By Ann Friedman / For Shorelines

Adventure Landing partners with national nonprofit in Stars for Scholars campaign

 ANNE HAMMOCK / FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

ANNE HAMMOCK / FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach can help you do more than beat the summer heat — it can also enable you to give back to a charitable cause.

The water park and entertainment destination has partnered with the Virginia-based Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation to participate in its nationwide fundraiser, Stars for Scholars.

The fundraising campaign aims to support the foundation’s mission, which is to provide college scholarships and educational counseling to youth who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

“We believe one of the best ways we can honor our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is to invest in the future of those they loved most in the world — their children,” said Development Officer Chris Petrakos.

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation launched in 2002 and has since provided scholarships to Gold Star families in all military branches in all 50 states.

According to Petrakos, the Stars for Scholars fundraising campaign has generated awareness for the foundation’s mission and raised more than $50,000 for scholarships.

The fundraiser has also garnered participation from more than 50 entertainment centers, and water and theme parks in 15 states across the country.

Natalie Dunlap, vice president of marketing for Adventure Landing, which has locations in Jacksonville Beach, Jacksonville and St. Augustine, said the company is supporting the initiative for the fourth year in a row.

“Children of fallen military members need support and we will continue as long as they need support,” she said. “Hopefully we promote the appreciation of our heroes who give the ultimate sacrifice.”

Dunlap said each department within Adventure Landing is competing to raise the most money.

“Everyone from cashiers to food and beverage, and front team members are participating,” she said.

 ANNE HAMMOCK/ FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

ANNE HAMMOCK/ FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

Adventure Landing is often an employee’s first job, according to Dunlap. She added that employees, on average, range in age from 16 to 22 years old.

“Team members learn customer service and they learn how to problem-solve,” she said. “Many learn that honesty, dependability and integrity are key components to a successful career.”

Petrakos said the organization is honored that Adventure Landing supports Stars for Scholars.

“I hope the partnership results in an increased awareness for Fallen Patriots to help identify all 20,000 children who have lost a parent in the line of duty over the past 35 years,” he said.

Adventure Landing will collect Stars for Scholars donations through September. For more information on the program, visit StarsForScholars.com.