Published On: Fri, Nov 7th, 2014

Boca Raton Teen uses Fishing to Help Children

fishing tripBy Kathryn Wohlpart

At the age of 15 Lucas Metropulos saw that he could improve the lives of others with tools he had learned from family friends. After Hurricane Frances left his family homeless, they were taken in by the Maillis family on their oceanfront farm.

Four brothers taught Lucas and his brother Nicholas Metropulos conservation and fishing methods that the two have brought back to Boca Raton. Lucas created Fishing for Families in Need in Boca Raton, an organization that is now active in multiple cities including Miami.

Fishing of Families in Need, or F4FN, is an organization whose mission “is to use the sport/ skill of fishing as a mechanism to immerse and educate socio-economically disadvantaged children about their local marine and/or freshwater environment,” according to Nicholas.

An environmental education is a “large component” of the organization; marine science IBooks by Duke Marine Science professors are used in classes for the children. Topics like marine conservation, ocean pollution and climate change are “infused” with the lesson of how to fish responsibly.

“We use the sport of fishing to keep the children engaged, but emphasize proper ways to fish and adhere to regulations to preserve fish stocks for the future. Other classes include: knot tying, fish dissection, guest speaker, and a graduation pier fishing trip,” said Nicholas.

F4FN also works with local fishing tournaments to provide excess fish to soup kitchens and has provided over 850 meals to the Boca Helping Hands Soup kitchen. Volunteers come out to clean fish and help deliver them to the soup kitchen two to three times a year.

Lucas started with $500 he earned from his job and received a donation of six fishing rods “from an elderly woman in Delray Beach who wanted to donate them in honor of her deceased husbands.” Now, Lucas is working in Durham, North Carolina on a similar program while he attends Duke University. Nicholas has taken over the Boca Raton chapter and will become the CEO of the nonprofit in Spring.

“I […] hope to raise awareness about the need for greater conservation and protection of our unique marine ecosystems that surround Florida. I hope to inspire my peers both young and old to reach out to make a difference whether it is small or large to make our community a better place for the future,” said Nicholas.

The two brothers don’t only focus on raising awareness in the United States, however, and are working to raise money for a larger project. A community in the Bahamas called Hay Street has children with the desire to succeed but little means to be successful.

“The lack of opportunities within this community leads many children to a life of crime and violence. That is why the community leader of Hay Street has been trying desperately to build a community center in order to give these children more opportunities and constructive activities,” said Nicholas.

Lucas worked with locals to create Lend a Hand Bahamas to operate a community center that F4FN have been working to raise the money for. Construction on the two-floor center is set to start in Summer 2015. The center will become a place where the community can come for education and where local and international professors and students can come share their knowledge.

 

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