Tag Archives: wellness

Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Gray, Friends of Jupiter Beach

25 years ago, Karen Gray and other Jupiter Beach residents started Friends of Jupiter Beach (FJB). Karen has always had a passion for keeping her beautiful home clean and educating others about conservation and stewardship for the environment.

One of the main incentives for creating FJB, other than environmental benefits, is the agreement to delegate a portion of Jupiter Beach as a dog friendly beach, where dogs can roam free off-leash. This group has continuously maintained the beach’s cleanliness as well as enforcing the rules of the dog-friendly beach with pet owners. FJB has provided each beach access with a dispenser of pet waste bags and signs clearly conveying to cleanup after your pet.

  From the effects of the pandemic in 2020, FJB had to cancel a few cleanups this year, but continued to perform these monthly cleanups in a safe and socially-distanced manner after restrictions let up. Karen does an incredible job organizing volunteer meetings at separate locations with no more than 10 volunteers at each access. Even with the restrictions, FJB still manages to safely host up to 100 volunteers dispersed through each cleanup. In 2020, this group has managed to clean up and document approximately 1,287 pounds of garbage and 879 pounds of recyclables from Ocean Cay Park and Jupiter Beach.

A huge thanks goes out to Karen and all the volunteers that participate in the monthly Friends of Jupiter Beach Cleanups hosted every first Saturday of the month.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: John Alden DuBois

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, John Alden DuBois, the grandson of Harry and Susan DuBois, shares a little bit about how his grandfather put food on the table for his family.

Volunteer spotlight: The clean-up kids

On October 25, a dedicated group known as ‘The Clean-Up Kids’ participated in a beach cleanup on Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, where they filled up six trash bags! The total weight of trash collected was 90 pounds, and the total weight of recyclables collected was five lbs.

The Clean-Up Kids is a volunteer group started by young parent Kailley Catalo and her husband. They’re dedicated to teaching children lifelong lessons to ensure a clean future, including our collective impact on the planet.

“We believe it is never too early to start teaching & participating in bettering ourselves, the planet & our community. We are developing more creative ideas to help them give back to our community such as organizing park cleanups, feeding the homeless, book exchanges/donations, mini-marathon to raise awareness to different issues, adopt sea turtles, clean local fire trucks and more. We believe in community and that ‘it’s takes a village to raise a child’ so as parents it’s super valuable for us to teach them the power and hard work of giving back to the community.” 

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour Fireside Chat: Ruth Nelms Merchant

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, Ruth Nelms Merchant, the granddaughter of Harry and Susan DuBois, talks about how her grandmother became known as “The Honey Lady.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Brad Davis

Brad Davis has been a volunteer for 10 years at the CMAA Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Complex. Brad works in all areas of the Therapeutic Recreation Complex. He helps assist at the reception desk with greeting customers, provides information about the facility and answers phone calls, and he helps with cleaning and setting up equipment for events and programs.

Brad is one of biggest advocates for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation, Special Olympics Florida & Arts4All FL-Palm Beach County. He is always willing to assist with activities, events and campaigns, and truly has an effect on everyone he talks to, even if it is just putting a smile on their face.

The biggest personal benefit he’s received as a volunteer with our department? Building relationships with all of the staff and customers at TR. He loves to be around people, he loves to help others, and he loves to advocate for TR. Volunteering with Palm Beach County provides him with purpose and excitement.

Brad is a great volunteer at TR because he is flexible and willing to help with anything. Not only is Brad a helpful part of our team, but he encourages friendship and teamwork among everyone.

Outside of volunteering, Brad works at Publix and loves to participate in Special Olympics Florida and Arts4All FL-Palm Beach County. Brad also loves to sing, dance, swim and play tennis!

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: Episode 1

In this six-part series, DuBois Pioneer Home docents present virtual tours about the historic home, located inside DuBois Park and operated by PBC Parks. Each episode briefly covers a different topic; in Episode One, docent Debbie DeLucco takes us through an overview of the layout of the home, as well as the exterior and some fun facts about the Shell Midden the home sits on.

Energy-Efficient LED Lighting installed at pbcParks

LED lighting is installed at a ballfield located inside Juno Park, as well as at 44 other facilities throughout pbcParks. (Photo Credit: Musco Lighting)

$15 Million in Infrastructure Surtax funding was allocated over a seven-year period towards the conversion of sports field lighting from traditional metal halide bulbs to LEDs at 45 facilities managed by Palm Beach County.

LED lighting is more energy efficient, requires less maintenance and lasts longer than standard bulb lighting. The Musco LED fixtures utilized by the County provide a focused beam on the playing surface that, through additional shielding, eliminates much of the spillover light that can negatively impact surrounding homes and businesses.  LED lights also provide the additional benefit of being activated immediately, eliminating the long warm-up time currently needed for traditional bulb lighting.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meghan and Taylor Morrison

Volunteer Spotlight: Meghan and Taylor Morrison have been volunteers at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC) for 6 months, where they work as greeters, education docents and animal caretakers. Providing quality animal care is necessary at ONC for their animals to remain healthy, especially since they have 23 animals inside the nature center to manage. Volunteering requires extensive training, detailed reporting and teamwork. Volunteers spend their shifts cleaning enclosures and preparing food amongst other tasks like prepping for upcoming programs and events, including prepping their arts and craft activities. Ultimately, there isn’t much Taylor and Meghan haven’t done for the nature center and it’s even more amazing that they have learned it all so quickly and accomplished so much in the 6 months they have been with ONC. “Their position title should really be All-Around Volunteer!”

They have made an impact at ONC with the absolute love they both have for the nature center animals and willingness to drop everything in their personal lives to come in and volunteer. Before the pandemic caused facility closures, they helped the nature center staff run their school programs more smoothly and efficiently, ultimately improving ONC’s reputation with the schools. Meghan has also assisted on other special event programs, in particular, getting the arts and craft activities preset for ONC’s upcoming Gopher Tortoise Celebration Days! All in all, Taylor and Meghan are huge helps to have around and ONC staff are super appreciative of the time they have dedicated to ONC and their animals. In 6 months, they have already put in 170 hours of volunteer service, that is true dedication!

Even though they are twins, they are two unique individuals who together make an extraordinary volunteer team. The twins have this enthusiasm to help with just about anything, which is crucial at ONC, since their unofficial motto is “never a dull moment at ONC.” They come in eager to work and care for the animal ambassadors every day they are at the nature center! For Volunteer Coordinator Emilie Travis, it is always a joy to know they are scheduled, which makes her job easier and more fun!

The biggest personal benefit that Meghan receives as a volunteer at ONC is the opportunity to work with and learn from such amazing people and animals, and getting to learn about South Florida’s ecosystems first hand. For Taylor, it’s the relationships she has developed with the amazing people (and animals) of ONC that have helped her grow her confidence and passion for helping others, both of which will greatly help her as she begins her masters degree this fall.

Taylor received her Bachelors degree in Secondary Social Science Education from FAU, and participated in color guard/marching band while in college. Currently she is pursuing a Masters Degree in Student Affairs from FAU. She’s one minute older than Meghan. She loves painting and crafting. She previously worked at Disney World as a park greeter. She loves raccoons. Meghan is finishing her Bachelors degree in English with a minor in theater from FAU, and actively participated in various projects with the theater department and Office of Leadership and Service Learning. She also loves cats, baking, spending time with her family and helping others any way she can.