Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Community Outreach - Transforming Bithlo

Bithlo is a community just east of where we live in East Orange County.  For decades, the residents of Bithlo have shouldered multiple burdens and faced numerous injustices.  They have been challenged with environmental hazards and health issues that stem from an illegal dump that has leaked poison into their water wells.  

Underneath this vegetation is a toxic wasteland.
They have felt the desperation that comes from being isolated on the outskirts of access to healthcare and basic everyday needs like groceries because of a lack of reliable public transportation.  Residents who choose to walk or bike into town take their safety and very lives into their own hands because there is not a viable path for them to travel along the busy highway that connects Bithlo to Orlando.

Thankfully, there are people who have dedicated their lives to helping the community of Bithlo.  Volunteers, like Timothy McKinney of United Global Outreach, who sacrifices endless hours per day to make sure that the residents of Bithlo have their physical, education, emotional needs met. Tim is a modern day David slaying the Giant of Injustice that has held Bithlo in its grip for far too long.  He has rallied volunteers from all walks of life to reach out and make a difference in Bithlo.  Tim and the other volunteers know that every resident of Bithlo, from the itty-bitty infants to the grandmothers and grandfathers, are V.I.P.s and they are treated as such.  

In recent years, there have been some amazing transformations taking place in Bithlo.  Two years ago, Orange County Academy opened its doors to at-risk students in grades K-6.  The teachers and staff at OCA are top notch and their mission is to provide a first class education to their students.  They encourage each student to meet his or her full potential and focus on the family as a whole.  

Last year, Community Health Center began providing affordable healthcare to the residents of Bithlo.  Now residents can get quality health care right in their own neighborhood instead of sitting in an ER room for hours.  

Thursday nights are hopping at the Bithlo Community Center where residents can come have a spaghetti dinner and enjoy each other's company.  The community dinner is run completely by volunteers who show up weekly with a smile and a heart to serve. 

There are other exciting transformations on the horizon for Bithlo.  Transformation Village, in it's infancy stages, will offer a library, laundromat, hair salon, coffee shop, and an even tighter sense of community to Bithlo. 

As Timothy Mckinney says, "You can't have transformation until you have inspiration."  So let me ask you friends, do you feel inspired?  Perhaps there is a need in your own community that you can meet.  

If you live in my neck of the woods and you want to be a part of the transformation that is happening in Bithlo, please leave me a message here on the blog or on Facebook.  I would be delighted to get you in touch with the right people.  



P.S.  The Bithlo Community Center meal volunteers are always looking for people to join them on Thursday evenings. Let me know if you are interested in serving the awesome people of Bithlo. 

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