All posts by Chris Demmons

SPC Volunteers Build Homes with Habitat Pinellas

Students, faculty, and staff from St. Petersburg College’s Midtown and Downtown Campuses helped make a difference for some Tampa Bay families on Sept. 22 when they dedicated a day to  volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Pinellas in Clearwater.

The build included two houses right next door to each other, and students had the opportunity to see a finished Habitat home across the street.

The Habitat staff were happy to see St. Petersburg College students, as they were short on volunteers that day. Staff also helped support students as they learned how to use the tools of the trade. They worked with them, showing them step-by-step how to get the job done.

“Students were shoulder to shoulder building a house,” said Tara Newsom, one of the faculty on site. “From nail guns to insulation, SPC helped literally put up the walls of a home, readying it for a new family to start a new life.”

Students originally planned to help Habitat Pinellas as part of the 9/11 Day of Service, but were forced to reschedule by Hurricane Irma. The day is one of three annual days set aside for giving back to the community. The college also encourages students, faculty, and staff to volunteer for Martin Luther King Day and on Nelson Mandela Day.

“SPC students have a culture of service. They are community leaders, mothers, fathers, and committed neighbors. Students take time out of their busy lives because it feels good to do good,” Newsom said.

St. Petersburg College student Diego Martinez was one of ten students who volunteered for the build. He said that working with Habitat was a wonderful experience, and that he learned a lot from the Habitat for Humanity Pinellas staff.

“By volunteering, you create a sense of a more unified community by giving, contributing and helping other people,” Martinez said.


Vote on August 30th in the Florida Primary!

Sample ballots for the 2016 Florida primary election are available from the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark!

Sample ballots can be found in the August 11th edition of The Weekly Challenger, the August 19th edition of the Tampa Bay Times, and on The sample ballots will show all races, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and nonpartisan. It also includes races that will only appear on actual ballots in select precincts. These ballots are a great way for voters to familiarize themselves with candidates running in the primary.

The Florida primary will take place on August 30th. Florida is a closed primary state. To vote in the a party’s primary you must have registered before the August 1st deadline and be registered with that party. All registered voters are eligible to vote on the nonpartisan school board, judicial, and proposed constitutional amendment four. Voters may find their precinct on their voter identification card, or on the Supervisor of Elections’s website. The 2016 election is an important one for the state of Florida with the entire senate up for election.

If you have not registered to vote, there is still time to register before the general election. The deadline to register is October 11th.

SPC volunteers help the needy


St. Petersburg College student volunteers are working hard in the community to help feed Pinellas families. The college’s Office of Volunteer Services in partnership with the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement help connect students, faculty, and staff with community organizations that help the hungry.

Volunteers making a difference

Last year SPC students, faculty and staff collected more than five thousand pounds of food to stock local food pantries. They also helped with the Pack a Sack program which provides weekend food for more than 500 hungry children in the community. SPC volunteers have also worked with food pantries like The Kind Mouse which serves over three hundred kids per week. Here are a few of the volunteers that are making a difference in Tampa Bay.

SPC faculty member Dr. Willie Felton serves on the board of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. The clinic maintains a food pantry, and serves dinner six nights a week. The clinic serves as the largest emergency food distributor in Pinellas County, providing food to 65 partner agencies a week, and distributing more than three million pounds of food per week. Dr. Joseph Smiley, Dean of Social Sciences and Human Services, serves as a director at the Safehouse Food Pantry in Clearwater.

Volunteer Coordinator Yalonda Tearett says it is baffling to learn about student hunger when there are community resources available. “Often, an individual is denied state or federal agency’s service due to specific requirements or grapples with requesting assistance altogether,” she said. “There must be a better way for our students to gain access to placing food on their families’ tables and allow them to focus on their college studies. The fight to eliminate hunger must continue until our households, communities, and the nation are no longer struggling to satisfy a basic need – food!”

Learn more about efforts to fight hunger in Pinellas on the St. Petersburg College news blog.

SPC’s Heart of Service Veteran Volunteer Event

SPC's Heart of Service Veteran Volunteer Event

St. Petersburg College’s Veterans Services and The Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement would like to thank everyone who donated to the Heart of Service Veteran Volunteer Event at All College Day. Thanks to their efforts the event was a huge success.

Making a difference for Tampa Bay veterans

More than $3,500 worth of supplies for the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital. These supplies will be distributed to veterans making the transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Faculty, staff and students worked together to package the supplies. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that nearly 50,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. The Heart of Service event was an opportunity to give back to those who have given so much.

SPC’s Heart of Service

This was made possible by the hard work of the staff, faculty and students. Giving back to the community is an important part of the college culture. On behalf of SPC’s Veterans Services and and the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, thanks to all who took part.