For Rychard Williams, being a basketball coach at Rey Park is more than just teaching kids how to score. It gives him the opportunity to help many students and keep them on the right path.
Williams started a nonprofit organization,“We Got Talent,” where he helps his students gain access to higher education by utilizing their athletic and academic abilities
“I was trying to figure out how I could do different things for my kids, to show them different things. I had students that didn’t receive college offers when I thought they should have,” said Williams.
Coach Williams trains his students with scholarship opportunities in mind, but to teach life lessons as well.
“I think I’ve learned how to be a part of a team better and how to carry myself better,” said Charles Dunn, a Blake High School freshman. “Knowing I’m a part of that foundation, coach has just helped me make better decisions and be a better person.”
He meets with his students every day after school to give them a place to be productive. This gives them an opportunity to do their homework, play games and workout.
Williams plans to take some of the kids on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia over spring break to keep them occupied. He will also take them to an Atlanta Hawks basketball game, which most of the students are excited about.
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.
On Monday, March 21, 2016 renowned science fiction author, James Morrow, will be visiting USF to discuss his new novel, “Galapagos Regained”.
Morrow will be giving a lecture on the fourth floor of USF’s library at 6:00 p.m. where he will discuss issues of science, religion, and pop culture. Joining Morrow will be fellow science fiction author and USF professor, Rick Wilbur.
“I’ve been in the science fiction community for a long time,” said Wilbur. “Getting Morrow to do this lecture was as easy as some scheduling and making phone calls to a comrade.”
After a small amount of aligning schedules between Wilbur, the university, and Morrow, the author is set to discuss his latest novel as a part of USF’s humanities institute’s lecture series.
“I urge all students who can make it to attend Morrow’s lecture,” said Wilbur. “He’s an incredible author and this is a great opportunity to discuss contemporary issues with a knowledgeable professional.”
Morrow, a self-proclaimed scientific humanist, is an author famous for his unconventional historical novels, which often examine the intertwining concepts of religion and science. His latest novel, “Galapagos Regained” plot centers on a Victorian adventurer who decides to repeat the voyages of Charles Darwin.
Anyone, whether a student, faculty or community member, will be able to attend both Morrow’s lecture and the event’s reception and book signing free of cost.
A young entrepreneur has taken her passion for eating healthy and combined it with her passion for cookies to create her own company Base Culture. This company is not like any other sweets retailer that sales brownies and banana bread; all of the products are paleo friendly, meaning they follow the popular Paleo Diet.
“The Paleo Diet is nicknamed the caveman diet for a reason” says Base Culture founder Jordann Windschauer, “If you were to follow the Paleo Diet, you eat meat, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and fruit.” Windschauer praises the diet and even goes on to say that she felt “more alive than ever and had more energy than she had had in years.”
While the Paleo Diet did have its ups it also had its downs. Windschauer enjoyed the new found energy boost, but she also missed all the sweets she used to eat.
“You know it got really hard not being able to just grab banana bread on the way to work in the morning. I looked for products that could satisfy my sweet tooth but would also satisfy paleo requirements but there were none” said Windschauer. It was that same day she took matters into her own hand and stated creating “sweets” that were made solely from seeds, nuts, and fruits.
She then took her paleo friendly sweets she baked to her local gym to share with her friends and they became an instant hit. People soon began offering compensation for her products, and overnight the company Base Culture was created.
Many customers have claimed to not even taste the difference between paleo friendly brownies and regular brownies. “I just tasted it and it’s actually really good and it’s awesome that it’s really healthy” said satisfied customer Lexi Ashby.
The idea of paleo friendly products has taken the market by force. Since the company’s beginning in 2013, Base Culture products are now available in over 50 stores nationwide and will soon be available in Walmart.
The Argentine Tango Club at the University of South Florida is bringing the intimate form of the tango to students on campus. Meeting every Tuesday night at the USF Campus Recreation Center, the class is open to both beginners and experienced dancers.
“With Argentine tango, it’s really cool that you’re always dancing with someone so close that’s also really a stranger,” Ryan Mack, Argentine Tango Club president said.
Lessons brought by the club focus on enjoying the experience of the tango, with partner switches and new activities every time.
“I find it one of the classiest dances,” said Miriam Mijares, who has been dancing with the club for over a year. “At the same time, it can be either fun, or formal, passionate, seductive, or just plain silly.”
