How to Start Volunteering in the Local Community

World Humanitarian Day is August 19, and it’s a day the United Nations dedicates to celebrating all humanitarian workers around the world who have put their lives in danger – and even lost their lives – fighting for humanitarian causes. This is a noble line of work, and very important in many places around the world. However, don’t feel you have to become a humanitarian worker to help others. In fact, many humanitarians got their start much smaller, and closer to home.

You can get involved in your local community, too, as a one-time or ongoing volunteer at a cause you care about. Many busy people don’t have time to commit to a large, long-term project, but there are other ways to make a difference in your local area. If you feel strongly about anything, there is bound to be a nonprofit organization or charity you can get involved with, whether it is by fundraising, volunteering your time or donating items. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

If Your Cause is…

Children:

  • Volunteer at the children’s hospital, spending time with kids or families as they deal with illnesses
  • Get involved in scouting, as a leader or volunteer
  • See if there are opportunities at local clubs or groups that work with children as a mentor, volunteer or sponsor

Animals:

  • Walk animals at the local animal shelter
  • See if you have a local rescue or sanctuary that needs any help
  • Host a pet food drive to donate to a shelter (check with them first to see if there are any immediate needs for a specific type of food)

Homeless:

  • Volunteer at the homeless shelter, chatting or playing board games with people staying there
  • Serve food at the shelter or a soup kitchen
  • Carry water, granola bars and small toiletry items you can hand out to homeless people you may see on your commute

Environment:

  • Take a walk or hike and bring a trash bag with you to pick up litter along the way (you may even be able to find a local group cleanup to participate in!)
  • Help educate people on the issues related to the local environment in your area, like pollution, litter or other things
  • See if there is a community garden or community tree planting event – or organize your own

If you have a favorite volunteer activity you’ve been involved with in the past, whether that is through school or church or even on your own, you can get back involved. Once you have, share with your friends and family to inspire them to volunteer in their communities as well.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

5 Fun Tips to Stick with a Workout Routine

If you have never really gotten into working out – or you’ve just never been able to be consistent and stick with it – you aren’t alone. You’ve read all about the benefits of working out, and all the tips to get started. But sometimes, that just isn’t working for you. Even if you know how to start and why you should, getting up early or stopping on the way home from a long day at work is just not appealing. With a busy life, fitting in a solid, consistent workout schedule can be tricky. That’s why we have these five tips that can make working out more fun, so you will want to stick to your routine. 

1. Try everything.The problem may be that you’ve never found the right workout, the one you love to get out and do. Try everything from swimming to running to jazzercise to kayaking. You’re bound to like something that can help you get started on a healthier lifestyle. 

2. Sign up for something.Whether that’s a class or a race, having something on the schedule will give you dedicated time to do it, and something to work towards. Paying money for something is often a big motivator for people to actually follow through on their workout. 

3. Grab a friend.Just like many things in life, workouts are just more fun with a friend. Sometimes a friend is even necessary, like for a quick tennis match or 1-v-1 basketball game at the park. Join a gym with friends, or meet up for a walk once a week. 

4. Listen to something.Download some new music. Make a new playlist. Get a new audiobook. Find a new podcast to binge. Having something to listen to can make you more excited to work out, and it can make the time go by faster. Before you know it, an hour will be over – and maybe that audiobook will be, too. 

5. Set some goals.They don’t have to be related to weight loss or even lifting weights. You could decide you want to run for five minutes straight, without walking. You could decide you want to do five pull-ups, unassisted. You could decide you want to plan a huge hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. You could decide you want to do a kayak camping trip. Set some fun, realistic goals that you can work toward – because your workouts should be fun.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Back to School: Get Your Kids Ready for the Transition

With back to school season fast approaching, it’s time to start getting the kids ready to transition back to the school mindset. For most kids, this means getting up early, eating breakfast, less TV or video game time and maybe even getting some exercise. Other kids will need other prep, like getting ready for sports seasons. No matter what your kid is involved in during the school year, there isn’t much time left of summer for them to enjoy. It’s also important to let them enjoy the last few moments before this new school year begins, so they can start off feeling rested and excited.

