Bee the Change Spring Luncheon

Bee the Change Spring Luncheon

Our bee-themed spring luncheon challenged guests to “be the change to see the change.”

Our Bee the Change Luncheon, sponsored by Northern Trust, was a day to remember!  After months of planning, we were well-prepared and able to enjoy the day with our guests, while sharing with them the possibilities of mental health recovery. Our guests saw us in our element, service-driven workers, creatives, and consummate hosts who know how to have fun.

Music by Keaton Williams and Chris Cournoyer of the Jazzberries wafted through the room as guests dined. The meal – perfectly cooked salmon, Moroccan-spiced chicken, falafel, roasted tri-colored carrots, couscous and more (honey-kissed baklava complimented our bee theme) – was beautifully presented and efficiently served by our culinary team. 

The program included our first-ever “Academy” Award; a special tribute to Pines of Sarasota for being our first-ever Transitional Employment partner, while those members who have worked at the Pines joined the stage to honor them. Member Ian Churchill was among them, and he later returned to the stage to speak about the role the Academy has played in his personal development, and how employment has transformed him. When our director William McKeever spoke, he posed the thought-provoking question: “what if?,” painting a vivid picture of a world where we lead with empathy and “slow down the train enough so that everybody can get on.”

The world premiere of our Academy-produced animated short “Colony at Glengary: Return to the Garden” was shown, and two members, Erika Schlunk and Benjamin Foreman were acknowledged for their tireless efforts in creating the animation.  Member Stephen Anderson added humor and warmth when delivering the ASK along with culinary instructor Ben Burnside. The whole event was seamlessly held together by our emcees, Academy member Holden Seguso and enrollment coordinator Patty Haltinner. They were charming and engaging and had great chemistry on stage. 

Our Luncheons are as much friend-raiser as fundraiser, so we were delighted to have so many new faces in the audience. We watched as heads nodded in solidarity and eyes turned wistful with compassion, and we could see clearly that our members’ graciousness and talents have an impact.  

Speaking of impact, Paul, Sharon and Jeff Steinwachs of the Steinwachs Family Foundation were in attendance. They have been integral in our success since our inception. Their 1:1 financial match all but ensured we would exceed fundraising expectations. We are grateful for their support which goes far beyond financial. They are extraordinary people and we are honored to call them friends. 

To all who attended, supported, or helped create our luncheon, we thank you for opening your hearts and minds to the power of mental health recovery. You are the change we all hope to see in the world.

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