On January 22nd, 2017, The West Florida Flames U10 Academy hosted their inaugural golf tournament at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort. The golf tournament benefited the local, elite youth soccer team. Event Organizer, Virginia Stewart, describes The West Florida Flames soccer team:
Our program creates a challenging environment that fosters player development through professional coaching, competitive matches, and a developmentally appropriate curriculum. Our U10 Academy roster consists of 23 outstanding players, all from the local area with fields in Palm Harbor, Eastlake and Brandon.
The Watercraft Superstore donated $275 to sponsor a hole at the event. Stephanie Mosny, WCSS manager, comments about the event, "My son is a player on the team. It was really cool to see him and his teammates help out during the event and raise money for their team. We are excited and grateful for the support from many local companies, like WCSS, that are encouraging our kids to be athletic and have commitment to a sport." Watercraft Superstore wishes The West Florida Flames a successful season. Go Flames!
Christmas in North Greenwood was very merry this year with the help of SEI's annual donation of 30 bikes and helmets. On December 19th, 2016, kids in the neighborhood gathered with excitement hoping that their names would be pulled in a raffle to receive brand new bikes from Santa! Mr. O'Neil Larkin hosted the event in his backyard. Many community sponsors donated food, toys, and more bikes to help make the event successful. Justin Webb, manager of SEI, explained why the company chooses to donate each year: "SEI employees enjoy preparing for this event. The company buys the bikes and our employees personally donate the helmets. We pick new bikes and helmets that we think the kids will think are cool and we look forward to seeing the kids' faces as they are given this very special Christmas present. SEI is proud to sponsor this event and we feel that this donation makes a positive impact on the children and families living in the North Greenwood community."
Hundreds of people lined up this year at the 14th Annual SBT Thanksgiving Dinner to eat good food and celebrate the North Greenwood community. A stage and buffet line were set up across the street from SBT's factory in Clearwater, Florida. Clearwater Mayor, Goerge Cretekos, along with police officers and other valuable community members, like O'Neal Larkin, welcomed guests and expressed gratitude. Greg Pickren, president of SBT, spoke at the event:
One of the things that makes this event really special is that everyone is welcome. It doesn't matter if you're from North Greenwood or from a surrounding community. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor. It doesn't matter if you're black or white. It doesn't matter if you're a Muslim or a Christian, gay or straight, documented or undocumented. Everybody here is welcome; and that's a special thing. SBT's home is North Greenwood. We've been a sponsor of this event since it started 14 years ago. SBT was started in the building right behind us 20 years ago. Today, SBT is the largest supplier of jet ski engine parts in the word. Right here in North Greenwood we have a world-class company making world-class products with world-class employees. During the past 20 years we have worked really hard together to make North Greenwood a better place and today I'm honored to welcome everyone here to gather and celebrate together.
The Georgia Institute of Technology has officially acknowledged the frequent flyer mile donation Ryan Pickren made in September 2016. Pickren donated 5,000,000 miles with United Airlines to the Office of Student Life at Georgia Tech. This donation, which is valued as a $100,000 gift, will assist students in completing charitable work. Barret Carson, Vice President for Development, expressed gratitude in his letter, "Your vision to enable students to serve the greater community and those around the world by helping with the cost of travel will allow many young men and women to experience firsthand the importance and reward of using their knowledge and skills to do good in the world. Thank you for your thoughtful gift." To read more about Ryan Pickren's accumulation of frequent flyer miles, click Here.
Ryan Pickren recently donated 5 million United Airline frequent flyer miles to The Georgia Institute of Technology. Ryan is a computer engineering student at Georgia Tech who spends time contributing to United Airlines' Bug Bounty Program. The program is designed to encourage hackers to uncover security flaws in their website. Ryan has been awarded 15 million frequent flyer miles in this last year for his numerous contributions to the bug bounty program. This month, he donated a portion of his miles, which is valued at $100,000, to charitable student organizations on Georgia Tech's campus. Ryan's donation will allow college students to be able to travel around the world to do volunteer work.
To read the full article on Business Insider, click here.
