'Teddy Bear Affair' this Saturday
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will partner with Nemours Children's Clinic Jacksonville to host "Teddy Bear Affair" 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Children ages 3-12 who bring their teddy bears or other stuffed animals will receive free admission to the zoo the day of the event.
The event will be on the Shaba Terrace, the zoo's covered pavilion.
This is the second time this year that Nemours and the zoo have tried to host Teddy Bear Affair — the first attempt in May was rained out.
"We know that children's deep love of animals extends to their own personal animal companions, whether a family pet or a beloved plush animal," said Tony Vecchio, zoo executive director.
"Kids really appreciate seeing the dedicated staff from Nemours taking care of their plush friends. It not only teaches the youngsters that medical procedures aren't something to be afraid of, but it also shows them that there are people who care about things that are important to them," he said.
"Injured" teddy bears will receive special treatment by Nemours' staff.
The event provides children an opportunity to see how they would be taken care of in the event that they need to receive specialty medical care.
The teddy bears can receive eye exams, check-ups, casts and even surgery.
There will be animal encounters, prize drawings and visits from Jazoo, the zoo's mascot.
"The Teddy Bear Affair is a Nemours tradition in Jacksonville and something that we look forward to every year," said William A. Cover Jr., Nemours administrator. "This family-friendly event gives children the opportunity to experience specialty care in a fun, memorable way."
Grant for North Florida Land Trust
The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation has awarded North Florida Land Trust a $25,000 grant for updates to and education of other land trusts within Florida as part of the North Florida Conservation Priorities mapping project.
"The North Florida Conservation Priorities mapping project is of critical importance to NFLT and other land trusts who will share in the gift because it will allow us to perform more strategic and comprehensive mapping including threat assessments of climate change and sea level rise," said Marc Hudson, North Florida Land Trust land protection director.
"The strategic importance of GIS mapping cannot be overstated as we look to improve our understanding of the effects of climate change and share regional data with other land trusts," he said.
Within the scope of the funding, Hudson will travel to Indian River Land Trust, Treasured Lands Foundation and Conservation Trust of the Gulf Coast to educate about GIS mapping and strategies.
Founded in 1999, the trust spans seven counties, protecting more than 2,500 acres, including land at Big Talbot Island, the River Branch Preserve, Pumpkin Hill State Park, Moccasin Slough, and along the St. Mary's River.
The community-based organization operates as a 501c3 nonprofit and serves Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
Its mission is to cultivate a legacy through the protection of natural and cultural resources in North Florida.
For more information about North Florida Land Trust, visit northfloridalandtrust.org.
Childhood obesity declining
The Florida Blue Foundation is reporting a significant increase of families and children participating in the "Embrace a Healthy Florida" initiative.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that obesity rates among preschool children in low-income families fell in 19 states, including Florida.
"Embrace a Healthy Florida" is the Florida Blue Foundation's statewide initiative designed to address the causes and prevention of childhood obesity.
The initiative reports that six of the seven success factors used to measure program achievement are trending upward.
The initiative is currently active in six Florida communities. Between April 2012 and July 2013, more than 95,000 children and families have been served statewide.
"Communities around Florida are actively engaged and are building coalitions and partnerships to make positive changes in healthy choices and active living," said Susan Towler, Florida Blue Foundation vice president. "Their hard work is paying off and is showing measurable results."
Access to fresh produce has been created in all six communities where the coalition's program has been engaged.
In Parramore, a small urban community outside Orlando, the neighborhood's designation as a "food desert" is shifting with improvements to the neighborhood's Sunlife Grocery Store. Hebni Nutrition Consultants partnered with the store owner to make improvements to the store such as removing high calorie items from the front of the store and creating a new produce section.
War on Poverty-Florida worked with partners in the Miami community of Opa-locka to open a farmer's market, while the Tallahassee Childhood Obesity Prevention Education Coalition established school and community gardens in its low-income communities.
In 2008, the foundation launched Embrace a Healthy Florida, a statewide initiative designed to address the causes and prevention of childhood obesity.
The Florida-based, cross-sector effort is driven through community engagement to make long-term changes in the health of children and families.
The foundation, formerly known as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, Florida's Blue Cross and Blue Shield company.
The foundation and its parent are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
For more information about the foundation, visit bcbsfl.com.
HabiJax offers interest-free mortgages
Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville is offering an interest-free mortgage to all potential homebuyers who qualify for its homeownership program.
Those interested in more information on HabiJax's homeownership program are encouraged to attend a homeownership orientation.
The next orientations are scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday and Sept. 24. The orientations are at the nonprofit's main office at 2404 Hubbard St.
All attendees are required to bring their Social Security card and proper identification.
"We encourage everyone who is willing to partner with us to attend the orientation," said HabiJax President and CEO Mary Kay O'Rourke.
"We have housing counselors that are available to assist with questions and to help potential homeowners get on the right track in purchasing a brand new home," she said.
HabiJax has provided homeownership to more than 1,900 families since 1988.
Combined with its other homeownership services, including critical home repair, "A Brush with Kindness," weatherization, rehabilitation and housing counseling, HabiJax has served more than 7,500 families.
For more information about HabiJax and the homeownership orientation, call (904) 798-4529.
Corks & Forks Sept. 19
The Jacksonville Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women will have its "Corks and Forks" fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 to benefit Girls Inc. of Jacksonville.
The event will be at BlackFinn American Grille at the St. Johns Town Center and costs $39 per person for a four-course meal.
For more information, email email@example.com.
As our community continues to face a tight economy and shrinking budgets, the Daily Record has established this page that will each week chronicle the efforts of local nonprofit organizations. Bailey Publishing & Communications invites all members of the local nonprofit community to submit news, announcements, success stories and any other information they believe would be of interest to our readers. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage our readers to become more aware of the needs of these worthy organizations as they continue to provide much-needed services with reduced resources.