Articles

Do unto others…

Do unto others…

Students in the Bolles Lower School Whitehurst Campus third grade presented The Golden Rule on Feb. 29

St. Paul’s students excel at science fair

St. Paul’s students excel at science fair

St. Paul’s Catholic School students won nine awards at the Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Under the big top at St. Johns

Under the big top  at St. Johns

Who knew the circus was in town

Ortega student crowned Mr. St. Johns

Ortega student crowned Mr. St. Johns

St. Johns Country Day School junior Jess Wilsensky held off 10 other handsome and talented young men to win the coveted “Mr. St. Johns” title at a late February event held in the school’s Performing Arts Center. Event chair and Ortega resident Caroline Robbins and co-chair, Ellen Crist, chose “Mr. St. Johns Hits the Beach” for this year’s theme. The guys entertained the audience competing in casual wear, lip sync and formal wear. Luke Dill was the first runner-up, Garrett Hays was the second runner-up, Cole Ferguson was the third runner-up and Drew Petty was the fourth runner-up. Other contestants included Ryan Lindholm, John Stribling, Joe Capps, Madison Duff, Collin Hudson, Trey Teahan. The Mr. St. Johns contest is sponsored by the Interact Club and proceeds go to benefit Relay for Life/American Cancer Society. This year’s total was $1,762.

Swish! Riverside basketball scores this season

Swish! Riverside basketball scores this season

Riverside Presbyterian Church Basketball organizers said this past season was its best yet.

Fashion forward in Avondale

Fashion forward in Avondale

Local models strut their stuff in the spirit of spring

Go-Giver: Mark Rosenberg

Go-Giver: Mark Rosenberg

By Julie Kerns
Garmendia

Mark
Rosenberg, a Jacksonville native and local attorney with a private law practice
in Riverside, lives with his wife Natalie, daughter Charlotte 10, and son
William 6 1/2, in Avondale. Several years ago Rosenberg first began supporting
the nonprofit The Sanctuary on Eighth Street through a friend’s involvement.
Later a chance personal encounter with the Sanctuary children introduced
Rosenberg to the group of underprivileged children and teens who would become
nearly a second family to the busy attorney.

“At
first I was just the typical check-writing supporter of The Sanctuary — then we
ran into the kids at Boone Park where they were enjoying an Easter egg hunt,
” Rosenberg said. He explained how he reconnected with Sanctuary director
and nearby resident, Vicky Watkins during the run-in. Rosenberg’s interest in
the Sanctuary was rekindled a year later in the same park. “I was at the
park again with my family when I saw a friend, Robert George, who was trying to
set up a ‘not-for-profit week’ at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, North Carolina
for kids who would never be able to attend summer camp otherwise. I knew I
could pull some people together and make something happen. I wanted to help
send Sanctuary children to the camp, and through that goal, my involvement with
the organization grew over time.”

Through
his connection with the summer camp, Rosenberg was able to arrange for the
first group of five Sanctuary children to attend Rockmont. For the past several
summers, more children have earned the trip through their behavior and academic
accomplishments in The Sanctuary’s enrichment and scholastic programs.

“I
got to know the children, the staff and their mission and began to spend alot
of time there personally, as well as working for them on my own,” he said. “I
was asked to join the board and served as president for the past two years.
Those kids are my little friends and they mean alot to me. What I do for them
pales in comparison to the blessings they have brought to my life.”

The
Sanctuary began as Urban Ministries of Springfield in 1992. The organization
changed its name to The Sanctuary on Eighth Street in 2001. The organization
will celebrate its 20th anniversary September 21, according to Rosenberg. It
has grown from an after-school program for a few children to serving more than
100 inner-city children and youth in after-school, summer school and a small,
but successful home school program taught entirely by volunteer teachers. Their
programs seek to encourage and empower youth and families in need by
ministering to their spiritual, physical, social and intellectual needs with
the goal of expanding opportunities through education, social services,
recreation and the arts.

