The Heron Creek Community Foundation, now in its 10th year, continues with its mission to “improve the quality of life within the local community” despite the unique challenges that have come in 2020.

With more than $361,000 in grants awarded to date, the board of directors’ commitment to that mission remains strong. Organizers have rescheduled the annual golf tournament for Oct. 23, and the Duprees Concert, canceled for this spring, has been reset for March 10, 2021. The organization is currently in the planning stages for future events.

The foundation also supports the Sarasota County unit of Take Stock in Children, a nonprofit that provides college education to dozens of local students designated as at-risk who complete the four-year program through their high school years. The foundation also has supported a string of students who are continuing their education as Heron Creek Community Foundation Scholars. The most recent is Ivan Ramos, a student at North Port High School who takes honors classes, enjoys playing baseball for the North Port Storm and volunteering at his church. The Heron Creek Community Foundation’s $4,400 grant was used to sponsor Ivan in the Take Stock in Children program.

Previous Heron Creek scholars include:

Gina Miank, a 2014 recipient who graduated from North Port High School in 2018 and completed her AA at State College of Florida, as well as her EMT certificate in 2019. She is now attending Florida Southwestern State College pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Dylan McKee, the 2015 recipient, graduated from North Port High School in May 2017. He earned his AA from SCF in 2018, then completed his EMT and Firefighting certification at Charlotte Technical College and Englewood Fire Academy in 2020. Dylan is now working as a firefighter in Orlando. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business part-time while working.

Bryce Muniz, the 2016 recipient, is a 2020 graduate of North Port High School. She was dual enrolled at SCF where she has earned college credits in American Government, Intercultural Humanities, Speech and Sociology. She will be attending Florida Atlantic University with an undecided major. Bryce was a member of the NPHS cheerleading team, completed more than 100 hours of community service and works at Camp Bow Wow.

Camila Palenque is the 2017 recipient. She is rising junior at Imagine School North Port. She is an excellent student, taking honors classes as well as her second Advanced Placement class for college credit including AP World History. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Honors Academy & Leaders of Class of 2022, and is interested in a career as an elementary education teacher. She was accepted into the Early Childhood Education Dual Enrollment program at Charlotte Technical College for next school year. She volunteers weekly at her church’s daycare and has already earned 100 community service hours.

Azure Heck, the 2018 recipient, is a rising junior at North Port High School. She is an outstanding in the AICE honors program. Azure is a gifted dancer, musician and artist and is very involved in the AICE Art & Design program and the Visual & Performing Arts program. For the past two summers, Azure has participated in Ringling College Summer Camp and is hoping to attend Ringling College to pursue an art degree. Azure volunteers at the library and Art Center Sarasota.

For more about the Heron Creek Community Foundation, its programs and to learn how to apply for a grant, visit www.heroncreekfoundation.org.

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