Photo 1 - Gulf Coast Village Scholarship Awards The Gulf Coast Village Foundation recently presented a total of $19,000 in scholarships to 17 Gulf Coast Village employees, with gifts ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. The foundation, which has awarded 87 scholarships since the scholarship program’s inception, is designed to provide financial aid, educational opportunities and innovative services for all who live and work at Gulf Coast Village. The program is supported through donations from Gulf Coast Village residents, staff and supporters. The Gulf Coast Village Foundation awarded its first scholarships in 2003, presenting $500 scholarships to five employees. Thirteen years later, the 2016 class of 17 employees was the largest number of recipients to date.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to support our employees as they further their educations and advance their careers,” said Cheryl Leftwich, fund development director for Gulf Coast Village. “Scholarships assist our staff to broaden their expanse of knowledge and strengthen their abilities to provide exceptional care for our residents, and we are proud to play a role in their continued success.”

Shhani “Shay” Gallimore, who has worked at Gulf Coast Village for nearly two years, is one of the 17 employees who received a scholarship from The Gulf Coast Village Foundation. Originally from New York, Gallimore moved to Florida as a child, and is currently in her second year of schooling at Florida SouthWestern State College, where she is working toward an associate’s degree in nursing. Her goal is to further her education by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing and then go on to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN), and eventually a physician assistant (PA).Photo 2 - Gulf Coast Village scholarship recipients

In an essay for this year’s scholarship, Gallimore shared that the residents and fellow staff of Gulf Coast Village make her feel at home. “Working here at Gulf Coast Village has been one of the best decisions I have made. I have never felt more cared for by a foundation of people, and when I work here I feel as if I am part of something bigger, I am part of the Gulf Coast Village family,” Gallimore wrote.

Brittany Slack, a recent addition to the Gulf Coast Village team, was another employee to be awarded a scholarship from the Gulf Coast Village Foundation. Originally from New Jersey, Slack is currently enrolled in her second year at Florida SouthWestern State College, where she is working toward an associate’s degree, a double major in nursing and teaching. Slack made the Dean’s list at her school in fall 2015, holds a 4.0 GPA, and plans to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing and teaching. Slack eventually hopes to enter the field of trauma nursing, and once she retires from this profession, Slack would like to become an elementary school teacher.

In her scholarship essay, Slack wrote about her time at Gulf Coast Village and her future aspirations. “Working here at Gulf Coast Village is an amazing opportunity that I will most carry with me for the rest of my life,” Slack wrote. “I would love to take everything that I learn as a nursing student to hopefully advance in my career and become a registered nurse for Gulf Coast Village. I try to use all of the skills and strategies that I learn every day here to help my residents and be the absolute best I can be for them!”

For more than 20 years, The Gulf Coast Village Foundation has supported programs that meet the diverse needs of older adults. To learn more about the Gulf Coast Village Foundation, visit www.GulfCoastVillage.com/Foundation.

Founded more than 25 years ago, Gulf Coast Village is the premier Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Cape Coral, Florida. Residents enjoy active independent living in an unparalleled lifestyle of comfort and convenience with a rich array of services and amenities that are focused on living well. The community also offers the security of knowing there is the full continuum of care when needed including:  assisted living, skilled nursing, specialized memory support, home health and outpatient services. Gulf Coast Village is located at 1333 Santa Barbara Blvd., Cape Coral, FL 33991. For more information call 239-772-1333 or visit www.GulfCoastVillage.com.

Gulf Coast Village is sponsored by Volunteers of America, a national non-profit faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Volunteers of America was founded in 1896 and is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of quality, affordable housing for seniors and a provider of professional long-term care including assisted living, home health care and nursing home care.