Graduating Seniors without Homes Receive Gift from Rotonda Elks
Written by Debbie Sommers
On Oct. 25, Rotonda Lodge used their $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to pay for the gold graduation package for seniors at Lemon Bay High School who are homeless. The remaining funds will be used to offset the cost of graduation caps and gowns for other seniors in need. The funds will ensure that these seniors can take part in all the senior activities and opportunities. In addition, it will pay for their graduation tassel, Lemon Bay High School medallion, senior class photo, class T-shirt, yearbook, senior class video and all other senior sponsored events. The lodge recently learned that the Charlotte County School District has a population of over 400 teenagers who are homeless. Most of these students are considered "sofa surfing" which means that they don't have consistent places to sleep or reside. They bounce from the homes of friends and other acquaintances and sleep on sofas without the benefit of a bedroom or family home. The lodge members hope this project will decrease the isolation and hopelessness for seniors who have few resources and that it will encourage other seniors who are homeless to set attainable goals throughout the school year knowing they will have the opportunity to walk across the stage at graduation. This is the second year in a row that the school has covered these costs for these very deserving students.
Liz Marsicovetere, Lemon Bay High School social worker, and Bob Bedford, principal, accept a check for $2,000 from Rotonda Lodge presented by Sheri Toth, lodge trustee, and Geri DelTorto, member and bar manager.