All posts by Tara Newsom

SPC Paints the Block with Habitat!



With the help from SPC, Habitat for Humanity in Pinellas County painted over 17 homes in St. Petersburg this past Saturday.

SPC’s Baseball Team came out in force showing the community that SPC’s athletes are leaders who strength of character goes beyond the field.

Dr. Griffith ,Associate Provost of Downtown & Allstate Campuses, also rolled up her sleeves and painted side by side students ready to chip in on a Saturday morning.

Student Life Coordinator, Frank Jurkovic and and Career Services Coordinator, Michael Jean-Felix were tireless in their organization making sure students, faculty and staff partnered in the event.

SPC is a proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity-an organization making home ownership possible for low income families wanting the American Dream.

For more information, please contact Tara Newsom at

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: North Greenwood Healthcare Fair

The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure has never been more true than today. Health literacy and preventative care can mean a longer and healthier life. Having access to healthcare can sometimes be an obstacle. This weekend those challenges are being set aside by North Greenwood’s dedicated Faith Communities and the Martin L. King Center who are hosting a Healthcare fair on Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 9am-1pm at Martin L. King Center, 1201 Douglas Avenue, Clearwater, Fl.

This collaborative effort is working hard to make sure everyone has access to health awareness and education resources as well as lifestyle screenings. This  includes resources for nutrition, heart health, cancer and behavioral health and diabetes prevention.

Lifestyle information screenings will also be offered for blood pressure, BMI, and cholesterol. Flu vaccines will be offered and how to execute an Advance Directive will also be available.

This is free to the community and no pre-registration or fasting is required.

Education and screenings are facilitated by Morton Plant Mease Faith Community Nursing. For more information on their Faith Community Nursing Program visit:

The League@SPC registers new voters for National Voter Registration Day!

SPC students partnered with the League of Women Voters to register new voters in honor of Voter Registration Day.

SPC’s commitment to registering students and community members to vote has received national recognition from TurboVote, a voter education application.

Boots on the ground efforts like today’s voter registration drive students to their basic citizenship responsibilities and create as culture of support between the college and the community.

SPC back to work in the community!

Hurricane Irma may have hit the St.Pete area but it won’t stop SPC’s efforts to strengthen the community. SPC’s 9/11 Day of Service has been rescheduled in many parts of Pinellas County due to Hurricane Irma but many of those efforts are now underway!

Downtown & Midtown Campuses will remember 9/11 with an annual Day of Service this Friday, September 22 by partnering with Habitat for Humanity.

Please join us on Friday September 22 at 7 am at the Downtown Campus Lobby to drive to the Habitat location and 7:15 am pick up at the Midtown Campus.

To sign up or for more information, please contact the Downtown Student Life and Leadership office at 727-341-4261, sign up in room DC-225.

Calling all Citizen Superheros!

Join the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, the Institute for Policy Solutions and the League of Women Voters for “Democracy 101”. This workshop will remind participants of the foundations of U.S. government and engage in thoughtful dialouge about contemporary political issues and become Citizen Superheros!

Former Congressman David Jolly and Chairwoman & County Commissioner Janet Long will help participants understand the different approaches to contemporary political issues from the local and federal levels.

Learn how to practice your citizenship skills and engage on the local, state and federal level!

Event Information: Monday, August 28th Downtown Campus, American Stage 6-8pm

For more information, please contact Tara Newsom at

Gadgets for Good initiative receives Mobile Technology Incubator!

This past January, SPC’s Chad Mairn championed the Gadgets for Good electronic recycling initiative in partnership with Tony Selvaggio, founder and CEO of eSmart Recycling, and Tara Newsom, Director of SPC’s Center for Civic Learning. The initiative’s goal was to collect and recycle used electronics to develop a mobile technology incubator, which will deliver equitable access to technology and provide learning opportunities to those in need in our community. Close to 2,000 pounds of electronics were donated to various SPC campuses and picked up by eSmart Recycling to inventory, destroy all data, and to prepare the electronics for recycling. This week, SPC will receive their first installment of 10 laptops as part of a mobile technology lab. This is great timing, as we celebrate Open Access Education Week!

The drive to ensure equitable access to technology started in 2001 when Mairn received a $20,000 grant from the Friends of the Gulfport Public Library to create a mobile laptop lab to teach computer literacy to the elderly, so he has years of relevant experience. Mairn will collaborate with the Center for Civic Learning to develop learning opportunities within the College and will embed the use of this incubator in coursework across disciplines.

“Creating comfortable and open access to learning is what we do at SPC,” Mairn points out. “Accepting these computers will help SPC fulfill one of our goals, which is to bring equitable access to technology so people in need will gain essential technological skills that they can use in their professional as well as their personal lives.”

