Mark Your Calendars
Friends of SoZo Kids Meetings
2020 was an amazing year for Friends of SoZo Kids Inc., but let's make 2021 even better.
We hope to meet face-to-face in the La Hacienda Room, a large space in Rohan Rec Center. Attendance will be limited, seats will be socially dis-tanced, and everyone must wear a mask. If plans change, we'll go back to Zoom meetings.
Mark your calendars for these dates and times:
January 18 @ 2 p.m.
April 12 @ 1 p.m.
June 14 @ 1 p.m.
October 11 @ 1 p.m.
Pastor Dave will join us at each of these gatherings. Hope to "see" you soon. Stay safe. Stay well.
Meet 2021 Board Members
Friends of SoZo Kids Inc. (FOSKI) welcomes three new Board Members and a new Executive Committee to lead our efforts. Jeanne Cooper remains as Secretary, and Pam DiPetrillo remains as Treasurer.
Linda Casey, who was our Vice President in 2020, is our
new President. She has great a great vision for how we
can do even more to serve the children and families
living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest.
Prior to moving to The Villages in 2016, Linda served
for 10 years as Director of Development and later as
Director of Program and Strategic Planning for the
Bridgeport Rescue Mission to serve hungry, homeless,
and addicted people in that part of Connecticut. Once Linda and her spouse moved here, she continued her efforts to achieve transformational change as a Florida-based consultant with The Timothy Group in Grand Rapids, MI, a fundraising consultancy firm working exclusively with Christian ministries. Linda's expertise is most welcome as we transition to a 501c3 nonprofit.
Taking Linda's place as Vice President is Ed Latimer. Ed
worked as a chemical engineer for 36 years in R&D and
holds 10 U.S. patents. He had dedicated his life to vol-
unteering – as a PTA president, church-school teacher,
soup kitchen volunteer, member of a church band, and
SoZo Kids volunteer. In 2009, he received the Outstand-
ing Volunteer of the Year Award for Oklahoma from
FIRST Robotics; now, he's a judge for the annual FIRST
Orlando Robotics Regional. Ed's expertise includes budgeting, finance, nonprofits, and events planning.
Two others joined the Board: Vickie Ebersole worked for
14 years as a child protective services worker for the
Philadelphia Dept. of Human Services. She has volunteered
in the SoZo Kids Office at North Lake Presbyterian Church,
did SoZo Kids fundraising for Dragon Boat Sisters, and
worked directly with the children at the Forest Lakes After-
School Program. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity
of Lake and Sumter counties and with Cornerstone Hospice.
Eileen Streu worked for 501c3 nonprofits as a certified
associate executive for 30+ years and as an executive director
of a $5 million grant generating/making organization. She was
a board member of an art gallery and foundation in Wisconsin,
serving as treasurer and working on development, public
relations, and program leadership.
Thanks go to our outgoing President LaRae
Donnellan, who led the SoZo Kids Club of The
Villages for two years and then oversaw our
transition to Friends of SoZo Kids Inc. in 2020.
LaRae remains on the FOSKI Board of Directors.
Stepping down from the Board is Carey Jones, a long-time supporter of and volunteer with SoZo Kids. Among other things, Carey and LaRae helped at the Forest Lakes After-School Program.
Pastor Dave says THANKS!
For weeks, Pastor Dave and his small
group of volunteers at Camp SoZo
worked tirelessly to collect and organize
donations of holiday gifts for children --
including our Angel Tree gifts and food
for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And
then they had to deliver everything.
Pastor Dave asks that we share these
words of thanks with you:
"It's absolutely incredible what has come in. Honestly, without your Angel Tree help, we would have been hurting. And the gifts everyone donated were amazing!"
2020 wasn't all bad...
Thanks to All Our Donors & Volunteers
In spite of the virus, hundreds of you rose above the challenges to help Friends of SoZo Kids Inc. (FOSKI) meet the basic, educational, and emergency needs of children and their families living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest.
We are grateful for the many individuals, Villages, groups, churches, and musically inclined “Friends” of SoZo Kids who volunteered their time, talents, and treasures to make sure we had the resources to meet the needs of the Kids we serve.
Click the button to see our 2020 Annual Report and learn about the miracles we were able to make happen together. It's amazing!
You can still help
The holidays are over, but that doesn't mean the need for our help has diminished. In fact, predictions are that COVID-19 will continue to plague us (pun intended) well into 2021.
Please help make a difference in the lives of children and families living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest by clicking on this button.
Give a gift in someone's name
If you are wondering what to give to friends and family who "don't really need anything" this year, consider making your donation to Friends of SoZo Kids be their gift.
We have beautiful cards to let your loved ones know you are honoring them with a gift to support children and families living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest. To get one or more of the cards, write to us at Contact@FriendsOfSoZoKids.com to make arrangements.
Drop-Off Bin at NLPC
Friends of SoZo Kids has a drop-off box in the lobby of North Lake Presbyterian Church, 975 Rolling Acres Road, Lady Lake (behind Home Depot). Please call 352-753-8484 before you leave home to make sure the church is open.
During the pandemic, many people are emptying their closets or garages and want to find a new home for their no-longer-needed items. While we appreciate your thinking of SoZo Kids, Pastor Dave does not have the volunteer staff nor the space to handle used items. When you drop off used items in our bin, we try to find another nonprofit that can use them.
It would be better if you donated your still-usable closet and garage items to a deserving charity that is set up to handle such things.
Sometimes SoZo Kids can use working kitchen appliances or washer/ dryers (not furniture). To inquire about these larger items, call 770-550-4184. Thank you. Here is what we can and cannot use:
NEW children's clothing, school supplies, art supplies, or toys
FULL-size toiletries (e.g., shampoo, deodorant, feminine products, toothpaste, etc.)
Checks written to "Friends of SoZo Kids Inc." (leave these at the church office)
New or used adult clothing of any kind
Used children's clothing, shoes, or toys
Used linens, cookware, or other household items
Knick knacks or other such stuff
Pastor Dave says that at the moment, they do not need any more hats or scarves, either. Apparently, a lot of knitters and crocheters have been especially busy during the pandemic!
Before making a trip to drop things off, give NLPC a call at 352-753-8484. To inquire about donating working appliances (e.g., refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer -- not furniture), please call 770-550-4184. Thanks so much!