ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Boat retailers Passport Marine and Vertical Yachts, together with Fierce I Films, are forming the Take a Kid Boating Foundation, they recently reported in a joint statement.
The foundation will work to create a statewide "Take a Kid Boating Day" in Florida that will pair children in need of a family with a boating family for an afternoon together on the water.
In Passport's home market, Tampa Bay, there are over 800 children available for adoption, and 7,500 more are being cared for in foster homes and by outreach organizations. The Take a Kid Boating foundation will introduce these kids to the pleasures of a day on a boat and give them a chance to form bonds with new friends and perhaps even a future family, according to the foundation.
“When you ask boaters what they enjoy most about their time on the water, they'll tell you it's quality family time,” said Jim Dillon, president of Passport Marine. “In the relatively confined space on a boat, powerful bonds and memories are formed.”
Dillon helped develop this concept while operating a boat dealership on Long Island years ago, and said he has seen firsthand how one day on the water can truly make a difference in a child's life.
“We have a chance to show these kids new worlds that they've never experienced, and hope that time spent together might promote personal connections between the children and their host boaters, potentially leading to adoption and the creation of new families,” he commented. “There are over 1,000,000 registered boaters in the State of Florida. The boating community can make a big difference if we work together to take one day a year and dedicate it to a group of kids, giving them a day of fun in the sun with a family they can call their own, even if only for a day.”
Initiatives are underway through Passport Marine's five locations in Florida, and at Vertical Yachts facility in Fort Lauderdale. The first event is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 23 at the Harborage Marina in St. Petersburg.
The Take A Kid Boating Foundation is seeking volunteers to help with legal work, advertising, government relations, event coordination, sponsorship solicitation, boater recruitment, volunteer recruitment and a host of other vital needs. For more information, call 1-800-TO-GO-BOATING.
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