July 2015 – Seniors

At our July 31st meeting we discussed the many services for seniors.

Mar 2015 MtgOut of the almost 200,000 people living in the county, according to the U.S. Census Bureau about 13.7% (27,400) are seniors, those 65 and above. We explored topics such as:  What do our seniors need in terms of support? Are these needs being met or are there gaps or overlaps in services? How can we better connect our seniors into the community – such as new ways for them to volunteer or become more involved? How can we improve communication to our seniors?

Before reading the minutes, please note this announcement from Shereen Snare of the Council On Aging. The Clay County Senior Services Coalition held its first meeting at the Council on Aging on August 25th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Each organization was asked to come to the table with 5 of your top issues / gaps that you see in Senior Services in Clay County. If you’d like to connect with this initiative, please call Shereen at (904) 531-5021 to find out the outcome from the Senior Services Coalition first meeting.

Here’s a flavor our discussion on seniors. Please be aware as you read these notes that the overarching comment by almost every organization is that they are challenged trying to get the word out about what they do. Communication is a big challenge that we all identified.

Brad Burbaugh is the director of UF/IFAS (the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) and is based in Green Cove Springs. One of their many programs is food safety. They have 900 trained volunteers including Master Gardeners and Master Food Volunteers. Samantha Bane from the ILRC (Independent Living Resource Center), is an organization which supports those with disabilities to live independently. They provide hearing assisted devices for telephones and lend out other medical devices, including wheel chairs and walkers.

On the health side, we had Jose Morales and Cynthia Jackman, the director of nursing from the Clay County Department of Health and Karen Petyon from the Clay Behavioral Health Center. Each of these organizations focus on providing both prevention and treatment resources and education. Jose told us about the Community Health Assessment which is going on right now. Karen mentioned that Medicare won’t pay for group mental health sessions, a need that is hard to meet.

Angela Turk from United Healthcare shared what her organization does with seniors. Bianca Speight from Guardian Ad Litem participated in the discussion because many of her program’s volunteers are seniors. Lea Rhoden from Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County spoke about challenges that tobacco use can raise and said she’d be back to add her voice to our discussion on youth.

Carol Weisenburg wore two hats – BASCA (Building Abilities for Special Children and Adults) and the Shepherds Center. BASCA focuses on taking care of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and has residential homes and adult day training. The Shepherd Center includes many programs for seniors with a focus on aging in place by design. Carol also brought up the issue of the need for more affordable housing for seniors.

Margo Hay representing Community Hospice, spoke to the need for end of life care, both for the patient and the family. A frustration is when doctors won’t prescribe this care. Richard Hackelton from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office let us know about 2 programs that may be of interest to those supporting seniors. One is called Elder Watch, where a senior that lives alone can request someone from the community to check in on them daily to make sure they are okay. There is also the VIPS (Volunteers in Police Services) program. Currently there are 288 unpaid adult volunteers who assist the police in many projects.

Kathy Berger and Rebecca Padgett joined us from the Penney Retirement Community. Rebecca highlighted their skilled nursing, memory, and respite care they provide and that PRC is more affordable and available than many think. Kathy mentioned the several hundred volunteers at PRC and how they love to have people from the community come join them with their PET (Personal Energy Transportation) project. Marina Mathews joined us from the Moosehaven Community, which is a continuing care retirement community for seniors 65 and older. She shared how Moosehaven provides 2 admission options, one the traditional retirement program for members of the Moose and Brandon Place. It was striking to hear how both of these communities provide a broad array of services and living accommodations for seniors, but there are many misconceptions outside of their communities that they must routinely counter.

Sheree Ellingson, the owner of Senior Helpers in Orange Park, is a for profit company that provides nonmedical support to seniors, filling short-term needs to longer term care. Janey Fox from Mercy Support Services reminded us of the incredible network of support services that are available to seniors that can be accessed through the Resource Center. Doug Greenberg, was our meeting facilitator, and is President of the Clay County Literacy Coalition.

