We are thrilled to spotlight an amazing organization here in Tampa, Autism Shifts. Autism Shifts was founded by Vicky Westra as a result of the experiences she and her husband had while raising her daughter Gabrielle (Gabbi), who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of four. Vicky shares the journey that many families have had in finding the right resources, people and programs that could serve Gabbi and help her to continue to grow and develop. She felt a calling to create something different for Gabbi and others in the same situation.
After 22 years in Corporate America, Vicky left her senior leadership role and started a coffee company and a non-profit for Autism. These two organizations came together in 2011 to form Artistas Café, a first-of-its kind Café employing a team of front-line employees who have all been diagnosed with Autism.
Vicky and her team at Autism Shifts have created a proven and unique model that incorporates a very holistic approach to preparing students to successfully enter the workplace. Through our partnership with Artistas Café, we have developed an understanding of what it takes to create an environment where individuals with autism can grow and develop their skills to be successfully employed.
What makes their program different?
How Can You Get Involved?
The Autism Shifts Community is a vital part of the successful integration of the community of Autism into the work force. They encourage entrepreneurs, non-profits, schools, businesses, families and everyone else who is interested in being part of their movement at Autism Shifts to get to know them! Visit the Re-Imagine Center, join a workshop, share their events. There’s so many opportunities to help young adults with Autism live life on purpose. This means living and working independently with their dream life created not only for themselves, but within the community they live in.
Come meet Vicky at our upcoming event on August 20th, Girls Night Out at Carmel Kitchen + Wine Bar, and find out how you can get involved. You can even make a purchase at The Charity Branch boutique where 10% of the proceeds will go to Autism Shifts!
We are thrilled to spotlight The Centre For Girls as our featured Tampa non-profit for this month! The Centre for Girls is a program of The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Tampa. The Centre for Girls offers innovative programming during after-school hours and a summer camp that includes fine arts, ceramics, fashion, dance, and STEM-based instruction to girls, ages 5-14. The Centre for Girls strives to provide young girls with a safe place to spend time, learn skills, make friends, and interact with caring adults.
Located in Old Seminole Heights, The Centre For Girls offers programs in art & education, health & wellness, girl empowerment, and green living. Under the leadership of their amazing director, Sartura Smith, The Centre For Girls is striving to be the most well-known and highly regarded center for girls in the Tampa Bay area. They believe in creating positive change for each girl touched by the Centre, regardless of her socioeconomic background.
How Can You Help?
Do you have a passion for empowering girls? The Centre For Girls needs your support to fund their programs, deliver quality instruction, and enhance the lives of the next generation of girls. They are actively looking for volunteers, community partners, and sponsors.
Tampa Housewives in the City will be doing an item drive to support CFG's summer programs. They are currently in need of snack/breakfast items for their upcoming summer camp that begins on June 10th. The summer food program that previously provided meals for their children during the summer lost their funding, so we are collecting donations of snack/breakfast items at our Noble Crust Carrollwood Girls Night Out on June 4th. We hope you will join us and help support this amazing Tampa organization!
The Centre For Girls
Our charity spotlight for April is for a cause close to my heart. It is also one that we've highlighted before! The STANO Foundation was founded to support our Armed Forces, Veterans, and their families through program-based initiatives focused on enhancing their comfort and quality of life by providing them with a piece of home.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the founder, Paula Stano. She is a single mom of a US Marine who is the inspiration behind this organization. After his enlistment, she quickly learned of how many of our military troops didn’t have any or much support from back home. With her son being stationed overseas, it became painstakingly apparent during the holiday season that these men and women would have to celebrate in either their barracks or maybe a local USO and not with their families. Paula would like to incorporate a program here in the Tampa Bay area where anyone stationed here without family would be able to sign up for a program where they could spend holidays with host families so they didn’t feel so alone. Paula has a great passion of helping others and wants to help our soldiers feel closer to home even when stationed far from their families.
The STANO Foundation is best known for their personalized care packages that they send overseas. They focus on providing a personal, heart felt touch into every package. This is done by asking “what can we do better?” And “what would you like in your care package?” They send out these packages throughout the year, with particularly large shipments during July and before Christmas time. The packages are made possible by item and shipping cost donations from the community. You can view the entire list of requested donation items on their website.
This Thursday, April 4th, Tampa Housewives in the City will be collecting items needed for upcoming care packages: beef jerky, men’s deodorant, or puzzle books at our Ladies Night Out at The Brass Tap - Wiregrass from 5 - 8 pm.
Please visit The Stano Foundation's website for a full overview of their programs and opportunities to support them.