The tango can be an intimidating dance, especially to students who do not have any experience. However, the club is welcoming to people of all experience levels, regardless if they come with a partner.
“I say close your eyes, pretend like you’re inventing this dance, and according to the music, just do what you feel,” Mijares said.
The club meets in room 033 at 5:00 PM every Tuesday. Admission to the recreation center is free for students and $15 for guests.
The University of South Florida has one of the biggest buildings called the Marshall Student Center, open from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and varies on Saturdays and Sundays. It would be very difficult to escort students out when closing time happens because students enjoy themselves in the SkyPad on the 4th floor assisted by Jennifer Hernandez, the Associate Director for Operations of the building.
“Based on some feedback from the students we did not provide enough relaxation space and gaming space,” Hernandez said. “So there were two meeting rooms that were in existence in that space when we first moved in, so it was a minor construction project that we brought online to add that gaming area and the place for students to study.”
The SkyPad is a place where students can have fun by plugging in their video games and play all by themselves or with friends, forming a group together to study and many other things to do.
The Video Game Club President of USF, Adham Hessen, has his experiences at the SkyPad by making friends.
“I particularly enjoy the SkyPad myself, because it’s a place where I actually met my friends and now I continue to meet them up here playing video games together,” Hessen said. “It’s tons of fun. We laugh, made a lot of jokes, but it was fun.”
The SkyPad was created in September 13, 2011 and founded by Joe Synovec, the previous director of the Marshall Student Center. It features a total of seven LCD screen televisions with multiple ways to connect electronics, two dry erase boards for multiple purposes, vending machines for refreshments, plenty of tables to work on studies, couches to recline on and a large studying space that is close to the railing of the building.
The Global Medical and Dental Brigades has been a student-run organization at The University of South Florida for many years now. Each year, they plan a fundraising event for their annual medical mission trip and this year was no exception.
In 2015, members were able to raise almost $40,000 and travel Nicaragua together. They hope to reach the same goal this year to get them to Honduras in May.
Although the mission trips last only nine days, their fundraising events begin early in the school year. They collect medical and hygienic supplies to bring with them and they participate in health and safety courses. The members also take part in everyday biomedical science courses to prepare them for assisting at clinics with health officials.
Member and medication chair for the organization, Kristin DeMayo, was proud to play a huge part in planning their first, of hopefully many, Bubble Soccer Tournament.
“It will be a comprehensive public health mission trip while we’re there,” she said.
The trip will include service projects like building sidewalks and outhouses.
At the tournament, teams of four suited up in large, plastic Body Zorb bubble suits to play five minute games against each other.
“[I] bruised some knees but it’s for a great cause,” Sara Galvis, a participant, said.
The Global Medical and Dental Brigades is already thinking of ways to make the tournament bigger and better for next year.
Social media has never been more prevalent in college and professional sports than it is today. At the University of South Florida, Mike Farrell is the man behind the computer screen.
“A lot of it is one, developing a voice for our social channels and then two creating content that’s going to engage our fanbase,” Farrell said.
As the Director of Digital Content, Farrell is in charge of churning out vines, tweets, pictures and more across all of USF Athletics’ social media platforms every day.
“One of the things we want to do and want to push is to create stuff that is engaging, stuff that people want to consume, share, retweet and help spread the brand,” Farrell said.
One of the most important days for any athletic department each year is National Signing Day. Student athletes from all over the country officially sign with the school of their choosing. The content created by Farrell and his team made waves on a national level, including an appearance on Yahoo! Sports Dr. Saturday blog.
“This year in particular we had a couple national organizations, blogs, write about some of the things that we did,” Farrell said. “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of people put in a lot, a lot of hours for what’s really just a glorified morning. But I do think that it pays dividends in the end.”
The work Farrell puts in on a daily basis is critical to the growing online presence that is USF Athletics.
“For a large subset of our fans, if you don’t have that presence, you’re irrelevant,” Senior Associate Director of Athletics Andrew Goodrich said.
Even though Farrell is fully focused on the day-to-day task of enhancing USF Athletics’ presence online, he doesn’t lose sight of the big picture.
“When one person leaves, somebody else can come in and there’s no drop,” Farrell said. “That’s the USF brand. That’s the USF Athletics brand. That’s the USF football brand. There’s no change. That needs to be a constant.”