Herb Stiegellman is the curator of the Military Museum of Northeast Florida, based in Green Cove Springs. It contains many memorabilia that are important to our seniors, and is a great place to visit. Sandy Coffey, from the Orange Park Library was with us to learn about the many services that she can share with her coworkers and library patrons. Our Clay County libraries give access to the AARP tax program, which is of great interest to seniors.

Jerry Carter from Career Source Northeast Florida spoke about a program Experience Works, helping people over 55 get jobs; veterans are given priority. These are usually low-income situations where individuals are placed in nonprofits for 18 to 20 hours per week and are taught job skills. Norrie Berlio from DCF / APS Adult Protective Services spoke her organization’s responsibility under Florida law to investigate reports of adults that are abused, neglected, or exploited. She spoke about a home care stipend for disabled adults, but funding is a challenge for her organization, especially to support the investigations.

The Council on Aging of Clay County (a nonprofit, not a governmental agency) was represented by its Executive Director Drew DeCandis and Marketing person Shereen Snare. Drew spoke about the Adult Day Care services that are offered at the Green Cove Springs Center and soon to be opened a second center in collaboration with Moosehaven on their campus. The Council on Aging offers many services for seniors but faces several challenges that Drew and his organization are working to address. They desperately want to complete a fully-functioning kitchen at the Green Cove Springs Center and build some affordable housing for seniors. They are looking for sponsors and community support for their upcoming fundraiser Old Karts & Arts on October 10 (see flyer below) to build that kitchen.

Peace and Joy

    From your Shaping Clay Team


Karen Wintress        Samantha Bane            Doug Greenberg         Jackie Kujala 609-933-2666           904-881-6697                904-272-5988             904-449-4957

June 2015 – Veteran Services

Our June 26th meeting was an incredible sharing of veteran support services. June 2015 Mtg

If you were not able to attend our June 26 meeting, you missed an exceptional interchange on veterans and services for them. Each of the 22 participants shared their experiences and perspectives. Some were veterans from Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan, and Joseph who is based at Mayport is still actively serving.

We heard from a variety of organizations that support veterans. Marianne from Hope Therapy uses equine exercises to help veterans who are dealing with PTSD. Chris, one of the veterans who has benefited from her program, now runs a nonprofit Under The Rainbow Ranch with a goal of helping veterans reintegrate into civilian life. Maureen who heads the Clay County Writers group told us about a 2-hour program that helps those dealing with stress to get relief by expressing their emotions in writing. June 2015 Mtg

Allie of Big Brothers/Big Sisters highlighted how veterans can be mentors to young people and how that interaction benefits both. David from the Penney Retirement Community shared how 100 out of 500 residents are veterans and the many things that the organization does to recognize them. Each veteran prepares a profile of their service which is added to a binder. Jennifer from the Arthritis Foundation spoke about her group’s assistance to veterans.

Art and Jenny of Heritage Guides invited us to join the Parade of Flags at the Penney Retirement Community on July 4th. Heritage Guides does tours, storytelling, and veteran tributes throughout Clay County. Callan from the YMCA’s Take Stock in Children program spoke about the affect of deployment on children and what they do to help. Dee has many family members in the military (wife, mother, grandmother) and does outreach to politicians in Washington D.C. on behalf of veterans. June 2015 Mtg

Paul from the Vietnam Veterans of America raised the issue of suicides among the military. He spoke about the rejection faced by the Vietnam Veterans when they returned home. He suggested that today we say to them “Thank you for your service, welcome home”, a welcome that they didn’t receive decades ago. Rose from Veterans Services highlighted the many services they provide including assistance in filing for educational benefits, VA home loan certificates, medical treatment, and service connected compensation. Mitzi of Community Hospice spoke about the services that they provide to veterans and others. June 2015 Mtg

Gary from Vietnam Veterans of America  spoke about working with veterans who have ended up in prison and getting them homes and job ready when they get out. Rescue dogs are trained by the prisoners to become therapy dogs for those in need outside the prison.

