1. Opinion

Mentors of the Write Field put boys on the right path

Here are the 32 recent grads of the Write Field, developed by Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute, at left.
Here are the 32 recent grads of the Write Field, developed by Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute, at left.
Published May 17, 2013

The mentors have been quietly molding their young charges for most of the school year.

In its second year, the Write Field 2.0 is a mentoring program that helps minority middle school boys improve academic performance and gain life skills. Write Field is a collaboration of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the Tampa Bay Rays. They joined forces with local schools, law enforcement, businesses and community groups to create the program.

The second class of young men — 32 strong — graduated from the program recently.

Since August, 13 dedicated mentors — all professionals in their chosen fields — have spent at least one Saturday a month nurturing, cajoling, inspiring and encouraging participants.

The group is led by founder Kenny Irby, who's Poynter's senior faculty for visual journalism and diversity programs and director of community relations. Irby and several other Poynter staffers and faculty members also serve as mentors. He says the group is always looking for additional mentors.

Recruitment for the next class begins in August, and monthly sessions will be held the first Saturday of the month, starting in September.

For more information about how to participate, contact Irby at or (727) 553-4297.

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This just in from the folks at the historic former YMCA: The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation chose the building at 116 Fifth St. S to be added to the list of Florida's 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites. The official list will be released this weekend during the organization's 35th anniversary conference in St. Augustine.

But that's not the only news coming from the former YMCA.

Historic YMCA Inc. is planning a block party from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 1, dubbed A Slice of the Burg.

The event aims to fill the void left by A Taste of Pinellas, a successful food and music festival that is on hiatus after 26 years.

The event will be a street festival, set for the block adjacent to the Y.

As in years past, the event will benefit All Children's Hospital, but also will raise money for the preservation of the former YMCA building.

• • •

This coming Saturday marks the end of the season for the Saturday Morning Market.

The market, the closest thing to a public square in the Sunshine City, is held from October through May in the parking lot at Progress Energy Park. The sprawling array of farmers, craftsmen and vendors is a popular draw in the greater Tampa Bay area.

Market officials are planning an abbreviated Summer Market at Williams Park from June 1 through August.

In previous years, the summer markets have been held in the park and in the parking garage at the Mahaffey.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter @StPeteSandi.