Nonprofit Spotlight: UnINcluded
Using his own money, Temple resident Garfield Hawk III bought a basketball hoop and a few balls to provide a recreational outlet for the children in the community of East Temple where he grew up. That was in 2009 and, more than ten years later, the effort he started is called UnINcluded, a non-profit that is dedicated to providing structure, loving mentorship and goals for children and teenagers.
“We create those positive spaces and help children build positive habits,” says Doree Collins, executive director of the organization that is dedicated to helping children learn and thrive.
Located on seven acres in East Temple, UnINcluded inspires young people to learn to love to read, provides an urban farm where participants learn about growing and preparing their own food, a youth leadership program, and an afterschool program.
The name UnINcluded is a play on the word included and takes its meaning from the negative things that the nonprofit wants to help children avoid including drugs, teenage pregnancy, gangs, obesity, and illiteracy.
Collins says one of the non-profit’s most popular efforts gives books to young children and, in turn, high school and middle school participants take the time to read with the younger children and to be role models for them.
Seeing children find a passion for reading is rewarding, Collins says.
“I’ve had parents tell me ‘My child couldn’t wait till they got home to read their book,’” she says.
Another gratifying part of being involved in UnINcluded is seeing children grow into caring people and seeing them pass those values along to younger participants, she says.
Follow UnINcluded on social media and visit them online at www.unincluded.org.
Family, Friends, Fun, and Community are the foundation of and the ‘why’ behind Infinite Entertainment.
“As parents, we know firsthand how much excitement and joy an inflatable bounce house or water slide can bring a child,” noted Marcos Gomez, one of the six co-owners of Infinite Entertainment. “The excitement in their faces gets us every time!”
An optimistic group of six friends and self-proclaimed “fun-tastic” dads from diverse backgrounds, including Air Force, Army, law enforcement, finance, healthcare, and business, started Infinite Entertainment to bring endless joy to Central Texas families and communities through party and event rentals.
“To Inflatables and Beyond,” joked Gomez when asked about the name Infinite Entertainment. “We went back and forth on several names, and Inflatables and Beyond, a play on words from Buzz Lightyear prompted the word ‘Infinity’. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to inflatables, so we landed on Infinite Entertainment.”
Infinite Entertainment offers a full menu of entertainment services - water slides, bounce houses, inflatable interactive games, karaoke, tents, tables and chairs, concessions, and party supplies - with unmatched customer service.
With strong ties to first responders and military service members the friends understand what it means to serve their community. This level of service translates to their business by providing a stress-free, affordable rental experience that brings people together and brightens lives through fun, interactive activities.
In addition, Infinite Entertainment works with several community organizations, such as Hands and Feet Ministries and AWARE Central Texas, by donating their services for fellowship and fun. They also sponsor City of Temple recreational sports teams - kickball, soccer, and volleyball.
“We love our Temple community,” said Gomez when asked how being in the Temple area has been a good business decision. “The community is very welcoming, and we have established many repeat customers and customer referrals. We also participated in the inaugural Launch Temple program at Temple College, where we gained a wealth of knowledge and connections with other Temple business leaders.”
In the next 5 years, Infinite Entertainment plans to multiply its inventory by providing over 30 inflatable options and hopes to have a brick-and-mortar location with inflatables for daily play or event rentals, including birthday parties.
Gomez closed by saying that Infinite Entertainment also plans to host more community events like their Inflatable 5k & Bounce Fest that they are holding September 24, 2022, at Temple College. Register and learn more about the event here: https://infiniteentertainmentctx.com/5k/.
Follow Infinite Entertainment on Facebook and visit them online: https://infiniteentertainmentctx.com.
the Polar Texas Bottling Summer Sizzle “Seltzer” is TOnight - Friday, August 5, 2022
The Temple Chamber of Commerce is excited to host the second annual Summer Sizzle “Seltzer” in the Santa Fe Plaza Friday, August 5, 2022. This free, family-friendly community event coincides with First Friday in Downtown Temple. It is an evening of live music, food trucks, an outdoor market, and fun for the entire family from 6:00 - 9:30 pm.
This year’s event is being “taken over” by one of Temple’s newest businesses, Polar Texas Bottling. They are bringing the “Chill” to Summer Sizzle “Seltzer” as they introduce their New England roots to Central Texas.
Founded in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1882 by a savvy bartender, Denis Crowley recognized an opportunity in carbonation as Prohibition began to rumble in New England. He crafted what he considered the best-tasting bubble recipe and began selling sparkling beverages from a horse-drawn carriage.
Today, Polar Beverages remains owned and operated by the Crowley family’s fourth and fifth generations, under the leadership of President and CEO Ralph Crowley Jr. They are the largest independent beverage company in the United States. They are purveyors of premium-quality sparkling beverages, including Polar® Seltzer, heritage sodas, and Polar Orange Dry®.
Food trucks and vendors for the outdoor market will be set up along Santa Fe Way and in the Plaza beginning at 6:00 pm. Live music by Gabor Nicholson will take place from 6:00 – 7:00 pm in the Plaza and Kin Faux will take the stage at 7:30 pm in the Plaza Greens. Lawn chairs or blankets are welcome to use while enjoying the music.
Based out of San Antonio, Texas, Kin Faux is a nationally touring, high-energy Texas/Red Dirt Country band whose more obvious influences, along the lines of Charlie Daniels, Alabama and Restless Heart, show strongly through virtuosic fiddle and strong vocal harmonies. Learn more and follow them on Facebook: facebook.com/kinfaux
“This year we have additional entertainment in the form of inflatables for kids and adults, axe throwing, and unique vendors - it is truly a family-friendly event,” said Kaylee Blumenfeld, Events Director for the Temple Chamber of Commerce.
Polar Texas Bottling is providing complimentary Polar Spring Water at a hydration station and will have Polar Seltzer products for sampling.
Infinite Entertainment will have four inflatables set-up for your family’s enjoyment, there will be axe throwing with Black Axe Company, Dapper & Dashin’ will offer haircuts from their booth, and Temple Fire Department will have an opportunity to “touch a fire truck”.
There will be a variety of food trucks with Check Point Germany, Bob's Best Corndogs, G Wagon, High 5 Hot Dogs, and Pizza PieRoes, along with an assortment of vendors offering treats like Kona Ice, Summer Moon Coffee, Raising Cane’s, and Jeremiah's Italian Ice.
Other market vendors include Desert Shadow Workshop, The Mystic Vibe, De’Nic Pet Collective, and Young Life.
There will also be various Chamber Members set-up to visit with Sizzle “Seltzer”-goers and include the 3 Texans Winery & Vineyard, 9Round, American Legion Post #133, Body Mind and Spine Chiropractic , Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center, Direct Auto Insurance, First Convenience Bank, Hill & Wilkinson, Hilltop Recovery Ministries, Horny Toad Harley Davidson, KCEN-TV Channel 6, Reliant, an NRG Company, Reynold’s Consumer Products, OrangeTheory Fitness, and Workforce Solutions of Central Texas.
Summer Sizzle “Seltzer” is proudly supported by Polar Texas Bottling, American Legion Post #133, McLane Company, Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center, Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors, Workforce Solutions of Central Texas, KCEN Channel 6, Reynolds Consumer Products, Lamar Advertising, and the Hilton Garden Inn-Temple.
Polar Beverages invites you to sip into their world on August 5, 2022, at this free, family-friendly event. Visit templechamber.com/summerseltzer for more information.