January 12, 2021 | Kay Kipling Philip Tavill, the longtime president and CEO of Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive Head Start provider, has vivid memories of spending time beside his father, a physician working in public health, in locations from Morocco to Milwaukee. His South African mother’s passionate anti-apartheid stance also helped shape [...]
December 3, 2020 Brigette Davis, Associate Head Start and Early Head Start Director at Children First in Sarasota, has been elected to the Florida Head Start Association (FHSA) Board of Directors. As a FHSA board member, she plays a key role in representing Sarasota County and fulfilling FHSA’s work across the state to deliver high-quality [...]
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 [...]
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
On August 31, 2017, volunteers from Pulte Homes and BrightView landscape Services Englewood lent a helping hand a green thumb to help enhance the grounds at Children First’s Venice location. They generously donated their time and supplies to give at-risk children and families a beautiful welcome when they arrive at school each day. Dozens of volunteers [...]
UPDATE — All Children First sites will remain closed through Friday, Sept. 15 due to Hurricane Irma. We will re-open on Monday, Sept. 18. Thank you for your patience as we assessed various factors in this process. We hope everyone made it safely through the storm with minimal damage and look forward to seeing you [...]
Feelings you may be having during this stressful time:
Trouble sleeping. You might wake up in the night or have nightmares.
Eating changes. You may not be hungry. Or maybe you are eating everything in sight.
Get upset easily; lose your temper; cry a lot.
Can’t stop thinking about the hurricane.
Feel afraid and worried about what is going to [...]