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2024 SECRET GARDENS TOUR: From the Tropics to the Trails

Presented by: The Garden Club of Stuart

On Saturday, March 23, 2024, from 10am – 5pm, The Garden Club of Stuart is hosting their biennial Secret Gardens Tour: From the Tropics to the Trails

This popular event occurs only every other year, and the garden club uses the money raised to award college scholarships every year to Martin County students.

Tickets are $35, $45 day of the tour, & are available online at:

& on the garden club’s website:

Tickets are also available at the following businesses, payment by check or cash only:

1. Big Pine Nursery - 800 SE Salerno Rd., Stuart

2. Cove Gardens - 4968 SE Dixie Hwy., Stuart

3. Stuart Art Supply and Studio - 43 SE Kindred St., Stuart

4. Kilwin's Chocolates - 41 A SW Osceola St., Downtown Stuart

5. Palm City Palms - 7390 Martin Hwy., Palm City

6. The Gate - Harbour Bay Plaza 3742 SE Ocean Blvd., Stuart

7. Hobe Sound Beach Shop - 9128B Bridge Rd Hobe Sound

8. Pinder’s Nursery - 5500 SW Martin Hwy Palm City

On the day of the tour, patrons will exchange their ticket for a TOUR BOOK at one of the following locations in Martin County: Colab Kitchen-downtown Stuart, Blake Library, Cummings Library in Palm City, or the Hobe Sound Library. Tour Books include garden addresses, maps, descriptions, and garden photos. The Garden Tour begins at 10am.

Once you exchange your ticket for a Tour Book, you will be entered into a raffle drawing to win 1 of 3 prizes:

An original work of art donated by renowned local artist and author, Julia Kelly. For more information about Julia Kelly, please visit her website at:

Additionally, two rare, exotic palms, graciously donated by Patrick and Cynthis Blancher, will be raffled off: A Finger Palm and a Giant Yarey Palm.

Buy your ticket today before this popular event sells out, and enjoy a day outside in BEAUTIFUL gardens while supporting The Garden Club of Stuart’s Scholarship Program.

 Please visit  for additional details and updates. 

About The Garden Club of Stuart, Inc.

The Garden Club of Stuart, Inc. (GCS) was organized in 1936 and federated in 1937 as a member of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. affiliated with the National Garden Clubs, Inc. GSC is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization with a mission: to further the education of members and the public in the fields of horticulture, floral design, botany, landscape design, conservation of natural resources, and civic beautification.

GCS maintains several gardens throughout the community, including Audubon-Possum Long Nature Center, Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker Garden at Memorial Park, Butterfly Garden at Sewall’s Point Park, House of Refuge, and Mary’s House. In 2023, more than $12,000 in scholarships were distributed to Martin County students. Membership is open to all who have interests consistent with the mission of the Club.


Healthy Start Celebrates Black Maternal Health Week at April 13 “Sprinkle”

Stuart, Fla. -Martin County Healthy Start Coalition is celebrating Black Maternal Health Week  2024 with a free, fun, family event at the 10th Street Community Center in Stuart.

Not quite a baby shower, the event is being described as a “Baby Sprinkle.” There will be music, snacks, face painting, fairy hair, music, and raffles for baby-related items. Community organizations that provide a wide range of resources to expectant women and families will be on hand to offer advice and a guide to their services.

 Black women are three times as likely to die during childbirth as White women. This is a startling national statistic.

Jill Taylor (right), Community Engagement Manager for Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, 

Martin County has not had a maternal death since 2009, an important achievement, but Martin County Healthy Start Coalition CEO Samantha Suffich reminds the community that there is still a disparity between the experiences of Black and White women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Even in Martin County, women of color are three to four times more likely to suffer from birth-related injuries than their White counterparts. The Healthy Start Coalition is working to reduce those disparities through increased awareness.

“Healthy Start is committed to ensuring that every baby is born healthy, every mother is supported, and every father is involved, regardless of race or income. We are reaching out to the Black community especially during Black Maternal Health Week,” Suffich says, “so they know how to find us and what resources we can offer.”

The Baby Sprinkle runs from 10 AM to 11:30 AM on Saturday, April 13. Community organizations that want to participate or anyone with questions can contact Healthy Start’s Community Engagement Manager Jill Taylor at

About Martin County Healthy Start

Martin County Healthy Start is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every baby is born healthy. It provides educational and health services to pregnant women, new mothers and their families at no cost, particularly expectant mothers who are at risk for late or no prenatal care.