“It’s
funny, but the Sanctuary Board is littered with my friends because not only did
I want to bring on more strong board members, but I know how my own involvement
has affected my life and I want to share that,” Rosenberg said. “A perfect
example of how we can encourage and help the kids, is their Sanctuary
basketball team practices and games. Sometimes I have been the only adult there
to cheer for their games, or it’s just me and my children, the staff, teachers
or other board members watching them play. It just means so much to them.”

Rosenberg
has already contributed successful ideas to help The Sanctuary kids and he has
more future plans and goals. His daughter Charlotte’s Brownie Troop painted the
computer lab. He came up with the idea for Party Partners, where a church or
other community group hosts a party for the Sanctuary children.

“When
I learned that many of the Sanctuary children never had parties given for them,
even birthday parties, all I could think of was how many parents and
grandparents of my childrens’ classmates attend the many parties and holiday
celebrations held at Riverside Presbyterian Day School. There is always an
abundance of families, food and fun and the comparison to these children was
heartbreaking to me. I just wanted to change that,” he said.

Now
several churches and organizations host parties for every holiday at The
Sanctuary, and many return each year. Rosenberg said the program has been a
wonderful success for the children and has simultaneously introduced many
people in the community to the Sanctuary children, their programs and needs.

Vicky
Watkins, executive director, says that Rosenberg transformed everything since
he came, through his personal involvement and commitment to the children. She
called him a blessing to the organization and a strong, committed leader with
vision, who gets things done and always follows through.

“Mark
strengthened the board tremendously and expanded our reach into the community.
He brought so much to us with his full involvement at every level,”
Watkins said. ” He personally gets to know the kids and loves them and his
commitment to their well being and futures is contagious.”

Rosenberg’s
goals for the future of The Sanctuary focus on funding and sustainability of
programs so that every child can improve behavior, school performance and
succeed in life. His concern when he speaks of their difficulties and
challenges at home and elsewhere is sincere. He said they have little
opportunity to meet their personal potential, that most are working below grade
level and some are in danger of dropping out of school. He proudly speaks of
The Sanctuary’s goal of helping children to attend KIPP Impact Middle School
(charter) or a public magnet school, and that three alumni entered college last
year. One deserving student received a full scholarship.

The
Rosenberg family moved to Avondale from San Marco when Natalie found her dream
Tudor style home, which they completely renovated. Later Mark relocated his
office to Riverside. Natalie is also an attorney, a fulltime mother and active
volunteer. She too can be found with the Sanctuary children, where she listens to
their individual reading. Natalie serves on the Women’s Board of Wolfson
Children’s Hospital. The Rosenbergs also support the Sulzbacher Center, the
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, American Cancer Society, the Juvenile
Diabetes Research Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“I
just want to help these kids become all that they can be. I want to do for them
what I do for my own children,” he said.

Go-Giver: Dr. Dean Glassman

Go-Giver: Dr. Dean Glassman

By Julie Kerns
Garmendia

Some
San Marco residents already know that their neighbor, 52-year-old plastic
surgeon Dr. Dean Glassman, has been a medical missionary for years. However,
not many people know the extent of his charitable work as a pediatric
reconstructive surgeon on volunteer trips to Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines,
Grenada or Brazil — and in Jacksonville with Solace for the Children, a group
providing medical treatment for children from Afghanistan.

Glassman’s
wife Lisa accompanied him on early trips to Grenada, and now daughter
Gabriella, 20, has followed in his footsteps. Gabriella joined her father on
his two most recent trips in 2009 and 2011 to Brazil.

Glassman’s
first volunteer experience was as a young resident plastic surgeon in 1986. He
agreed to go to the Philippines and operate on children with cleft palates.
Later his friend Doug Campbell, founder of Jacksonville-based Children’s Health
Organization Relief & Educational Services (CHORES), invited him to operate
in Grenada. There he did some cleft palate surgeries and general surgery:
repaired old burns, birth defects, congenital abnormalities and some corrective
eyelid surgeries. In 2003, one of Glassman’s patients volunteered him for
medical mission work in Brazil.

