Community Services

Hearing Screening

Our volunteers screen preschoolers for hearing problems so they enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Vision Screening

Our volunteers screen preschoolers for vision problems so they enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Diversity Puppet Program

NCJW Sarasota-Manatee’s project helps preschoolers understand that being different is OK. The program continues to be very successful, with presentations at 11 preschools/VPK in Sarasota & Venice. We hope to expand to Manatee County in the future & perhaps add another team. The goals are to teach a lesson on diversity which covers the Social/Emotional/Language/ Communication & Emergent Literacy Standard guidelines for the State of Florida 4-year-olds programs.

Our teams utilize 5 hand puppets who “live” in the jungle with each representing a challenge: activity, shyness, visual impairment, physical issues and non-English speaking. In the interaction, the children are asked questions about being different and accepting those who are different. Please contact Cathy Markowitz at or Cindy Solomon at if you are interested.

“Someone to Talk To” Puppet Program

This very popular puppet program is presented to first graders in the Sarasota County School System to increase awareness of and identify mental, physical, verbal and sexual abuse. A brand new stage was purchased by the Board for this delightful production using full size, hand manipulated puppets. If you wish to participate in this wonderful program please contact our new Chair:  Debbie Engleson at

Scholarships for “non-traditional” students

NCJW Sarasota-Manatee awards college scholarships to “non-traditional” students. Local students apply and are chosen from applications received. The award ceremony is an event held in April introducing the honorees, hearing their stories and celebrating their scholarship supporters. To apply, interested students should download an application here.

Consider establishing a scholarship honoring someone special, in memory of a loved one, or in celebration of a milestone in your life. Named Scholarships begin at $1,000, or you can contribute money earmarked to go to our Scholarship fund. Chair: Jessica Rogers,

Blankee Bee

Join us as we cut and tie to make beautiful fleece blankets that will go to those in need in our community who need the comfort of a warm fuzzy: children, cancer patients, the elderly.  It’s easy!  No sewing involved, but you’ll  have fun and get to know other members.

Hope House

NCJW Sarasota-Manatee supports Hope House, the Manatee County shelter for victims of domestic violence. Support varies based on the needs of the shelter.


HIPPY is a parent involvement and school readiness program developed by the NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program offers free home-based early childhood education for three, four and five year old children working with their parent(s) as their first teacher.  Initially brought to Sarasota by the Sarasota-Manatee section, HIPPY is now administered by the YMCA in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  We continue our involvement by presenting each graduate going to Kindergarten with a backpack stocked with school supplies.  We also help once a month with the children during Parent Meetings and provide speakers for the some of the meetings.

Become a volunteer and you will have the chance to augment current skills or learn new ones.   It’s a great way to meet new people and have fun while contributing to the community.   To volunteer for any of our committees, please contact us or call (941) 342-1855.