Part of a statewide coalition, Healthy Start connects pregnant women and young mothers with essential services including prenatal care, home visitations by a nurse or social worker, breastfeeding support, parenting education, car seat and sleeping safety, a free diaper pantry, and access to other community partner agencies through the Betty Moore Prenatal Outreach Center. The David Cardno Father and Child Resource Center, also part of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, helps fathers to become more involved in parenting and offers legal assistance to fathers who are separated from their children.

The programs of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition are voluntary and available to all Florida residents at no cost.

For more information about Martin County Healthy Start Coalition and its ongoing programs, visit, call 772-463-2888 or follow the organization on Facebook.

comprehensive range of no-cost educational and health services to pregnant women and their families, particularly those who are at risk for late or no prenatal care.



Catch the Wave of Hope Adds Two Board Members

By Jackie Holfelder

Catch the Wave of Hope (CTWH) recently announced the appointment of two additions to its board of directors.

Galean Stewart is assistant news director of WPTV NewsChannel 5 in West Palm Beach. She is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and a graduate of Bellhaven University in Jackson, where she received a B.A. in Communication and a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

Galean Stewart

Stewart was elected to the board of directors for region 13 of RTNDA (Radio Television Digital News Association). She is also an active member of NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists).

This is Stewart’s first time serving on the board of a nonprofit. She says, "I learned about CTWH and its commitment to educating and spreading awareness about the dangers of child exploitation and trafficking at an event in Martin County.  The statistics about these crimes in South Florida and across the country are alarming and I want to be part of a mission to help saving lives."

In her leisure time, Stewart enjoys traveling, dancing and photography, and attending comedy shows and concerts.

Lisa Patricelli

 moved to Florida in 2018, coming from Bellevue, Washington where she had an impressive career in law enforcement. She held such positions as a patrol officer, motor officer, school resource officer, lieutenant, and supervisor of fraud, crime prevention, and vice detectives.

While holding the supervisory job, she got involved in fighting the growing issue of human trafficking. She advanced to the position of captain of investigations, leading a team of 33 detectives.

Patricelli concurrently served 20 years as a Coast Guard reserve officer during her law enforcement career.

Now a happy Florida resident, she enjoys reading, boating with her husband and three English Bulldogs, or exploring new places in their RV.

Patricelli says, “I am honored to join the Board of Catch the Wave of Hope and am drawn to its mission of education, awareness, and victim advocacy for human trafficking victims.”


Council on Aging of Martin County Celebrates 50th Anniversary with

 New Look and New Slogan

The Council on Aging of Martin County knows that the secret to successful aging is to keep growing and changing. The organization is taking its own advice. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary of serving seniors and their families, the Council on Aging has unveiled its new brand identity.

“We have an incredible legacy in Martin County,” said Council on Aging President and CEO Karen Ripper. “From a small nonprofit founded in 1974 by concerned community members, we’ve become a comprehensive hub of resources for seniors. We’re celebrating 50 years of service with a visual makeover that better reflects what we’ve become over the decades. 

The Council on Aging’s modern new logo swirls with bright, cheerful colors and includes the tag line - Your Hub for Senior Resources.

“Because we offer so many programs and services to seniors, it has been a challenge to explain them all in a way that was easy for the community to understand,” Ripper said. “Now, with our new branding, we have a compelling and engaging way to communicate all that we do.”

Each of the organization’s key program and service areas take an identifying color from the logo: green for health, gold for nutrition, red for social activities, and blue for programs that offer help in areas like adult day care and case management. Four short phrases, keyed to the service area colors, sum up the program offerings and are easy to remember while offering great advice for successful aging: Stay Healthy, Be Active, Eat Well, and Get Help.”

Past confusion about the Kane Center being the place where services and activities take place, and the Council on Aging being the nonprofit organization that runs the Kane Center and other facilities in Martin County has also been addressed through the rebranding process. 

A new logo has also been created for the Kane Center on Salerno Road in Stuart, headquarters to the Council on Aging.

Throughout 2024, the Council on Aging of Martin County will recognize those who created and sustained the organization over 50 years along with a busy and dynamic calendar of activities for seniors and community members. The next major event, the much-loved Sage Awards, honoring Martin County residents who continue to give back to their community well after retirement age, will be held on March 27 at Piper’s Landing Yacht & Country Club.

Board Member Jim Simoneau, (standing) Dave Schoonover, County Commissioner Ed Ciampi and City of Stuart Mayor Becky Bruner helped the Council on Aging of Martin County to celebrate its 50th year of service to seniors and their families.

“The Council on Aging Board of Directors is proud of the last half-century of accomplishments our predecessors achieved, delighted with our new branding efforts and excited about our forward-looking vision of how to serve our community in the future,” added Board Chair Nicki Schoonover said. “Our look is new but our unwavering commitment to serve as a hub for senior resources remains the same.”