“I
started operating on children from Brazil when one of my patients volunteered
me, and eventually I ended up meeting John Mark Bellington, founder of The
Moses Project in Porto Velho, Brazil,” Glassman said. “The first child came
here to Jacksonville, an 11-year-old with cleft lip who I operated on at
Wolfson. The next year in 2004, she returned, and I operated on her palate.

He
said his first trip to Brazil was in 2007 and he has returned every two years
since then. Several local doctors, including Timothy Groover, Bruce Maddern
also have joined him.

Porto
Velho, capital of the Brazilian state of Rondonia, with a population of
approximately 460,000, is on the banks of the Madeira River in the upper Amazon
Basin, about 100 miles from Bolivia. Most patients are native Amazon Indians
from many tribes and cultures, although in Porto Velho and at Camp Moses
Portuguese is the most common language, according to the Glassmans.

In
the U.S., children born with cleft palates undergo surgery between six months
and one year of age, and lip surgeries are performed during the first year. In
poor countries, even those with hospitals, there is rarely a surgeon trained in
specialized cleft surgeries. Although the Jacksonville physicians typically see
children in Brazil, adult patients also have been treated. Glassman recalled
one patient who was 37.

“it is much more difficult to
operate on adults, but that patient was all smiles after his successful
surgery,” he said.

Glassman said his patients there
rarely complain about their condition.

“They
are simply grateful. In some cases they must travel to the states for surgery,
but we can handle many operations there. Some procedures are re-doing surgeries
done elsewhere,” he said. “They usually spend one night in the hospital and
then move to The Moses Project Camp outside of town where they recover.”

Missionary
John Mark Bellington started The Moses Project in 1996 after a medical mission
trip where along with the usual cuts, coughs and worms, a distraught mother
brought her 3-year-old son named Moses who suffered from a rare condition –
rectal atresia. The protrusion of his herniated intestines from his body set in
motion a plan for immediate, life-saving medical evacuation to the U.S. for
treatment, and The Moses Project was born. The project raises funds for medical
expenses, assembles the medical teams, and completes legal paperwork. They also
manage follow-up care for the patients; children from the poorest communities,
where lack of running water and dirt floors are the norm.

“At
The Moses Project Camp the patients are prepped for their surgeries and also
receive after-care. There is a final check-up before we leave, stitches are
removed and instructions left for any follow-up care by plastic or general
surgeons,” Dr. Glassman said. “It’s always hard to leave. My daughter
Gabriella, now pre-med at the University of Florida, has a heart of gold and
she bonded with all the children we saw. On the last trip we also visited an
orphanage and I had to drag her out of there. She didn’t want to leave.”

Gabriella
is following in her father’s footsteps in more ways than one. On the mission
trips she volunteered as surgical assistant and helped wherever needed. After
her first trip she started a club at Bolles to raise funds for The Moses
Project and that has been just one of her many volunteer activities.

“I
have been a volunteer at Shands Hospital-University of Florida assisting the
nurses in recovery, and now I am a volunteer at Shands Children’s Hospital
helping the pediatric immuno-compromised patients,” she said. I do have a soft
spot for surgery after watching what my dad has been able to do for so many. I
also do alot of charity work through my sorority, Kappa Delta, which supports
the Gainesville Child Advocacy Center and the local Girl Scout troop.”

Gabriella
is also a volunteer at Sidney Lanier School in Gainesville; a school for
children with disabilities. There she helps them to complete physical
exercises, participate in creative and social activities, including sports.

“I
want to keep going back to volunteer in Brazil and I am looking for a mission
trip for this summer. Outside of school, I don’t have much free time, but I did
play volleyball in high school and still try to play intramurals, indoor and
sand volleyball for fun,” she said.

The
Glassman family, Dean, Lisa, daughters Sienna and Gabriella and sons Julian and
Jacob have lived in San Marco 15 years, since moving closer to Baptist Medical
Center and the water. Dea, who originally studied architecture, makes time for
a regular sculpture class, working out and basketball. Despite his busy
schedule and Gabriella’s college workload, both say they are already planning
their return trip to The Moses Project in Brazil. The disfigured children of
the Amazon have captured their hearts.

