Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-July 30, 2014

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MOSI redefines health screenings; Special needs classes struggling to stay afloat; When it comes to helping the homes, she's not too proud to beg

Transcript of Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-July 30, 2014

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    By Michael

    Megan Burgess loves to paint and sing. She looks forward to her weekly art and

    music class, designed for people with spe-cial needs, which are Thursday evenings atthe Land O Lakes Recreation Complex onCollier Parkway. But if it doesnt get moresupport, she might lose that opportunity.

    And that loss would be felt by bothMegan and her mother.

    It would be horrible. You want the kidsto be socializing, Violetta Burgess said.

    Her daughter Megan, 21, has low-func-tioning autism. She has troublecommunicating verbally, but her enthusiasmfor the class is clear: When Violetta tells herits time for art or music, Megan goes to findher shoes. She knows where shes goingthat night, and has a fun time singing, usingpercussion instruments, painting and partic-ipating with everyone else in the class.

    The problem is that everyone was justfive students this past session. And for VSAFlorida, the state branch of Very Special Arts an international nonprofit organizationdedicated to expanding art opportunitiesfor people with disabilities five is simplynot enough.

    It does put the program in jeopardy, be-cause if we dont keep our numbers up,were not able to keep it going, said WendyFinklea, VSA Floridas director of programs.We arent at the point where the class issustaining itself.

    The class requires at least seven studentsto break even, but really needs a steady ros-

    ter of 10 or more students to be financiallyviable long-term. The $40 per month thatparticipants pay not only compensates theteachers who direct the classes, but alsocovers a nominal fee the organization pays

    the recreation complex.Since classes moved from the University

    of South Florida to Land O Lakes in January,

    By Michael

    When the Imax theater first opened atTampas Museum of Science & Industry inTampa in 1995, the technology behind thelarger-than-life films was still quite revolu-tionary.

    Today, however, its hard to find a moviecomplex without an Imax screen, and near-ly all of them are digital leaps and bounds

    beyond MOSIs now almost antiquated film-based system.

    But thats changing after a $2 million do-nation from Florida Hospital that will notonly rename the dome theater after the hos-pital chain, it will bring science to themasses in ways that were never imagined 20years ago. Called Florida Hospital PresentsLive SX, surgeons at local hospitals will per-form routine surgeries, which will bebroadcast live to MOSIs Coleman Science

    Works Theater for middle school, highschool and college students.

    Live SX will be a lot like the more tradi-tional surgery amphitheaters, exceptwithout the need to travel to a hospital.Surgeons will answer questions from the au-dience, and provide a glimpse into surgerymany may not have had otherwise.

    We believe that investing in MOSI is im-

    MICHAEL HINMAN/STAFF PHOTOSMegan Burgess paints ather weekly art class at theLand O Lakes RecreationComplex with art teacherAngela Dickerson lookingon. VSA Floridas art andmusic classes for specialneeds students arentbreaking even, and ifattendance doesntimprove, the programcould be in jeopardy.

    Special needsclasses strugglingto stay afloat

    When it comes to helping the homeless, shes not too proud to beg

    MOSI redefines health screenings

    See MOSI, page 12

    See SPECIAL, page 12

    By B.C.

    In her previous role, Carol Scheckler de-livered warm greetings to people when theydropped in at the Greater ZephyrhillsChamber of Commerce.

    But she stepped away from her job as ad-ministrative assistant at the chamber in May,and has since become president of TheSamaritan Project, based in Zephyrhills.

    The chamber job, she said, was her pay-check. The Samaritan job doesnt payScheckler a dime.

    Now, I dont have a paycheck, just a pas-sion and a mission, Scheckler told members

    of the East Pasco Networking Group at itsJuly 8 breakfast meeting.

    In fact, there are no paid positions in TheSamaritan Project organization, she said.

    None of us get anything other than thereward of knowing we are helping somepeople, said Scheckler, who became ac-quainted with the charitable organizationwhen she was working for the chamber.

    She learned about it through Tim Mitchell,who was president of the Zephyrhills cham-ber at the time, and president of TheSamaritan Project as well.

    I met a lot of unique people, coming

    See HELPING, page 12

    B.C. MANION/STAFF PHOTOCarol Scheckler, president of The SamaritanProject, said helping the homeless is herpassion and mission.

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