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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rouson raises $50,000 for jobs in less than a day



St. Petersburg-- State Rep. Darryl Rouson has surpassed a $50,000 fundraising goal less than 24 hours after he announced a summer job program for at-risk teenagers.

Rouson The program, called the 50-50-50 challenge, is a joint effort between Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and activist Gypsy Gallardo, co-chairwoman of the Child's Park youth group People Advocating Change Together, or PACT. The challenge aims to recruit 50 mentors to help 50 troubled youths and place 50 teenagers in jobs this summer.

Rouson, who pledged $10,000 of his own cash toward the effort, said he received more than $40,000 in donations from a small group of corporate and private donors this morning including, $10,000 each from Progress Energy, developer Brent Sembler and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Rouson and Gallardo said they will continue raising money for the program so they can help more youths. Rouson also called on wealthy black community leaders to contribute.

"I'm not ungrateful for the black leaders who have stepped up," he said. "But I also know there are others who can step up and help us carry this a lot further."

Rouson said he plans to continue the 50-50-50 challenge in Manatee and Bradenton counties, which are part of his legislative District 55.

Rouson is up for reelection in the fall. He faces the Rev. Charles McKenzie in the Democratic primary.

-- Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

[Daniel Wallace, Times files]

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:28am]


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