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St Patricks Day Service Weekend

Mar 14, 2010

By Dan


The next day I met up with my old buddy, Ft Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, as he revived his city's St Patricks Day parade. My crew showed up in large numbers, and Max (and his cousin Ben) got to ride in the Red Corvette with me waving to the thousands that lined Las Olas Boulevard. From there we went to Hollywood Blvd to cheer on my brother in law, Steve Kurtzer, who every year raises money for childhood cancer research by shaving his head as part of "St Baldricks Day." This is Steve's 7th year going bare for the kids.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Project: Best Buddies and the "R" Word

Mar 7, 2010

By Dan


Spent the morning with Best Buddies of Broward for their annual festival at Brian Piccolo park. My project was to staff the booth (with Joan and the kids) where we were soliciting passer-byers to pledge to "End Using the 'R' Word". Since nearly everyone there was a supporter, family member or participant of Best Buddies, we quickly filled up our bed sheet with the signatures of folks who promised to not use the "R" word. It was a beautiful day and sunshine and friendship were in abundance.
More...       ~ 2 Comments

Helping Women Veterans

Feb 13, 2010

By Dan


Spent some time at Athena House in Tampa with my good buddy Sara Romeo. Sara is the Executive Director of Crossroads which is a Tampa based organization that provides residential housing and related services to homeless women military veterans.
More...       ~ 2 Comments

Haiti, MLK and self-winding flashlights

Jan 18, 2010

By Dan


Yesterday, I took our family to K-mart where we went shopping for supplies. Joan and I wanted to give our young children (aged 11, 9 and 5) some real sense of what the families in Haiti were going through. Each of our children picked what they thought would be important. Sophie (the pragmatist) concentrated on water; and Hannah (who tends to fixate on doctor appointments) picked medical supplies. Max, age 5 (who fixates on being 5), first thought buying some toys might be good, but quickly changed his mind and decided on flashlights so no "other kids" would be afraid in the dark.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

It is very cold— Help your fellow Floridians

Jan 9, 2010

By Dan


Below you will find an email that I sent to our list this morning encouraging folks to pitch in and help local homeless shelters. There have been press reports around the state, particularly in the north and central parts of Florida, of shelters receiving very high numbers of people looking for help. Thanks for helping out
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Road Trip goes to Orlando

Dec 27, 2009

By Dan


Today we made our way across I-4 to Orlando, where we spent the afternoon with some fine residents of Westminster Towers on the Southside of downtown Orlando. Westminster Communities are throughout Florida. We spent our time with some great friends in the "memory center" where my kids and I played games, told stories, and even sang some songs around the piano. My favorite:" I want a Gal just like the Gal that Married Dear Old Dad." Hannah's turn to cut the video, so check her out.

More...       ~ 1 Comments

Road Trip goes to St Pete

Dec 26, 2009

By Dan


Spent the morning in St Pete at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center hanging out with some residents of the community living center. It was a great morning as the kids played cards, games, and even learned a little piano with the veterans. Most were WWII era, but some had careers that spanned numerous conflicts and more recent ones. They were happy to see the kids, and enjoyed telling some old stories.
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Road Trip goes to Tampa

Dec 25, 2009

By Dan


The holiday spirit was overwhelming: the kids played great together, never arguing and always acting politely (wow, imagine that!). I am thankful my children had the chance to see that just because someone is down on their luck, doesn't mean they are better or worse than you. Everyone deserves respect and dignity. Tomorrow we're in St Pete to visit with some veterans.
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Road Trip

Dec 24, 2009

By Dan


The minivan is packed up, the kids are jockeying for seats (the "are we there yet" chorus has begun), and we are about to take off on our family holiday vacation. This year, rather than make the rounds to amusement parks we are trying something different. We're going on a "service vacation" - where we will make our way around the state participating in charity and community service projects.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Lending a hand at the State Convention

Oct 8, 2009

By Dan


I believe that when times are toughest, Americans show their best side. That is why I was so proud of President Obama when he made the promotion of community service a recurring theme of his presidency.
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Service Day 21 in Gainesville and on to St. Pauls A.M.E.

Sep 23, 2009

By Dan


I couldn't help but think that these two days really presented the state of Florida we see today. In Gainesville I saw what is so wrong with a state that has failed invest in its human capital and build a workforce that can attract high wage industries. On Sunday I visited with people that notwithstanding the tough times believe tomorrow can be better with a little faith and hard work. I share their faith that tomorrow can bring better times - but it won't come with merely optimism but only if people take responsibility for themselves and their futures.

More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day 20: Helping out at Community Haven in Sarasota

Aug 25, 2009

By Dan


On Saturday after I attended the Women's Equity Celebration in Sarasota with my oldest daughter and my niece, I volunteered at Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Camp Fiesta Children's Cancer Camp

Aug 2, 2009

By Dan


In 1985, some terrific ladies asked me to help create a summer camp experience for some patients at a clinic for kids with cancer. So nearly every summer since I have returned to my bunk (the bottom) at a cabin in Birch State Park in Broward County with about 70 children afflicted with cancer. The kids share a beautiful fellowship and spirit in the face of a deadly disease. Many of the counselors returning to the camp were my campers decades ago - and to see them healthy and smiling and living productive lives is nothing short of inspirational. The memories of those that passed away is similarly inspirational as they were beautiful children who taught by their example of courage and grace.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day 14 & 15 - Building a Library in Liberty City; Reading to kids at the Salvation Army

Jul 11, 2009

By Dan


This morning a few friends and supporters worked to help create a library in the Liberty Square Community Center in Liberty City. Liberty City is Miami's oldest housing complex and the area is surrounded by some of the county's most struggling schools and economically challenged neighborhoods.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day 13: Feeding the Homeless at Camillus House

May 30, 2009

By Dan


Took some time from the Jefferson Jackson Democratic meeting to head over to Camillus house to prepare meals for the homeless. About a dozen friends met me there and we peeled onions, cut oranges and prepared place settings for the 1500 folks expected to show up for dinner Saturday night.

