A Place To Play, Learn And Grow

The Glazer Children’s Museum hosts a wide variety of interactive exhibits with topics ranging from the deep ocean to deep space, which kids can play with to understand the world around them. Open year-round, the museum is constantly cycling through new events to make every visit a unique experience.

“As far as the events go, it’s an all staff kind of opinions. All of us continue to feed our opinions as to what will work and what caters to the families in which we serve,” said Alyssa Ortiz, marketing and communications manager at Glazer.

Frequent visitors to the museum have the option to purchase memberships. According to the museum website,  members gain access to special features, including: invitations to member-only events and previews, discounts to partnering organizations, museums, and aquariums, three dollars off general admission for guests and more.

For visitors that frequent the museum less often, there are still many activities that all children can enjoy.

“I love bringing my daughter to the museum because the museum offers so many different activities for her to learn and do,” said Vu Lieu, a visitor at the Glazer Children’s Museum.

Parents can be confident that their children will enjoy learning through interactions with various activities in a safe, controlled environment.

Visit the Glazer Children’s Museum and start the journey to a bright future.

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Photo courtesy of the Glazer Children’s Museum website.

Eckerd Kids’ Friends of the Children program becomes first to only work with foster care kids

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.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Raises Money Via Delta Sorority

Delta Delta Delta is a sorority at the University of South Florida. They hosted the annual Delta House of Pancakes philanthropy event on Friday, stacking piles of pancakes and raising thousands of dollars for sick children fighting cancer and their families.

Each semester, the USF Greek Life community presents charity events that benefit over 49  organizations. Tri Delta’s national philanthropy is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which provides housing, food and medical treatment for any child diagnosed with cancer, regardless whether their family can afford it.

Most of these children are terminal. Once a year, Tri Delta hosts Delta House of Pancakes, which costs attendees $5 for pre-sale tickets and $7 at the door. The ticket allows them unlimited pancakes and other breakfast items.

Walking into the Tri Delta chapter room, guests are overwhelmed with the aroma of maple syrup, crackling bacon and most importantly, pounds upon pounds of golden pancakes.  Tables and chairs are lined up with eager college students ready to devour something better than dining hall food.

This year, the planning and work paid off, raising over $17,000 for St. Jude’s.  For the chapter president, Mackenzie Reyes, the experience is much more than simply writing a check.

“Every patient we meet, every success story we hear and every time the survival rate improves is possible because of the millions of dollars raised and the awareness generated by Tri Delta members for the past 15 years,” Reyes said.

Reyes, along with 45 other members of Tri Delta, recently visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The sorority sisters were given the opportunity to see exactly where their contributions go and the brave children they affect.

St. Jude’s treats newborns up to 21-year-olds, for brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, infectious diseases, blood disorders, sickle cell disease and solid tumors. Treatment for these diseases is rough, expensive and sometimes hard to watch. For the Tri Delta’s, meeting these sick children face to face made all the difference.

“I had a multitude of the most highly trained doctors in America and the strongest children of our future generation coming up to me and thanking me for all that we do as sorority women,” Reyes said. “We help their families through some of the darkest times of their lives.”

Delta House of Pancakes attracted a crowd of over 400 people to the Tri Delta house in USF Greek Village, not including the five Tampa Bay businesses that sponsored the event. The attendance and sponsorship’s played a big role in helping Tri Delta reach a monetary goal and spread awareness.

“Our goal is to raise $60 million in 10 years, after recently beating our $15 million in 5 years goal,” Lexi Kalantzis said, a Tri Delta member of two years.

Tri Delta holds the largest single commitment by a St. Jude partner, having had a short-term housing facility named after their organization. The housing facility, located in Memphis, acts as a residence for cancer-fighting adolescents and their families for up to a week.

It is free of charge because of donations from Tri Delta, so the families can focus on saving their child’s life and lessening the pain that comes with battling such a disease. 

“Who wouldn’t want to play a direct role in raising money for St. Jude’s?” Teagan Fiore said , the Tri Delta philanthropy chair who planned the event.

With the help of the other 48 Greek organizations on campus and the community, Tri Delta members such as Reyes, Kalantzis and Fiore are confident a major impact can be made for participating charities, and countless young lives can be spared.

“We are a part of something much larger than ourselves,” Reyes said.