About the Council on Aging of Martin County

The Council on Aging of Martin County is the community’s hub for senior resources and the county’s Lead Agency on Aging. Founded in 1974, the organization offers expertise, programming and support for older adults and their families to help seniors maintain lives of quality and purpose. Services include: Day Primary Care Center, Memory Enhancement Center, Adult Day Club, Meals on Wheels, care management, caregiver support, and a robust offering of educational, cultural, fitness and wellness programs.

The Kane Center located at 900 SE Salerno Road in Stuart is the Council on Aging of Martin County’s headquarters and is also an event venue available to the public. It serves as a special needs hurricane shelter when necessary.  Council on Aging of Martin County also operates senior outreach facilities in Hobe Sound, Jensen Beach, East Stuart and Indiantown.  A  501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Council on Aging receives funding from state and federal agencies and relies on philanthropic support from the community, including other agencies, private foundations and individual donors. For more information, visit


Treasure Coast Hospice Names John Crouch, D.O., VP of Medical Services

(STUART, Fla. Feb. 26, 2024) – Treasure Coast Hospice is pleased to announce that John Crouch, D.O., has been promoted to Vice President of Medical Services, effective February 19, 2024.

Board-certified in family practice, Dr. Crouch joined Treasure Coast Hospice in 2016 as a home care and assisted living facilities physician. In his new role, Dr. Crouch will provide overall strategic direction and oversight of medical services, ensuring compliance with regulations and fostering compassionate care within the organization. He will be responsible for supervising medical staff, evaluating patient eligibility for hospice care, and facilitating the growth and operations of palliative care services.

“Dr. Crouch’s promotion is a testament to his dedication to our mission and commitment to patient care,” said Treasure Coast Hospice CEO Jackie Kendrick, CHPCA. “His clinical expertise, compassion, and leadership abilities will be invaluable in guiding our clinical teams so that Treasure Coast Hospice can continue to build upon its legacy of providing comfort and quality end-of-life care to our community.”

"I am honored to take on this role and look forward to working with the leadership team and our dedicated hospice and palliative staff so that together we can deliver the highest level of care to patients and families facing serious illness,” said John Crouch, D.O.

John Crouch, D.O.

Dr. Crouch’s experience includes more than 30 years of healthcare leadership along the Treasure Coast and surrounding areas. Prior to joining Treasure Coast Hospice, he practiced family medicine at Cleveland Clinic/Martin Health, Gateway Medical and Jupiter Medical Center. During his career, he also served as medical director for Life Care Center in Port St. Lucie, Parkway Health and Rehabilitation Center in Stuart, and the Manors at Hobe Sound.

Dr. Crouch earned his medical degree from Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri. He completed internships at Osteopathic General Hospital in North Miami and at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Dr. Crouch is board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Practice Physicians and a member of the American Osteopathic Association.

He succeeds Rose Guilbe, M.D., who retired from the full-time position and will instead serve as a contracted physician for the organization.

Dr. Crouch joins a leadership team that successfully guided the nonprofit hospice provider through a global pandemic, earned the Gold Seal of Approval for hospice accreditation from the Joint Commission, and has grown to care for more than 550 hospice patients daily in Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties.

About Treasure Coast Hospice

Treasure Coast Hospice is a non-profit community organization of skilled professionals and dedicated volunteers whose mission is to provide access to compassionate, caring, expert and professional hospice and grief support services to patients and families at the end of life. Founded in 1982, Treasure Coast Hospice has grown to serve more than 4,000 patients annually in Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties. Thanks to the generous support of our community, the Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation is able to fund comprehensive hospice and grief support programs for Treasure Coast Hospice, including three Inpatient Units for those who need a higher level of care, the specialized pediatric program Little Treasures, music therapy, massage therapy, virtual reality experiences, individual and group bereavement services, and Camp Good Grief for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one



Star of Service: United Way Foundation Honors Betsy Herold with Frances Langford Humanitarian Award

STUART, FL – The United Way of Martin County Foundation was proud to announce Elizabeth (Betsy) Herold as the 2024 Frances Langford Humanitarian Award recipient on Thursday, February 8, at Sailfish Point Country Club. This prestigious award recognizes community philanthropists who demonstrate care, compassion and commitment in support of United Way of Martin County and the non-profit sector.

Betsy Herold's dedication to giving back has left an indelible mark on the community. Her philanthropic journey was inspired by her late husband, David, who instilled in her the direct impact of charitable giving. After his passing in 2008, Betsy continued their shared path of philanthropy.

