and the Collier County Bar Foundation.

This important investment in our youth is sure to yield substantial returns for our children and our community.

The key to the CORE Societies’ effectiveness is empowering students to make a difference in the world around them. Encouraging the use of their personal strengths lets them see that each person really can make a difference.

While in the CORE Society, students spend their time gaining awareness, taking an active role in their community, fundraising and organizing drug-free social events. Since the start of this school year, CORE Society students have performed skits at David Lawrence Center’s Annual Recovery Awards Dinner; volunteered to assemble boxes for Operation Medicine Cabinet®, displayed banners with positive messages on school football fields, created anti-drug poster contests within their schools and worked with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to develop public service announcements about the dangers of the drug called Molly. CORE students are eager to help change their environment and are actively working to making a difference.

When students work together to reach a common goal and they know that they have the support of their community, the sky is the limit! Together, we can help make a positive change and let our youth know that we applaud their commitment for a drug-free lifestyle and wholeheartedly encourage them as they continue making good choices.

If you are interested in learning more about Drug Free Collier’s CORE Society or how you can help support our local youth, please call Drug Free Collier at 239.377.0535. Your involvement can save and change lives!