Tips for kids going back to school

Back to school can be an exciting time, or a scary time. Especially for kids going to a new school, or ones starting school for the first time, there can be a sense of fear or nervousness. Here are a few tips to help everyone get the year off right:

  • Once you have the list of necessary supplies for their new class, head to the store together. Of course, it’s important to shop smart and save money; but it can help kids get excited if they can pick out one or two special items. Maybe a fun folder or new lunchbox can help them feel more ready.
  • Start getting them up a bit earlier each day, so that alarm on the first day of school isn’t so shocking.
  • Let them choose a breakfast cereal or other favorite food. Get them into the idea that breakfast is an important meal.
  • Hopefully your kids have had some time to read, or maybe do some math problems. But if not, now would be a great time to pull out a beloved book and get them back into the mindset of school by reading for fun.

Tips for adults at the start of a new school year

Back to school isn’t just a transition time for kids; it can also be a transition for the adults! Here are some tips for adults, who may be parents or may just be neighbors to some kids heading back to class:

  • Slow down as you drive to and from work. Now that school is almost back in session, there may be more kids out and about – and those school zones may have slower speed limits than summertime.
  • If you are a parent, be ready to talk to your child when they come to you about fears, nerves, excitement or any other emotion they’re feeling. Let them know that it’s okay – whatever they feel is perfectly normal. You can also ease their fears by reminding them that you are there for them.
  • Talk to the children in your life (your kids, nieces, nephews, neighbors you may babysit, etc.) about the afterschool plan, if you are involved in that. Be sure everyone knows the school drop-off and pick-up plans, locations and times, as well as any afterschool afternoon activities, like sports, clubs or homework.

If you have a favorite back to school tip that’s worked for your family, share it on social media so others may be able to make this transition go smoothly!

Looking for a new house in a neighborhood with good schools? Get in touch with us, and we can help walk you find your new home. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Episode 2: Historic Rehab (Part 1)

In this episode, one of our customers takes on a historic mutli-use building as his primary home with the added benefit of rental income. Did we mention he’s a first time home buyer? Zoning allows the multi-usage and we discuss his plans for the property along with financial projections.

Houseplants Can Brighten Your Home

Houseplants are extremely popular. From the rise in social media posts, Instagram accounts and blogs on the topic, you could even think they are growing in popularity. There are many different types of houseplants, which vary in care, light and water requirements. However, many people have decided that despite time and care needs, their houseplants are worth it.

Indoor plants can boost mood and concentration, according to some studies. They also reduce stress and small, irritating illnesses like sore throats and colds. They can also help clean your indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen (remember elementary school science class?). All of these benefits have made houseplants very popular.

Easy-care houseplants for beginners and busy people

Everyone has something going on, from school and work to kids and activities. Whether you’re a total newbie to caring for plants (indoor or outdoor) or you just don’t have time every day to dedicate to it, here are some plants to start your houseplant collection.

Snake Plant

Considered a great plant for people who can’t keep anything alive, snake plants are very easy to care for. They may even do best when forgotten about! Let the soil dry completely between watering, and they can tolerate a variety of light availability, so a corner or a windowsill should be fine. Go ahead and go on that three week European vacation! Your snake plant will be waiting to greet you when you get back.

Philodendron

Another great plant for busy people. The philodendron is a beautiful green color and easily adapts to your home’s conditions. Let the top of the soil dry out before you water again, and make sure it has some indirect sunlight to help it thrive. Another fun thing about these plants is they can easily move from indoors to out on the porch if you want to bring it out to greet your guests from time to time.

Spider Plant

Spider plants are a fun plant that you can put on a shelf, a table or hang in a hanging basket! A great thing is they rarely have any issues other than brown tips of the leaves. Let the soil dry out between waterings so the roots don’t begin to rot. Give them some nice sunlight each day.

When you see the offshoots, let them grow and soon you’ll have “babies” or “spiderettes” you can replant and have more spider plants! Find some tips from The Old Farmer’s Almanac here.

Peperomia

There are many types of peperomia, so check out the varieties available at your garden center. These plants are great for spaces where you don’t always have the best sunlight (like a corner, a bathroom, a room with just a small window). Let the soil dry out between waterings and your plant will remain happy.

Succulents

There are so many kinds of succulents than you are sure to find one in the size, style and color you want! Some stay small while others can grow pretty large or spread out.

