Paddle with a Purpose promotes water sports and waterway cleaning

ORLANDO, Florida. – As the sun rises over the horizon on a quiet Sunday morning, a group sets up a tent on the shores of Lake Ivanhoe in downtown Orlando.

The calm water and the city skyline in the distance create a postcard-like setting.

JR Tanghal finds a place on the walking trail to welcome the volunteers who arrive for the monthly Paddle With A Purpose event.

Tanghal is today’s guest host.

“It’s about raising awareness that our rivers and lakes are not being taken care of,” Tanghal said. “It’s about spreading the word or doing something right. I think people now want to do something good.

Something good this morning is picking up as much trash as possible from the urban lake. A lake that looks beautiful from afar but whose shoreline often supports a collection of debris from road runoff.

Paddle with a Purpose is a non-profit organization founded in 2017 by Robert Figueroa, a New York native who moved to Fort Lauderdale and quickly realized there was a pollution problem in our backyards. water.

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Figueroa established “bays” or chapters in Fort Lauderdale, Key West, and in 2019, this one in Orlando.

The idea is to encourage nautical activities and to engage people from all walks of life to volunteer for the conservation and cleaning of our waterways and to raise awareness of the problem of pollution in our communities.

“What could be better than being outside and on a lake,” Tanghal said.

The air was calm and the lake glassy and smooth, perfect conditions as the volunteers paddled the lake in kayaks and paddleboards. Others, like the mother-daughter team of Dona and Briona Jones, have teamed up to scour the shore in search of trash within reach.

The couple shook hands and stretched out in the reeds.

“We were determined for this cup,” said Briona Jones with a laugh. “We had to get it and we knew that if we combined our efforts, I could bend down and get it and ta-da – clean water.”

The couple traveled from Brevard County after seeing Tanghal’s post on social media.

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“As soon as he’s involved in something, we’re there,” said Briona Jones. “We are doing it,” Dona added.

Karen Schafer is paddleboarding on the lake every weekend and wanted to help. “We see tons of plastic. Plastic water, bottles, cans, bags. It’s really sad, ”Schafer said, adding that she bought a bag with the Paddle With A Purpose logo to support their efforts.

The Paddle with Purpose events have collected over 15,000 pounds of trash in Florida waterways.

JR Tanghal is the winner of this week’s Getting Results Award. Tanghal divides his time among several non-profit organizations. (WKMG-TV)

Tanghal has been organizing non-profit events for 15 years. Including Make-A-Wish, Hope For More Foundation and Champions For Children. He sits on the boards of the latter two.

“I don’t think people realize the magnitude of what he does,” said Briona Jones. “The amount of money he raised for different organizations and foundations. “

Founder Robert Figueroa said in an email, “JR is an inspiration to all of us,” adding, “He brings welcome excitement and enthusiasm coupled with a passion to truly give back to Orlando.

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In two hours, the group managed to score double their goal. Bags of garbage totaling over 200 pounds were stacked around one of the park’s garbage cans.

“I didn’t expect there to be so many,” Schafer said, explaining how she filled most of her bags as she ventured under the I-4 bridge. “Beautiful day. It was really rewarding. The city beautiful, we keep it beautiful.”

Follow the band’s website for more upcoming events.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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