Amazing Suncoast Woman - Bonnie Silverman

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Today's Amazing Suncoast Woman doesn't work for a paycheck. But she says she is well paid in seeing how much good the program she runs does for others.

Bonnie Silverman has trained almost 1200 youngsters, ages 12 to 15, to become baby sitters.

She chairs the G.E.M.S., Or "Good Emergency Mother's Substitute" Program. .

Bonnie says, "We offer a lot of first hand experience, a lot of problem solving and then we have professionals come in and teach infant and child c.p.r., a Tampa Poison Control Center comes and teaches about the dangers of poisons, and what the baby sitter should do if a child should get into a poison."

The Police and Fire Fighters come to the classes and teach safety. The students also learn to diaper.

Bonnie says, " I have about 9 moms bring their babies and teach hands on diapering with a real baby. The kids love it." The babysitting course is offered by the Sarasota Medical Alliance Foundation

"It's an organization of physicians families, either their spouses of the physicians themselves."

Bonnie got involved soon after arriving here.

"My husband is a vascular surgeon, Dr. Stephen Silverman, and it was a great way for me to meet people."

She wanted to do something to help others and heading up the baby sitting program was a great fit for her, with her background in education.

Bonnie grew up in Maryland, and met her husband the summer after high school graduation.

She says, "I started college in a small college in Maryland, then transferred to the University of Florida after meeting my husband, who was a student at the University of Florida. "

She studied early childhood education.

"After we got married he was at medical school in Miami. And while we were there, I taught school and got my Master's Degree.">

After her husband completed his Surgical Fellowship in Dallas, the Sliverman's moved to Sarasota because her husband's parents lived here. .

Bonnie says, "My husband ended up going into practice with his mother's surgeon. We are so glad they inspired us to make our home here. We love Sarasota."

They have 2 very successful adult children and a grand child on the way. and Bonnie's life lesson on how to find the road to happiness.

"I like being independent. I love meeting a lot of people, I get great satisfaction in giving back to the community and from hearing that young kids we've trained have become great babysitters. I don't get paid for what I do, but it's so rewarding, I wouldn't want it any different."

The baby sitting classes are at Selby Public Library in Downtown Sarasota. Registration for the next classes is in April, and the classes start on May 30th. Go to the web site,www.myscmsa.org for more information.