June 2020 | Lisl Liang Jessica Rogers believes access to opportunity for all is the base for building a strong community.
This belief has transformed her passion for helping women, children, and families into a dynamic professional career focused on the well-being of humankind. As a mother, she raises her daughter the way that her own [...]
May 21, 2021 | Tampa As part of the agency’s efforts to address continued food insecurity amongst its families, local members of the community teamed up with Paradise Grill restaurant in Nokomis to bring chef-prepared meals to each of the children and families who attend Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and [...]
May 13, 2020 | By Scene Children First announced that 330 members of our community came together to raise $85,010 during the 2020 Giving Challenge, hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. All giving is inclusive of a 1:1 match provided by the Patterson Foundation, and a $30,000 ‘match on top of the match’ [...]
May 6, 2020 Mark and Corey talk with Jack Baker, Families First Institute Manager at Children First, about his career and passion for early childhood development and how it led to his involvement in The Nurturing Father’s Program. They also discuss some important things to consider as a father while spending more time at home [...]
April 1, 2020
Thank you to all who voted for Children First in SRQ Magazine’s ‘Best of SRQ Local’ 2020 competition! Our agency was chosen as the Platinum winner in the ‘Best Children’s Nonprofit‘ category and as a Bronze winner in the ‘Best Nonprofit‘ category.
Children First also received a second platinum designation this month with the [...]
April 13, 2020 | by Philip Tavill Children First, the Head Start grantee for Sarasota County, believes it is vitally important that the 2020 Census is as accurate as possible.
Our mission is serving our community’s most economically vulnerable families with very young children, from pregnancy through age 5. We provide high-quality, early-childhood and development-programs [...]
We are proud to honor Helen Jones Dixon, who was the first ever student enrolled with the historic Newtown Day Nursery, now Children First, alongside her sister Katherine in 1938. Helen was given a plaque from CEO Philip Tavill to commemorate this incredible achievement. With roots running deep in the Newtown community, Helen is a long-time advocate for children and families in need. Congratulations Helen! It is with the help of trailblazers like you that Children First continues to transform lives, now and into the future. ... See MoreSee Less
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.” - Jim ValvanoWishing you a very happy Father's Day, from our family to yours. We hope you enjoy your special day! ... See MoreSee Less
We are absolutely thrilled and honored to receive the title of Nonprofit of the Year from the Greater Sarasota Chamber at this year's Small Business Awards!This award is recognition of the work we do with our children and families every single day, and a reflection of our laser focus on mission. It’s also an acknowledgement of the incredible innovation of our staff and Leadership Team, children and families, Board of Directors, parent-led Policy Council, volunteers, and supporters. Congratulations to our fellow honorees in the Nonprofit of the Year category, Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. and Senior Friendship Centers, and to all of the 27 fabulous nominees and winners! We would also like to congratulate our community partners who were honored today, without whom our work would not be possible: Jamie Kahns and team at Bank of America, Jeff Jackson and team at PGT Innovations, David and Stacey Crawford and team at Catalist Realty, and the wonderful team at Michael Saunders & Company. At Children First we like to say, “Many hands make light work of heavy lifting.” Without a helping hand, the burden can easily become too great to bear, so we wish to thank every single person who continues to make the difference for those we serve. On behalf of the entire Children First family, thank you to the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce for recognizing our agency as the 2022 Nonprofit of the Year! 🥳 ... See MoreSee Less
December 1, 2020 When Ted and Ethna Wishnie of Sarasota walk through the halls of Children First in Sarasota, they are touched by the success stories, the gratitude and the children’s songs.
That zest for life reminds them of Eric Wishnie, Ted’s son and Ethna’s stepson, whose death at age 45 came amidst a successful broadcast [...]
November 26, 2020 | Thanksgiving in Tampa Bay Children First is providing meals to families and staff for the holiday season thanks to the generosity of Sarasota realtor Michele Tanner, her non-profit Tanner’s Turkeys, and an anonymous donor.
The agency distributed 60 turkeys and sides to the families it serves as a recipient of ‘Tanner’s Turkey’s [...]
November 15, 2020
Meeting Children’s Needs Now for Future Success
There’s a Chinese proverb that epitomizes Sarasota’s many and varied children’s nonprofits: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Some of the area’s youth-centered organizations began working decades ago and have cultivated generations of young Sarasotans into adult [...]
Terry and Bob Lewandowski are originally from Chicago, Illinois where together they hold a combined four degrees in Psychology, Medical Technology, and Industrial Relations from Loyola University. Terry enjoyed a career as a medical technologist in Chicago-area hospitals until the birth of their first child, upon which time she considers herself blessed to be able [...]