For over 20 years, Eckerd Kids has been helping at-risk youth in the Tampa community.
Their Friends of the Children program provides these youths with a professional mentor to work with them through life. The mentors begin their work with the students when they are in kindergarten or first grade, and they remain with the students through to their high school graduation.
“I love the role I’m working in now,”said Justin Goldsmith, one of Eckerd’s professional mentors. “I wake up every morning and I thank God for putting me in this predicament to help the youth.”
Friends of the Children is the first program to work exclusively with kids in the foster care system. Many of the students that are chosen for this program are considered the most vulnerable students in their area.
“When I was 4, I didn’t have any friends. I was all by myself,” said Kaden Figueras, 7, a student in the Eckerd program for two years. “Now I’m being a leader and having fun.”
The program has nine mentors working with over 60 students across Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
“I just want to let the youth know that they can be leaders, or they can be whatever they want to in life,”Goldsmith said.
Nearly 3,000 USF students flocked to the Marshall Student Center Ballroom last week for the annual USF Career Fair.
Students from all different majors were able to speak with hundreds of employers across the four different fairs held throughout the week. They were able to discuss future internship and employment opportunities in their chosen career fields.
“I’m excited about Career Fair because it’s a great opportunity to make connections and kind of get my foot in the door at the start of my career,” USF accounting major, Mitchel Geron, said.
The fair has been held twice a year, one in each fall and spring semester, for over 20 years on USF campus. This fair has given many students the platforms they need to learn the opportunities they have with the degree they will earn.
“Many of these interactions will lead to full-time job interviews, internship interviews, and summer employment opportunities,” Assistant Vice President of USF Career Services, Russ Coughenour, said.
USF Career Services will return with another career fair in the fall of 2016 with more employers and opportunities for students to network with major organizations.
Coughenour finished by stating, “These fairs get USF students the valuable out of classroom experience that they so desperately need so each year Career Services is very proud to bring Career Week to USF students.”
A USF fraternity is in the news, and it’s for all of the right reasons.
USF’s Sigma Nu chapter hosted their 6th annual Sigma Nu White Rose Bowl Flag Football Tournament. The event brings allows USF sororities to compete and help raise money for St. Jude Children Hospital.
“As a community for Greek life we are really big on supporting one another and the charities we support,” said Haley Von Harten, captain of the Zeta Tau Alpha flag football team.
Throughout the event Sigma Nu hosted multiple other fundraisers to further their cause. Over the last two years, the guys have donated over $30,000 to St. Jude from the White Rose Bowl.
“This event is a big part of Sigma Nu’s National Helping Hand Initiative,” Sigma Nu President Dustin Winship said, “It aims at raising funds and awareness of St. Jude and all the awesome research that they do.”
Other than their own event, Sigma Nu will also compete in other philanthropy events in the Greek life community. They will continue to support St. Jude, as well as other charities like the Ronald McDonald house, through these events.
“ I’m really grateful to be able to be here and help raise money for St. Jude,” Von Harten said.
Every week, dozens of students take a break from classes and come together to enjoy a sport they love.
The USF Tennis Club has been a part of the sports club program on campus for over 10 years and has reached thousands of students over their time on campus. Whether you have played your whole life, or just started the sport, the tennis club has both a fun and competitive atmosphere to reach all levels of players.
“I’ve played tennis my entire life and I really love the sport. But when high school ended I didn’t think I would be able to play anymore,” said Nicole Viera, a member of the club for 2 years. “But joining the tennis club gave me the opportunity to continue playing in a very competitive atmosphere.”
The club is a completely student-run organization on campus. Every year members vote for officers for the club and training is done by the members themselves, rather than by a coach.
“We strive to make a competitive and social atmosphere for people that enjoy tennis,” said Samad Loa, the Vice President of the club. “Just come out and have some fun, play some games and play some matches.”
The tennis club at USF is one of the school’s most competitive clubs on a national level. The club finished second in the state of Florida last year, and also finished 20th at the national tournament.
“We try to just come out and make some friends that will last a lifetime,” said Loa. “Just enjoy tennis, that’s kind of what our club is all about.”