We are honored to feature Post 9/11 Veterans as our spotlight non-profit this month. Founded by two Post 9/11 Veterans, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Post 9/11 organization was created by the same demographic they are focused on helping. Operating as a Federal 501 (c) (3) Nonprofit, their ability to connect with their peers and local communities on both a social and personal level is what sets them apart from other established organizations.
They focus on providing a platform, a starting point, and a place of belonging, where veterans are encouraged to integrate into their local communities. By building a strong community through social outreach and events, they strive to change many of the negative stigmas surrounding returning veterans, while positively impacting entire communities.
While active duty service is one of the highest honors one can have, often times, the transitional phase out into the civilian world can be challenging. Post 9/11 Veterans truly believe that our returning service members of today can, and will, be the future business and professional leaders of tomorrow.
Post 9/11 Veterans programs and initiatives in Tampa revolve around connecting and immersing returning service members in hands-on and constructive environments where they are able to connect with other like-minded veterans, feel the sense of purpose and brotherhood, and reintegrate properly back into the Tampa Bay community with the same pride, passion, and feeling of belonging they had while serving on active duty.
Since their start in 2015, the organization has grown exponentially with the addition of 20 staff employees and hundreds of volunteers. Being a 100% volunteer organization, Post 9/11 Veterans relies heavily on you, the community, to support their mission and vision. Through contributions they have been able to supply thousands of underprivileged children with much needed school supplies, ensure local veterans were able to provide a Happy Holiday season for their families, and educational scholarships for veterans pursuing their dreams of becoming college graduates.
Our spotlight non-profit this month is Florida Hospital Carrollwood. They are committed to improving the quality of life of their patients, family, friends, and neighbors. We would like to feature them this month during their efforts to build a Breast Wellness Centre that would allow them to further that commitment by offering preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for breast cancer to their patients and the local community. I'd love to share the words below from Tony Laforgia, their Executive Director of the Florida Hospital Carrollwood Foundation:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I know it’s hard to do, but can you imagine what it would be like if someone in your family was diagnosed with breast cancer? Think of how your world would change if you suddenly lost your mother, sister, or sibling. Sadly, breast cancer impacts thousands in our community each year, and access to comprehensive treatment centers as well as the latest medical equipment that can help with early diagnosis isn’t available in many areas.
Sadly, many families in our community are facing the devastating challenges that these problems can pose.
Together we can change this.
The Florida Hospital Carrollwood Foundation is working on raising funds to develop a new Breast Wellness Center in our community that will provide holistic care and the latest in diagnostic medical technology.
Our goal this holiday season is to raise $82,000 for the first major purchase of a breast ultrasound machine for the center, and your donation can help!
Please consider a donation toward this goal as you plan your end of year giving. You can positively impact the lives of those in your local community, and perhaps even the lives of friends and family.
Visit www.floridahospital.com/carrollwood/foundation to make a charitable contribution.
Please also the video link below for more information about our project and its chairman, Paul Dombroski.
You can chat with some of the amazing people supporting this effort at our next Girls Night Out event on Dec. 4th at Bahama Breeze in Lutz/Wesley Chapel.
Additionally, for general questions or to inquire about a sponsorship please contact the Foundation office at Florida Hospital Carrollwood
Executive Director - Tony LaForgia
Phone- (813) 957-7224
Florida Hospital Carrollwood is a 501 (c)(3) charitable, non-profit organization.
We are pleased to highlight the work of the Junior League of Tampa in our community. Founded in 1926, The Junior League of Tampa, Inc. is an organization of over 2,000 women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
The Junior League of Tampa maintains approximately 1,000 active force members to support many incredible efforts in our community, specifically child welfare and education. Launched in 1996, the Love Bundles project provides backpacks with essential items to children within 24 hours of removal from their home due to neglect or abuse. League volunteers purchase, organize, and pack the Love Bundles backpacks. Backpacks are then distributed by their partners Eckerd Family Alternative and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
In 2009, The Junior League of Tampa partnered with Feeding Tampa Bay to create and sustain a “backpack” program. The goal is to provide food to disadvantaged children over the weekends, when they are not receiving meals at school. Over 10,000 bags of food have been distributed last year to families in need. Each week more than 300 bags are distributed at five locations around the Tampa Bay Area. In addition to providing the weekly bags, the League hosted Farmer’s Markets at three sites where children had the opportunity to “shop” for their favorite produce.
