Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.
Episode 10 features Rachel Stauffer, she’s a mom of three kids, a 7th generation Floridian and a children’s pastor who frequented parks as a child and with her kids. She reached out to PBC Parks for more information about opportunities for recreation to share with her community.
Since 2018, staff at West Boynton Recreation Center have been welcoming students from Park Vista High School to the facility to provide valuable job training experience. It began in August 2018 with an off-campus job training program, and has since transitioned to include ESE students from the school. The students range from ages 18 to 22 years old. The program currently has up to three students per day, everyday.
“The purpose of the program is for our students to have another ‘boss’ outside of the classroom… they get to experience employer expectations, interact with the community, and learn skills that cannot be taught on a high school campus,” said Melia Videtta, Park Vista High School ESE teacher. The goal is to not only help students get a feel for what it’s like to go to work, but also to raise their self-esteem and create a sense of excitement for the tasks.
“The students are excited to go to work,” said Ogden Powell, Job Trainer for the Palm Beach County School District. He recalled, “some students have mastered some tasks and are able to work without supervision.” The tasks include window cleaning, sweeping, mopping, and setting up rooms with tables and chairs.
West Boynton Recreation Center Maintenance Worker Carlos Jerez headed up the initiative. He trained the students, supervised, and assigned tasks when the program was at it’s initial stages at the recreation center. Powell recalled, “Mr. Carlos is great with the students.”
Overall, the experience has been welcoming and productive for all the participants. “Everyone is so nice, helpful, and patient with our students… the people at the Rec center are flexible and open-minded,” said Videtto. Travis McPheeters, manager of WBRC, expressed his gratitude for working with the students and faculty at Park Vista High School. “We are thrilled with this partnership we have forged with PVHS,” he said.
Lorraine DiFrancisco has been a volunteer at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for the past four years. She serves as a general volunteer and is currently a docent-in-training at the facility.
According to DiFrancisco, being in the docent program with her fellow docents means she can give tours to school groups, clubs, and organizations. She has also been a greeter at the Yamato-kan and main museum, as well as a volunteer at annual festivals, like Oshogatsu and the Lantern Festival.
DiFrancisco’s favorite thing about volunteering at the Morikami is that it allows her “to meet and interact with people from all over the world,” she said. She loves sharing the things she has learned with others so that they can better understand and appreciate all that the Morikami has to offer.
Palm Beach County residents can enjoy a new amenity inside Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park – the Rick Macci Tennis Academy features newly-renovated tennis and racquetball courts, as well as plans to build indoor tennis courts! The facility now offers a “Free Fridays” program, where kids under the age of five can receive tennis instruction for free. Watch this video to find out more!
According to GOLF Magazine/golf.com, the odds of making an ace is roughly 1 in 12,500 and the chances of making two aces in one round of golf skyrockets to about 1 in 156 million. Against these odds, Palm Beach County golfer Ted Moore accomplished this amazing feat at Park Ridge Golf Course, in Lake Worth. While playing a weekly skins game at Park Ridge on October 22, Moore made an ace on the par 3-9th hole and then backed it up with another ace on the par 3-16th hole.
After the round, Ted shared, “Yesterday while waiting in the doctor’s office, I picked up GOLF Magazine and one of the things that I happened to read were the odds of making a hole-in-one during a round of golf.” How’s that for some foreshadowing?
Due to course construction the 9th hole was playing from a temporary tee box and the hole measured 125 yards from the blue tees. The 16th hole played 140 yards straight up the hill. It should be noted that Park Ridge is a bit different than most golf courses as it features six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, while most traditional golf courses will feature no more than four par threes. This means Ted chances were slightly higher, but, the occurrence is still extremely unlikely.
Barry Drucker has been a dedicated volunteer for one year now at John Prince Golf Learning Center (JPGLC). Staff at JPGLC can always depend on Barry to help out whenever they need him and he always stays busy with light duties such as trash and debris, filling divots with sand, etc. In addition to those light duties, Barry does the range picking and maintains the mat and rope line.
What is his favorite part about volunteering here? “John Prince Park is a nice place to be at; it’s a great natural habitat to observe.”
What stands out most about Barry is his dependability and work ethic.
Did you know that the Cabbage Palm tree (aka Sabal Palm) is Florida’s state tree? Watch this short video to learn more interesting facts about this tree, including how some Native Americans have used the tree!