Jacksonville, FL – The Blake Bortles Foundation announced today that first responders will be able to eat for free starting tomorrow at three different Jacksonville area Jimmy John’s.
“We have all witnessed the brave and tireless work our community’s first responders have shown in recent days as they’ve responded to Irma. This is just a small way to show our appreciation and say thank you for their efforts and dedication to serving others,” said Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
Ellen and Philip Sheffield, owners of the three participating Jimmy John’s locations, say first responders in uniform or with an official badge will be able come in starting tomorrow, Friday Sept. 15th through Sunday Sept. 17th and enjoy a free sandwich, chips and a drink.
“We are happy to partner with the Blake Bortles Foundation to show fire fighters, police offices and all first responders that have our backs, that we have their backs,” said Ellen Sheffield.
Participating Jimmy John’s locations include:
By Jon Blauvelt
A group of local children with autism had a chance to experience the fun of surfing this week, as a number of local organizations came together to host the 10th annual Riding the Wave of Autism Surf Camp.
Nearly 30 children participated in the camp, which was held June 19 and 20 at Neptune Beach and organized by the HEAL Foundation (Healing Every Autistic Life) in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach. Approximately 50 volunteers, including employees from Sunrise Surf Shop and other members of the local surf community, attended each day to help with the camp. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles even made a special appearance to assist the group’s efforts in the water.
The camp provides participants with the opportunity to surf, paddleboard, kayak and boogie board. The kids receive individual guidance and support from the instructors, many of whom have been volunteering at the camp since its inception. Joe Matacia, the camp’s volunteer coordinator, has been working with an autistic and blind boy named Max for 10 years. At each camp, Matacia said, Max makes marked improvements, picking up right where he left off the previous year.
“It was like he was on a wave with you five minutes ago,” said Matacia. “These kids love the ocean. The camp gives them an opportunity they may not have every day.”
HEAL Foundation Founder Leslie Weed echoed Matacia’s comments, saying the camp provides the families and kids with a unique experience.
“Watching the parents see their child accomplish something and to be able to cheer them on…it’s very wonderful,” said Weed. “The surfing community is a good pairing for the kids with autism because surfers are laid back. They love sharing being in the water.”
Founded in 2004, the HEAL Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports organizations serving those with autism spectrum disorders. The organization has awarded nearly $2 million dollars in grants since its inception to help provide summer camps, sports leagues, support groups, educational enhancements (iPads for classrooms), educational seminars, recreational and social events, service dogs and more.
The Arc Jacksonville Village is the nation’s first community dedicated to establishing a lifestyle of independence for individuals with disabilities.The Arc Jacksonville Board of Directors invites you to join us as we celebrate the opening of The Arc Jacksonville Village and applaud all those who made this dream a reality.
Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Blake Bortles will recognize our Village residents as they transition to an independent lifestyle. The community center and model apartments will be available for touring until 2pm.
Parking will be available at The Arc Jacksonville Village with overflow parking at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities parking lot, located directly adjacent to The Village entrance. Shuttles will be provided at the overflow lot. Carpooling is encouraged.
June 10 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
The Blake Bortles JaxPAL Football Camp, presented by Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Foundation, is a FREE youth non-contact football camp for boys and girls ages 5 – 16. The camp will be held on Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the JaxPAL Football Fields at Ed Austin Park. Area high school and college coaches will lead campers through traditional football drills and activities, with Bortles and surprise guests assisting throughout the morning. Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Foundation will provide volunteers and athletic training services.
Registration is now open but it is limited to the first 500 children registered.Camp T-shirt, spirit bag and lunch will be provided to all campers.
Completed registration forms can be dropped off at one of our JaxPAL Centers, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (904) 854-6560.
***Please note, the registration form does have the deadline of May 20th listed on it. There is still space available to register for the camp but we can not guarantee requested shirt size or quantity at this time.***