The Junior League of Tampa Diaper Bank serves to combat diaper need within Hillsborough County by supplying diapers to programs in our community. “When Hurricane Irma threatened the Tampa area, it highlighted an issue that we came to realize was a deep and constant need for families in our community. With no government safety net, diaper need is paralyzing for families. Our membership is committed to developing the potential of women and children here in Hillsborough County. We’re in a unique position to help close the gap on diaper need and are driven to do so. Diaper Need is a deep and perpetual need for many of our fellow citizens, one that is keeping them from professional and educational opportunities necessary to break the cycle of poverty and endangering their children. We have the training and numbers to make a profound impact and we are driven to do so.” - Caroline Foss
Tampa Housewives in the City is supporting the Diaper Bank at our November 5th event at bartaco in Hyde Park Village. Bring a donation of diapers to the event to support the local population in need.
Holiday Gift Market
The Holiday Gift Market is The Junior League of Tampa’s largest fundraising event. The event provides a unique shopping experience with over 180 merchants selling everything from clothing, jewelry, and handbags to food, art and children’s items. Net proceeds of the event fund the League’s community projects and programs around Tampa Bay.
Find all of the details, including the schedule and ticket information, on their website: https://www.jltampa.org/featured-events/holiday-gift-market/
This month’s Tampa non-profit spotlight is Metropolitan Ministries, who serves poor and homeless families in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk counties with compassion, practical help and a willingness to make a huge difference. This is a perfect month to bring them much-deserved attention because they have an amazing event, Tampa Bay Food Fight, coming up on October 16 to support one of their community programs.
The support that Metropolitan Ministries is able to offer people in need is impressive. By the numbers:
· 1,169,826 meals served
· 92% of families in our short-term emergency shelter exited successfully. A successful exit includes housing as well as placement into the Uplift U® Self-Sufficiency program
· 91% of Uplift U® families are still in stable housing 12 months after graduating
· 88% of families have maintained or increased their employment/income at the one year follow-up after exiting the program
· 87% of the families in our long-term Uplift U® self-sufficiency program exited successfully. A successful exit includes all forms of stable housing, including family reunification as appropriate.
Tampa Bay Food Fight 2018
The Tampa Bay Food Fight is the first of its kind in Tampa Bay produced by a nonprofit who supports the homeless population and at-risk families. This new foodie event raises awareness and thought leadership on one of the main causes of homelessness: unemployment due to lack of marketable skills. Metropolitan Ministries’ Inside the Box Culinary Arts Program (ITB CAP) preps at-risk students in the skill of culinary arts at no cost to them. The program is a 16-week course, providing real-life, fast-paced instruction.
ITB CAP students receive real life, fast-paced training from our knowledgeable chef instructor. Upon completion, students receive a food handler certification, culinary skills, and experience as a food preparer. Through this year’s Tampa Bay Food Fight event on October 16 at Armature Works, the goal is to provide scholarships for 100 students to the Inside the Box Culinary Arts Program. To date, ITB CAP has trained 175 students who are employed at numerous restaurants and food service facilities in the Tampa Bay area.
For more information visit us http://tampabayfoodfight.org/
Purchase tickets: bit.ly/TBFF18Tickets
Do You or Someone You Know Need Assistance?
Please call 813-209-1200.
Resources: Have you hit a crisis and need urgent help but aren’t sure where to find it? We can help you find out what resources are available to you from cash and food assistance to establishing identity for services. Please call today.
Food: Are you hungry? We serve meals at many locations throughout the Tampa Bay area. Click on the link to find out where you can go for a meal. We also have emergency food if you just need to get through to the next paycheck. Please call or come into one of our locations listed above.
Housing: Do you have a safe place to sleep? We have emergency and transitional housing available for women and families with children. Please call us.
Children: Do you need to work but have small children who need your care? Please contact us to see how our childcare programs can help you.
Life Skills: Are you out of work? Do you need to get a high school diploma so you can get a better job? Do you need help finding good employment to support your family? We can help.
First Hug: Funded by the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, First Hug is a Metropolitan Ministries program specializing in crisis stabilization for families.
For More Information
Metropolitan Ministries will have a representative in attendance at our October 10th Girls Night Out Networking Social at Seasons 52. To support Metropolitan Ministries' work, we are collecting baby diapers, size 3-5 and pull ups at Seasons 52. Any donations you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
The fall season means back to school and we can all agree that our Tampa area schools and teachers need as much support as we can give. My husband and I are both former teachers, and during his time in Hillsborough County Public Schools, he learned about the Hillsborough Education Fund. This non-profit organization has one goal in mind with its programs: connecting kids to greatness.
