Seeing Children Today

Inspiring the Confident, Compassionate and Creative leaders of tomorrow

Sunflower Creative Arts | Annual Report 2018-2019


Throughout 2018/2019, across all our Sunflower programs, teachers, parents and student observers have SEEN first-hand that experiences in play, nature and the arts are essential for healthy human development.


4460 parent volunteer/co-op hours allowed teachers to provide optimal play-based experiences for children in Sunflower programs.




Who have newly mastered a skill, empathize with and eagerly assist other children who are still learning.

This year 254 families benefited from a play-based education in 18 weekly programs at our Sunflower campus


“When we talk about really seeing children, we mean truly being with them. In Silence. With no agenda. It is only then that we can see the capability, intelligence, caring, curiosity and depth of passion in every molecule of their being.”

Susan Caruso, Executive Director and Founder, Sunflower Creative Arts



Who care for the world, who have the initiative to use their voices and creatively use materials to display their caring.

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Ruth Floreal, Doctor of Education, conducted a study at Sunflower Creative Arts on incorporating STEM into early childhood:

Children at Sunflower have uninterrupted play time because their play is their work. Play is when children get the opportunity to think, reason and build the confidence to be independent…children build the confidence to be reflective decision makers and are empowered to speak up for themselves.


Excerpt from the doctoral thesis of Ruth Floreal, Ed.D., Northeastern University School of Professional Studies



This year we opened our doors to graduate as well as undergraduate students and in-service teachers to SEE children and the transformative power of learning in a play-based environment, where adults facilitate exploration guided by each child’s unique wonder, curiosity and interests.


Who feel safe to utilize materials in unique ways, allowing their curiosity to guide their learning.


At Sunflower, children are given the space to explore natural phenomena, test (and retest) hypotheses and adjust based on what they learn, which by definition shares a lot of the key components of the scientific method of discovery. Scott Cooper, Sunflower Parent


Through the bold outreach efforts of our Sunflower Play Initiative, we are encouraging the Delray and greater community to SEE play as a critical cross-cultural component of childhood, crucial for every aspect of learning and growth.

Sunflower Play Initiative


Mission: To shine a light on the profound power of play

Vision: To bring back child-directed free play to every child’s life, everyday

Year 1: We hosted over 20 Pop-Up playful builds with over 1,000 total attendees.

The Play Initiative partnered with: Delray Beach Children’s Garden/ Milagro Afterschool Program/Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County, Inc./Delray Beach Public Library/Delray Parks and Recreation/Arts Garage/Wise Tribe


“I work here. It is always quiet. I never hear the sounds of children. I have no children of my own. No nieces or nephews. Nothing. The children are always quiet, serious, shy, afraid. Now you are here. . . . I’m working and it’s not quiet. I hear laughter and joy, children talking, planning, playing. They are happy. They are having fun. It is good to see them being kids, being real kids, having a childhood.

Sergio M. Palacio, Executive Director, Farmworker’s Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County, Inc.


Community Presentation of the Sunflower Play Initiative

Founder and Director, Susan Caruso, along with Simone Chin, Assistant Director of the Sunflower Play Initiative, presented to the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Council about the Play Initiative. This year Susan made presentations about the significance of play as far away as South Carolina and Maryland, extending Sunflower’s reach.

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Who thrive when we all come together as a community to support them in ways that spark their creativity, grow their confidence and encourage curiosity.


Over 500 people attended our Ice Castle Festival & Play Day, our annual community celebration of Play + Nature + Art. 500 Volunteer hours made this event happen!


Our Sunflower Roots & Shoots Club, a part of Jane Goodall’s worldwide kids’ activist group, allows us to SEE children performing service projects together that demonstrate concern for the environment, animals and the human community.


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7942 Total Volunteer Hours.

$24,156 raised for programs at our annual Hop, Skip & a Jump-A-Thon


During Great Give 2019, $18,594 raised from generous donations and matching funds to support Sunflower’s need-based Scholarship Fund.

14 Business Sponsors supported our Community Events.

Over $21,000 in Capital Fund donations. Remaining Goal: $586,000

Thanks Batchelor Foundation for your continued support! A $20,000 Batchelor grant supported our need-based Scholarship Fund.

Thank you for your generous donations. 

Every effort has been made to acknowledge contributions correctly and completely from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. Should you discover an error or omission, please call us at 561 501-6615.

