SARASOTA, FL – August 14, 2020 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby Gardens) expanded its reach over the past year through its successful “My Garden” program. Launched in August 2019, the program provides underserved youth in Sarasota and Manatee Counties with annual memberships to Selby Gardens that allow the youth and their families to visit the gardens at any time throughout the year.
During the pilot year of the program from August 2019 to July 2020, Selby Gardens worked with eight partner agencies to provide memberships for 266 participating families. These memberships served 1,198 individuals within the program, who made 1,195 total visits over the course of the year.
“We’re thrilled to have been able to provide the opportunity for local families to visit Selby Gardens,” says Jennifer Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens. “These families might not have experienced the gardens otherwise, and we’re happy they’ve had the chance to get outside and explore what’s been growing here throughout the past year.”
Families from the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County, Child Protection Center, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Robert L. Taylor Community Center, Unidos Now, and Visible Men Academy participated in the inaugural year of “My Garden”. The program was made possible by a grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
“Their generous funding helped these families increase their connections to nature and enjoy the beauty of the gardens,” says Rominiecki. “We appreciate the support of Gulf Coast Community Foundation as a partner in our efforts to encourage more underserved populations to experience Selby Gardens.”
The “My Garden” program will continue for a second year, with funding support again coming from Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Additional funding from local charitable organization Sisterhood for Good will allow the program to expand to include more families within the Laurel Civic Association, ALSO Youth, and Truly Valued.
Memberships now provide the opportunity for families to visit both the Downtown Sarasota campus and the Historic Spanish Point campus, which was adopted by Selby Gardens in May 2020. The family membership benefits for the “My Garden” program include free admission for up to six family members and the child.