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Swiping at Birds

Swiping at Birds

I ran back into the house 3 times today to retrieve things I had forgotten.

My memory is running off on me and I want it back.  The problem with losing it is holding on to information and being able to recall it in almost photographic terms has always been a strong suit of mine and I have depended on it in both my professional and personal life.  It made up for other skills that I was lacking, but we won’t get into those here.

A few days ago I was lamenting to a colleague about this new issue I was experiencing and blaming it on my age and a very busy schedule.  I could hear a tone of defeat in my voice and so could he.  Suddenly as if he was coming to my rescue, he reached for his phone to share a solution.  He was very encouraging and told me that my mental agility was not lost forever, but rather just needed to be nurtured, developed and coached.

As he was talking, he opened an App on his phone designed to reignite my brain and help me recapture the skills I felt slipping away.  Better yet, the coaching came in the form of games.  This made me a bit nervous because I am just getting over a slight multi-year obsession with a word game on my phone, but I was desperate.  He pressed his phone in my hand, and told me to start swiping my fingers in the direction that birds were flying on the screen.  Every time I got it right the game would tally up points and cheer me on.  I went very slowly with my swipes because I wanted to get an excellent score in front of my friend.

I left feeling a little better about myself and promised to download the app on my own phone.   Although I was frustrated about forgetting things like my phone and glasses in my house, what I was really concerned about was losing sight or putting off things that were important to my family and my community.  I am always so disappointed when there is something that I wanted to get around to or participate in and I let it slip my mind. (Yes, I do have a phone app for a to do list, I just forget to look at it)

We all lead such jam packed lives and have so much information coming at us that it is easy to forget or put things off.  The immediate need right in front of us gets our attention, and we lose sight of things that we value but have just somehow forgotten.

I run into people all the time that say they have been meaning to call me at the foundation office to find out how they can get involved in the community, or they want to make a donation or set up a fund for a cause or organization they support.  Sometimes they confess that their estate document or will is out of date and they are worried that something might happen before they get around to it and their charitable ideas and wishes will not be realized.   I often tell them if they just remember to call our team we can help.  We consider ourselves concierges of philanthropy and are available to help create charitable to-do lists.

People and causes in our region need us to work on our memory and brain agility.  They need us to remember they are counting on us to join teams to build houses, volunteer to serve food, walk a dog at an animal shelter, purchase a ticket for an art event, recycle and conserve our resources and help kids get a great education.

So let’s all start swiping some electronic birds and remember what’s important to us and our neighbors in Southwest Florida.



The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has been supporting the communities of Lee, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, and Collier counties since 1976. With assets over $75 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $57 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. For more information, please call 274-5900, or visit our web site at



Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More