A Home for Sunflower Capital Campaign Donors

* Indicates 2018-19 Donor

Amy and Edgar An* Marci Lazar
Keith Backer Le Petit Prince
Sharon and Scott Baker Luciana and Eran Levy
Diana and Juan Barone* Elizabeth and Steve Licht
Carlee and Jeremy Barr Jennifer and George Ligeti
Kim and Mark Bauer Martin Lipschultz
Jill and Walter Baum Little Seedlings Class of 2014-15
Bridges, Marsh & Associates, Inc. Tayler Mariner and Martin Lee
Stacy Brown and Steve Goldner Lora and Jim McCoy*
Mike Budd Meade Peers McCoy*
Irena Caldera and John Horton* Kirsten McKeen
Ileen P. Carter Thomas and Denise McMurrain
Angelo Caruso Marlene McMurrain McKay
Steven Caruso Saskia Meckman and Fares Khalidi
Susan Caruso* Mendelson Consulting
Danielle Casale Natalie Mitchell
Shannon and Frank Cid* Katie and John Murphy
Carlee Cohen and Jeremy Barr Nationwide Interpreter Resource, Inc.
Mary L Cohn Native Choice Nursery
Nikki and Daniel Dean Native Green Cay Nursery
Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency Jennifer O’Neill and Dennis Yarbrough*
Kerri and Steve Deitsch Rosario and Ernest Orphanos
Jeanette and Dr. Mark Denker P&G Finance, Inc.*
Suzanne Deutch Michele and Tom Peel
Dockerty Romer & Co Charlotte Pelton & Associates, Inc
Susan and David Dubbin Virginia Perez
Stephanie and Aubrey Dunham Gretchen Perry and Rick Leger
Wynna and Gary Dunmyer Evan Phalon
Carmen and John Edelson* Ami Polonsky
Dionne Ekendiz Helena Redman
Meredith and Jesse England* Nicole and Omer Reiner
Karen and Bill Epstein and family Emma Risley and Scott Schereschevsky
Rebecca Follo and J. Thomas Bentley Sharon Rosenthal and Roy Trachtenberg
Barbara Fuller Powers and Ralph Powers Dany Schaper
Kate and Chris George* Kathleen and Spencer Seery
Lisa and Michael Glas Ilysia Shattuck and Stephen Charbonneau
Glidden Spina and Partners Sue and Bob Shattuck
Connie and Barry Gluck Shauna of the Star
Victoria and Vince Green Ellen and Marshall Stone
Jaime, Brett, Suzie and Sierra Greenberg* Laura and Mark Swauger
Margaret and William Greenfield Dorota Szladewska and Ernesto Salas
Kristin Harkness* Elisabeth and Ken Teelucksingh
Sharon and Richard Holt Christine Templeton
Astrea Hupfel Maria and Manuel Vergara
Angela and Dante Ionata Janice Watson
Sylvia and Michael Jameson Patricia Werhahn*
Rosemary Justice Bugsy and Dennis Yarbrough*
Patricia and Paul Kilgallon* Young Dentistry*
Candy and Martin Kopczak  
2018 - 2019 Sunflower Circle Members


Kristina Biehl Astrea Hupfel
Dilcia Burgos and Joshua Borthwick Elisa and Alan Leavitt
Susan Caruso Tayler Mariner and Martin Lee
Kim Chin The Pleasants Family
Simone Chin and Mahesh Neelakanta Lia Schultz and Tyrone Halfhill
Genevieve and Shawn Cipes Sue and Bob Shattuck
Meryl Davids and Gary Landau Anna Sullivan
Joyce Doppelt Batya Weisskoff
Barbara Cuomo Feehan Fernanda Pineda and Gary Wolfson
2018 - 2019 Donors


