with a single payday. Keeping it for rental purposes gave you an income for life. “I decided at a pretty young age that rental property was the way to go,” he says. “And it worked out. Not superbly, but well enough so that I have enough for my family and still have funds left over to help others.” Willa—a former psychologist, therapist, and educator in the Department of Psychiatry at Cornell University Medical School—has plenty of ways that she gives to the community here as well. She works with the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County and belongs to the Florida Suncoast Division of the International Women’s Board, but she’s most excited these days about her participation with SOURCE Productions, an innovative theatre, video, and film program that teaches young adult volunteers about theatre, acting, life skills, and sex education in order to give back to the community. Willa plans to work with award-winning playwright and program director KT Curran to locate former SOURCE participants (who are now in their mid to late 20s) and interview them to see what type of lasting effect their experiences with SOURCE had. Willa wants to help bring that program to the next level. A theater buff, Willa also offers to be interviewed by the Florida Studio Theatre from time to time so the actors can get a real sense of how older people think, feel, and react. And each theater season, if Willa particularly likes one of their plays, she sponsors it.
It’s no surprise that Bob’s business background was entrepreneurial. In his hometown of New York, he’d buy a piece of land, build a house on it, then sell it. But before long he realized that selling a property came
One of the newest ways that the Bernhards are trying to make a difference is in the field of medicine. Bob was in Sarasota Memorial for a week or so some time back, and while there, he ran across a Latina nursing assistant, a single mother of two, who wanted to become an RN but couldn’t afford the tuition and other expenses. Bob was very impressed by how she interacted with him. Her desire to become an RN wasn’t only about the additional income, but also a desire that grew out of a passion to be able to do more to help others, and that altruistic goal had an impact on Bob. So much so that he brought her in to meet John at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to work out how to give her the opportunity to become an RN. NOVEMBER 2017 | SARASOTA SCENE
Get ready to gather around the holiday table and enjoy the November issue of Sarasota Scene!