Hillsborough Education Foundation have multiple programs to support the children in public schools in Hillsborough. Through mentoring, providing scholarships, financial assistance, school supplies, and community engagement, they are truly making a different and connecting kids to greatness in Hillsborough.
In their words, the Hillsborough Education Foundation has the following goals --
To help students by giving them the inspiration and motivation and mentoring they need to reach accomplishments they might have thought were out of reach.
To provide scholarships for the brightest and most committed graduates, regardless of their financial standing.
To prepare those who choose not to go to college to be ready to become productive members of society upon graduation through financial assistance to attend career and technical centers.
To help teachers do what they do best, by giving them the tools they need to stimulate young minds through classroom & school innovative projects and free school supplies from our Teaching Tools Store.
And finally, to engage our community so that it will help us meet our mission and strive for academic achievement for all.
How Can You Help?
There are many ways to help the Hillsborough Education Foundation as they work to support our area’s students. You can donate to them directly, volunteer with the foundation, or mentor students. Additionally, as our spotlight charity for our Noble Crust Carrollwood event, we will be collecting school supplies to be included in their Teaching Tools Store. This store is located in West Tampa and allows teachers to visit to gather teaching supplies for their classroom. Many of the students and families in our area do not have the means to attend school with all of their supplies, and many schools do not have the budget to purchase teaching tools. The Teaching Tools Store helps teachers ensure that their students have simple items such as pencils, paper, and backpacks.
A list of items we are collecting at our Noble Crust Carrollwood Girls Night Out Networking Social:
Our charity spotlight for this month is a relatively new non-profit based here in Tampa, Moms on a Mission. I have had the pleasure of knowing their founder, Natashia, for the past year and I have learned about her passion and calling for this cause. Moms on a Mission focuses on solving a major problem by equipping low income, working single mothers with the tools that they need to improve their lives, increase their earning power and learn essential financial and life skills that will benefit the communities in which they live in the Tampa Bay area.
Natashia and her Moms on a Mission team strive to focus on a few key areas that they have seen to make the largest impact on the lives of these women and their children. By focusing on education, financial literacy and life skills, a single mother living in poverty or pay check to paycheck can improve her life and teach her children so that generational wealth and success is a likely possibility.
According to the US Census Bureau, the second most common household is a single mother household with approximately 17 million single mom households in the United States.
Per the Census Bureau, “During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent and the percentage of children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent. The percentage of children not living with any parent increased slightly from 3 to 4 percent.”
Single-parent families are among the poorest in the nation and as such, are extremely vulnerable to homelessness. Among all homeless families nationwide, over three quarters were headed by single women with children; two fifths were African Americans (43%). (Source: Singleparentguide.com)
How You Can Help
Low-income, working mothers need to provide for their children all on their own. Moms on a Mission strives to ease this burden. You can donate directly on their website, and we are also asking for some items at our next event at Cantina Laredo on August 16. It is Back to School time, and moms have reported needing help with not only school supplies, but uniforms. To that end, a gift card in any amount to a store such as Target or Walmart that sells uniforms would be a huge help. Please consider donating if you can!
Our charity spotlight for the month of July is Tampa Bay Birth Network. Tampa Bay Birth Network strives to be a source of information on all things birth, parenting-related, and they often host local events geared towards their mission. If you're looking for a Tampa Bay area birth professional, you're in the right place. You can find natural-minded caregivers who will support, educate and empower you on your journey!
Tampa Bay Birth Network promotes awareness of their mission through multiple social media, print and television outlets. Campaigns have included #MyTampaMidwife and #MyTampaDoula; nomination programs designed to recognize members for excellent client service.
In alignment with our mission and principles, they support activities that raise awareness, educate and bring about action to improve the standards of birth in our community. They host educational, community-based events including the Tampa Birth and Baby Expo, Childbirth Options seminars, Networking meetings, Film viewings and panel discussions.
Tampa Bay Birth Network supports activities to support improving the standards of birth in our community. They participated in or supported a variety of events and activities such as the Improving Birth National Rally For Change, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, The Big Latch On, family fitness, cloth diapering and other healthy family events.
How Can You Be Involved?
Tampa Bay Birth Network is possible with the help of volunteers and donations. If you wish to donate, please visit their website. If you would like to learn more about their efforts in the community, you can meet members of their board of directors at our Besito Mexican Girls Night Out on July 11. They would love to meet you and share more about what they do!
Hi! I'm Diana. I love the beach, my family, chocolate, coffee, and meeting new people. I host monthly events in the Tampa area and cannot wait to meet all of you!