Jerry from Career Source spoke about the many career services that his organization provides to veterans. Herb was there from the Military Museum reminding us of the benefits of a visit to his museum. Sandy, a member of the Orange Park Friends of the Library was there to find out what veteran services were available in the county so she could share this information with others. Sylvia spoke about her gratitude as someone from Trinidad who has experienced the great works of the U.S. military. Carla who is running for Clay County School Board in 2016 and is an elementary school teacher shared her vision for providing support to students when their parents are deployed. Of course Doug, Samantha, and I were there to add to the discussion. June 2015 Mtg

There was a suggestion that Shaping Clay organize a speaker’s bureau of people who have stories to share in the community, not just about veterans, but about seniors, health, etc. This is an idea that the group will explore.

Doug suggested that we revisit the topic of veterans at the beginning of 2016. Of Clay County’s approximately 200,000 people, some 30,000 are veterans. Any suggestions for how we can keep connected to share resources and services for veterans before we meet again would be welcomed.

Peace and Joy

    From your Shaping Clay Team


Karen Wintress        Samantha Bane            Doug Greenberg         Jackie Kujala 609-933-2666           904-881-6697                904-272-5988             904-449-4957

May 2015 – Animal Support Services

At our May 29th meeting we took a road trip to CJ Acres Animal Rescue Farm.

For those that attended this meeting it was exciting and memorable.

May 2015 MtgLee Sackett, Executive Director and owner of the farm provided meeting space in his barn and shared about his organization’s ongoing efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintroduce animals suffering from abuse, abandonment, neglect or catastrophic disasters. Some of the present residents include cows, horses, goats, pigs, turkeys, ducks and even a few cats. Lee gave the history of his farm as well as the stories of the animals who reside there, and he brought to our attention some of the obstacles that CJ Acres faces such as not being able to pick up food and supply donations. We toured the facility and had the privilege of interacting with the animals.

May 2015 MtgLinda Welzant, Executive Director of Clay Humane shared information about the many services that they provide.  A team of veterinaries staff a low cost clinic and provide free cat spay / neuter services, low cost vaccinations, and microchipping. In addition their education programs stress the prevention of cruelty to animals and annually sponsor a poster contest for all 5th grade students in the county with a theme of animal overpopulation. They also educate about disaster preparation to include your pet  and the benefits of adopting, not shopping, when looking for a pet. Their pet therapy volunteers visit nursing homes. Clay Humane also responds to wildlife issues and is a place to report animal cruelty.

Visit the websites and ‘like’ the Facebook pages for these 2 great Clay County nonprofit organizations.

 Peace and Joy

    From your Shaping Clay Team


Karen Wintress        Samantha Bane            Doug Greenberg         Jackie Kujala
609-933-2666           904-881-6697                904-272-5988             904-449-4957


April 2015 – Keys To Marketing

At our April 24th meeting, we shared effective marketing strategies and tactics.

Mar 2015 MtgAs you review the suggestions below, which approaches are you already using?  Are there one or two areas that you would like to work on incorporating within your organization? Are there things your organization is doing that you’d like to have us add to the list of suggestions?

First know your market and honestly evaluate what you are doing to reach that market. Make sure that you are offering a quality product or service that is supported by excellent customer service in a culture or way which is comfortable for your prospects / clients. By doing this, and following up, your efforts will generate referrals.

Ask for referrals from satisfied clients.

Get out in the community and cultivate relationships; don’t wait for people to come to you.

What is your online presence? When people come to your website or Facebook page can they figure out how you can help them in less than 7 seconds? They are not coming to watch a 10 minute video. People are searching because they have a question or want to solve a problem.

If your organization has multiple audiences, then you probably need multiple elevator pitches. Each elevator pitch should be appropriate for the target audience and should be easy to understand.

Create a jingle, song, or catch phrase to make your marketing more memorable.

Integrate humor and make your message lighthearted when appropriate.

