Photography by Vanessa Rogers
Stylist: Michaela Vattimo
After graduating from Syracuse University in the Northeast, Sandra Edwards, 37, decided to move to a warmer climate 12 years ago. She made Naples her home, where she lives with her husband, Curt. As the youngest of four girls, she quickly became influenced by her older sisters, and at a young age, her parents encouraged them to participate in their church to help the less fortunate.
“I learned how even the smallest contribution through bake sales, craft fairs and holiday bazaars can have a lasting impact on another individual,” says Edwards, who is an occupational therapist at Moorings Park.
Last year, I had the privilege of attending Meet the Kids Day, with the Naples Children & Education Foundation [NCEF]. I witnessed children sharing stories of how their lives have benefited from the money raised by the foundation. It was amazing to see how a new pair of eyeglasses, an otherwise ordinary object, could renew a child’s interest in school and life at home.
This year, Friends of the Foundation is on target to raise $100,000! This proves to me that even a grass-roots project can succeed. Our entire committee is dedicated to meeting the goals established from the beginning and we have maintained our focus on the children.
Wisdom to share with young people:
It’s easy to sit back and say, “Maybe next year will be the year I start to give back to the community.” It’s important to be present and get out there to meet like-minded people with a passion for helping others. I can promise one thing—that getting behind something you believe is more rewarding than choosing to passively observe the world around you.
Words to live by:
“Embrace your passion when you find it.”
Committee member and co-chair with Brandie LaFond of the Friends of the Foundation supporting the NCEF [which founded the Naples Winter Wine Festival]. The dynamic group of professionals seeks to bring awareness of the need to help local underprivileged children. The core of our mission is to serve the community through seven long-term initiatives—oral health, early childhood learning, health care, out of school, mental health, vision and childhood hunger.