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Beacon holds open house in new building

August 19, 2015
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Beacon of H.O.P.E. held an open house Tuesday, Aug. 11, in its new building at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle in St. James City.

"This is the first open house of our new plan to have open houses quarterly," Betsy Haesemeyer, executive director, said. "This first one is a combination 'White Linen / Crystal Sale' at the Attic and to show Pine Islanders the plan for the completion of the Community Learning Center."

The Community Learning Center will house the Students Achieving Success program, which provides students with opportunities to utilize concepts taught in class like critical thinking and team building skills. Teachers and parents have been reporting positive results from the SAS program.

Article Photos

From left, Elsie Stearns - Beacon president, Julie Talmage - Beacon board, Betsy Haesemeyer - executive director, George Miller - GED instructor, Dot Mahan - Beacon board, Joanne Merritt - case manager, Jane Mohar – volunteer, Nick Mohar – volunteer, Dick Maher - GED instructor, Rebecca Rose - SAS coordinator, Jane Yange - GED student/ Beacon volunteer.


"When we started the program in 2009, we had just 5 students and today we have over 40 students each week," Haesemeyer said. "The students meet every Monday through Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Pine Island United Methodist Church. Once we finish up this part of the building, all of our services will be under one roof."

An anonymous Beacon of H.O.P.E supporter has agreed to provide the organization with up to $30,000 in matching funds for the Beacon's Community Learning Center. For every dollar raised (up to $30,000), the donor will contribute a matching amount.

The Learning Center is to be located in the central portion of the Beacon of H.O.P.E.'s new building and will require a total of $120,000 in renovations. By "matching" the $30,000 donation, islanders will have paid for half of the total needed to complete the Learning Center. "All donations, no matter how big or small, are tax deductible," Haesemeyer said.

The Beacon of H.O.P.E. was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley more than 10 years ago to assist islanders with their immediate needs: food, water, clothing, etc. Since that time the Beacon has grown to offer services to every age group on the island, from children to seniors.

"That's what the Beacon does," Haesemeyer said. "The Learning Center serves a wide variety of programs for young and older island residents and provides opportunities to make life better."

Those wishing to help may make checks payable to the Beacon of H.O.P.E. Pine Island. Designate the Community Leaning Center, and mail them to 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City, FL 33956. Questions or comments can be directed to Haesemeyer at (239) 283-5123.

The open house began at 4 p.m .and ended at 7 p.m. Sandwiches were provided by Saltwater Smokehouse .



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