On the USF men’s rugby team, every player has their own story, but team captain Adam Gimbel —a fourth year biochemistry student from Miami— explained the dedication and bond that is unique to rugby.
Gimbel feels that being captain of the team has helped him get the confidence to take on other leadership roles in life.
“I’ve played sports all of my life. I just fell in love with rugby immediately. Physically, emotionally and mentally, it is the most challenging sport I’ve ever played. And because of that it’s the most self-satisfying sport, I’ve ever played.”
In the middle of October, Gimbel suffered a hamstring injury. Unlike in many other sports, he experienced something that is special to rugby, from the player who caused the injury on the field.
“The next day, he messaged me on Facebook, he found me then messaged me. And says ‘hey man, I hope your hamstring gets better bro, I really want to play you in a month.’”
Gimbel explained that Rugby has a great social atmosphere, where players genuinely respect everyone who takes part in the sport.
“This is the culture that’s special to Rugby,” said Gimbel. “Despite how violent and aggressive the game is, at the end of it, it’s all just gentlemen playing the sport.”
The Special Olympics is defined as “A non-profit organization that provides year-round sports training to children and adults, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Hillsborough County programs offer 17 sports to over 800 athletes, with the assistance of 75 coaches and over 1,000 volunteers throughout the year. These programs are free to athletes.
The Special Olympics also offers various programs such as Unified Sports, which joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team, and Healthy Athletes, which has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.
However, for Special Olympics athletes and their families, the importance of the organization goes far beyond athletic training and offered programs.
“My favorite part about Special Olympics is playing different sports, make new friends, demonstrate courage, show friendship, and most importantly, to have fun,” athlete Thomas Shervington said.
Thomas plays basketball, soccer, golf, and softball, and just became a part of the Athletes Leadership Program, where he will help spread awareness on how to get involved with the Special Olympics.
“Him being in the Special Olympics has affected our lives so greatly,” Thomas’s mother, Buffie Shervington said. “He’s not only playing sports, but able to make new friends. My son got to thrive, grow, become confident and do all the things kids do.”
“He’s just a completely different person than he was before the Special Olympics. He’s my inspiration.”
Hope for the Homeless at USF organized their first Trick or Trot 5k Costume Fun Run on Oct. 24. The goals for the 5k were to have people have fun while running the trail and to raise as much money as possible. The money collected supports local homeless people with care packages for the holidays. The organization had a raffle drawing with prizes and a costume contest. Winners received prizes from local supporters.
Tarpon Springs High School’s marching band program is a National Pilot Program that focuses on building leadership skills through the arts. The marching band has won many state and national competitions as well as a world competition. Two years ago, the marching band had the honor to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
This year’s German Day theme was “25 Years of German Unity.” The event was held on Oct. 23rd and was sponsored by the German Embassy in D.C. The German Section at USF and the German Culture Club presented the event, which consisted of a poetry slam and a poster contest. There were also free refreshments, raffle prizes and other items given away.
As they approached the finish line, it was unclear whether Superman or the Ninja Turtle would get there first.
Eventually Superman edged to victory over Michelangelo, closely followed by Minnie Mouse, a pumpkin and a 6-foot Viking. This was all part of the Trick or Trot 5K Fun Run, which was held Oct. 24 by Help for the Homeless at the University of South Florida’s Fitness Trail.
“I think a lot of people had fun, and it was great with the music and with the raffle,” Stephanie Radu, president and founder of Hope for the Homeless at USF, said.
Radu, a biomedical sciences major, founded the organization in January of this year, with this being its first event. Each runner paid a $15 fee that was donated to the Ybor Youth Clinic.
“The money is going toward care packages that will all go to the homeless,” Radu said. “We will put a lot of effort into making and distributing them.”
Cameron Purvis of Florida College won the race with a time of 16:27 and was awarded a Halloween-themed trophy in the shape of a skull, despite not wearing a costume for the event.
“I actually kind of forgot about dressing up,” Purvis said. “Once we were on our way we were like ‘wow we forgot our costumes.’”
Purvis said he had not been training for this race in particular but decided to sign up when he saw the money raised was going to a good cause.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of mileage this season and was looking for a good race to sign up for,” Purvis said.
