Tag Archives: Fun

Over 2,000 Hours Served!

With our Coastal Clean Up effort this past Saturday GET REAL Involved! has topped 2000 hours of service.   We are thankful to all the students and adults who have been there to help us grow, and particularly HYDE PARK UNITED METHODIST who has been our benefactor and biggest supporter.Group Shot

So on Saturday, October 17, GET REAL Involved! joined a group called Make Mine Blue Green for a Coastal Clean Up on the Clearwater side of Courtney Campbell Causeway.  What a terrific group!  Princess Obriot runs the group and is a passionate environmentalist who really connected with our students and inspired them to be better stewards of the environment.  For a recap of the event, we’ll turn it over to Princess who sent this communication to her email list:

Princess & StudentsWow! What an incredible morning we just had.  Well that is after we ran back in to grab out jackets before heading to the beach… haha.

26 Heroes (most from a group for students called ‘GET REAL Involved!’) came out to the public beach on Courtney Campbell Causeway (Clearwater side) to spiff up a mile and a half stretch of beach over-looking the Tampa Bay.

At first glance these kids were thinking, there’s no trash here, but as I drew their eyes down to the sand, they realized that some times ‘trash’ comes in the smallest forms.  The top invaders of this beach were cigarette butts and bottle caps.  Volunteers spread out in all directions, then falling behind each other like waves, catching the small stuff missed by those ahead. It took two passes to get everything up. Much of the bigger and heavier stuff was found in the sand grasses stretching out beyond the parking allowance towards Bayside Bridge.

We wrapped it up just a little after 11:00am and with October finally feeling like October, it seemed we reached our goal without even breaking sweat.

Our 2009 Final coastal cleanup event tallied up with a whopping 30 bags, 1 lg pipe section, 1 sheet of plywood, 1 rusted steel barrel and 1 spoke wheel with an average total weight scale of  1530lbs. Our cigarette butts came to an estimated count of 3250, bottle caps were 1427, 1230 cigar tips and 500 feet of monofilament line.

A HUGE THANKS to everyone who has come out for our coastal events this year and for all our supporters for helping to make these events a big success. Be sure to look up photos from this clean up on our Myspace or Facebooks page, Siobhan captured some wonderful scenic shots today. If you would like to learn more about Get Real Involved check them out at www.getrealinvolved.org

Also keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks when we announcement our 2010 Make Mine Bluegreen Calendars available for purchase and where to find them. 100% of the proceeds will be to help us reach more places more often in 2010.

We brought 17 students and four adults with us to clean up the beach, and as Princess says, while at first we thought we were not going to find much, our students quickly learned that there were yucky treasures hidden on that beach.  The students were crawling through the mangroves, digging up buried trash in the sand, and attacking that coastline with enthusiasm.  After the clean up was done for the morning, Princess took the time to talk with the students about what they found and the impact society’s carelessness with their trash has on the environment.   So it was a service learning project at the end of the day!

Next up:  feeding the homeless at Open Arms Ministry at HYDE PARK UNITED METHODIST on Sunday November 1st!  Check out details at www.getrealinvolved.org

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Steppin’ Stone Farm

Well the latest GET REAL Involved! trip took us to Steppin’ Stone Farm, and what a great experience it was! Steppin’ Stone, for those who do not know, is a home for at risk teenage girls. It’s 85 acres of working farm on the Alafia River in Lithia, FL. and there are up to 27 girls there at any one time. They live in group homes and work the farm, which means tending to the animals and a nursery where they grow ornamental plants and grasses.

There were about 20 of us, and we got there a little late, but the girls were there waiting for us. First we went on a tour of the Farm. They have steers and chickens and pigs and goats. Some of the girls, called “steer girls” are in charge of taking care of the steers as part of a 4H program for which they get high school credit. The chickens provide fresh eggs every day! The girls have chores and school each day — either they are tending to one of the farm chores, or preparing meals and manning the kitchen. There isn’t much down time.

The tour is always my favorite part of a visit to Steppin’ Stone. Three “old girls” give us a tour of all the animals and the group homes and give us a glimpse into a day in the life of a girl on the Farm. There are strict rules, but it doesn’t seem to be stifling or severe there. The girls are happy and seemed filled with renewed purpose — chief among that purpose is to change their lives. The girls are open and friendly and have a bright outlook.

After the tour we got to work helping them tend to their “cash crop” of ornamental/architectural grasses and plants. The crops are sold at the Strawberry Festival to raise money for scholarships. And with only up to 27 girls there at any given time, and all the other chores that keep an 85 acre farm going it sometimes is tough to keep the nursery in great shape. Enter our 20 sets of hands! We whipped through several rows of beds in about three hours and got those plants in great shape. Now the task for the girls is much more manageable.

After our work in the nursery we got to eat lunch with the girls. It was a special occasion in that one of the girls was celebrating a birthday. Her whole family had come up from Miami and made homemade fried chicken, shepherd’s pie and green beans. Yum! Everyone had a great time, and really enjoyed the food.

The students who went seemed to be impressed with the girls and their ability to overcome some fairly big stuff and clearly are facing life with a renewed outlook. That gave us all something to think about.

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