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CitySide Apartments employees with City of Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw (fourth from right)

Employees at Sarasota's CitySide Apartments and City of Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw planted 10 mature trees at 950 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, in the Rosemary District, to celebrate Arbor Day last week.

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee's Overseas Granting Committee recently donated $300,000 to 20 projects around the world that provide for Jewish people in need. Click here to read a full list of projects funded.

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota recently announced the winners of its 2017 National Piano Competition. The competition rotates each year between piano, voice and string instruments and is open to talented young musicians who are residents of the United States. The finals were held on April 29. A total of $21,600 was awarded to eight contestants: Ying Li, Aaron Chow, Lin Ye, Min Joo Yi, Nicha Stapanukul, Angie Zhang, Yuan Liu and Chenyu Wang. Now in its 15th year, the Artist Series Concerts’ annual competition draws gifted young musicians from around the nation.

Hershorin Schiff Community Day School students Matthew Cook, fifth grade, and Joshua Cook, third grade, recently launched The Birthday Closet, a project to raise money to purchase toys for homeless children. Nearly $900 has already been raised and the funds were used to buy gifts at a Sarasota Walmart, where a store manager contributed a $50 gift card to the cause. There are now approximately 100 gifts waiting in The Birthday Closet to be given to girls and boys.

Venice's Freedom Boat Club recently provided a boat and captains for biology students and faculty from Florida Southern College to explore the Manatee River. Students were escorted along the river to learn and practice a variety of fish sampling methods, including seine netting, cast netting and dip netting.

At Southeastern Guide Dogs' recent volunteer awards banquet, the organization recognized more than 15 volunteers inducted into the Good Samaritan Society, meaning they have volunteered 1,000 hours or more for Southeastern Guide Dogs. The highest achievement came from Marge Vita, manager of the on-campus gift shop, who has given 7,500 hours of service to the organization over the past seven years.

Through a new program at Goodwill Manasota, area veterans and military families are being trained to prepare a résumé and conduct job interviews. Participants also receive a business outfit to help them dress for a job hunt. The Mock Interviewing Program, which began in January, is a four-part monthly series that takes place at 1 p.m. every Wednesday at Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program office, 8490 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota.

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