Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

United Way builds a bridge for minority professionals

TAMPA

Teachers around the county prepared for the return of school by sprucing up their classrooms and splashing bulletin boards with decorative designs.

None of their bulletin boards, however, holds more beauty than the bulletin board at the Sulphur Springs Resource Center.

Oh, they may be more eye-catching, festooned with construction paper, glittery letters and happy characters. With bold action words, they probably do a better job at sparking a student's imagination.

The beauty of the Sulphur Springs Resource Center bulletin board comes not from an artful design, however.

It comes from hope.

Adults who received GED lessons at the center returned after passing the high school equivalency exam and pinned copies of their newly minted diplomas on the bulletin board. Every inch is covered with a pride some may not fully comprehend.

Those diplomas, so much more than just paper, represent a step in the right direction, a foot in the door, the start of a better life. Simple black letters on a white piece of paper showcase a vibrancy that says lives can be revived.

Manager James Jackson, a Durant High and Florida A&M graduate, spoke of the tremendous strides the center has achieved. In his five years at the center, it has gone from serving 50 residents a month to more than 700. It not only preps residents for the GED, but provides a business center, financial literacy programs, legal assistance and employability training and career readiness services.

The center, funded by the United Way Suncoast, comprises just part of an effort to reshape the community. Other partners include the Tampa Metro YMCA, the Hillsborough County School District, Bay Area Legal Services, the Sulphur Springs Alliance, the Devereux Foundation, Community Stepping Stones, Layla's House and others.

Of course, Sulphur Springs residents are the most important partner. With them on board, everybody is pulling in the same direction.

"We want to make Sulphur Springs a neighborhood of choice," said Jackson, whom residents call "Mr. James."

Now Jackson and the United Way want to bring more professionals, particularly minority professionals, to the center.

Many of the young adults who seek careers — not just jobs — need professional mentoring. They need to know that an odd email address can turn off prospective employers. They need tips on how to dress, how to interview and how to highlight skills on a resume.

"They see Oprah and Beyoncé on television, but . . . they want to see real people, people they can touch," said Paula Kay, United Way community manager.

Much has been written and said about the challenges facing the black community. I'm convinced many successful minorities want to help but don't know how to connect with areas like Sulphur Springs.

The solution is to build a bridge between the professionals and the community.

Bridges is a year-old effort by United Way to connect more minority professionals with its social efforts. It has 90 members who have made a financial commitment, but program manager Cassandra Montes will tell you it is about time, talent and treasure.

"The response to Bridges has been overwhelming," Montes said. "For so many professionals to join us in such a short time shows me there's a pent-up desire to help in the minority community.

"Because Bridges covers four counties and the need is great, we always need more professionals."

To learn more about Bridges, call Montes at (813) 274-0944 or email [email protected]

We can talk about helping. We can make donations, but perhaps the best way to help is by personally engaging with people who long for someone to show them the path to a better life — actually, a more beautiful life.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 2 hours ago

nationResearchers work to avoid another 1918 super-flu The descriptions are haunting. Some victims felt fine in the morning and were dead by night. Faces turned blue as patients coughed up blood. Stacked bodies outnumbered coffins. A century after on...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 3 hours ago
‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

LOS ANGELES — The Western-inspired revenge tale Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri swept the female-focused and led Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday with wins for best ensemble, best actress for Frances McDormand and best supporting actor for...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Shutdown opens week

Shutdown opens week

Associated PressWASHINGTON — The government shutdown will extend into the workweek as the Senate appeared to inch closer to ending a partisan stalemate late Sunday but fell short of agreement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

More inmates died in Florida prisons last year than in any other year on record, leaving the state scrambling to identify causes and find solutions. The tally, 428 inmate deaths in 2017, was released late Friday by the Florida Department of Correctio...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Oxfam highlights sharp inequality as Davos elite gather

DAVOS, Switzerland — A CEO from one of the world’s top five global fashion brands has to work for just four days to earn what a garment worker in Bangladesh will earn in an entire lifetime, campaigning group Oxfam International said Monday. In advanc...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Amazon opens cashier-less store in Seattle

SEATTLE — Amazon employees have been testing it, but is the public ready for a cashier-less store? More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon is opening its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store today in downtown Seattle. The ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on

At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on "what we can do"

ST. PETERSBURGNear Mirror Lake, as protesters posed for pictures, hung signs on their dogs and distributed chant scripts just after noon Sunday, Linda Pair and her friend Beth Gavin arrived to march.Asked why she came out, Pair, 72, of Largo put it b...
Updated: 5 hours ago
USF women blow late lead, lose at Wichita State

USF women blow late lead, lose at Wichita State

WICHITA — USF led by eight points in the fourth quarter but went cold, and Wichita State pulled off the upset 64-56 Sunday afternoon in a potentially costly loss for the Bulls.USF (15-5, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) missed 14 of its last 15 fiel...
Updated: 6 hours ago