23 year-old Bradenton resident, Chasten Whitfield has been obsessed with fishing her whole life. Growing up in the Cortez fishing village, Chasten not only loved to fish but she also had a dream of having her own fishing show. Well that dream has now come true in addition to a huge Instagram and Youtube following. Her TV show is called, Their Life My Lens, and it follows her journey taking differently abled young people out for a day of fishing on the water.
The inspiration for her nonprofit, Chastenation, came after meeting a young boy living with spina bifida.
“Seeing his reaction lit me up,” Whitfield says. “It was right then and there that I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”
Her non-profit raises money to be an inclusive charter that gives kids and their families an incredible experience on the water, learning about abilities they didn't know they have and of course learning about marine life.
“I get frustrated if I’m not catching 50 fish, while these kids are happy to catch three, or even just bait,” she says. “The No. 1 thing I have learned from the kids is that it’s the little things that matter. One kid I took fishing sat with his eyes closed, arms open and just felt the wind. They notice things I have never taken time to appreciate. I catch these fish every single day, and when they see them, they say, ‘Did you know there is blue in their eye?’—something I’ve never seen.”
It’s hard not to get emotional seeing a child surprise themselves with their capabilities and joy. The show emphasizes the abilities, not the disabilities, of the kids when they spend a day with Whitfield.
Read the full story at Sarasota Magazine here.
See her Youtube channel below!