Peace Corps Offers Different Direction For Graduates

The Oval Theater in the Marshall Student Center is no stranger to different educational events, but on Wednesday it hosted something different for students to enjoy.

Success in Service: Life after the Peace Corps is a TEDTalk-style event that allows former Peace Corps volunteers to speak candidly about their experiences overseas and various challenges that they faced while abroad.

The event was held Apr. 20 and attracted about 70 students and faculty to learn more about this organization that is so familiar to many of us. The event was comprised of six guest speakers and a brief social.

“I really wanted to bring this event specifically to USF because we are such a diverse school and we could really benefit from this information,” Vanessa Okor, Peace Corps intern and event coordinator, said.

Okor also believes that as a school that students can truly make a difference not just on campus, but off campus and this is a perfect way to give back.

Mark Holbert who served in Romania during 2003-2005 and is a linguistics graduate student at USF believes the Peace Corps is a life-changing experience one that he would do again.

“Not only do you get to give back, but you also gain and learn so much about yourself from the process,” Holbert said. “You definitely build confidence in yourself, a skill necessary to do well in whatever field you want to be in.”

For more information about the Peace Corp please visit its office located in USF Patel College of Global Sustainability.

 

 

How a nationwide nonprofit organization is helping Tampa

Proclaiming that they are the “first name in second chances,” Eckerd is a nationwide nonprofit organization that focuses on providing solutions that help struggling families and young adults thrive.

At the Eckerd Achievement Academy office in downtown Tampa, teachers Stephen Zambito and Tamara Johnson are just some of the staff that has been hired to teach some at-risk teens in the Tampa Bay community. Through this program their goal is to obtain their high school or GED diploma when traditional schooling options are no longer an option.

Johnson and Zambito create a safe place for these students who often come from broken homes and were children of the foster care system. Many of the students love it at Eckerd and consider it a family type atmosphere.

Every job comes with its ups and downs. Johnson said the hardest part of this particular job is getting attached to the students. “These kids are like my own and it’s really hard when one day they are here and the next day they are gone.” She also said that when they lack motivation it is hard to steer them in the right direction.

Zambito expressed the same sentiment saying, “Over the ten years I have done this I have definitely learned patience.”

Eckerd not only provides high school and GED diploma services, but also juvenile justice, child welfare, and behavioral health services for those in need. For more information about Eckerd please visit Eckerd.org or call 800-554-HELP.

 

 

 

 

African Infused With Caribbean Dance Shakes Up Wesley Chapel

The founder and CEO of Tampa Bay AfroFit, is aiming to spread the influence of African culture into the Tampa Bay community by infusing it with dance and cardio.

Natacha Zamor was raised by Haitian parents in Montreal.

Zamor grew up learning Haitian folk dances with her grandmother.

“When we would dance, we would sweat, we really did sweat and I remember always thinking this is such a great workout,” Zamor said.

Before starting Afrofit in 2015, Zamor—who was been a registered nurse— saw the need for an exercise program like this in the community. She noticed many programs, such as Zumba, and thought that there  was something missing for the people of African decent.

“It’s not just exercise, we dance, we laugh, and also she (Zamor) educates people,” Roberte Francios, an AfroFit participant, said.

Since starting AfroFit, Zamor has made it her mission to educate those around her about what they are really doing during their time with her.

“Our mission, our culture, doesn’t just rest on that, it rests on the younger generations, older generations, re-appropriating what has been lost,” Zamor said. Afrofit is located in Wesley Chapel Florida.

To learn more about AfroFit group classes, events and workshops please visit their website Tampabayafrofit.com or email them at Tampabayafrofit@gmail.com.

 

Tampa area celebrates 5th annual Black G.I.R.L.S. award show

Black G.I.R.L.S. Rock Tampa Bay is back again for the fifth year in a row, with a night full of glitz, glamour and awards.

The event was held on Saturday, March 5 at Shekinah Glory Cathedral Conference Center. The event consisted of dinner, the awards show, a display of products from various vendors and inspiring performances and speeches.

Black G.I.R.L.S. (Gifted. Influential. Renowned. Ladies. Showcased.)  Rock Tampa Bay is an awards show that was started by Michon Shaw, a sign language interpreter in the Tampa Bay community who cares about giving back to her community.

The idea came to Shaw one day after she was watching Black Entertainment Television, where they have the same award show on a grander scale.

“We saw the award show in 2011 and we said ‘let’s make it happen for 2012,’” Shaw said.

Shaw is not alone in her vision. She had a team of people behind her helping her create the event this year. One of those people was event coordinator, Catina Miller Holmes.

Holmes believes the work she is doing with Black G.I.R.L.S. Rock Tampa Bay has a significant impact on the community.

“I believe that if there was an organization such as this when I was growing up I would be able to find mentors,” Holmes said.

If you missed this year’s Black G.I.R.L.S. Rock Tampa Bay, the event is annual so look out for it next year.