October 27, 2022 was our Community Outreach Day, sponsored by Sykes and chaired by the wonderful Lance Lansrud.
The purpose of this day was for our class to gain a better understanding of the role that nonprofits play in the Tampa Bay area, the issues and challenges members or our community face daily, and the resources available to help. As a non-profit professional myself, this day holds a very special place in my heart.
Feeding Tampa Bay and Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
The day started onsite at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County where our class learned about the thousands of non-profits and their roles here in Tampa. Matt Spence from Feeding Tampa Bay and Clara Reynolds from Crisis Center of Tampa Bay talked about the number of non-profits in our region, what their core functions are, and how we can be more involved in the community. Their passion for this work is infectious and we all left feeling ready for our site visits to see firsthand the impact organizations have on our community.
Small Group Non-Profit Visits
In the morning and in the afternoon, our LT class was split into smaller groups. We then were sent to various parts of the city to visit organizations to learn more about their mission and how they best serve the community. Our group went to Turning Point of Tampa Bay in the morning, which provides high-quality and effective 12–Step based addiction treatment programs. In the afternoon, we visited Metropolitan Ministries, which focuses on care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency.
Those who are in the non-profit space are called to do this work. Non-profit organizations are often underfunded and understaffed. These individuals who work for great organizations who serve Tampa do so because they want our city and our communities to prosper and thrive. At the two places I visited for our Community Outreach Day, there were at least two staff who utilized the services of the organization where they are now employed. At Turning Point of Tampa Bay, one of the staff was in recovery from a 12-step program that had been completed at the center. At Metropolitan Ministries, a staff member previously had been a person experiencing homelessness and graciously shared his story and how he now gives back to others through service. This day was a necessary and humbling experience for our LT class, and one I know none of us will forget.