The exact care will depend on the succulent you select (a quick search of the name on the tag will help you find specifics), but in general they do best in well draining soil and get some sunlight.

3 things to keep in mind

  • If you have pets or small children, be sure to put toxic or poisonous plants up high out of their reach (or just stick to the non-toxic plants).
  • If you don’t have a lot of light, that’s okay. Keep that in mind when selecting houseplants, because there are some that can handle low light.
  • Remember, if you don’t know how to care for something, all you need to do is turn to Google. You can find out how often you need to water it, how much sun it likes and if you cat can nibble on it.

Getting ready to sell? Houseplants can add some special touches when showing your home. Then get in touch with us, and we can help walk you through all the steps. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Top Beach Games for Lazy Summer Afternoons

Whether the beach you spend your summers at is at the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean or some river or lake in between, it can be a great way to laze away an afternoon. Especially when the weather is warm and sunny, with a slight breeze off the water, the beach is often a favorite spot for many families. Be competitive, make up your own rules and set a “winner buys snacks” prize as you get ready to spend summertime days on the beach. Here are some top games and activities you can do when you take breaks in your swimming, reading, napping beach day routines.

Sandcastle competition: Get a few buckets, or just use your hands. No matter how your group decides to build a sandcastle, it’s sure to be a fun time with friendly competition. Make the biggest or tallest castle, or go for the most elaborate. If you can’t decide on the winner, a nearby beachgoer may be willing to help make that final judgement.

Volleyball: Whether or not you have a volleyball net, you can still play a game as long as you have a ball. Draw some boundaries in the sand and divide up your teams on two halves of the “court.” Set a time limit, a score limit or play by the traditional rules.

Relay race: There are so many ways you can do a relay race at the beach. Use a bucket to race back and forth to the water; run and gather seashells; race through or around your sandcastles you created during the competition. Set your own rules here to make it fun for your group!

Treasure hunts and scavenger hunts: Create a list of things everyone needs to find (certain shells, sand dollars, etc. – but leave the critters and creatures alone. If you want to include them, take photos of them as part of the competition). Then race to see who can collect them the fastest. Large group? Create teams!

Sand drawings: Using your hands or sticks, see who can create the most artistic sand drawing. These can make for fun Instagram posts later too, as you take photos of everyone with their creation.

Spikeball: A surge in popularity has made it so you can get Spikeball at many stores. This game is great for people with a ton of energy to burn and a competitive spirit. Teams battle with the ball and trampoline net as people dive back and forth to keep the ball in play.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Florida Hikes for All Levels

Are you a hiker? Or do you want to try something new this summer? No matter your reasons, getting out and hiking is great for your physical and mental health. It’s a good workout, it’s in the fresh air and nature is known to help relieve stress or anxiety for many people. These are just some of the many benefits you may find if you hit the trails this summer. Here are some of the top hikes in Florida for everyone from beginners to lifelong hikers.

  • Torreya State Park: There are several hikes here that can be enjoyable and challenging. Walk through the endangered Torreya tree, and see the Florida yew.
  • Santa Rosa Island Beach Hike: At Fort Pickens, you can walk along part of the Florida National Scenic Trail along an ocean beach.
  • Little Talbot Island: View various wildlife and pass through five ecosystems on this four mile trail.
  • Big Cypress National Preserve: In the southernmost section of the Florida National Scenic Trail, this rugged park has what some consider the most unusual hiking around. You may even see an endangered panther!
  • Citrus Hiking Loop: With 40 miles of trails, hiking and even backpacking can be enjoyed here. Challenging trails and simpler loops can take hikers through varying habitats, with the chance to see different plants and wildlife.
  • Florida National Scenic Trail: If you’re up for a real challenge, the entire Florida Trail is more than 1,000 miles long, with the average “thru-hike” completed in two to three months. Not up for the whole thing? There are plenty of places to jump on part of the trail for a day hike.

Tips for hiking

Bring plenty of water. Typically, half a liter per hour per person is considered the standard for most hikes. If in doubt, bring more than you think you’ll need.

Wear a hat and sunscreen.

Tell someone where you are going. Especially if you are hiking alone, make sure someone knows where you’ll be and when to expect you back.