Over 100 people signed up for the race, which raised over $2,500 via donations and raffle ticket purchases. Radu’s goal was $3,000, but she was pleased with the result.
“I’m a little optimistic so I’m happy with $2,500,” Radu said.
Radu believes that not enough was being done for the homeless in Tampa, which is why she set up this organization.
“I feel very passionately about helping the homeless community,” Radu said. “We’re trying to get rid of that bad stigma that’s around them. There’s a lot of homeless youth in Tampa.”
After their first event, Radu is optimistic there will be many more. “We hope to hold another event in the spring and to make this event an annual one,” Radu said.
Some of the sponsors of the event had representatives at the race handing out free treats to participants. Amazon representatives, for example, were at the event giving out water bottles to runners after they had completed the race. They also donated items that were used as prizes in the raffle that took place.
There were many volunteers at the race who ensured everything went as smoothly as possible. The DJ, the referees and the event managers all volunteered to set up and run the event.
The DJ gathered a lot of attention after the raffle took place, playing “Cupid Shuffle” that made around 20 of the runners join in with the dance.
USF Bulls tailgate with the Golden Brahman Tailgate Club
Tailgating and football are such cultural passions in this part of the country and this is some of what a real, organized tailgate looks like. Also, I wanted to dispel the fact that football fans and tailgaters are unstoppable drunks. The Brahmans are a family friendly group that encourages families and children of USF alumni to join them in their festivities. I took various photos of the event itself, the food being cooked and served and some of the various activities people were doing at the tailgate.
TAMPA, Fl– The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities has been established at the University of South Florida for 23 years.
“We were the first C.A.R.D. center here in the state developed by families who really saw the need to have these direct supports and services that links with our resources,” said C.A.R.D.’s Program Coordinator Christine Rover.
The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at USF is one out of seven sites across the state providing free services, resources, and training assistance for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder across the area.
C.A.R.D’s very own Program Assistant and Social Media Coordinator Adrian Ruiz has her own very personal connection with the non-profit organization.
“Well I’m a unique situation, I actually work here at C.A.R.D but I’m also a parent of a child with autism,” stated Ruiz, “I’ve seen the impact of C.A.R.D first hand, they’ve been to my home and they’ve been to my child’s school. They work one on one with her teachers and her trainings and just providing those resources and assistance to me directly with her education.”
“We know that our families become more engaged in their community and more successful in school and in employment through our training initiatives,” explained Rover. “The impact has not only educated our community, but with the families with individuals with autism spectrum disorder can be really successful.”
If you want to learn more about C.A.R.D, visit their Facebook page or visit their center located at the University of South Florida.
The University of South Florida’s Office of Orientation has a reputation around campus for being peppy tour guides.
While this isn’t a bad reputation to have, it also isn’t what they truly stand for.
If you visit this office on campus you’ll find that the students who work there care a lot more about the university and its students than you think.
Office of Orientation office staff member and former Orientation Team Leader, Brooke Aronow, loves the feeling of giving back.
“I love orientation because it gives me the opportunity to talk to students and make them feel comfortable about coming to USF. I love being able to be an input and give them guidance on this transition.”
The office has been around for about 20 years now and each year, they are working to improve their programs. Right now, their office consists of office staff workers, orientation leaders, family leaders and transition mentors, each playing a key role in the orientation process.
In previous years, the school handled orientation differently but since this office came to be, students have been able to feel better prepared for the next four years of their lives.
The two programs that are now offered through the office are First Year programs and Transfer programs, each catering to a different student population.
Each year, the senior staff works to develop more innovative programs and ways to keep the students engaged.
It is safe to say that this office is the first point of contact for many students, and without them, the USF experience might be very different.
Eudaimonia is a new and rising club at USF giving out free hugs to all who want one every Nov.14.
Jonathon Burroughs, the founder of Eudaimonia, began the club to commemorate a friend who committed suicide on the same day four years ago.
“I started this doing this to commemorate my friend who lost his life to suicide,” Burroughs said. “I do this for him, but some of the other members do it to just spread joy.”
Burroughs started giving out free hugs without the University’s approval, but soon got the go-ahead to continue when he received positive feedback from students.
“Sometimes you do things and you perpetuate events, and you don’t see the results,” Burroughs said. “But the results are there and it’s powerful. For me, it is about believing in the idea that what I’m doing has results that are powerful, even though I don’t see them.”