ENGLEWOOD — Allan Schildknecht, a semi-retired businessman, had no idea about the vast needs in Englewood.

As a board member of Englewood Animal Rescue Shelter, Schildknecht was active with critters, but thought it would be good to meet new people and learn more about Englewood.

He signed up for Leadership Englewood. The program is designed to educate local business leaders about the community and the societal and economic challenges it faces. One day a month, the group visits locations in Charlotte or Sarasota counties based on a theme including health care, tourism, education, nonprofits, arts and culture.

“For me, the biggest eye opener was learning the deep needs in this community during nonprofit day,” he said. “It was a wake-up call to see the need at different organizations. Living here, you don’t see it, but it’s here.”

At the end of the day, class members gathered at the local Elk’s Lodge. They met more local nonprofit organization representatives.

“We decided our class project would help the Peace River Search And Rescue K-9 group, the Jubilee Ministry, Vineland Elementary School, and The Englewood Chamber’s Englewood Community Services.”

COVID-19 prevented the group from finishing their final class fundraising event on May 16. The event, a Lightspeeed Voice Lil’ 500 tricycle race, is on hold. However, the class is having another fundraiser at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Sandbar Tiki & Grill, 1975 Beach Road, Englewood. The class members are raffling off a golf cart and hosting a celebrity bartending event.


“We also have a Razor Trike Bike, gift certificates, gift baskets and other prizes,” he said. “Fortunately we sold all of the tickets for the golf cart but we would love to sell more tickets for the Razor and other prizes.”

Kathleen Jarosik, owner of Xpertech Auto Repair in Englewood, is a 2019 Leadership graduate. She’s now the chair of the 2021 leadership class. Jarosik is working with her classmate Shane Whitmore, owner of Reliable Cabinet Designs, who will be the co-chair.

“It’s important as a business owner or staff to learn about how to properly do business and find out more about the community and build relationships,” Jarosik said. “Our group became such a tight group of people. We encourage anyone interested in learning about Englewood tourism, education, arts and nonprofits to sign up for the Leadership Englewood Class of 2021. Knowledge is power.”

Whitmore agreed.

“Leadership Englewood is about team building,” he said. “It’s a way to dive in the community and become a leader.”

For more information on Leadership Englewood, visit www.englewoodchamber.com/about/leadership-englewood.

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