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Helping People Succeed’s April Showers Gifted Families May Flowers

By Glenna Parris

                                  Paul Gargolinski, Ann Mehling and Sheryl Britton

Thrivent and Helping People Succeed celebrated the end of another outstanding month-long “Baby Showers” event on April 27 with a catered brunch at the nonprofit’s Jensen Beach headquarters.

For over 10 years, this community-wide event has collected baby necessities for families in need who are served through Helping People Succeed’s Healthy Families program and Baby Steps, which offers support and services to families who may be experiencing stress in their lives that makes parenting more challenging.

Jan and Walt Hanssen

These services are offered through home visits with a Family Support Specialist which may start before or shortly after the birth of a baby, and can continue until the child’s fifth birthday.

The major event, held on April 27, was an actual Baby Shower with a buffet brunch – catered by Jan’s Place, games, music and more.

Christine Sears, Heather Bleier and Patty Pollak

The team from Pathfinder Financial Group of Thrivent, who sponsored this brunch, were on hand to show their appreciation to generous donors. They wholeheartedly believe that money is a gift to be stewarded; to help make a positive impact on our community. They understand it’s hard enough to raise a child under normal circumstances. Helping People Succeed walks alongside families to help them flourish; which is why Thrivent’s Amy, Rob, and Heather partnered to amplify the impact of April Showers.

Cher Fisher, Amy Whitlach, Carolyn Moses and Claire Nash

Helping People Succeed is thankful for the support from Thrivent as well as that of the entire community. Over thirty businesses in Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties hosted “Shower Boxes” in their businesses. These in-kind donations equate to a $17,000 gift to Helping People Succeed. Suzy Hutcheson, CEO of Helping People Succeed said “April Showers brings happiness to so many of the families we serve who don’t receive new gifts or baby showers. Rob, Amy and Heather are great examples of how giving, especially to those who truly need it, makes our community and our world better”.

                                            Marian Vitale, Jan Robson and Trish Blake

Helping People Succeed is celebrating 60 years of service to the community. Through its diversified, effective program services and initiatives, hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable local children, families and adults have been able to transform their lives through education, counseling, training, and employment. For more information, contact Glenna Parris at 772-320-0778


Martin Artisan Guild’s Annual Summer Salon

By Jackie Holfelder

The red-hot Summer Salon presented every year by Martin Artisan’s Guild will take place from July 3- August 31 at Palm Room Art Gallery and Artisans Boutique, located at 3746 SE Ocean Boulevard in Harbour Bay Plaza, Sewall’s Point.

                                                                                                      Alexandra Akerberg

The popular opening reception is set for Wednesday, July 3 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with appetizers and cash bar.

Barb Bucci

The Meet the Artists event is always a fun-filled gathering and this one will be no exception. Plan on dropping by Wednesday, August 7 between 4-6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Exhibiting artists include:

·        Alexandra Akerberg

·        Barb Bucci

·        Chris Kling

·        Danuta Rothschild 

·        James J. DeMartis

·        Jane Lawton Baldridge

·        Jose Farinas

·        Laura Kay Whiticar Darvill

·        Lynn Morgan

·        Marian Vitale

·        Sue Klahne

·        Susan Clifford

·        Dot Galfond

·        Tepa Charles

·        Mallo Bisset

·        Michaelann Bellerjeau]

Laura Kay Whiticar-Darvell

Don’t forget to check out the special, one-of-a-kind items in the Artisans Boutique.

The Palm Room Gallery is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from noon - 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

For more information, visit

Photos provided by Martin Artisans Guild


We recently had the honor of holding the graduation ceremonies for our VPK and 3rd Grade graduates. Our VPK students graduated from Banner Lake Early Learning Center and most of them will be attending Banner Lake Academy in the fall. We are so glad to have the opportunity to continue to guide their education. Historically, children that graduate from Banner Lake Early Learning Center score higher than the national average in reading and math. For this reason, we are confident that our recent graduates will be starting their Elementary education with an excellent foundation.

