From Outside the Box Grew Bee Gaia by Michelle Eddlemen
As an organization, Bee Gaia began through its flagship program Outside the Box, which has been in operation since 2008 in Naples, Florida providing creative and educational programming to youth and families. In a format that encourages participation by the entire family, Outside the Box programs offer a safe and creative environment in which to empower students through multi-media and digital art, science, music, drama, and global culture.
As programs at Outside the Box grew, families began to connect across race, culture, religion, age, and physical ability.
As these connections grew, families began to build a sense of community. As the community grew, members began offering services to each other. These programs spanned a wide range of topics including; yoga classes for breast cancer survivors, Brazilian Martial Arts classes for the whole family, support groups for children who have lost a sibling, co-ops for families that homeschool their children, services designed for special needs children and many more. As these programs grew, Bee Gaia was born.
Connect though programs of Education, Art, Culture, Well Being & Travel
In the Fall of 2011, Bee Gaia’s community center, House of Gaia, opened to provide a supportive learning and social environment for children, teens, families, educators and individuals interested in learning about multimedia art, culture, language, well-being, environmentalism, global connectivity, community building and volunteerism.
The 3,500 square foot facility is home to a wide range of community-based programs that share Bee Gaia’s mission.
In addition to the programs offered at the House of Gaia in Naples, Bee Gaia has formally partnered with several international projects in which Southwest Florida residents can participate in a range of activities.
Projects include partnerships with: New Life Children’s Home which operates a service enriched shelter for homeless children in Port Au Prince Haiti; Acajatuba Village in the Brazilian Amazon which operates a micro-enterprise project for sustainable eco-tourism; and Torgome Village in Ghana which offers a cultural immersion program for volunteers in their educational programs.