It probably goes without saying that most of us here at the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) are big fans — and loyal customers — of our local Whole Foods Market.
Since we put such an emphasis on doing good things for our bodies, it only makes sense that we purchase those items we put in our bodies from markets that sell only healthy, organic and fresh fare.
So when the good folks at our local Whole Foods Market in Wilmington, N.C., said they wanted to help us raise money for NCOAE’s Education Without Walls program, we just shook our heads and asked, “Where do we sign up?”
What that means is this: You do your grocery shopping at the Wilmington Whole Foods Market on March 23, 2016 — also known as Community Giving Day and 5% Day — and 5 percent of Whole Foods’ net sales on that day are donated to the Education Without Walls program, allowing us to continue our important work of educating local youth through unique wilderness-based experiences just miles from home.
Taking a step back for a moment, what we do here at NCOAE is plan, facilitate and guide teen and adult adventurers all around the globe. Locally, we offer youngsters in grades 7-9 and 10-12 the opportunity to make new friends, acquire new skills, and learn about themselves — all the while participating on professionally guided and educationally facilitated outdoor adventures via a scholarship supported program called Education Without Walls.
As an aside, if you’re a fan of ours, or have experienced any of our outdoor adventures yourself, or have kids who have, you know that the NCOAE Curriculum places a lot of emphasis on four pillars: self, community, action and impact. In short, we believe Self + Community + Action = Impact. In fact, “self” is the backbone of what we do at NCOAE. It involves our esteem, self-actualization and the decisions we choose to make — all of which are important because we strive to foster a strong sense of esteem in everyone who participates in one of our outdoor education courses.
On Wednesday, March 23, you can practice some of those pillars by shopping at the Wilmington Whole Foods Market, located at 3804 Oleander Drive. And if you were particularly enthusiastic, we’d love it if you’d consider restocking your entire pantry and refrigerator. Then think long term and cram some healthy items into your freezer.
Got a cookout coming up? Go to Whole Foods. Inviting friends over for dinner? Invite everyone you know and buy out the Wilmington Whole Foods store on March 23. Or shop for some gourmet food items for Christmas presents a full nine months early.
It’s all about giving back to the community, and no one will be more appreciative than the kids who benefit from your purchases.
The programs that we provide for students in the Wilmington area are important to them, to their families and the community. With the support from companies like Whole Foods Market and individual donors, we can focus our time on the most important part of our work with our students.
Finally, if you’re not going to be anywhere near the Wilmington Whole Foods store on March 23, we gladly accept donations via our website and are also open to gifts-in-kind and offers to help out at our office in Wilmington. Please visit our Donate to NCOAE page more information.
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About the Author: Stephen Mullaney is the staff development director at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) in Wilmington, N.C., where he is responsible for the training and education of NCOAE’s field instructors. He is a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) and has taught within the Durham, N.C., public school system. Stephen received his undergraduate degree in English from Framingham State University, and an Independent, alternative Masters in Education.