“ The Community Within” spearheaded by its’ President, Bobby Williams and Vice-President, Rod Gobourne, (both Fire Fighters in Sarasota) fulfilled their organization’s motto; “Not Just Making a Change. Being The Change” by bringing to Newtown and Sarasota a fun filled day at the Robert L. Taylor Center in Sarasota.

Several other groups and organizations joined in the fun among them was the Sarasota Fire Department which brought several fire and rescue trucks as well as fire -fighting gear sized for elementary kids to put on and go through carefully laid out obstacle courses and demonstrations on how to pull a fire hose to a burning building. Children lined up to put on the gear and take instruction and learn what a fire fighter does. Small houses were set up at the end of the obstacle courses that came with a large stuffed bear the young firefighters saved from the house. Fire Safety was explained and demonstrated. Sarasota Firefighters were present to help children and parents see how and what the Fire Department does. Other organizations present were the newly founded, Suncoast Ducks Youth Sports & Mentoring; a non-profit new in the area focusing on mentoring youth ages 4-15. Founders, LaTressa Preston and Jimimka Williams said their mission is to mentor through sports and help teach kids at all levels sports activities and to include academics and mentoring. Sargent Eric Bolden, Officer Dominick Harris and Chief DaPino of the Sarasota Police Department were present giving out coloring books, crayons and badges to youth. Culvers and their mascot, a large Ice Cream Cone gave out many scoops of free ice cream. Culver’s owner, Laura Hobart said, “We believe in community and youth. We work through community and love to bring a smile to all.” Friends of the Legacy Trails gave away free bike helmets to youth. Many volunteers and firefighters came to help with the event, cooking hot dogs and hamburgers and give out water. Free haircuts were provided by Phat Head Barbershop, barber Mookie Buchanan, S & S Ward and barbers Redd da Barber, Dre the Barber and Roz who braided hair. Jesi Haslem, an 8th grader at Braden River stood out in her kindness, caring and giving. When asked why she was a volunteer at the event said this,

“I volunteer because my mom is a teacher at a school and when my mom told me of the needs some kids had, not enough to eat or a place to live I got upset. I asked what can I do to help. I want to help, it makes me so happy. Everyone deserves help when they need it and to be treated well.”

Williams said the idea of the bringing the event again this year was to continue to bring youth, families and community together to build stronger ties between youth, Fire Department, Law Enforcement and to be a stepping stone to encourage youth to consider a career in law or to become a fire fighter.

The event drew many people of all ages. Be sure to connect with The Community Within to volunteer, give and be a part of good changes. Contact them at: (941) 209-2469 or (941) 726-3564, email at: Info@thecommunitywithin. Check their website at: