The $8,500 grant will help fund the cost of EOD’s Coexistence Clubs at eight high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
(October 3, 2023) The Junior League of Sarasota recently awarded Embracing Our Differences (EOD) a $8,500 grant to support EOD’s Coexistence Clubs at eight schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Sarah Wertheimer, EOD’s executive director, explains that the funds will be used for student docent training, workshops for faculty advisors, curriculum development for club activities, and materials and resources for students and teachers.
Coexistence Clubs are a student-driven middle and high school component of Embracing Our Differences’ education initiative with more than 200 students participating during the past school year. The first club was formed in 2007 by members of the Riverview High School International Baccalaureate Program and immediately became the school’s largest student organization. There are currently eight Coexistence Clubs in schools across the Suncoast.
Wertheimer explains that “these outstanding students promote Embracing Our Differences’ vision of creating a world that embraces diversity, respects differences and actively rejects hatred and prejudice, by helping to make their schools a safer and more inclusive environment for everyone.”
Under the guidance of club and docent coordinator Dena Sturm, Coexistence Club members serve as docents during EOD’s annual exhibit, leading groups of younger students through the exhibit while facilitating discussions around the art and quotations.
“We are so proud of the students who participate in Coexistence Clubs,” says Wertheimer. “And we are deeply grateful to the Junior League of Sarasota for its generous support of this initiative.” The Junior League of Sarasota joins The Rotary Club of Sarasota, which has committed to a five-year grant of $7,500, in support of the Coexistence Club program.
Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences has used the power of art and prose to promote diversity. One way it achieves this is through its annual, juried international outdoor art exhibition comprising 50 billboard-sized works of art, each accompanied by an inspirational quotation. EOD will announce the winners of the 2024 exhibitions in November.
While EOD is best known for its annual art exhibitions, its educational initiatives continue all year long. These include professional development opportunities for educators, reading days, unity days, and other learning programs and events. “These ongoing arts education programs represent the most important aspect of our efforts,” says Wertheimer. “We’re reaching and impacting the lives of thousands of students and teachers, both locally and around the world.” She adds these programs have made an impact on more than 587,000 students since they were launched in 2004. In the Sarasota-Manatee region, 58,122 students and 1,981 teachers participated in the 2022-2023 school year alone.
For more information about Embracing Our Differences, call 941-404-5710, or visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
About Embracing Our Differences
Embracing Our Differences is a not-for-profit organization that uses the transformational power of art and education to celebrate and promote the diversity of the human family. It accomplishes this through an annual, large-scale outdoor juried art exhibition and a comprehensive series of educational initiatives, programs and resources designed for teachers and students. Visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.