Integrate multiple senses – auditory, visual, tactile, and / or olfactory.

Go where your target population hangs out which could be clothing stores, nail salons, or places for kids.

Have someone who has gone through your program return to share their success. Use these positive stories to build confidence with prospects.

Give past and present participants your cards to pass out.Mar 2015 Mtg

Prepare marketing flyers or other materials that you can hand out or leave behind after a meeting.

Gauge the different modes of reaching people to obtain the best results. Where will your marketing message resonate – at schools, churches, social media, at the mall? Can you best reach your audience via text, email, or phone?

Find ways to celebrate and salute accomplishments.

Follow through after events. One way could be by telling stories.

Don’t forget to market within your own agency, especially if you have multiple programs.

Peace and Joy

    From your Shaping Clay Team


Karen Wintress        Samantha Bane            Doug Greenberg         Jackie Kujala
609-933-2666           904-881-6697                904-272-5988             904-449-4957


March 2015 – Fundraising Tips

At our March 27th meeting we explored fundraising tips – do’s and don’ts.

Mar 2015 MtgEach member took a moment to share what they learned about another organization by having a one-on-one with other community leaders or Shaping Clay members since the last meeting. For those that didn’t have a one-on-one meeting during the month, he or she shared a surprising thing about his or her organization, something we may not know about.

The topic of fundraising had a stellar introduction from Lee Sacket with CJ Acres Animal Rescue Farm and Allie Munch with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida. Thank you to both of these community leaders for taking the time to share their wealth of knowledge with the group. Some general suggestions were to have everyone prepared before the fundraising effort and make it fun.

Know your organization, your story, and your organization’s needs.

  • What is your mission, vision, current goal(s)?
  • How did you start? What do you physically do? How do you impact the community? What are your successes?
  • What do you currently need (monetary and non-monetary)?

Who do you know? It’s important to continually nourish relationships.

  • Get your name AND face out there! You are part of your organization’s mobile branding.
  • Be involved, make connections, share resources, volunteer and serve.
  • In-person contact is invaluable! Set coffee dates, lunches, and after hours informal meetings.
  • Gain trust and confidence before making a big “ask”; Build friends before building funds.

Identify the ways we can connect with contributors, not everyone will give cash.

  • We all need more than just money!
  • Individuals can give money, time (volunteerism), skills, and services.
  • Small businesses can give in-kind donations, goods/services, small sponsorships.
  • Large corporations can give large scale donations and sponsorships, employee involvement, and publicity.
  • Make giving easy! Involve more people with fun and creative activities!

Mar 2015 MtgUse fundraising approaches such as “friendraising”. Have a planned small, 20 minute talk about your passion, and ask if the person knows anyone who you should meet or could help. They may even raise their hand to support your effort.

Don’t be boring or predictable. Have a signature event with flare that people can talk about and share. Make it special and exciting, something people really want to attend or support.

When asking for donations, follow up and follow through. Partner with the community and meet with people who have experience in event planning or fundraising.

Make sure that your event is consistent with your mission. In Lee’s case he wouldn’t serve meats (hamburgers / hot dogs) since he rescues cows and pigs at his farm.

Don’t say we “need”, rather look for support. Every word matters in the mission and vision statements, so stay simple and clear.

Mar 2015 MtgSomeone asked, “Is there a fundraising season?” It depends, there are key times to host an event such as with a holiday. Do not conflict with other major events which could limit turn out. Pick a date that can be anchored for longevity and give yourself ample time to plan the event.


Peace and Joy

    From your Shaping Clay Team


Karen Wintress        Samantha Bane            Doug Greenberg         Jackie Kujala
609-933-2666           904-881-6697                904-272-5988             904-449-4957



February 2015 – The Power Of Networking

The theme of our February 27th meeting was networking.

Feb 2015 MtgWe explored ways that each of our organizations network with their constituents and with other organizations in the community. Welcome to the several new people who joined us!

