A group of travellers from Florida, who are now regular visitors to Londolozi, have decided that, between visits, they are going to bring some of the wildlife experience that they love so much back to their hometown of Sarasota.
Led by Michael and Terri Klauber, and hosted at Michael’s restaurant, Michaels-on-East, Safari Sarasota is an event that celebrates the food and wine of South Africa, but goes much further to raise awareness for the people and communities of South Africa’s rural areas.
The event, which was held on the 6th November, includes an interactive cooking experience led by Londolozi Executive Chef Anna Ridgewell (see the mouth-watering South African-inspired menu below), as well as live and silent auctions, which benefit the All Heart Fund set up in 2013 to support the work of Londolozi’s nonprofit partner, Good Work Foundation (GWF).
Co-chair of Safari Sarasota is Beth Knopik who first travelled to Londolozi with her husband and two children in 2011. Not long after the visit, Beth’s daughter, Leanna, passed away suddenly after contracting a rare heart infection, and it is in memory of Leanna that the All Heart Fund was set up to support improved learning experiences for the rural and often disadvantaged children living in the areas close to Londolozi.
The majority of the silent auction items at the event were exceptional wildlife photos submitted by Londolozi’s game rangers, many of whom have guided groups of visitors led by Michael and Terri in the past. However, a precious few photos were Leanna Knopik originals, captured on her 2011 Londolozi visit.
As Michael headed up the stage to lead the guests in the live action he said: “I am so very proud to be able to share in the celebration of our special angel Leanna’s legacy tonight. We know that she is looking down on us with pride as we bring her dreams alive. Her hope of working in the villages surrounding Londolozi Game Reserve and creating new education experiences is coming true in so many ways. We can’t wait to return to Londolozi in 2017 and have another chance to visit the Hazyview Digital Learning Campus to experience the brilliant work being done by the Good Work Foundation. Terri and I are proud to stand alongside the Knopik Family as we continue our work for the All Heart Fund.”
Kate Groch, CEO of GWF, attended Safari Sarasota this year, in part to thank regular supporters of this event, and share with them what has been achieved since 2013.
“Leanna Knopik has inspired an entire community and been able to share with them the important work that we are doing for young, rural South Africans,” said Kate. “There is no price that you can put on the value of an emissary who truly believes in what you do. And because of that we have been able to build and expand our digital learning programs that now reach more than 3000 children. On behalf of the GWF team, thank you to the extended All Heart community in Sarasota.”
Enjoy all the photos below and have a look at the video we have included which allows you to meet the pioneering Kate Groch and see GWF’s digital learning program in action.
Would you like to contribute?
This year’s Safari Sarasota is set to reach a record amount raised. If you would like to contribute to the All Heart Fund, click here. Monies are directed to Good Work Foundation via US nonprofit, The LEAP Foundation, and US citizens will receive a 501 c 3 tax receipt.
Written by Ryan James, Londolozi blog contributor