BREVARD COUNTY – The M.O.R.G.A.N. (Making Opportunities Reality Granting Assistance Nationwide [M.O.R.G.A.N.) Project will once again be hosting its 16th annual Turtle Splash on Saturday May 1. The event will be hosted virtually this year considering COVID-19 restrictions.
The event was previously hosted in 2020 at the home of Sharon Jeavons, founding member of the organization.
“I’m very pleased to say that I’ve already surpassed this year in sales than I did last year,” she said. “We’re having a great response to the virtual race. Our long-time supporters and the people who adopt every year has absolutely embraced the virtual [event].”
The turtles, which are $5 per donation, have benefited the M.O.R.G.A.N. Project’s mission to help Brevard children with disabilities and special needs. The annual race is a main fundraiser for the organization and one of its most popular events. The first virtual race was held last year with some added benefits to the usual live event.
“In the past we would put the turtles in the river. We’ve done it at several different locations. That was a lot of fun, but it was based on the weather. It was always a little stressful, but it was fun,” she said. “Weather was always a fact, so doing it in the pool…I’ve really enjoyed it because I can have people come and join me. I’ve had some of our families we’ve supported in the past come and help me.”
The Turtle Splash, which will be streamed live on Facebook at noon, is a great opportunity for those who donate outside of Brevard County to watch the race from the comfort of their home. The wider audience gives Ms. Jeavons more opportunity to thank sponsors and contributors across the country.
This year, a few new sponsors have joined in on the annual tradition including Rock Paper Simple and Taylor Made Therapies who have are loggerhead level sponsors. Other new sponsors include The Backyard, Arts for All Studio and Metro Diner.
One of the newer programs that the M.O.R.G.A.N. Project is focusing on is the Morgan’s Legacy Gift program which will begin May 15. Throughout the year, families will have the opportunity to apply for pre-approved equipment like wheelchairs, a walker or bathroom chairs. The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project is looking forward to sharing its Morgan’s Legacy Gift program, which is an extension of the Turtle Splash. Donations will also contribute to helping a child receive sensory gift items like a sensory bedroom setup or other medical needs.
Many local businesses have contributed to the M.O.R.G.A.N. Project throughout the years and this year’s Turtle Splash is no exception. This year, the organization will have packaged prizes from various contributions from the local sponsors. There will be packages of prizes for women, men, teens and kids each with specific items tailored to the different demographics.
The grand prize of the race with be a Holland American Cruise valued at a minimum of $5,000. Winners will have a choice of several locations to cruise including Alaska, New England, Caribbean, Mexico or Canada without an expiration date.
Leading up the event are several Facebook videos from the organization’s “Turtle Fairy,” a local supporter who has generously offered to match the $5 donations. Her contributions also include items to be given away as a part of the 10 total prizes available.
“What she does is she donates $5 and an extra turtle for every turtle adoption,” she said. “So, if you adopt one turtle for $5, the Turtle Fairy is going to give us $5 and you’re going to get an extra turtle.”
Opportunities to donate and participate will lead right into the main event. “They can adopt turtles on our website right up until 11 a.m. on May 1,” she said.
With each year, the organization continues to support and aid Brevard’s special needs children and their families. The small monetary contribution goes a long way to assist families.
“Your $5 turtle adoption means a child with disabilities can attend one of our sensory events,” she said. “Or a $20 turtle family adoption, a child can receive a sensory gift which could be a light for their room or another sensory item. A $50 turtle bale could be a gas card to help a family attend a disease specific family conference. That’s really what we wanted to point out this year. Your little $5 can really help a child with one of our M.O.R.G.A.N. Project programs.”
For more information and opportunities to donate, visit www.themorganproject.org.
To view the Turtle Splash Live on May 1 at noon, visit www.facebook.com/MorganProject.