Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Donations kick start 50-50-50 challenge program for jobs and mentoring

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly two weeks after state Rep. Darryl Rouson announced an ambitious summer job and mentor program for troubled youths, the effort has raised more than $110,000 in funding and services and secured 60 job offers.

The list of potential employers includes the Pinellas County School Board, the Pinellas County Urban League, the Tampa Bay Rays, the city of St. Petersburg, the YMCA, Mount Zion Human Services and the Industrial Arts Center of Gulfport.

The program, called the 50-50-50 challenge, aims to recruit 50 mentors to help 50 troubled youths and place 50 teenagers in jobs this summer. Low-income youths ages 16 to 21 are eligible to participate.

The challenge is a joint effort of Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and activist Gypsy Gallardo, co-chairwoman of the Child's Park youth group People Advocating Change Together, or PACT.

Rouson, who pledged $10,000 of his money, said he received more than $40,000 for the program from a small group of corporate and private donors last week; $10,000 each from Progress Energy, developer Brent Sembler and the Rays.

Rouson also secured $60,000 in noncash donations, including employment services, volunteer hours and training expenses.

The Urban League is overseeing the finances, Gallardo said.

More than $93,000 has been allocated for salary-related expenses, including liability and workers' compensation insurance. An additional $12,000 will go toward Urban League staff expenses.

High school students, who have been out of school for several weeks, will have first dibs on any available jobs, Gallardo said.

On Monday, 35 teenagers were invited to a three-hour employment training and orientation session sponsored by the Urban League.

The youths were asked to show up in business-casual clothing. Some arrived wearing flip flops and T-shirts, Gallardo said. "They are going to need a lot of mentoring," she said.

The group is continuing to organize the mentoring aspect of the program.

Gallardo said she is still looking for 50 youths seeking to leave lives of crime.

Gallardo said she has been fielding calls all week from mothers hoping to enroll their sons.

Rouson said he wants to establish 50-50-50 challenges in Manatee and Sarasota counties and is reaching out to community activists and business leaders in those areas.

Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or

>>by the numbers

50-50-50 challenge


Total donations


Total salary-related expenses

Jobs available

Donations kick start 50-50-50 challenge program for jobs and mentoring 06/24/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Romano: Sewage is the issue in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the Pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    During the St. Petersburg sewage crisis, the city's ancient sewer system released about 200 million gallons of sewage into local watersways, spurring state and federal investigations and becoming a focal point of debate among the leading mayoral candidates. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  3. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Scaramucci on leaks: 'I'm going to fire everybody'


    WASHINGTON — Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump's new communications director, vowed Tuesday to purge the White House staff of disloyal aides in an effort to crack down on leaks, as another member of the press staff resigned from a West Wing reeling from an unfolding shake-up.

  5. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.