Each organization had an opportunity to share a success story representing the lives that his or her agency has touched. It gave us all a deeper look into the heart of our Clay County nonprofits and community.

One networking suggestion was to attend Clay County Chamber of Commerce events which are open to everyone. The Chamber sponsors many networking events throughout each month. If you haven’t already attended, try out Finally Friday meetings. Here you can get your message out to 60 – 90 attendees each week. No need to preregister; just come prepared with a 30-second statement including your name, organization, and what you are looking for.  The meeting starts promptly every Friday morning at 8:30am at Haven Hospice.

Another idea was for nonprofits to reach out to for profit companies. Many companies are looking for ways to contribute to the community. They may not be aware of your organization, who you are reaching, and what successes you are having. Find ways to get your story out and meet with representatives from companies that you’d like to have support you.

Build face-to-face relationships. Have one-to-one meetings over coffee with people from other organizations (profit and nonprofit). Find out more about what each other is doing and explore if there are ways to collaborate. Make sure to follow up and stay connected after an initial meeting, follow up is key to successful relationships.

Stay current with other events going on in the community. By doing this you may identify opportunities to support each other. When possible, attend events being held by other organizations.

Feb 2015 MtgIn building your board reach outside your normal boundaries to those who may not be directly related to the mission of your organization. You want people that through his or her network can make connections to individuals and groups that want to support what you are doing.

Connect our organizations via Facebook. The more active we are using social media, the more we will get our story out and get supported. Consider not just posting an upcoming event, but share photos and information about what happened during and after the event.

 Peace and Joy

    From your Shaping Clay Team


Karen Wintress        Samantha Bane            Doug Greenberg         Jackie Kujala
609-933-2666           904-881-6697                904-272-5988             904-449-4957

January 29 Shaping Clay Focuses On CHIP Initiatives

Shaping Clay is a network of Clay County nonprofits, and we welcome any community stakeholders to our meetings who would like to contribute to the discussion or find out what is going on.

At our January 29, 2016 meeting we are going to review the CHIP (Clay Health Improvement Plan) implementation plan introduced earlier in January. Workgroups are being formed for each health issue that was identified as high priority in Clay County: Mental Health, Unhealthy Lifestyle/Prevention, and Healthcare Access.

We will explore how organizations affiliated with Shaping Clay can contribute to this county-wide effort to improve the health of Clay residents.  Out of 67 counties in Florida, here’s where Clay County ranks.

Clay County Health Rankings

 In order to read the full report – copy this link into your browser:

Please join us at St. Vincent’s in Clay County. Plan to arrive by 8:15 to purchase your own coffee at the St. Vincent’s cafe, then walk down the hall to the meeting. Our meetings are from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Meeting notes from our prior discussions appear below.


January 2015 – Our Ideas For Sharing And Doing

At our January 30th meeting the focus was on ideas for sharing and doing.

Shaping Clay January Each of us provided a quick introduction to his or her organization. This gave us all a better understanding of each agency’s target audience and mission.

Next, we split into 3 groups and each shared the top needs of our organization. Many highlighted similar needs such as not having enough volunteers or funding, the challenges in attracting board members, challenges in getting the word out about how our organization benefits the community, and ways to get the community engaged in our efforts.

We then brainstormed about how to tackle these challenges. Participants identified others in the room to work with that they had not thought about collaborating with before. This discussion flowed easily into identifying which groups were not represented at the meeting, but could add to our efforts. We’d like to see members of the clergy since they are so well connected to people and know needs within our communities. Also we’d like to see the media, our communities’ storytellers working with us. We started to explore how we might work with the radio. Another group that we’d like to work with are colleges such as St. Leo University and St. Johns River State College.

Jan 2015 MtgLook for a survey to arrive soon via email. We want your ideas for ways that Shaping Clay can grow and support the nonprofit organizations within Clay County. We want to make sure that our meetings provide value – a place to learn, network, and guide us all to turn ideas into action.

