Glasser/Schoenbaum is an integral part of our community. They not only provide critical commercial space for non-profits but also build networks within our community to meet the needs of our most vulnerable.
Sarasota County is full of stunning views interwoven amongst the history of those who built it into the unique gem that it is today. If you were to ask someone what makes this place so different, you may hear about the world-famous beaches or the vibrant artistic spirit, but another way that this area has distinguished itself is through a thriving philanthropic community. Sarasota is home to multiple major foundations and countless nonprofits that provide support for healthcare, education, career development, housing, animal care, the arts, and the environment. It’s truly rare to see one place devote such significant resources and interest to charitable efforts. The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center’s Campus of Caring is proud to host many of these intrepid human service organizations, and goes beyond to partner with many more. These connections form a microcosm of the philanthropic community in one place.
Decades ago, Glasser/Schoenbaum set out to provide office space as foundational support for nonprofit organizations, so they could in turn redirect time and resources to their own missions. "In a community where rent is rising exponentially, we’re able to run our business in an incredibly affordable way which allows us to maximize the impact we have with the families we serve," commented Katie Becker, Executive Director of Parenting Matters, which joined the campus in 2018.
A unique challenge to nonprofit organizations is the funding of overhead costs. Many nonprofit revenue sources strictly support direct services; for example, scholarships to students or housing for a displaced family. It's understandable - overhead costs like rent and electricity seem inconsequential in comparison to such important causes. Yet a building can't provide shelter without proper maintenance and a nonprofit can't house anyone if they don't have the means to house themselves first.
Providing our agencies with affordable office space allows them to serve more clients and continue doing the admirable work that they set out to do in the first place. But agencies leverage many more benefits than subsidized rent. What does it look like when our programs to connect, support, and sustain nonprofits are successful? Here in the Caring in Action series, we'll be highlighting programs and treasuring the ways our agencies have thrived on our campus. Today we celebrate a program that is as impactful as it is heartwarming: Parenting Matters' Musical Motion.
Parenting Matters works to advance the lives of children by working together with their parents. Through thoughtful, research-based programs, they educate and empower parents to provide their children with the experiences they need for their learning development. Even more impressive is the way that this educational enrichment is seamlessly integrated through fun, creative programs that foster a closer connection between children and their caregivers.
On the Campus of Caring, we’re fortunate to see these efforts in action during their Musical Motion class, which takes place in our very own Serenity Garden. This free, learn-and-play class offers imperative developmental movement and literacy skills for the children; a touching scene, as the kids play with their parents or guardians in sunlit bliss. It’s a longstanding program for Parenting Matters with 11 different sites currently hosting classes, all with the same curriculum based on the Seven Domains of Early Childhood Development. When Parenting Matters came to the campus and joined the Glasser/Schoenbaum family, our garden had the honor of becoming the first Musical Motion site in Sarasota. "Being a part of the Glasser/Schoenbaum campus is a tremendous benefit to Parenting Matters and the families we serve," Becker remarked.
The Seven Domains of Early Childhood Development are key ways a young mind should be stimulated and challenged before starting kindergarten. The domains cover topics like motor control, socialization and literacy. Activities during every Musical Motion class include these guiding principles, helping children on their way to early literacy and ensuring they have the mental tools they need to take with them to school.
“Isabel has benefited from the socialization with other children," one parent commented, "and I have watched her confidence soar.” Parenting Matters runs these Musical Motion classes every Monday with few exceptions and caregivers are welcome to attend as many or as few as they would like. Anyone looking to find out more about how to sign up can view their calendar. The campus Serenity Garden is a safe place to play and learn, and in the event of Floridian weather doing what it does best with a surprise shower, our office offers indoor space so the fun doesn't have to end.
Managing any class for children can already be a handful, but these classes are not just for the children; they offer education and community to the caregivers attending. Whether the adult is a parent, grandparent, or another guardian, they have the opportunity to learn how they can play and bond with their children. “Outside of Musical Motion, we continue to sing the songs from class every day," one parent had to say on the lasting benefits of the program. "I also use the tips for interacting in a fun way and love knowing that it helps my daughter’s development.” There is another benefit that's offered to the parents and guardians who attend, something our campus knows well: community and the support that comes with it.
Being uncertain of how to best care for a child doesn't just make that caregiving more difficult, it puts countless invisible stresses on the caregiver. It's natural to forget to care for oneself when responsible for a young growing mind, but that comes with its own risks. Musical Motion classes offer support for parents by providing the space and resources for parents to both share and learn. The trained Parenting Educators that run these classes are there to help with the activities, but can also talk with the parents and caregivers about questions or concerns they have. “It’s helpful to share stories and struggles with other parents," one grateful parent said. "I feel less isolated and alone.” The Campus of Caring encourages this kind of belonging for our own agencies, and it is such a point of pride and inspiration to see how Parenting Matters so beautifully creates this for the families they serve.
"First and foremost, the staff at [Glasser/Schoenbaum] have done a great job of connecting the many organizations on campus and creating a space that sparks collaboration," Becker said. "This sense of community extends to staff and clients alike, helping to break down barriers and leading to innovative ways to serve the community as a whole."
We know a sense of community goes a long way. How can we quantify our "Caring in Action"? In terms of numbers: the value of Parenting Matters' annual rent savings is equal to the value of running Musical Motion on the Campus of Caring for two years. That exponential impact is what it looks like when the Glasser/Schoenbaum mission is put to work.
The staff at Glasser/Schoenbaum have done a great job of connecting the many organizations on campus and creating a space that sparks collaboration. This sense of community extends to staff and clients alike, helping to break down barriers and leading to innovative ways to serve the community as a whole.
Real estate is one of the greatest costs in a business budget. Our partnership with The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center allows more money to go towards our mission. And what better place to house our office than on a campus with nineteen other outreach agencies.