SARASOTA, FL – For the fourth year in a row, hundreds of families in Sarasota County will have an exclusive opportunity to experience Marie Selby Botanical Garden’s Lights in Bloom®: An Open-air Holiday Light Show during Family Togetherness Night thanks to support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
On Friday, December 11, teachers, staff, and their families from four local elementary schools that work in partnership year ‘round with the Community Foundation to strengthen families will partake in the Gardens’ annual holiday celebration before the show opens to the public. With all expenses covered, including entertainment and holiday treats, Family Togetherness Night expands access to a cultural experience to those who might not otherwise be able to attend.
“During a year when teachers and school staff have been responding to challenge upon challenge month after month, we felt this was one small way to thank them for the care they have given their students,” said Nicole Light, Education Officer at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “We hope this opportunity will bring teachers and school staff much-needed cheer and joy to brighten their holidays. For us, Family Togetherness doesn’t get much brighter than that.”
The four elementary schools invited to participate – Alta Vista, Emma E. Booker, Gocio, and Tuttle – are part of the Community Foundation’s grade-level reading efforts, which focuses on an attendance zone in North Sarasota whose students have the most need and the most to gain. By supporting the teachers and staff in their grade-level reading efforts within these four Title 1 elementary schools, the Community Foundation is helping to close the achievement gap for students aspiring for grade-level success, as well as providing support for their families.
“We are delighted to partner with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to offer local families a place of respite, joy, and an opportunity to connect with nature during these challenging times,” says Jennifer Rominiecki, President and CEO of Selby Gardens. “The joy this program brings to children and their families is unparalleled. It is a highlight of our holiday season.”
For the last three years, the Family Togetherness program with Selby Gardens has welcomed more than 5,000 people to Lights in Bloom as part of this collaborative program. As part of its “two-generation” philosophy, the Community Foundation supports various outreach programs that connects students and their caregivers with area cultural programs and institutions.
For the safety of all who attend, Selby Gardens has COVID-19 protocols in place. Masks are required throughout the outdoor experience. For more details on all Selby Gardens’ COVID-19 protocols, visit selby.org.
To learn more about Family Togetherness programs supported by the Community Foundation, visit cfsarasota.org/belonging-and-culture.
For more information on Selby Gardens’ Lights in Bloom®: An Open-air Holiday Light Show, which runs December 12 through January 2, visit selby.org.
About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $418 million in more than 1,500 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $21.5 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $274 million to area nonprofit organizations to our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org or call (941) 955-3000.
About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Sarasota campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information visit www.selby.org.