Florida


Give Kids the World's Second Logo, emphaisizing the lighthearted and child-orientated village.

On Saturday October 20 Team Gaia paid a visit to Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization located in the heart of Florida that allows kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families to visit all of the attractions of central Florida, including Disney and Universal completely free to them. However, it went above and beyond just that. The actual location where the children and their families stay is an amazing attraction in itself. From the building Shaped like a Giant Cupcake, to the Castle, to the unique Villas the families stay in, and of course, the Ice Cream Palace, the Give Kids the World Village creates an amazing experience for children and their families and has 102 Villas to house families in and the ability to accommodate any need the child may have. Give Kids the World works in coordination with wish granting organizations to help children with the dream to visit the attractions that Florida has to offer as soon as possible, bringing some kids in at as short of notice as Twenty-Four hours. Henri Landwirth’s dream of giving every child the chance to enjoy the same things as everyone else was realized in 1986 when Give Kids the World was Founded. Many Major corporations ensure that Give Kids the World can continue to answer the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases and even expand their capacity to service more families. Even though major corporations play a very large role in the continued success of Give Kids the World, it couldn’t all happen without the help of the amazing volunteers. Give Kids the World fills over 1000 volunteer positions a week, naming these helpers “Angels” for the wonderful work that they are doing. These “Angels” include young children to senior citizens, from high school teenagers to the parents of children who had their wishes fulfilled at Give Kids the World and now Team Gaia has been lucky enough to spend time helping to put smiles on the faces of children who have faced such hardships at so young of an age.
Just going and volunteering at Give Kids the World was an amazing experience for me and the rest of Team Gaia, seeing kids happily running around and playing within the village with other kids who share many of the same worries and hardships as they have. Many parents described how nice it was to just get away from all of the worries and just be in a place where everyone knows what they are going through and their children can fit in and just be a normal kid. Give Kids the World arranges for all needs of the families and insures that the trip doesn’t cost them a thing so that any family with a child in need can come and have a magical week. All children who come to have their wishes filled are given a star to write their names on and give to the “Star Fairy” who places them on the ceiling of the castle. Over 70,000 shining stars cover the ceiling of the magical Castle of Miracles, organized by month and year the stars allow the children to leave a piece of themselves in the amazing village of Give Kids the World.
After many of the kids had left the village for the day to go to various amusement parks, Team Gaia was given a tour of the Park by Norma Miller, a parent whose first time visiting the park was to fill the wish of her daughter and now volunteers up to 7 days a week at the park with whatever they need. She was more than happy to give us a walking tour of the Village, despite the light rain that had fallen on the village, everything was still in full swing in doors. Norma was more than happy to share her stories of the village and hear about our stories with helping children, including our trip to Waveland, Mississippi. Norma, having been a foster parent and adopting her last foster child was very appreciative of Team Gaia’s work with the foster kids in Waveland, explaining to us that as simple of a gesture as bringing toys for their children for Christmas can mean the world when the Parents are faced with such troubling hardships.
I believe that Team Gaia as a group and us as individuals have grown stronger through this experience and I am glad that I have what I have but I still get a chance to see how the other half lives so that one day I can offer my help like Henri Landwirth and the thousands of volunteers at Give Kids the World have done.

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So CNN’s Glenn Beck tried to instill a false sense of hope with regards to global warming on his show on May 2nd, attacking science and Al Gore head on with so many falsehoods it was hard to keep track.

This report just out today by NASA (spelled in Glenn Beck’s small mind “Nazi”) speaks to the heat of the matter, on the east coast in particular, Beck’s really gonna be in the hot seat!

Maybe he should consider moving his broadcast to Exxon’s Sakhalin drilling site – it may be cooler, but then again with all that hot air he may be the cause of a meltdown on a larger scale than any CO2 emissions could ever produce.

Here comes Team Gaia to save the day! That is April 28th, 2007.

While looking for an effective and productive way to get our name out there, AND save the environment (which is what we do best), Team Gaia has taken it upon themselves to spread awareness of the endless benefits of recycling by collecting the recyclable items at the first annual Jacksonville Irish Music Festival, being held at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, in Jacksonville FL.

“We’ve never seen recycle bins at other festivals so we thought this is something we can do to help make a difference,” stated Team Gaia member, Shane Reilly Rogers. We are hoping that Team Gaia will be able to travel to many local festivals as
“Rock-n-Recyclers” and keep the important message of why everyone should recycle spreading through the community.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

To help us with the Rock-n-Recycle project I have been contacting local hardware stores and retailers such as Home Depot to see if any of them would be willing to donate large plastic trash cans and garbage bags to help collect the recyclable items. To make these bins that much better, one of Team Gaia’s resident artists, Valerie Belzeski, has been designing the logos and messages that will be put on these bins and our booth. Along with asking for donations, we have also been contacting local news, radio, and television stations to see if any of them would be interested in doing a story on us and helping us with publicity. (What better way of spreading our cause than getting our message mass published?) And to top it off, Cheyenne-Light Smith, another of the team’s artists, has come up with some awesome T-shirt designs and has personally crafted Team Gaia’s “uniform” for the festival. She has been working very zealously to physically sew and transform ordinary T-Shirts into something worth a second glance. I’m sure I speak for everyone in my team when I say I look forward to showing my Gaia Pride!

We are all very excited about this upcoming event and know it will turn out great! I hope to see you all at the Jacksonville Irish Music Festival at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds April 28th, and don’t forget to keep your recycling rock’in! Please
look for my follow-up blog for all the post festival highlights!

-Chase-

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There’s a new organization in Jacksonville devoted to climate change awareness! The Jacksonville Greenhouse Alliance was founded with the express intention of getting our civic leadership to sign on the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The Agreement is an effort begun by the mayor of Seattle, Greg Nickels, to encourage local governments in the United States to adopt Kyoto Protocol standards. As of December 2006, 353 American mayors had signed on to the agreement, which has three key components:

  • Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;
  • Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol — 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system

Go check out the site and sign the petition! There’s a list of upcoming JGA events as well as information on things that you can do to be more climate-friendly.