Katie Abramowitz Reinaldo Gonzales Judith Ohanian
Benjamin Abramson Nathan Good Nicole Ojeda
Gloria Agudelo Joanne Gordon Old School Square
Natasha and Justin Ahles Barbara Gorlitsky Bruce O’Neill
Carrie Ahles Ryan Graf Jennifer O’Neill and Dennis Yarbrough
Lawrence Allingham Grandview School Wayne Paglieri
Michelle Alva Victoria and Vince Green Chuck Papp
Jennifer Alvarez Angie and Brian Greenfield Paradise Bank
Amy and Edgar An Stephen Halpern Patty Pardo
Ethan An Jeremy Hanlon Dawn Patroni-Harrah and Josh Harrah
Rachel Andes and Michael Glykas Faith and Blake Harkcom Michele and Tom Peel
Samara and Petro Andreadis Kristin Harkness Barbara Pelser
Angela Andreadis Rosie, Josh and Chapman Harris Kate Pemberton
Dean Andreadis Heather Harris Harper Perez
Demetri Andreadis Paula Hedglon Sadie Pernell
Vasiliki Andreadis Kate and Chris George Joseph Pettit
Rutchele Angelot Jennifer and Chris Hickman Krystal Pirolli
Anonymous (21) Pamela Higgins Tomer and Jennifer Porat
RoseMarie and Tony Arcuri Veronica Hirsch and Bryant Smith Power Design, Inc. – Project V5
Stephanie and Jeffrey Arsht Andrew Hirsh Ralph and Barbara Powers
Kelly Austen Jamie Hirsh Jennifer and Francisco Prettel
Keith Backer Jessica and Adam Hirshfield Lisa Pumper
Ruben Backer Annie Hirshfield Jeremy Raymer
Juliana and Francesco Barbati Ben Hirshfield Luke Raymer
Diana and Juan Barone Debra Hirshfield Danielle Rebuck
The Batchelor Foundation Joanne Hirshfield Robert Reimer
Lisa Battiloro Laura Hirshfield Elaine Reinoso
Lori Bechok Joanne Hirshfield Sherry Rienas
Mark Bernstein AnneMarie Holmes Karen and Justin Rizzo
Gabrielle Biehl Erica and Evan Holzhauer Katia and Jorge Rodrigues
Tamara Biehl Robin Huberman and Eric Huskey Audra and Roberto Rovegno
Emily and Bryce Billings Linda and Chris Hugues Amanda and Ryan Roy
Larry Billings Glenda Hurtado Jacque and Andrew Russo
Nicole Biscuiti Michele Iemolo Kimberlie Saint Louis
John Bloss Diana Inclan Linda and James Sandwick
Ryan Bogert Samantha Infantino Neirah Sankar
Vanessa and Frederick Boltz Angela and Dante Ionata Patricia and Robert Schaaf
Stephanie Borrelly and Alec Ruiz Akemi Iwabuchi Davis Tara Schreiber
Callie and Matthew Bosch Sylvia and Michael Jameson Kevin Schrock
Jacqueline Botting Vienna Jasmin Cindy Paz
Whitney and Neil Bourdelaise Robert Jenkins Kathleen and Spencer Seery
Dan Bradley Chantal Jensen Samantha Seery
Linda Bradley Heather Jensen Elizabeth Selya
Janet Branch Dana and Brad Johnson Mette Seppi
Sandra Bravo Aaron Jones Michele Service
Christene Brewer Monica Jordan Tejal Shah
Stacy Brown and Steve Goldner Gerard Joy Ilysia Shattuck and Stephen Charbonneau
Pam Brown Rosemary Justice Tanya, Jason, Polina and Sasha Shattuck
Matthew Buchholz Rea and Kyle Kanouse Sasha and Ian Shtulman
Tiffany Burkhardt Keith Kanouse Valerie Silidker and Jay Flanzbaum
Melissa Burney Kimberly Kanouse Lenore Silidker
Mij Byram Costas Karageorgis Deborah Silvey
Susan Cabezas Julie Kelly and Barry Goldman Adena Simmons
Mary and Bob Cadwell Vanessa and Scott Kerner Cindy Sipkin
Ileen Carter Virginia Kinsey Bonnie Slater-deMont
Kelly Carter Smock Robin Klein SmartZone
Toni Case Lara Kleinman Claranne and Rich Smith
Ashley Caskill Agelika Kocoronis Cynthia and David Smith
Martha Castilleja Christine Kowal Sidney Smith
Eleni and John Chalvadakis Marc Labowitz Gary Snyder
Linda Chan Siou Wei Diana LaCarubba Juliana Soleil
Dave Chapman Franna Ladd Cynthia Sossei
Dorothy Charbonneau Stephen Ladd Cindy and Alan Sperling
Karen Churey Bridget and Christopher Lago Danette Stasko
Shannon and Frank Cid Lisa Lantz Celeste Stein
Gaetano Cipriano Arielle Leavitt Jesse Stein