Thank you for the community leadership and support in Clay County. See you on February 27th at 8:30-10:00 a.m. at St. Vincent’s Clay County.

Peace and Joy

    From your Shaping Clay Team


Karen Wintress        Samantha Bane            Doug Greenberg         Jackie Kujala
609-933-2666           904-881-6697                904-272-5988             904-449-4957

Jan 2015 MtgJan 2015 Mtg Jan 2015 Mtg

Welcome 2015! New Meeting Location.

Upcoming Meeting
Friday, January 30, 2015 

8:30 am -10:00 am

New Year with a New Location: 

St. Vincent’s Health Care

1545 Branan Field Road
Middleburg, FL 32068

   Registration Button - Click here

At our holiday meeting on Friday, December 5th, we welcomed our new Steering Committee!

Douglas Greenberg, Clay Literacy Coalition (Coordinator)

Samantha Bane, Independent Living Resource Center (Marketing)

Jackie Kujala, Guardian ad Litem (Hospitality)

Karen Wintress, Utility Bill Check Up (Communication)

We also said farewell and thank you to our outgoing Steering Committee!
Catrine Fredrikson, Rotary Club
Christy Fitzgerald, Rotary Club; Owner, Conquer the Chaos
Amy Parker, Reinhold Foundation
Lee Sackett, CJ Acres Animal Rescue
Beth Eifert, Community Coach, Nonprofit Center

Each Steering Committee member – new and outgoing –
was given a clay angel made by local artist, Michael
Higbe. The clay represents the county they serve; the 
angel represents their guardianship; and the heart
signifies the compassion they – and all nonprofit
champions – bring to the world. Thank you ALL for your
service!! !

We also took time that morning to network, laugh, share
stories, and give away door prizes. It was a nice way to
bring the year to a close.

A big thank you you to Susan and Brian McInnis (CPAs with The McInnis Company), who generously provided the breakfast.

What will Shaping Clay bring in 2015!

– New Meeting Location, St. Vincent’s Clay County

– Arrive by 8:15 to purchase your own refreshments at the St. Vincents cafe, then walk down the hall to the meeting.

-The new format will be networking-focused. Please come prepared to talk about your organization! A $2 donation at the door helps to cover website and marketing costs.

-After January’s meeting a survey will be sent to receive feedback regarding the new meeting location & food.

Thanks so much and see you on January 30th at 8:30-10:00 a.m. at St. Vincent’s Clay County.

Peace and joy,

Samantha Bane

Coordinator, Shaping Clay Helping Professionals’ Group



Our Next Meeting is December 5th!

There is no November meeting. We are joining our November and December meetings into one holiday meeting on Friday, December 5, 2014. We will meet 8:30 am -10:00 am at the Orange Park Library .

Holiday networking and celebration: come meet and welcome our new Steering Committee members!

On Friday morning, December 5th, we’ll have a LOT to celebrate:

– we’ll say goodbye and “thank you” to the members of our very first Steering Committee who have served for the past 4 years: Catrine Fredrikson, Chisty Fitzgerald, Amy Parker, Lee Sackett, and myself;

– we’ll welcome and thank our new Steering Committee members who will be introduced that day;

– we’ll network and celebrate the wonderful gifts that we each – as nonprofit champions – have individually and collectively shared with Clay County throughout the past year;

– and we’ll talk about what the new year – and new committee – will bring to Shaping Clay in 2015!

Shaping Clay members, Susan and Brian McInnis (CPAs with The McInnis Company), have generously offered to provide breakfast that morning, so our individual $5 donations will be collected and given to one lucky organization during our door prize drawing that morning! Other door prizes will also be given that day, as well!  If you would like to donate a door prize, or know of anyone who would, please email me ateifert13@bellsouth.net and/or bring it along that day. And please feel free to bring a friend!

Thanks so much and see you on December 5th, 8:30-10:00 a.m. at the OP Library!

Peace and joy –


Beth Eifert
Coordinator, Shaping Clay Helping Professionals’ Group