What do Jacksonville Jaguar football players, foster children, and families impacted by breast cancer and Crohn's disease have in common? Sea Love.
On Saturday, May 15, the David Garrard Foundation, a nonprofit organization for families affected by breast cancer and Crohn's disease, and Family Support Services of North Florida (FSS), the lead agency for foster care and adoption in Duval and Nassau counties, hosted a four-hour fishing expedition on the boat Sea Love. For all of the children, it was their first experience deep-sea fishing. To make the event more memorable, several special guests joined them, including Josh Scobee, Sean Considine and Zach Miller of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Joe Zelenka of the Atlanta Falcons, WJXT Channel 4 personalities Melanie Lawson and Tarik Minor, and the staff of Coastal Angler Magazine.
It was an invitation not to be ignored, although from all appearances, the children seemed to walk away with the most goods. Each child was given a fishing pole, hat, t-shirt, tackle box, beach towel, and two books about fishing. One particular book, Jason and Elihu, is a newly released children's book involving foster children and tells the story of a boy's passage into manhood.
Overall, the adults were really the ones who seemed to garner the most from this trip. They all had the satisfaction of being part of something rewarding--providing these kids with an opportunity to experience deep-sea fishing for the very first time in their lives.
But they also gleaned a valuable life lesson from one of the children. A boy sitting next to a chaperone was nervous at being so far away from land (about 6 miles). He felt like he was all alone in the middle of the ocean with no one else around.
The chaperone took him to the ship's helm to observe the radars depicting other ships in the vicinity. She explained that although it may appear that they're alone, there are others nearby just within the horizon.
And so it is with life. We may feel all alone, but there are others around us, willing to help should we ever need it.
This is especially applicable when it comes our kids in the foster care system. FSS is working hard to develop programs and partnerships that benefit foster children and open doors to a brighter future.
FSS CEO Jim Adams said, 'Our goal is to create out-of-the-box opportunities that will expose our kids to all life has to offer. It's challenging with competition for both funding and time, but we're doing all we can to show our children they are loved and valued.'