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Ready. Set. Give In 36 Hours Or Less

Check out the 36-Hour Giving Partner Challenge and consider helping out an area non-profit like the Education Foundation of Sarasota.

When you think back to the days of high school, the mean girls, annoying cliques and horrible food can be shoved aside with the thought of your favorite teacher who inspired you.

You know, the one who inspired you to want to do a good job; the one who helped you find that unique career path; or the one that just got a smile on your face when the rest of your day had been horrible.

Beginning Tuesday, March 27, you have an opportunity to give back to those inspiring educators and mentors. The  and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation are launching the Giving Partner Challenge.

The  is one of about 100 non-profits competing for grants and if we can collect the most unique donations in a 36 hour period, we will be awarded $20,000.

For me, that teacher was Ron Carr, at in Sarasota. Ask my parents, and they will tell you I was born a debater, but Mr. Carr taught me how to debate professionally and specifically and had a true passion for bringing out the best in his students.

I will never forgot the first day I stepped foot in his speech and debate class my sophomore year. It honestly changed my life. It was in this class that I learned to love, yes love, public speaking.

Most people say that is the one thing they fear most in life — more than death actually — but I honestly love it, and it started in Mr. Carr's class.

I went on to take Mass Media, and that's when I knew I wanted to be a journalist and without boring you with my life story, let's just say it set me off on a great career path.

Anyhow, fast forward just about 20 years. (OMG it's been 20 years.) I now have the opportunity to give back to teachers like Mr. Carr by serving on the board of the .

This organization helps people tailor grants for teachers so that programs that are no longer paid for by the state due to increasing budget cuts, can still happen. Those progams can include field trips for low income students to the amazing arts and culture organizations we have in Sarasota, or literacy programs in the schools, or helping support volunteers from the PALS program (which by the way Mr. Carr now runs), or providing computers and other school supplies to children who can't afford them.

It is an awesome organization I am proud to serve on and I feel like it's my way of giving back to the school system that made me successful.

There are a lot of other goals and contests to win with this challenge, but if you ever had that favorite teacher who helped you achieve your goals, or if you ever had that helping hand as a school kid growing up, I ask you to consider giving $25 to the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

I truly believe that it is our responsibility to help ensure the success of tomorrow's leaders by giving our kids today every possible chance to succeed. Check out what the foundation does at www.edfoundation.net and then check out the challenge at www.thegivingpartner.org.

Take this opportunity to give back in a small way to your community that could turn in to big dollars for local non-profits. Get ready. Get set. And give!!!

Follow me on twitter @lwrcandice

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laura Breeze March 21, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Fabulous! Thanks so much, Candice. If folks want to give $25, or any amount up to $1000, we have a good shot at getting their gifts matched -- dollar for dollar! They can just call the Education Foundation at 941-927-0965 before March 27th and make the gift with a credit card, right over the phone. Then they can sleep in that morning -- we'll make the gift for them online, starting at 6 AM! -- Laura Breeze, Advancement Director
Candice McElyea March 21, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Thanks Laura!! And everyone please note the correct phone number is 927-0965.
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