The first batch of laptops will be used in the community and Mairn and Newsom will work as mentors to “train the trainer” within various disciplines to help expand this effort and increase computer literacy across SPC’s service area.

Esmart Recycling is a collaborative partner with SPC whose mission is to improve core literacy and re-enforce the importance of pre-workforce readiness through access to technology. It is in this context that eSmart Recycling passionately believes creating an agile, 21st Century international economy is vital for the next generation to achieve their full potential. The eSmart Initiatives™ team embraced this idea from a standing start in 2014 while expanding internationally with tech incubators in Venezuela and Peru. Setting a global benchmark in the crusade to end the cycle of poverty by 2030 remains the deep routed commitment of Tony Selvaggio, today’s E-Revolutionary.

Valentine’s Day: Sharing Our Hearts

Valentine's Day Sharing Our Hearts

This Valentine’s Day, St. Petersburg College wants to celebrate its commitment to caring for our community.

As Tom Shadyac said, ” . . . True Success is Intrinsic. It’s Love. It’s Kindness. It’s Community.”

SPC believes in nurturing the strengths of our students, faculty and partners. The Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement continues to reach into the community and partner with individuals and organizations to build pathways to success with everyone we meet.

Valentine's Day Sharing Our Hearts - Florida Dream Center Martin Luther King Jr. Day underway SPC students
SPC students participate in the Florida Dream Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day projects.

The college believes the best way to show our love for our community is by supporting our neighbors.  For example, SPC students work regularly, shoulder-to-shoulder, with our partners at the Florida Dream Center, focusing on Adopt-A-Block efforts to clean and restore homes near SPC Midtown.

It’s all about lending extra hands and hearts to help others.

SPC students also serve as mentors at Pinellas County Schools, helping with literacy efforts, reading to students in Seminole, and continually contributing to  the educational ecosystem of our area.  SPC also hosts speakers and events that generate collaboration and unity.

Other projects the SPC community has participated in include:

  • Exploring strategies for engagement in American society through a peacemaking event at the Clearwater Campus
  • Partnering with eSmart Recycling for Gadgets for Good, a collection effort to gather donated gadgets to support children in the local community without access to technology
  • Taking part in the Recycled Tunes donation drive, collecting musical instruments that are refurbished and donated to Pinellas County Schools’ music programs

This Valentine’s Day, the SPC family is committed to the success of our students and our community. We love to share our hearts.


Peacemaking on the Clearwater Campus!

David J. Smith a peacebuilding trainer and educational consultant, engaged the Clearwater campus community in exploring strategies for engagement at a time when differences characterize American society.

He shared strategies with students, faculty and staff that can be used in engaging those who hold different political, social, and world views in order to reach commonality and find shared opportunities. Smith works extensively with community colleges on conflict related issues and is the editor of Peacebuilding in Community.

Dr. Suzanne Preston, Professor in SPC’s Social & Behavioral Science Department, organized and lead the event. Dr. Preston has championed civic literacy and community engagement through her coursework, her advisory role for campus clubs and her Student Ambassador Citizenship Project that couples Student Ambassadors with individuals seeking U.S .Citizenship to prepare them for the U.S. Citizenship test.

SPC 2nd Annual MLK Day of Service!

2017-mlk-day-posterJoin the SPC family as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr through a variety of service projects across Pinellas County. Students, faculty, staff and community partners will be rolling up their sleeves to make a difference and carry forward the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s commitment to service.

Please take a look at the variety of volunteer opportunities below and click here to sign up:

Clearwater Campus:  Bridging Differences in a Time of Change: Exploring Approaches to Dialogue, Community Building, and Peacebuilding – January 17 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm  – ES 104.  Contact; Suzanne Preston at

Clearwater Campus:  City of Clearwater volunteer opportunities.  Contact Natalie Lamb, 727-562-4803 or

  • Monday, January 16 –  Cleaning Moccasin Lake Nature Park (up to 100 people needed)
  • Monday, January 16 – Cleveland Street Planting Project (60 people needed or six groups of 10 people)
  • Tuesday, January 24 – Beach Cleanup, Plant removal    (30 people needed)
  • Thursday, January 26 – Beach  Beautification, New plants potted  (30 people needed)
  • Week of 23rd-27th – Eddie C. Moore Ball Field (10-20 people needed)

Downtown/St. Pete Gibbs campuses: Adopt-A-Block – January 13, 9am to 12 noon -Unito Street in St. Petersburg.  Contact Tara Newsom at

Midtown/St. Pete Gibbs/Clearwater/Tarpon Springs Campuses: SPC Float & Parading at Tampa MLK Parade – January 16.  Contact Evelyn Madera at

Midtown-Keene campus: PB&J for Tampa Bay – TBD.  Contact Niki Wright at