Aimée Alexander, Times Staff Writer

Aimée Alexander

Aimée Alexander works as a staff writer and editorial assistant at the Tampa Bureau. She covers everything from community events to charities to the occasional reality TV star. A native of St. Petersburg, FL, she attended University of South Florida St. Petersburg's Journalism and Media Studies program. She would love to hear your story ideas.

Phone: 813-226-3408

E-mail: aalexander@tampabay.com

  1. Life Center leader healed by helping others with grief

    Human Interest

    Sheryle Baker has built her life around finding healing by helping others.

    The executive director of the Life Center of the Suncoast grew up in the shadow of her older brother Ira's illness. Baker was only 16 when her brother died, and she emerged with questions.

    Her perspective shifted after meeting psychiatrist and author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, an expert in the field of death and dying and creator of the Five Stages of Grief. Ross served as a mentor for Baker, helping her find a way to transform her grief into a meaningful career. ...

    Sheryle Baker, 65, has served as executive director of the Life Center for 30 years. Baker, who was mentored by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is part of a team that provides grief and trauma counseling.
  2. Indy racer drops by Moffitt to cheer families of cancer patients

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Ryan Hunter-Reay may be in town for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend.

    But the IndyCar Series champion said one of his main priorities Wednesday was to visit with parents and children of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute's Families First program who are coping with a parent's cancer diagnosis.

    "I can definitely empathize with people here," said Hunter-Reay, co-founder of Racing for Cancer. His mother, Lydia, died after a two-year battle with colon cancer in 2010....

    IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay visits with parents and children of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute’s Families First program Wednesday in Tampa. He’s in town for this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. 
  3. Sunrise Community's super fundraiser aims for awareness, support

    Human Interest

    For Barbara Hobbs, raising awareness about adults with special needs is a deeply personal issue.

    Hobbs serves as the voice of the Feb. 1 Super Tailgate for Charity fundraiser for Sunrise Community, a nonprofit organization that provides support for adults with disabilities. She says her involvement has helped define her true purpose in life.

    Hobbs came to know Sunrise two years ago. While going through a divorce, the full-time mother of four made a things-to-do list and "Taking care of her family" topped the list....

    Barbara Hobbs found Sunrise Community while helping her mentally disabled niece.
  4. Joy of Merchant Marine's visit to SS 'American Victory' ends in sorrow

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Earl Joseph Mayo had a knack for timing. Married for 56 years, his wife, Fran, said the hands of a clock could fall off and Earl would still rise each morning at 6:30 on the dot. • The morning of Nov. 16 began in the usual way, with Earl and his wife sharing a quiet breakfast in their scenic senior mobile home community tucked away in Zephyrhills. She had strong coffee; he had his usual cereal mixture of half Honey Nut Cheerios and half Special K with sliced fruit on top. ...

    Fran Mayo holds the American flag given to her family by Bill Kuzmick, executive director of the SS American Victory. The flag was raised and lowered on the day her husband was aboard.
  5. Giving Tuesday looks to launch holidays with charitable spirit

    Human Interest

    While some have been busy scooping up holiday deals during Black Friday and lining up their credit cards for tomorrow's Cyber Monday event, others are making plans for a new type of holiday tradition this week: Giving Tuesday.

    In the spirit of holiday giving, Giving Tuesday began in 2012 as a national movement to encourage people to participate in charitable acts. The momentum behind Giving Tuesday? Create a national day of philanthropy the day after the series of branded shopping promotions. ...

    “Stop trying to change the world and look at who is in front of you instead,” Jason Sowell says.
  6. Junior League chief leads ladies who launch social change

    Human Interest

    Junior League of Tampa president Lee Lowry acknowledges that women's charity groups sometimes conjure up stereotypical images of "ladies who lunch" or highfalutin tea parties replete with white gloves and fancy pearls. • But not the Junior League. They might still wear pearls, but the gloves are off. With 85 percent of its members working outside the home, the league consists of women with diverse backgrounds who want to enhance their skills while taking on child welfare and education issues. • Ad 2 Tampa Bay recently awarded the league its pro bono Public Service Campaign for 2013-14, and the league hopes to be at the forefront of raising awareness about sex trafficking. • Lowry, a married mother of two who also works as the communications director for St. John's Episcopal Church and School, recently spoke with Times staff writer Aimée Alexander about the awareness campaign and the league's upcoming holiday gift market....