Camillus House has been serving the South Florida community since 1960 and provides humanitarian services to men, women and children who are poor and homeless. Camillus offers a full continuum of services that includes food, shelter, housing, rehabilitative...
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day Twelve: Volunteering at Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa

May 28, 2009

By Dan


Last week I spent a few hours in Tampa volunteering at the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. It is one of the world's premier cancer centers for both treatment and research.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day Eleven: Writing letters to veterans with elementary schoolchildren

May 17, 2009

By Dan


Service Day Eleven brought me to Macfarlane Park Elementary School in Tampa. What a great school. It's a magnet IB school (International Baccalaureate). The kids are incredibly engaged in learning and Principal Rivero and her team really get kudos for their efforts. Over the last three months the kids have participated in their own 100 days of service.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day Ten: Letter Carriers Food Drive

May 9, 2009

By Dan


Hard work! Spent the afternoon with some Letter Carriers in Broward County unloading and sorting seven large bins of food collected in South Florida as part of the 17th Annual Letter Carriers Food Drive.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day Nine: Celebrating Obama's 100 Days and cleaning up the Wekiva River in Seminole Co.

Apr 27, 2009

By Dan


The event was on the banks of the beautiful Wekiva River so we took some canoes and kayaks and travelled down the scenic Wekiva picking up trash with Steve Barnes who is as knowledgeable about the River as anyone. While we found some loose garbage, I'm happy to say it was pristine and clean.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day Eight: Landscaping at UCF

Apr 26, 2009

By Dan


Spent Saturday morning in Orlando at the Arboretum at University of Central Florida with students and friends. The weather was perfect as we dug trenches and moved compost so we could energize the soil and plant flowers and shrubs that will improve the look of one of Florida's terrific higher education institutions.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day Seven: AIDS Walk Miami

Apr 19, 2009

By Dan


I am happy to say we completed the walk (about 4 miles) but cannot claim we set a record pace. We started at the front of the thousands of participants, and ended somewhere near the end thanks, in part, to my son Max and the other small children in our contingent. What we lacked in speed we made up for in spirit.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day Six: Delivering Meals to Seniors

Apr 5, 2009

By Dan


It is the ultimate family volunteer event as everyone can participate. The recipients are happy to see you - especially happy to see children - and it allows your family to make a very personal contribution by lightening up the life of someone who could use a kind word and a smile.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day 5: Feeding Folks at Sarasota's Salvation Army

Mar 30, 2009

By Dan


I spent Sunday afternoon at the Salvation Army in Sarasota (1400 10th Street, Sarasota) which may be the best way to see up close how this recession is really impacting our neighbors. This facility provides 21,000 meals each month. Over a year ago it may have been half as many but bad times is increasing the demand. Some of the recipients are homeless, but most are just everyday Floridians who need a little help to make ends meet.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day 4: Ronald McDonald House

Mar 15, 2009

By Dan


Talking with the residents you get a real sense of how important it is to stay with a loved one as they endure a medical procedure like an organ transplant or chemotherapy for cancer. As the economy continues to freefall, however, too many of our neighbors find themselves without insurance or underinsured which means paying for family members to stay with their children during lifesaving procedures can be cost prohibitive. The Ronald McDonald House fills that void and allows families to stay together when they need each other the most.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day 3: P.E.T. Tampa - The Gift of Mobility

Mar 8, 2009

By Dan


I was very fortunate to get a work station that involved plenty of power tools and a terrific volunteer manager, Ralph, who is a retired postal worker, and pretty good tennis player. He volunteers regularly at the PET workshop and was extremely helpful and gracious.

P.E.T. stands for personal energy transportation. PET, located in Tampa...
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Service Day Two - Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Mar 1, 2009

By Dan


I spent a good deal of yesterday morning with other volunteers who go to the agency and spend a few hours sifting through food and related items, making sure they are not past their expiration dates, not tampered with and otherwise fit for consumption and use.
More...       ~ 1 Comments

Service Day One - Oleta River State Park

Feb 8, 2009

By Dan


Today was my first community service day. Like many churches and synagogues, my temple organizes an annual "mitzvah day" where hundreds of our congregants participate in dozens of service projects. They range from the expected (clothing and book drives) to the more unusual (entertaining senior citizens in nursing homes with joke-telling). It is a family event that the entire congregation looks forward to, and it often creates long term commitments to the projects we support.
More...       ~ 6 Comments

100 Service Days

Feb 3, 2009

By Dan Gelber


A centerpiece of my campaign will be to participate in 100 community service projects across our state. I did not choose this idea because the "walk" of Lawton Chiles and the "work days" of Bob Graham had been taken. I chose it because it fits me. I have always made volunteerism an everyday part of my life and the life of my family. I have been in the Big Brothers program since I was in college (including 20 years with my current little brother) and been a summer counselor at a cancer camp I helped create in 1985. I've built houses for Habitat, and cleaned beaches.

In each moment of service, I have found that volunteering brings you closer to your community and ultimately enriches you more than you ever expect, and in this time of economic struggle, it is quite clear that our our nation and state will not meet today's challenges as a collection of individuals.

More...       ~ 2 Comments


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