FISH will offer a ReUnite program workshop | News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA

Prisca Mendez Asar. PHOTO PROVIDED

FISH of Sanibel-Captiva, in partnership with the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, will host a ReUnite Scent Kit workshop for the public on September 28 at 11 a.m. at the Community House, at 2173, Via Pervenche, Sanibel.

The United Way ReUnite program assists first responders in search and rescue operations for people, especially those at risk with cognitive impairments and who may be prone to wander or get lost, through the use of a perfume kit. Perfume kits will be provided free of charge to participants. The process is simple and uses a scent pad that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 years.

“I know all too well the worry of what might happen to a loved one with a cognitive disability” United Way program director Prisca Mendez Asaro, who will present the program, said.

Her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, has wandered around the house a few times.

“The perfume kit can reduce emergency response time when trying to locate and reunite your loved ones with family members” she said.

When someone goes missing, the most important factor is time, and ReUnite has the ability to reduce the search time. Information is accessible to law enforcement in seconds rather than minutes to gather information. The scents are presented to the LCSO K-9 sleuths who have the ability to pick up the scent hours or days later, according to the LCSO.

A tiered approach uses both the latest technology and the oldest practices that have proven to be the most effective in the search for missing persons. GPS, drones and helicopters combined with highly trained sleuths use Scent Evidence K9 pads, already containing the missing person’s scent, to begin tracking. Bloodhounds supplied to the LCSO by the Jimmy Ryce Center are specially trained to stalk great distances. So far this year, two missing and endangered children have been reunited with their families thanks to the sheriff’s office and the ReUnite program.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a precaution for the community, all participants are required to wear a mask throughout the presentation and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

For more information on FISH, call Executive Director Alicia Tighe Orgera at 239-472-4775 or visit

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