Wear the correct shoes. Tennis shoes may be okay for some trails, but hiking boots may be needed for others. Be sure to wear shoes that protect your feet. Leave the flip flops in the car.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

5 National Parks You May Not Have Heard Of

National Parks are a popular summer vacation destination for many families. They offer the chance to explore nation and see incredible sights, like the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains. They also encourage a little more family time without screens blocking everyone’s face (except for a camera to capture the moments!). Many people can probably name at least a few of the National Parks the U.S. has to offer. There are 419 NPS sites, including parks, monuments and more.

The National Park Service sees about 330 million visitors a year in the sites across the country, but some parks obviously get more visitors than others. Here are some of the less visited parks you may not have heard of – but you should browse Instagram to see the beauty they have to offer!

Katmai National Park

This park is located in Alaska, and it’s known for bears! It is the home to the Alaskan brown bear, a subspecies of grizzly bears. Although it’s a fairly large park, due to the roaming population of bears, people tend to keep to small section, where they can take in the views of the mountains, lakes, rivers and, of course, the bears.

National Park of the American Samoa

This one may be a bit of an adventure to get to, as it’s located in the South Pacific, 5,000 miles from California. However, for the 10,000 visitors a year who do make their way to the islands, they are greeted with volcanoes, humpback whales, sea turtles and coral. The culture of the Samoan people is another thing the park can offer visitors.

Great Basin National Park

Along the “loneliest road in America” lies the Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada. Visitors can see caves, mountains and bristlecone pine trees dating back 5,000 years. Stargazers will delight at the dark night skies at the campgrounds. Cavern tours are offered for visitors who want to go deep underground and explore the rock formations beneath the surface of the Earth.

Congaree National Park

In South Carolina, you can find one of the largest groupings of hardwood trees in the country. The park is swampy, but travelling by canoe you can gaze 30 to 50 meters in the sky to see the top of these large, old trees. Other sights can include bobcats, otters and birds you may not see anywhere else. Not a canoe person? There’s an elevated Boardwalk Loop above the water near the visitor center in the north end of the park for you to glimpse some of these same views.

Dry Tortugas National Park

If you’re looking for a park closer to home, Dry Tortugas is right here in Florida. 68 miles off the main Florida Keys, this park is known for its turtles and Fort Jefferson. You can get there by ferry, boat or seaplane, and activities include snorkeling and diving around the coral reefs. If you’re in for a longer adventure, pack some food and supplies to camp under the stars near the fort.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Episode 1: The ‘Poop’ House (Part 1)

In this episode, we bought a house and you’ll see why we call it the ‘poop’ house! As agents we feel we have a responsibility to present all options, offers and possibilities. In this case the seller needed to close within 5 days and the house was full of stuff. We made them an offer, and closed promptly on the property. We talk about the acquisition, hard money lending and financing and whats coming next for this project. Thanks for checking it out!

Top Road Trip Games for the Whole Family

As you head out on summer vacation, it’s time to spend with friends and family. As you drive along to visit the grandparents or see the sights, take some time to plan games and activities to keep the kiddos occupied and excited. Road trip games have long been a favorite of families across the country as they take their summer trips. Here are a few you can try this summer with your family. Some of these may be familiar to you if you took trips as a kid yourself.

I Spy: One person picks something and says, “I spy with my little eye…” and gives a clue. Everyone else in the car takes a turn guessing what it is. It could be a cow, another car or even something in your own car!

Road Trip Bingo: Print out a road trip bingo card you find online, or create your own with things you think you’ll see along the way. Each time someone spots one, they get to mark off their card. First person with a straight line wins — or make it tricky and first completed card wins!

License Plate Game:  Have everyone work together to spots license plates from every single state along your trip! If you’re crossing state lines multiple times, it should be easy. If you’re staying closer to home, see how many states you can get!

20 Questions: Think of a person, place or thing. Everyone can take turns asking yes or no questions in order to guess what you’re thinking of. After each question, the asker can guess what they think it is. First person to guess correctly goes next. Make it trip specific, so people you’ll see, places you’ll go or things you’ll do there!

Connect the Dots: Climb in the back and play connect the dots with. Every player can have a different colored pencil or pen to make it more fun and colorful.

Hangman: Remember this game? Draw underscores for each letter in a word and let the other person guess what it is, one letter at a time. Each wrong letter gets a new part of the hangman drawn.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let the Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

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