Kathleen and Doug Colson Katherine Leneave Loraine Steinkirchner
Christine Cotter Julie Ann Levin Margaret and David Stone
Corinne Creager Elizabeth and Steve Licht Mary Stone
Cecilia and Brian Dan Jennifer and George Ligeti Frances and Eugene Student
Delray Beach Children’s Garden Samantha Ligeti Dorota Szladewska and Ernesto Salas
George Demetriou Alexander Ligeti Nick Tedesco
Jude Dexter Bev Lindner Cindy Tesher
Irena Dimitrova Martin Lipschultz Maya Thevenot
Ljubica Dimitrova John Lombardo Tilson PR
Mary Dombrowski Jessica Lopera and Michael Foelster Erin Tobin
Allison Donelan Pamela and Jeffrey Lucia Dawn and Al Toimil
Jeannie Donovan Jocelyn Lutter Nikki Tomaino
Elizabeth Dorow Mabel’s Labels, Inc. Francesco Tortora
Joan Dorow Michael Malik Grace Umlauf
Logan and J. Marshall Duane Kevin Manning United Way
Susan Duane Kevin Manning Kathy Valdez
Susan and David Dubbin Michael Manning Brooke Van Kirk
Kristie Dudley Evangelia Marangakis Mayra and Rafael Vasquez
Chrissy and Ryan Eaves Hal Martin Maria and Manuel Vergara
Julie Eggleston Nicole and David Marulli Melissa Victor
Megan Emery Helen Masterson Nisha Viswanath
Lisa Engleberg Danielle Mastrogiovanni Ronald Vitello
Erica Englund and Robb Page Jessi Mayne Margaret Wagner
Karen and Bill Epstein Maureen McCarthy Majorie Waldo
Sarah Erwich Mary McClelland Jade Walker
Hannah Farren Lora and Jim McCoy Sharon Walker
Scott Ferguson Sarah McGarry Katherine Wallace
Claudia Flores Flamm and Jeff Flamm Pamela McKeown Lisa and Garrett Wanamaker
Ilana Foglia Marlene McMurrain McKay Kim Weisenberg
Rebecca Follo and J. Thomas Bentley Saskia Meckman and Fares Khalidi Amy and Neal Weisman
Melissa and Ryan Franklin Vanessa Medina Susan and David Welch
Wendy Franklin Marianne Meischeid Virginia Wendt
Jill Freedberg Bryan Meyer Lisa and James Wheeler
Joe Gaglianello Monika Mikiciuk Lee and Charlie Williams
Mary and Joseph Gaglianello Carolyn Miller Patra Winders
Anne Gannon Natalie Mitchell Briana Wolfson
Michelle Gausman Irfan Mohammed Lillian Wolfson
Kristi Geisen Mia and James Moore Cindy Woodburn
Deidre Geraci Dianne Mortensen Tehmina and Erik Wytenus
Annette and Jason Gerlitz-Appel Jessica and Austin Murray The Zacks Family
Melissa Gerstl Glynis Murray Charles Zielinski
Lisa and Michael Glas Ryan Murray Jennifer and Peter Zoole
Lisa and Adam Glass Margaret Noyes Christina Zoumis
Amy Wright Glenn Adam Oaks  

Thank you to our 2018 – 2019 Fiscal Year Silver Sponsors, celebrating over 25 years of Sunflower!


“Today, I watched four children in our Seedlings Preschool gather dirt and wood pieces. They negotiated, argued, encouraged each other’s ideas and laughed. Through my adult lens, I only saw a messy pile of dirt; but the children had built a two-story hotel for the worms that were displaced when we dug up plants. This example shows that a child’s world is so much more than we think. As a Seedling parent who observed children play for five years, I’ve realized that children are the natural teachers in the world, not us. Humankind will be better when we follow their lead.”

Simone Chin, Sunflower Parent and Assistant Director of the Sunflower Play Initiative


227 N Dixie Blvd., Delray Beach, FL 33444

561 501-6615


To support our programs and continue to raise awareness about the many benefits of child-directed play, we invite you to click the donate button above in the upper right. Every gift makes a difference!  


Board of Directors, 2018-2019

Jennifer Ligeti, President

Edgar An, Ph.D., Vice President

Susan Dubbin, Treasurer

Victoria Green, Secretary

Susan Caruso, Executive Director

William L. Epstein, P.A.

Lora Peers McCoy

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