All of us at Fast Lane Travel, Inc. have been blessed with good health, homes, education and the ability to travel. Because of our blessings, we are committed to giving back to our community as an essential part of the way we operate. And it has been scientifically proven that giving back is healthy for you!
Individually, members of the Fast Lane Travel staff give back to the community in many different ways, specifically by coaching youth basketball and soccer; reading to the blind; participating in Habitat for Humanity projects; raising money for American Heart Association and American Cancer Society walk-a-thons; volunteering at homeless shelters and food banks; and providing donations to Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen breast cancer fund.
Fast Lane Travel tries very hard to be “good citizens” in our local community. For example, in 2015, we purchased a new network printer that took the place of several smaller printers we used. Rather than sending the used printers to a landfill, we donated the printers and other computer equipment to a local school for children with learning disabilities.
However, over the years, Fast Lane Travel, Inc. has provided significant support to the following three projects: the China Bridge Summer Camp, Clothes to Kids and West Liberty University Foundation.
The China Bridge Summer Camp is a total immersion experience in Chinese language and culture available to middle and high school students in Florida, sponsored by the University of South Florida Confucius Institute. To be eligible to attend the 16-day study tour in China, the students must be studying Chinese and qualify through the testing of their knowledge of the language and culture.
Mrs. Jingsi Sontag, Peter’s wife, is a teacher of Chinese language and culture at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg, FL. For the past two years, several students from her class have qualified for the China Bridge Summer Camp. However, most of the students at this school are from working-class families without the discretionary income to send their children overseas to this camp. In 2016, Fast Lane Travel, Inc. contributed $1,000 to each qualifying student’s travel fund and, as a result, six of Mrs. Sontag’s students were able to go to China this past summer. We also assisted the six children through our travel agency by booking their flights, arranging visas, etc. For more information about this program, CLICK HERE.
Fast Lane Travel also supported the students of Mrs. Sontag’s classes with the following:
• $1,000 in classroom supplies in 2014/2015 and $1,200 in supplies in 2015/2016
• For the Chinese New Year in 2014 – 2016, Fast Lane Travel provided Chinese food for approximately 60 students and their families who were attending a traditional New Year’s celebration at the school.
Through our relationship with Thurgood Marshal school and its principal, Dr. Solomon Lowery, Fast Lane Travel became aware of both the need for clothes for children in the area to wear to school and the Clothes to Kids, Inc. charity. Each year, Fast Lane Travel gifts several shirts to each of our approximately 300 tour guests and donates over 650 shirts to the Porsche Club of America’s annual Parade volunteers. Inevitably, we end up with extra shirts, shirts that are returned to us because they are the wrong size, and even some duplicate shirts. Over the years, the number of shirts we accumulated was quite substantial. We were delighted to donate these shirts, plus a few backpacks, to Clothes to Kids. We also sent a monetary donation of $1,000 to support their worthy efforts in both 2015 and 2016.
Peter Sontag is a 1969 graduate of West Liberty State College (now West Liberty University). We have supported the West Liberty University Foundation for many years through endowed scholarships. Through Peter’s efforts, the following endowed scholarships have been established:
• Valerie Renee Callas Scholarship
• Peter M. Sontag School of Business Administration Scholarship
• Maria Cigalle-Sontag Scholarship
• Dr. Thomas J. Babb School of Business Administration Scholarship
In addition, we also donated the Thomas J. Babb Living Room at Liberty Oaks Alumni House Bed & Breakfast.
We hope our efforts in giving back have made a difference in someone’s life. We will continue to look for opportunities to reach out to those in the community in need and volunteer our most important commodity whenever we can – our time.