3rd grade graduation is always bittersweet for the staff and volunteers at Banner Lake Academy. We have watched many of the children grow from babies to the young people that they are today. We feel an incredible sense of pride for their accomplishments and a deep joy for being able to be a part of their childhood. Their families have become our family. We wish them all the best as they continue their education. Our graduates will attend a variety of schools to finish their elementary education. Some of the schools that our graduates will be attending include, Good Shepherd Episcopal School, Jupiter Elementary, and Pinewood Elementary.

As an end of year trip, the 3rd grade class spent a day filled with fun and learning at the Hobe Sound Nature Center. The children experienced Seining, which is a type of net fishing. During this trip they explored and observed fish and other local marine life. During the graduation ceremony the children expressed gratitude to their families and educators through poetry, songs, and dance. Each student also received a small cash stipend to go towards their future educational endeavors.

Even though they will no longer be Banner Lake Academy students, we can look forward to seeing many of them at BLAST (Banner Lake After School Time) which has programs for each grade level. We will also always be willing to partner with and support them and their families.


Ready for Adoption…The Panther Edition!

Olive is a very petite little gal who is barely 2 years old and has already cared for a litter of kittens.  She has a sleek shiny black coat with a hint of white at the tip of her tail.  Despite so many showstopping attributes, Olive is a quiet sweet soul who just wants to live a quiet life with people she loves.  She welcomes attention and affection in a quiet and appreciative way…come meet her!

Payson is a total mush!!! He has never met a stranger and will make a superb addition to any family.  He is a scant 1 years old, playful, gets along with other cats, and is a cuddlebug too.  What more could anybody want?


Jasper is just a “hunk of burning love.”  And, we mean a big hunk! Weighing in at a whopping 18 pounds, he wants nothing more than to sit by your side and be adored.  In return, Jasper will be your constant companion, your soulmate, and your admirer.  He was adopted from CFF when he was a kitten but was recently returned as his owner could no longer care for him.  This sweet guy needs to go home with you…today!


Last Friday, community members gathered at the Robert and Carol Weissman Cancer Center in Stuart to honor and celebrate past and present cancer patients, along with their loved ones, during Cancer Survivors Awareness Month. The special event featured inspirational stories, delicious food, live music, and displays from various area support groups.













The 2024 Dancing with the Martin Stars Line-Up Announced for the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition September 21 Event

Stuart, Fla. - With a burst of silver confetti, the 2024 Dancing with the Martin Stars contestants discovered on May 16 which local professional dancers will be their partners for this year’s dancing competition on September 21 to benefit the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition.

Nine volunteers from all walks of life have signed on to the challenge to dance like a star in a professionally choreographed performance, plus raise funds from supporters eager to cheer them on.

“If you’ve ever had to dance in front of a crowd that came with high expectations,” Martin County Healthy Start Coalition CEO Samantha Suffich said, “you know the courage and determination it takes. We’re so grateful that our 2024 Martin Stars are willing to take the stage to help in our mission to ensure that every baby is born healthy, every mother is supported, and every father is involved.”

This year’s Martin Stars lineup includes Christian Anderson, dancing with local professional Daisy Krakowiak-Wiebe; Casey Caplan, with Brian Spector; Lorna Day, with Angel R. Tamayo III; Matthew Durban, with Emily Matos; Jonathan Garich, with Tanya Chaves; Stephanie Martinez, with Michael Chaves; April Milner, with Bob Murray; Matthew Right, with Marianella Tobar; and Sue Whittington, with Jang Don.

Will it be a waltz, a cha-cha, a tango, or a foxtrot that takes them to victory? The answers will be revealed on September 21 at 7 pm at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Stuart.

Dancers will be judged on their performance and will also earn points for the funds they’ve raised in the quest to become the 2024 Champion. Last year’s event raised more than $200,000 for the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition mission. This year’s contestants are determined to beat that amount.