Betsy Herold, Frances Langford Award Recipient, and family. (Phil Cadorette, Karen Cadorette, Betsy Herold, Nancy Peavy, Bob Peavy)

Introduced to the transformative work of United Way by fellow Sailfish Point resident and former Chair of United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society, Bob Croce, Betsy became a devoted supporter in 2010. Her involvement deepened over the years, and she became a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society in 2014. In 2022, she further solidified her commitment by joining the Tocqueville Legacy Circle.

"It was Bob who first opened my eyes to the power of United Way,” Betsy Said. “He spoke about their impact on our community, the breadth of their programs, and how every dollar they raised stayed local. His passion was contagious, and I knew I had to be involved."


The award was named in honor of the famed singer, actress and long-time resident of Martin County, Frances Langford who trusted United Way with the dual mandate of transforming lives and fortifying community bonds. Langford also served as the pioneering chair of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, igniting a legacy of leadership. Her dedication and commitment to community advancement has played an integral role in shaping the organization into the agent of change it is today.

Frances Langford Humanitarian Award recipients include:

2011 – Robert & Carol Weissman 2013 – Barbara Briggs Trimble 2014 – Prestley & Helen Blake 2015 – Douglass & Patricia Stewart 2016 – John & Susan Sullivan 2017 – H. William Lichtenberger 2018 – Bob & Jan Crandall and Bill & Audrey Crandall 2019 – Joe & Margaret Richebourg Temple 2020 - John & Linda Loewenberg 2021 – Fred & Betty Kopf 2022 – Bob & Karen Croce 2024 – Betsy Herold

The Frances Langford Humanitarian Award sculpture, a signature piece by Geoffrey C. Smith created especially for the United Way of Martin County Foundation, symbolizes the generosity of game-changers in our community. As an independent public charity, the Foundation is uniquely positioned to accept legacy gifts and build an endowment fund.

Rip Fisher; Noreen Fisher, United Way of Martin County Tocqueville Society Co-Chair; Kathryn (Muffin) Adamiak, United Way of Martin County Tocqueville Society Co-Chair; John Adamiak.

During the reception, the Foundation revealed significant progress toward its goal of reaching a $13 million endowment fund. This milestone achievement will enable the organization to generate an additional $500,000 annually, empowering United Way to further enhance its community impact through vital initiatives now and years from now.

Thank you to our Reception Sponsors Bill and Audrey Crandall and Bob Crandall; and to our additional sponsors who helped make this event possible: Bill Lichtenberger, Seacoast Wealth Management, Bob Weissman, Wilmington Trust, HBK CPAs & Consultants and HBKS Wealth Advisors, Northern Trust, SouthState, Bank of America Private Bank, Carol Webb, Melanie Fenner, Keane Thomas & Pinnacoli, and Sandhill Cove


About United Way of Martin County

United Way of Martin County’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. United Way continues to create long-term social change and provide support to Martin County residents by investing in programs that strive to: enhance healthy living, improve education, and support financial stability. For more information about United Way of Martin County or its Foundation, please visit:


Sandhill Cove Residents Support Family Promise of MC

By Jackie Holfelder

Sandhill Cove Retirement Living in Palm City – and those who live there - have a long tradition of supporting individuals and nonprofits in Martin County.

A resident who has been involved with Family Promise of Martin County hosted a series of educational lunches of groups of six which spanned a two-year period during which other residents learned about an exciting program in which Family Promise is partnering with Project LIFT.

Family Promise is a nonprofit, interfaith hospitality network that provides temporary assistance, shelter, transitional housing, and case management for families in Martin County experiencing homelessness. It provides counseling in a variety of different areas to ensure that families are ready to own their own or rent homes when they have completed the nonprofit’s Almost Home Program.

However, due to the shortage of affordable housing plaguing the Treasure Coast, there was no place for the families to go when they were ready to move towards successful independence.

Family Promise embarked on a partnership with another Treasure Coast nonprofit, Project LIFT, to build tiny homes which are then placed on real estate that Family Promise provides.

Project LIFT is an award-winning nonprofit that teaches skilled trades to youth in a non-traditional school setting.

Madeleine Bozone, executive director of Family Promise and Bob Zaccheo, CEO of Project LIFT, attended the Sandhill Cove resident luncheons to explain their partnership and the logistics of the program

The cost of each tiny home is $63,000 for the home, $9,000 to transport it to the designated location, up to $20,000 for infrastructure including water, sewer and electric, and $8,000 for furnishings, including appliances.

After each luncheon, every invitee wrote a check and Sandhill Cove Retirement Living residents are now in the process of underwriting their second tiny home! They anticipate continuing with this mission in the future and look forward to learning about the families who will be living there.

