The Fort Myers Beach Kids Foundation Board is now accepting applications for their annual scholarship program, which offers $1,000 to any graduating high school senior living in the 33931 area code who is enrolling – or is a college student already enrolled – in a college or trade school, or whose parent or grandparent has worked on Fort Myers Beach for at least 2 years.
“Obviously with the hurricane, this year it will be for students who met that criterion before Ian,” said Vice Chairman Deborah Groll. “Every year we do scholarships which includes college and grad school, also vocational schools. This is one of our favorite programs and we have helped so many students year after year! We love to see their progress, and many keep in touch with us after graduation.”
Scholarship applications are available on the Foundation website at www.beachkidsfoundation.net. Completed applications can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. The deadline to get them in for 2023 is June 30.
The Foundation gave out 16 checks for $1,000 last year, which are made payable to the institution about verification of enrollment. Once the Board reviews all the applications, a decision will be made in July.
The Foundation is planning a couple of fundraisers – a corn hole tournament in June and a Beach Cleanup event in July. They are also planning a Backpack Drive to send island kids back to school with everything they need, including clothes, and Island parents will be invited to pick up the fully stocked backpacks at an event sometime in August.
Board members want to give a huge shout out of thanks to everyone who helped them ensure that the most vulnerable part of our beach community – our kids – had a wonderful Christmas.
Like everyone else, the Foundation has had to make adjustments since Ian, one of them being their annual Spirit of Christmas event – where traditionally Santa would deliver bags of presents to beach children from the back of a fire truck. With everything being so upside down this year, the Foundation hosted a toy ‘shopping’ event instead, which proved to be a sounding success.
“We also, of course, do the Spirit of Christmas for beach kids in conjunction with the FMB Fire Department,” said Deborah. “We provide toys to kids whose families might need assistance, along with gift cards. Usually, we work with the Beach School and wish lists from the kids, but this past year was a little different and we had the “Toy
Shop” at the old Sandy Butler and it was a huge success!”
And people everywhere stepped up to help – big time – with toy donations coming from across the country. “We had so many donations from so many kind people, with the help of our continuing every year donations and also Beach Talk Radio really helped us out by getting the event on their show and agreeing to have the donated items sent to them,” Deborah said. “We are blessed with great community support and the help we get from the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department, who just gave us a check for $2,000 from one of their fundraisers. We are very grateful for all the ongoing donations that help us fund all the ways to give back to our community.”