Thirty A: Life in a doGooD Society
by Kerri Parker
It is easy to allow life’s burdens to drift away when your toes are covered in velvet sand, and Florida sunshine brightens your view of our Gulf’s emerald green water. Our beach community is primarily portrayed as perfect. Simply the all-American beach vacation destination; Presenting a life void of real people living and working among visitors. On the contrary, we too have families to support. We have real-life burdens like any other community. We are not ‘extras on the set’ of the Truman Show filmed at our beloved Seaside holiday town.
You might be entranced by sky-rocketing home values in South Walton and wonder how it’s possible an estimated 23% of Walton County children are barely surviving in homes below poverty level. Stretching beyond Walton County is Okaloosa County, where adjacent beach communities of Destin and Fort Walton have an even higher percentage of families living in poverty conditions.
Thankfully, there is something special about our community – beyond our preserved land and pristine beach – we are a society that chooses to do good. You may be a do-gooder; you may also be a beneficiary of our desire to do good. Regardless, it is almost impossible to not find yourself doing good in our community each time you attend an event. From school events, community races, eating at local restaurants or shopping at local merchants; almost every dollar you spend has a beneficiary in our, and neighboring counties.
In this issue of Thirty A Review we mark our debut of recognizing a doGooD Society in Northwest Florida. With each issue, you will be introduced to organizations or individuals who find their life purpose in doing good for our community.
Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) works tirelessly to improve the health and well-being of children in need in Walton and Okaloosa County. CVHN has a network of nearly one hundred providers who volunteer their time to provide medical, dental, vision and specialist care to local children in need. Their mission is solely dependent upon the private sector for funding. At the time of writing this article budgets dependent on state and national funding are under circumstances that can instantly wipeout their organizations because they are dependent on government funding. CVHN has aligned their financial strategy with those who have the innate desire to do good as a society.
In 2005, one caring adult recognized a child in pain, and she took her first step to help him. Step by step that child received the care he deserved, and from that life-altering process, CVHN was established. A faith based organization, their mission is to ensure that all children in Walton and Okaloosa County envision their future as limitless; a never-ending mission to do good.
Due to the overwhelming dental need in our community… CVHN operates a dental bus and dental office which are staffed with full time dental and client care professionals who work year round to make sure our kids have the care they need and deserve. 94 cents of each dollar of the funds raised each year directly supports CVHN’s programs. The do-gooders in our community allow CVHN to provide this essential care at no cost to our local kids in need.
Among an army of volunteers who relentlessly recruit throughout our community are also those who serve as board members. The board and staff at CVHN are held to the highest ethical principles as they strive to be pillars of moral character.
CVHN has numerous supporters, from individuals, small businesses, to one of the most influential charities in the region, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF). Major community developments such as Alys Beach and St. Joe have humbly contributed to the success of CVHN fundraising events as major event sponsors, year after year.
In September of 2017, Bud & Alley’s in Seaside hosted the 13th Annual Hurricane Party raising over $62,000 in one night.
“We are excited to host our newest fundraiser – our 2nd annual Smile Mile and 5K Run on May 12th, 2018 at WaterColor,” says board president Mike Gavigan. “This year we are focusing on rallying the community to competitively raise money through team fundraising.”
The CVHN race committee will soon announce a “Team Captain Kick Off Party” where they hope to inspire doing good for CVHN while emphasizing the ‘FUN’ in fundraising through friendly competition.
“We would love to see real estate brokerages, rental management companies, restaurants, merchants, schools, and churches engage in the event, raising money and doing good for children in need in Walton and Okaloosa County,” says Gavigan.
To learn more about volunteering, donating or about the Team Captain Kick Off Party, please visit contact us.