Sandhill Cove leadership supports many nonprofits in Martin County and works cohesively with residents on mutual charitable projects.

Photo provided by Sandhill Cove

(Front) Jean Matheson, Fran Andre, Karen Edds, Audrey Cox, Bobbie Spillman, Jane Coutts, Jane Fitzgerald, Marie Terry, Phyllis Kordick, Ellyn Capper, Jean Eldridge, Barbara Bretas, Andrea Lutz, (middle row) Shawn Perrigo, Genie Buchanan, Eileen Vergoz, Fran Atwood, Barbara Grimmer, Jenny James, Jane Shoaf, Jane Reynolds, Elaine Treweek, Shirley Kelley, Jane Funston, Kathy Garlington, Pat Morgan, Chuck Morgan, Isa Von Hessert, Laurie Bohlke, Sandy Chapin, (back) Paul Freud and Madeleine Bozone, executive director of Family Promise


Mary’s Home celebrates a milestone with Annual Fashion Show & Luncheon

STUART, Fla. — Mary’s Home brought together almost 300 of its supporters at its 13th Annual Fashion Show & Luncheon on February 12 at the Willoughby Golf Club. Together, they raised $100,000. Executive Director Alean Timm surprised the sold-out audience by calling the nonprofit organization’s first resident mother, Kayley Meyer and her baby, Weatherly, now 13 years old, to the stage to speak about their journey.

The event also was highlighted by featuring Cairo Sampson, the 100th baby born while under the care of Mary’s Home, and his mother, Kimberly Kasey. She delivered a touching presentation about how she has been helped by Mary’s Home.

Joe Ann Fletcher, executive director of Dress for Success Palm Beaches, delivered an inspirational address that ended with an education appeal for donors. The event also featured a silent auction filled with unique and eclectic items, ticket raffle and boutiques with a Valentine’s theme, a living champagne wall, and a fashion show coordinated by Lynda Hartley-Urban.

Board of Directors President Gina Thompson and Executive Director Alean Timm

Luncheon co-chairs Timm and Kim Gaudet, operations manager, worked with committee members Denise Freihofer, Cheryl Lott-Lampard, Patty Murty and Kelly Harrison to organize and present the event.

“This year's Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon, our most successful yet, united 290 compassionate hearts, raising $100,000 to help nurture dreams and transform lives,” said Timm.

Kayley Meyer, Mary’s Home’s first resident mother (right), and the first baby, Weatherly, who is 13 years old.

Riverview Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry: Dr. Mark Fedele and Dr. Matthew Hooks generously sponsored the event.

Founded by Jan Lindsay in 2010, Mary’s Home is a faith based-transitional maternity home that provides residential and non-residential programs for pregnant women who lack suitable housing or favorable family relationships. Mary’s Home provides a pathway leading woman to a life of self-sufficiency and dignity for themselves and their babies. The goal is to break the cycle of poverty for themselves, their baby and generations to follow. To learn more, visit



Treasure Coast, FL ---   Hibiscus Children’s Center, a nonprofit organization supporting children and families in our community, is facing a significant setback after the theft of its thrift store delivery truck. The incident occurred on the evening of November 30th , leaving the organization unable to make crucial deliveries and pickups.  This has resulted in a direct impact on income that supports programs for children and families. 

Hibiscus has been working with local law enforcement.  The truck was recently recovered and sustained severe damage during the theft.  Insurance will cover a portion of repairs but not enough to completely cover what is needed.

The theft has not only affected the day-to-day operations of the thrift store but has also hindered Hibiscus’ ability to generate income from sales.  The proceeds from the thrift store support programs aimed at improving the lives of children living in Hibiscus Shelter and Village, and families in our community.  The thrift store also provides necessities such as clothing, beds and household items to families in our outreach programs.

Neil Poirier, Thrift Store Manager, said, “The theft of our truck has caused significant challenges with our daily thrift store operations.  We rely solely on the community’s generosity for donations to sell and many items such as furniture require pickup.   We receive requests for quick pickups when people are moving or need to get rid of large items and we simply cannot afford to rent a truck each time one is requested.  We also cannot deliver any large items that we sell from the store to the buyer. The Hibiscus Thrift Store is located in Stuart, but the truck also made weekly runs to Vero Beach to pick up donated items.” 

For now, Hibiscus has to rent a U-Haul for each trip that requires a truck for delivery and/or pickups. This is costing almost $250 per trip.  These unexpected costs and the loss of the truck use are greatly affecting our already tight budget.   If you would like to help Hibiscus recover costs like these, please contact Michelle King, CDO, at or 561.452.5791, or visit

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