““I
began this volunteer work because I just wanted to help and do whatever I
could, and I hope to continue going back as long as I can,” Dr. Glassman said.

The Way We Were: Alice Coughlin

The Way We Were: Alice Coughlin

By Laura Jane
Pittman

It
says a lot when someone who has experienced the metropolitan worlds of Houston
and New York City is happy to call Jacksonville home. Alice Coughlin wouldn’t dream
of living anywhere else. Even though she smilingly admits to crying for her
first two years here while she adjusted, she considers herself a true Floridian
and “absolutely loves Jacksonville.”

A
former (and occasionally current) fashion model who grew up in Houston,
Coughlin and her husband Warren moved to Jacksonville from New York City in
1958, after he purchased the “little tiny franchise” first known as Florida
Wired Music, later becoming Florida Sound Engineering Company.

The
popularity of Muzak soared during the next few decades, so the Coughlin’s
franchise didn’t stay little for long. The company eventually bought other
franchises and installed sound systems throughout the state and in such local
buildings as Independent Life, Southern Bell, and the original Gator
Bowl.

Meanwhile,
the couple was busy raising children Mark and Cyndi – who were 12 and eight at
the time of the move.

“We
first rented a house in St. Nicholas on Palmer Terrace, and the children could
walk to school at Assumption,” recalled Coughlin. “Mark would get up early in
the morning and walk down to the river to go fishing. I told him I was NOT
cleaning fish, so when he cleaned what he caught, I would cook them for
breakfast.”

From
time to time, Mark would watch Jacksonville artist John McIver painting on the
banks of the St. Johns River. And although the family loved the convenience of
St. Nicholas – there was a medical clinic close by on one corner of Atlantic,
an A&P (now the site of Curry Thomas Hardware) on the other, and a
drugstore at the site of Mudville Grille – some bulldozers in the San Jose
Forest area caught Coughlin’s eye.

“I
developed the bug for designing and building houses when we were in Houston. So
I asked around and found out they were building a new neighborhood. We went
tromping around in boots and work clothes to pick out our lot,” she smiled. “We
built on Saragossa and were the third house in the neighborhood.”

The
family sat down to dinner together every night and shared events from the day,
a tradition that both parents and children treasured. They also frequented
downtown and loved to attend fashion shows at the hotels. Daughter Cyndi would
ride the bus downtown with friends to go shopping and to the movies.

Coughlin
remembers when Epping Forest was mostly woods, and she recalls how much easier
traveling to the other side of the river became once the Buckman Bridge was
built in the early 1970s.

During
the 1970s, Coughlin served on the symphony board and also volunteered with the
American Cancer Society, whose office used to be at the Koger Center on Beach
Boulevard. She still works with the organization today.

After
their stint in San Jose Forest, the family built a house in Deerwood. On a
November 2, 1975 visit to Jacksonville, one of President Gerald R. Ford’s
stops, as memorialized in his daily diary, was the Coughlin house. Cyndi and
her husband Kent Schmidt were on hand to meet him.

Coughlin
grew tired of big houses, and the couple lived for a time at 6000 On The River
condominiums in the San Jose neighborhood, before biting the bullet once again
and building a house in Mandarin where they lived for 12 years. Nine years ago,
they built another home on Sorrento Road in order to be within walking distance
of the San Marco community.

The
greatest tragedy in Coughlin’s life was the loss of son Mark at age 48 to
cancer. Shortly after his death, she and Warren sold their company. Another sad
event occurred four years ago with Warren’s death.

Though
she misses Warren every day, Coughlin, now 84, enjoys a full life with friends
and family, including six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren (the
youngest one was born in March).

“Warren
and I had 62 amazing years together, and we were able to travel all over the
world,” she said. “We were very fortunate, and I am very blessed!”