Angela Colosimo is a soft-spoken, private person with a big heart for children. Anything related to youth from pre-k to teens on Gasparilla Island will likely be linked to her in some way in her capacity as the Friends of Boca Grande Youth Programs director.
The departure of longtime Munchkins pre-K teacher Laquata Meade has added duties for Colosimo. This week she shares her take on the status of today's youth, the need for various Friends of Boca Grande youth programs and what she and her husband do for fun after she spends her work days handling youth programs.
QUESTION From your viewpoint as the Friends of Boca Grande Youth Programs director, what are children of today like? The stereotype out there is they are too involved in video games, disinterested in events around them and have short attentions spans.
ANSWER: In general, I do agree with that. That's why in my after-school program we don't do video games. We don't allow them. We have the Wii but I encourage them to play games that are active. The kids I deal with, luckily, are very into sports. Their parents are very involved with what they do on a daily basis. This group of kids out here is an amazing group. I'm very happy to be able to work with them every single day. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Q: Your professional plate just grew bigger recently. What programs are you handling now?
A: I direct after-school programs and I was directing the Munchkin program (for pre-kindergarteners) until Miss Laquata left. I also do Boca Buddies. I do almost anything that has to do with children for the Friends. I also help Lee County Parks & Recreation with special events.
Angela Colosimo at a glance
Birthdate: March 22
Occupation: Friends of Boca Grande Youth Programs director
Hometown: Bonita Springs
Residence: South Gulf Cove
Family: married seven years with two dogs
Education: early children education from community college. "I thought I was going to be a teacher but I fell in love with after-school programs."
Discovered Boca Grande: I moved here in 2005 and came up for lunch at PJ's.
Q: What's going on with the after-school program?
A: Right now, we have 29 enrolled, including eight from Vineland Elementary. We do homework, cooking, crafts and organized sports. Kids love crafts (Fee: $900 per year).
Q: What is the favorite sport for this group?
A: Their favorite is Capture the Flag. We do soccer and kickball but Capture the Flag is No. 1 choice. The kids wear flags and you have to get your flag from the other end.
Q: After Miss Laquata left, the Munchkins pre-K program seemed to go into limbo as no one registered for the fall session and a summer session was not held. What is the status of the Munchkins program?
A: We are putting the word out that we're taking registrations for the Munchkins program. It works for any working on non-working parent who wants a preschool academic program for their children. It gets them prepared for kindergarten. Right now, kids need to be prepared for kindergarten. It's also social and helps them learn what it's like to go into school (Fee: $200 per month).
Q: What is going on with Boca Buddies?
A: Boca Buddies was created a long time ago by other people but we reopened it when I started here in 2009. We open up the multi-purpose room from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. once a month on Fridays from October to May for children's ages 5 to 13. We do the same as after-school but with pizza and games, dancing and limbo, all kinds of stuff. It gives the parents a little time to go out. It's a fun night for the kids and the parents ($20 per visit).
It's really cool because the parents get together and they choose a restaurant here on Boca Grande like Patrick's Thai Bistro or PJ's. so it's nice for the businesses as well. Date Night, Parent Night and Kids Night all at the same time.
Q: How did you connect with the Friends of Boca Grande?
A: I was actually recruited by D.J. Kiesling in March 2008. When this position opened, they called me, I interviewed and when I came out I was impressed and took the position right away. I didn't hesitate when they called me (with the job offer).
Q: What impressed you about this position?
A: The facilities and the opportunity was great for me. I had worked for an after-school program for 11 years and it made me feel as if I was back home again.
Q: You made a big change in your life a year ago by completely revamping your eating habits. Why?
A: I hadn't been feeling great and decided to change my diet. So I took up "clean eating." It's not a diet; it's a way of life. I totally started day one in July 2011 eating no processed foods, no boxed foods, no fried foods, no fast foods, wine or beer. I only eat lean meat once a week.
Q: What happened for you?
A: I lost 35 pounds. If I have a craving for something, I just remember how I used to feel. Honestly, it wasn't tough. Looking back, I never thought I ate that bad but I didn't eat the way your supposed to: I never ate breakfast and didn't eat five times a day. Today, I'll have pizza if I want it every once in a while but in moderation. You don't have the whole pizza; you have one slice of pizza.
Q: What do you and your husband do for fun?
A: We like to go to the beaches on Boca Grande and Siesta Key. Right now it's college football season so we do watch football. Florida State first and foremost and second, an Auburn fan, because my nephew attends there. We're very proud of him because he's in college, third year pre-law.