“If you have a favorite dancer, or just want to support the work of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition,” Suffich says, “we encourage you to give them a vote of confidence on our website and to join us at the event in September. And just a word of warning, it always sells out!”

Sponsorships ranging from $600 to $20,000 are still available. For more information, visit Ticket sales begin in August.

Carol Briseno of Martin County Parks & Recreation and her dancing partner Jang Don walked away with top honors and the coveted trophy for highest combined scores in both dancing and fundraising for 2023. 

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 Fatherhood Initiative, 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.


Jensen Beach Garden Club Helps Cultivate Future

with Scholarship to Local High School Grad

The Jensen Beach Garden Club presented local high school senior Emma Giesing with a Scholarship Award on April 25, 2024. Emma has a remarkable academic and athletic record. Her experience in playing and coaching lacrosse has helped her develop her communication, problem-solving, leadership, and community involvement skills. Her impressive commitment to protecting our natural resources and dedication to actively volunteering in the community has influenced her future goals. And Emma's lifelong passion for the environment has made her want to pursue a career where she can make a positive impact. Emma's achievements and dedication to excellence have made her a deserving recipient of the award. She will attend Florida State University, where she plans to study Biology. The Jensen Beach Garden Club is proud of Emma and excited to see her continue to excel. Congratulations Emma!  

L-R: Dee Mertz JBGC Member, Emma Giesing, Linda Menikheim JBGC Member, and Dana von Rinteln, JBGC President. Photo courtesy of Cady Studios


Success at the 23rd Annual Robert F. Novins Memorial Golf Tournament Benefiting VIM Clinic

STUART, Fla. — The 23rd Annual Robert F. Novins Memorial Golf Tournament was a tremendous success, continuing the tradition of drawing golfers and supporters from near and far. This year's event, held at The Yacht & Country Club of Stuart, was sold out with a waiting list, a testament to its enduring popularity and support of Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic.

Carson Novins and Fred Caimotto

The tournament raised over $160,000 for VIM Clinic, bringing the total amount raised over the past 12 years to more than $1.1 million. These funds are crucial in providing free medical care to low-income, uninsured friends and neighbors in Martin County.









Jack Nicklaus, Jr., Carson Novins, Junius Tillery, Jeff Bradley, and Bryan Sullivan

"We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming support from our community," said Mary Fields, Executive Director of the VIM Clinic. "This event celebrates the memory of Robert F. Novins while embodying the spirit of giving and community that he cherished. The funds raised make a significant impact in the lives of our patients and their families."

Grant Mortell, Michael Izzolo, Jr., Clark Mortell, and Reid Mortell

The success of this event would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of its hosts Carson Novins and his sisters, Beth Novins and Jeffrey Hartt. Their passion and commitment to honoring their father's legacy through this impactful initiative are truly commendable. The continued support and camaraderie displayed each year are a testament to Robert F. Novins' spirit and the values he held dear.

The festivities kicked off the evening before the tournament with a lively pre-tournament reception party at Carson's Tavern on Friday, May 3rd. On May 4th, participants enjoyed a fabulous day of golf, an exciting putting contest, and the highly anticipated helicopter ball drop. The day concluded with a watch party for the Kentucky Derby in the beautiful clubhouse. Congratulations to this year's winning team: Tom Grimmer, Les Shekels, Ryan Slater, and Steve Burleson.

                                    Carson Novins, Les Shekels, and Troy Dean

Every contribution, sponsorship, and participation makes a significant impact, helping to improve the lives of VIM Clinic patients and their families.

Interested in joining next year? To inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please email Volunteers in Medicine Clinic at or visit their website at

About Volunteers in Medicine Clinic

Since 1995 Volunteers in Medicine Clinic has been providing comprehensive medical care to uninsured Martin County adults, through the efforts and expertise of a small staff and volunteer medical and lay personnel, at no charge to the patient. VIM Clinic is located at 417 SE Balboa Avenue in Stuart, Florida. For more information, please contact 772.463.4128 or visit online at


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