Giving Back, Summer 2015

Tony and I feel strongly about the importance of community service. A philanthropic nature is one that is learned and teaching our kids to give back is one of the most important lessons we can give them.  In the past, we have volunteered for different local organizations whose missions we felt in harmony, but this year as part of our “travel-school” based learning, Tony and I felt our volunteer time should also include the kids.

This summer we donated our time and muscles to the Martin Luther King Center of Newport… and it was one of the most re-warding jobs we have had as a family. We collected day-old breads from a local bakery and brought it to the MLK Center to weigh, sort, re-bag and make ready for their morning clients. The MLK Center does extraordinary work in Newport, providing food assistance and nutritional education to anyone in need throughout Newport County.

“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”                                   – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

They also provide educational and day care programs for children and programs such as Strong Woman SeriesHealthy Kids, Healthy FamiliesComputer Recycling Program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and no-cost chiropractic care.

This place is amazing and it has been our pleasure to be able to work with them all summer doing what we can to make their lives a little bit easier.

See:  MLK Center of Newport County

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In a completely different capacity, we also volunteer at the Norman Bird Sanctuary when we can.  We love the sanctuary’s trails and open spaces. It is a 325-acre bird sanctuary, nature preserve, and museum in Middletown, Rhode Island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.   In August, we co-hosted their annual fundraiser called the “Bird Ball” which was set to a 50’s theme and was a super fun party. The ball was an unprecedented success, raising over $85,000 to support the NBS mission of habitat preservation, land conservation and environmental education.

See: Norman Bird Sanctuary

Below are photos from the Bird Ball Gala and also the Newport Art Museum’s Wet Paint Fundraiser.  Both are missions we are committed to supporting – we think it is important to support volunteerism of all types, be it getting your hands dirty at a food pantry, creating a work of art as a donation or buying raffle tickets at a fancy ball. These organizations need help in many ways to both survive and thrive.



See:  Newport Art Museum’s Wet-Paint Fundraiser

We have found some other traveling families who also combine community service or charity work with their curriculums.

The Steenland family lives with their two kids onboard The Seamonkey. This past year they created a program called “Pencils for Kids” where they collected donations via an Indiegogo account. They purchased books and school supplies and met up with several other families on boats to distribute the goods to some remote island schools in Indonesia. Their kids are ‘boatschooled’ and this project was a a big part of their project-based approach to learning.

See:  Green Gorilla Project

Our friends on Sailing Totem are keenly aware of their carbon footprint and they do what they can to make a difference while ‘un-schooling’ their kids onboard their Stevens 47. Their website lists many ways anyone make a difference in our ocean-world.

See:’s link to ocean-awareness

Living a life of travel on land or sea calls to ones altruistic soul. We have so much to be grateful for and at the same time are experiencing other people less fortunate than our own. Community service bridges the gap in a very small way and it is essential that we chip away at that gap!


*lemonade and burger photos above were taken by photographer Kim Fuller.

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