The Watercraft Superstore recently donated apparel and marine items to help keep the local waterways safe for boaters. Eckerd College runs a search and rescue team that provides volunteer maritime search and rescue services to the Tampa Bay boating community. Last year the program assisted over 600 boaters. The Watercraft Superstore continued to support Eckerd College this year by donating supplies to their student volunteers.
On March 7, 2017, The Watercraft Superstore hosted their annual charity event, The Skyway Ski Show, at Whiskey Joe's restaurant in Tampa, Florida. The event previews new jet skis for the upcoming year. Jet ski manufacturers, like Yamaha, Sea-Doo, and Kawasaki, bring their newest models of PWCs for panelists to ride and evaluate. Each year, $5000 is donated to a charity of the company's choice. This year, The Eckerd Kids Foundation was selected to receive the donation.
Eckerd Kids Foundation offers a wide variety of services to at-risk youth and families in the community. Through prevention interventions, community-based services, transitional services, and workforce development, Eckerd Kids works systematically to support families and has provided "second chances" to over 200,000 people. Eckerd Kids is located in Clearwater, Florida and is a favorite non-profit organization of the Pickren Family Companies.
E-Nini-Hassee, an outdoor therapeutic school for girls, is one of the many resources Eckerd Kids provides to the community. Adolescent girls who are experiencing emotional or behavioral difficulties receive counseling services in a positive, strength-based environment. Jesse Freeman, a graduate from the Eckerd Kids E-Nini-Hassee program, describes the positive impact Eckerd Kids has had on her life, “Without camp, things would have been bad. I would have been on more drugs, probably in a hospital and most likely end up in prison. Camp exposed me to things that are ethical instead of destructive and I was able to meet people who held true values. Without the support and family from the people at Eckerd Kids and Camp E-Nini-Hassee, I would not have the life I have today. I hope by now working at E-Nini-Hassee I can help give these young girls the tools I was given to create a more fulfilling life. “
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.
The following article was published in the Watercraft Journal on September 30th, 2016 by Kevin Shaw. watercraftjournal.com/sbt-inc-supports-local-elementary-schools-and-teachers/
Recently, The Watercraft Journal talked with Sage Pickren, SBT, Inc. President Greg Pickren’s daughter, who explained their latest efforts to support local schools in Clearwater, Florida:
“SBT, Inc. has many new initiatives this year that focus on supporting teachers and education. This summer, SBT created a community partnership with four local elementary schools, Sandy Lane Elementary School, King’s Highway Elementary School, Skycrest Elementary School, and Calvin A. Hunsinger School. We selected Title 1, Pinellas County schools that were close to our factory and catered towards a wide range of student populations.
Many SBT employees have students that attend Skycrest Elementary. I interviewed the Skycrest principal, Angelean Bing, to find out how we could help. She said that the school’s greatest need was supplying students with school uniforms. Clothes to Kids is a local nonprofit organization that SBT also sponsors. They provide families with clothes and uniforms for school. Sometimes families are unable to make their shopping appointments, so the principal and school counselor end up buying clothes for students out of their own pocket. SBT donated $500 worth of clothes to Skycrest Elementary including shirts, shorts, skirts, socks, and underwear.
Sandy Lane Elementary is another school SBT has a partnership. This year we spent just over $1,000 to buy PE equipment like basketballs, soccer nets, and games that improve coordination. The Sandy Lane principal, Melanie Dedert, explained to me that they needed help expanding their PE program. They just hired two new teachers and they are focusing on improving physical education classes at the school. This was exciting to me because it was a donation that all the students at the school could benefit from. SBT also gave $500 to Sandy Lane Elementary to sponsor their ‘family nights.’ Ms. Dedert uses ‘family nights’ as a chance to bring the community together and educate parents on ways they can support their children in school.
Calvin A. Hunsinger School is a special school that serves K-12 students with emotional and behavior disorders. The principal, Douglas Keimig, asked SBT to help by sponsoring teacher trainings. The $500 will be used to train teachers on educational techniques and provide those being trained with refreshments.
King’s Highway Elementary is a magnet school that focuses on technology. I was excited about the school’s focus on character education and integration of technology across curriculum. SBT donated custom T-shirts to all four schools. Each T-shirt had the specific school logo on the front and then Blacktip and SBT logos on the back and on the sleeve. The T-shirts were donated to the faculty to wear on school spirit days. King’s Highway also received special student shirts to give to their ‘students of the month’ who displayed strong character. Sandy Lane Elementary was given 200 student T-shirts for the school’s PTO to sell as a fundraiser.
In addition to our partnerships with local elementary schools, SBT gave away school supplies bags to all of our employees at SBT and SEI who had school-aged children. We also gave our employees $100 gift cards to Lakeshore Learning Store to bring to their child’s teachers on back to school night. Many of the Lakeshore gift cards were received by teachers at Skycrest Elementary, which was an added bonus.
Our focus this year has been on supporting local public schools, but we also help our community by sponsoring little league football players and hosting an annual Thanksgiving dinner."
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!