For its efforts to promote childhood literacy, the Top of the Bay Kiwanis Club was presented with the 2012 Goodwill Volunteer Group of the Year Award at the Goodwill Industries-Suncoast Inc. Bookworks Program Volunteer annual luncheon.
Since partnering with Goodwill Industries-Suncoast in 2004, members of the Kiwanis Club of Top of the Bay, based in Oldsmar, have volunteered their time reading to preschoolers at several Clearwater Head Start centers as part of Goodwill's BookWorks program.
A committee of the club brings the program to children weekly. After each reading session, the youngsters get a book of their own to take home. Over the years the club has donated thousands of books.
The April 11 luncheon in Tampa was attended by Goodwill officials, Kiwanis members receiving the award and many guests. Dozens of others whose volunteer efforts have supported Goodwill's mission were also recognized. All volunteers from the program area that includes Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Polk and Marion counties were invited.
Goodwill also thanked the businesses in the community that either supply volunteers or donate books.
In West Central Florida last year, 332 volunteers donated more than 5,758 hours of their time to support Goodwill programs.
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Cypress Woods Elementary School hosted a rally April 10 to recognize all students who had been trained in the "Speak Up Be Safe" program, a newly developed, school-based child abuse prevention education program.
East Lake Sunrise Rotary Club and East Lake Fire and Rescue partnered to sponsor an essay contest.
Cypress Woods guidance counselor Jean Stock announced the essay contest winners for each grade from the cab of Squad 57, a 2002 Saulsbury rescue pumper. The 34-foot-long firefighting vehicle holds 500 gallons of water and houses a 450-horsepower Cummins diesel engine under the hood.
For their winning essays, Kamryn Robinson, Jessica Cohen, Hope Vincent, Xander Scales, Ashley Edgerton and RheyAnna Maloney received a commendation and a gift certificate donated by Sans Pizzaria and were also treated to a ride on East Lake's antique American LaFrance fire truck.
Also attending the rally were Bob Host from East Lake Sunrise Rotary Club, Fire Commissioner Mark Weinkrantz, fire Chief Tom Jamison, firefighter Lt. Jim Dalrymple, driver paramedic Megan Gray and firefighter paramedic Shaun Pisel.
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