    Lee Lowry and fellow Junior League members visited U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, in May. From left are Stephanie Wiendl, Lowry, Castor, Sara Evans, Lynette Russell and Sarah Balmer.
  7. Volunteers drive success of Tampa's India Festival 2013

    Human Interest

    Mahesh Modha believes that everything in life revolves around relationships.

    As this year's chairman of Tampa's India Festival, Modha spent the past year cultivating relationships and leading a team of 200 volunteers in setting the stage for Saturday's long awaited annual event.

    "It's time to abdicate and deliver," he said.

    Modha promises this year's festival will be the most memorable of the past 26 years, largely because of the volunteers. Although he sees himself as an instrument guiding the volunteers, "Really, they make me look good."...

    Shreya Shivan chats with friends while getting her hair prepped for a dance performance at last year’s India Festival. This year’s festival returns to the Florida State Fairgrounds on Saturday.
  8. TechStart Tampa Bay stimulates studies for STEM students

    Human Interest

    RUSKIN — It's one week before school starts and Christian Torres, 17, is immersed in all things video.

    Seated at his desk in the studio/control room of Lennard High School, he is editing videos that will debut the first week of school. As producer of Lennard's morning show, The Daily Roundup, Torres can regularly be found roving the halls, bouncing from classroom to cafeteria to pep rally, with his Canon camera slung over his shoulder....

    Christian Torres, a senior at Lennard High School in Ruskin, stands with the camera crane he built to film a Pledge of Allegiance video. The 17-year-old, who  produces the school’s morning show, was awarded a full college scholarship at age 14 by TechStart Tampa Bay.
  9. Hometown Hillsborough, week of June 9: fashion, Plant rowers, big cats

    Human Interest

    Photo by Bob Clements

    PLANT HIGH ROWING BRINGS HOME BRONZE IN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Plant High Rowing made it back into the medals at the national scholastic competition over Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 2009. Plant (South Tampa) attended the National Championship with the largest number of athletes in its program's history (94) and the greatest number of entries among all schools attending. The athletes competed at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America's National Championship, in Camden, N.J., on the Cooper River, placing two boats — men's and women's lightweight eight — into Grand Finals. Despite challenging conditions, Plant High's men's lightweight eight sprinted at the finish of the 1,500-meter course to earn the bronze medal by beating New Trier of Illinois by 0.5 seconds and St. Augustine College Prep School from New Jersey by 0.7 seconds. Pictured, from left, are: coach Justin Smith; coxswain Garrett Fiss, sophomore; Gus Chavez, senior; Ben Johnson, senior; Liam Forrest, junior; Robert Clements, sophomore; Ian Harrison, sophomore; John Chase, sophomore; Zakee Arth, sophomore; Frank Kozel, sophomore; and head coach Mike Moseley.

    Photo by RuslanaStudio.com ...

  10. Hometown Hillsborough, week of June 2

    Human Interest

    Giving back green: Employees from the Tampa office of CA Technologies recently lent a hand to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo as part of the company’s 6th annual Green Weeks volunteer initiative to inspire environmental awareness. CA Technologies volunteers assisted in the upkeep and cleanup of the zebra and black bear exhibits and helped out at the zoo that houses more than 1,500 Florida native animals and supports endangered species conservation. CA Technologies employees pictured are Amelia Richardson, Werica Dos Santos, Kimberlee Mikalinis, Isabel Gary-Mesa, Kevin Spayde and Jorge Bravo.
  11. Hometown Hillsborough, week of May 26

    Human Interest

    Hometown Hillsborough publishes on Sundays. Send news of everyday life in our county, whether it's snapshots from family reunions, a local achievement, celebrations or simply good news you want to trumpet. To make a submission, contact Hometown Hillsborough coordinator Aimée Alexander at hometownhillsborough@tampabay.com, by fax at (813) 226-3381 or mail to Tampa Bay Times, 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602....

    BENEFIT FOR SGT. NICHOLSON SMART HOME: The Sun City Center Leathernecks Club and Patriots Club held a benefit event May 5 at the Sun City Center Community Hall and raised more than $10,000 for the construction of a Smart Home for Marine Sgt. Michael Nicholson. The benefit included a variety show by local entertainers, a barbecue and a raffle. Nicholson was on foot patrol when he was seriously injured by an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011, He lost his legs and his left arm, and experienced a brain injury. Proceeds from the event were submitted to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation for Nicholson’s home under their Building for America’s Bravest Program. Shown, from left: Jim Glass; Jim Haney, center; and Bill Stinchcomb, right; Sgt. Michael Nicholson, seated.