Beach Ball Rolls in to Benefit Boca Grande Preschool Beach Ball rolls in to benefit Boca Grande Preschool

February 28, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

STAFF REPORT – The Boca Grande Preschool will hold a “Beach Ball” fundraiser for the school on Monday, March 2 at The Gasparilla Inn Beach Club, in the hope that the community will realize the island’s littlest learners are quite a worthy cause.
“A year ago, we announced a new name and identity,” said Angela Steffan, board chairman for BGP. “Changing our name from Boca Grande Child Care Center to Boca Grande Preschool (BGP) was just the beginning. Next Monday night we are hosting a fun beach party, where we will ask the community to partner with us to fund essential programs for our young children.”
The Beach Ball event is not like most fundraisers. This one has just a single live auction item, and it celebrates Fr. Jerome Carosella, a champion of the Preschool and it’s predecessor since he arrived at Our Lady of Mercy parish in 1987. Our Lady of Mercy donates the building for the nondenominational Preschool. Fr. Carosella is the 2020 Honored Guest at the Beach Ball for his longstanding leadership and support of BGP.
As for that one auction item, Fr. Carosella will be the guest of honor at a “Gourmet Feast for 12” at the Gulf-front home of Kate & Bruce Carbonari, prepared by French-trained Chef Mimi Carvalho, a mother of two children who attend BGP.
Another new feature at the Beach Ball is “Paddles Up!” Rather than an auction for trips and golf rounds, “Paddles Up!” lets the community partner directly with BGP to provide essential programs ready to begin as soon as BGP has funding. Already, Island friends are organizing syndicates to fund certain needs. The five projects on the “Paddles Up!” docket for Monday are: Safety & Security for BGP Children, Staff and Families; Enhanced STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Curriculum; Wish Lists for teaching tools from BGP Teachers Miss Wendy, Miss Breon and Miss Suzy;  A Book Lending Library; and A New Playground.
Angela Steffan said these initiatives were identified after a thorough needs assessment. “Our board’s most important task is to address critical issues involving the building, curriculum and updating teaching tools,” she explained. “We are so grateful to this generous Boca Grande community which has long supported early education for island kids.”
The Beach Ball is set to take full advantage of its fabulous setting on the Gulf of Mexico at The Gasparilla Inn Beach Club. “BGP is a joyful cause, and our fundraiser is an extension of that,” said Janice Hursen, Beach Ball chairman. “After ‘Paddles Up!,’ we will celebrate with classic beach tunes and dancing.”
For information and reservations, contact Boca Grande Preschool at 964-2885.