G.E.M.S. (Good Emergency Mother's Substitute)

For more information, contact Bonnie Silverman, G.E.M.S Director | [email protected]

    G.E.M.S will not be offered in 2022. Check back later for updates.






If you would like to register your son or daughter for GEMS, the student must be:either 12 to 15 years old or finishing the 6th grade able to attend all 3 days

Students will need to bring a bagged lunch and drink on the 2nd day of class (the long day, 10 AM - 2:30 PM)

All materials and snacks are covered in the registration fee of $45.

Materials will be provided and reviewed during the class and will be taken home at the conclusion of the course along with a course certificate (wallet sized).

Students will be trained in infant/child CPR by professionals from Sarasota Memorial Heathcare System. In addition, we will have guest speakers from various community resources to teach safety and security tips to include:

Sarasota County Fire Department., Sarasota Police Department, Child Protection Center of Sarasota

As a special treat, babies with their moms will come to teach diapering and other childcare tips.

On the last day we will have a graduation cake to celebrate! 



Registration Confirmation:
you will be notified by email that your son/daughter has been accepted into the class (registration is limited to the first 54 students). Once notified, you will receive an email address to contact if you have any questions, or you can email [email protected].

Once our class fills to 50 students, we will close registration online, but accept requests via email to fill the last few spots. If you are mailing a check, we must receive it within 4 days to assure your spot is held.

** You will be contacted to confirm your registration was received online or in the mail!

If the student is under the age of 13, please sign the photo release form.

Bonnie Silverman, G.E.M.S. Director.


(Good Emergency Mother’s Substitute) 


GEMS Babysitting Course registration will begin the the spring for students ages 12-15 years of age or finishing the 6th grade.  Please check back at this website then to register.

The Sarasota Medical Alliance Foundation proudly presents:

G.E.M.S. (Good Emergency Mother’s Substitute) Babysitting Course


Our G.E.M.S. Babysitting Course has been provided as a community service to Sarasota County annually since 1995. The course is immediately following the close of public school for the summer, usually at the end of May, and is hosted by Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota.

This 3-day comprehensive course is offered to boys and girls who have completed 6th grade or are between the ages of 12 and 15 years. It is taught by G.E.M.S. Chair/Director, Bonnie Silverman, MA in Education. SCMSA members assist. Each year we train up to 54 students from Sarasota County public and private schools. This course provides:

Materials and review of first aid, safety, babysitting ethics, and the do’s and don’ts of babysitting

·      Suggestions for age-appropriate activities and a brief overview of child development

·      Infant/Child CPR training by Sarasota Memorial Hospital nurses

·      Accidental poisoning education from the Florida Poison Information Center,Tampa

·      Appropriate child care and warning signs of abuse from Child Protection Center, Inc. representative

·      Fire prevention safety from a Sarasota Fire County Department firefighter

·      Crime prevention tips from a Sarasota County Sheriff. crime prevention officer

·      A hands-on diaper demo featuring moms and their babies. Parents share diapering and child-care tips in small groups.


Parents can register their students from a link on our website. The registration fee, which covers the cost of materials and snacks* can be paid online or by check. The course is limited to 54 students.

Registration begins in mid-April and online registration is offered through this website.

·      Any funds left after course materials are covered will go to our non-profit Foundation for our health-education scholarships and community projects. The Sarasota Medical Alliance Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Florida corporation, donations to which are tax-deductible.

Email any questions to G.E.M.S. Director, Bonnie Silverman at b[email protected]

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Medical Alliance board member, Sara Gapin, and daughter in attendance for "Real babies & moms Diaper Demo" segment of program.


From Selby Library Assistant Manager, Marilyn Nyfiforuk:  June, 2018

"Bonnie Silverman, G.E.M.S. (Good Emergency Mother Substitute program) with support from the Sarasota Medical Alliance Foundation and the Alliance volunteers have just completed their twenty-first year presenting a babysitting course at Selby Public Library.  Bonnie’s and the Alliance members dedication to this program over the years has been exceptional.

Bonnie acts as the director and instructor of the course.  She works with staff to arrange the program, recruits volunteers to assist, recruits nurses, firemen and other professionals to help deliver the program.  This three-day babysitting course is the best in the county as teens learn CPR, diaper changing, first aid, how to play with children and much more.  I’ve seen more than a thousand teens complete the course over the years.  Teens come out of the course more competent, illustrating leadership and cognitive skills.  This is all a result of Bonnie’s enthusiasm for delivering the program.  She inspires excitement with teens seeking their first babysitting job.  Her presentation is dynamic, full of energy and allows teens to learn what it means to be a babysitter by actively participating in role-playing or team-building exercises to build babysitting skills.

The youth staff at Selby Public Library, parents and teens appreciate the Sarasota Medical Alliance Foundation for offering the babysitting course annually.  Our trained teens are providing a safe environment for our children in the community."


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Donnie & Bob welcome guest Bonnie Silverman of the GEMS babysitter program.

Promoting our community education programs on local station WSRQ



Ray Collins from ABC 7 covers our story.

Ray Collins from ABC 7 covers the story.

From Parents

"I just wanted to let you know that I have heard so much great feedback about your course from Anjali, as well as many of her friends!  Kudos to you and the team for putting on a fabulous educational experience for the kids. We parents are very grateful :)."

"I cannot say enough positive things about the GEMS babysitting course. Maya found it to be interesting, informative, and just the right amount of information. Thank you for all the hard work that you put into making this such a success in our community."


Thank you for your support!

FMAA Peggy Wilcox Award Winning Board Member, Bonnie Silverman, thanks our donors and sponsors. Without them, we would not be able to afford these fantastic programs over 20 years in the running!