SBT recently donated $500 to Clothes To Kids to help fund their underwear drive. Each child that shops at Clothes To Kids receives 5 pairs of new underwear, 5 pairs of new socks, 5 tops, 4 bottoms, a pair of shoes, a dress, and a jacket, all free of charge. Undergarments are difficult for the nonprofit organization to keep in stock, since donations must be new, not used. SBT's contribution will help Clothes To Kids provide more than 12,000 wardrobes to children this year in the community. Jennifer Jacobs, Development Director of Clothes to Kids, explained in her thank you note to SBT, "When our children and their families come in to shop we want to make certain we have what we need for them, and your generosity makes that possible. Thank you!" Clothes To Kids is a nonprofit organization in Pinellas County, Florida that provides clothing to low-income or in crisis school-age children. SBT is a proud partner of Clothes to Kids, donating volunteer time, clothes, and money regularly.
SBT & SEI have received over a dozen thank you notes from teachers and students who were recipients of this year's "Back to School" community outreach program. Employees from the two companies received $100 Lakeshore Learning Store gift cards to bring to their children's teachers at the beginning of the school year.
Teachers responded with appreciation by sending emails, hand-written notes, and thank you cards written by students. Mrs. Schuster from Belcher Elementary School said, "No words can express my gratitude to SBT for the Lakeshore gift card for my classroom! I have been in Early Childhood Education for 40 years and have never felt the support that this program provides! Your employees should feel proud to work for a company that supports their child's teacher!" Teachers purchased materials like learning games and instructional tools for their classrooms. Ms. Gums, 4th grade teacher at Forest Lakes Elementary, explained, "It is very nice to be recognized by members of the community. This gift means a great deal to me as a teacher. It shows that you value what teachers do every day. I will use this gift card to purchase learning materials that I will use directly with the students in my class this year."
SBT and SEI have community partnerships with the public schools in close proximity to the factories. The companies donate supplies and money to support the local schools. Many of the teachers that benefited from the Lakeshore gift cards work at schools that are part of the community partnerships. Mrs. Bruce, a 5th grade teacher at Skycrest Elementary School, has two students in her classroom whose parents work at SBT. After a great summer in the marine industry, SBT and SEI are happy to support teachers and students going back to school!
SBT and SEI launched two new community outreach programs this year to support teachers, public schools, and company employees. The focus of the programs was to generate more school supplies, that is often lacking in public schools, and to take financial stress off of teachers who end up compensating for the shortage of materials. The first program was a large school supplies distribution. School supplies shopping can be a stressful and expensive activity for many families each year as students are preparing to go back to school. SBT and SEI assembled school supplies bags, specific to each grade level, for every company employee with a child. Employees brought the school supplies bags to their children's teachers on the first day of school. Jeremy Cashman, Manager of 4X Pro, said, "I love working for a company that invests back in their employees and the community. My wife and I are very excited about the school supplies. It is something we have dreaded shopping for each year."
The second program was designed to alleviate teachers' wallets. Teachers often end up spending personal money for classroom set up. SBT and SEI employees were given $100 Lakeshore Learning Store gift cards to bring to their children's teachers at the beginning of school. Sixty-three gift cards were distributed to local elementary school teachers to buy classroom supplies and learning materials for students. After reviewing the companies' new outreach programs, Greg Pickren, company owner said, "We hope that our local students start the school year prepared to learn and ready to work hard in school. It's our hope that SBT & SEI can continue programs like this that value education and recoginze its large impact on our community."
As part of the community partnership SBT has with Skycrest Elementary School, SBT donated $500 worth of school uniform clothing to the school. When asked about how SBT could help, Skycrest principal, Ms. Angelean Bing, said, "Extra uniform clothes are the biggest need that our school has at the moment." Teachers and the school counselor will now have access to a stocked uniform closet to help students who come to school in need of new socks, underwear, shorts, and shirts. Sage Pickren, Community Outreach Director of SBT, hopes that by helping local public schools meet the basic needs of students, attention can be focused on learning at school, which will allow students to be more successful.
Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, Greg Pickren, and O'Neil Larkin judge the North Greenwood 2nd Annual BBQ Cookoff. SBT was an official sponsor of the event. The ribs were excellent!