All posts by Donna Smith

Offering a Helping Hand

Volunteering graphic

Kristy Mizzi is a full-time student finishing up her associate degree, and hopes to get into SPC’s Nursing program when she’s done and become a registered nurse, which would feed her love of helping people.

Community of Care logo

Mizzi began her relationship with community service while volunteering at a nursing home during her high school years. She later volunteered at a local elementary school, and when her American Government professor required students to complete four hours of community service, she enjoyed it so much that she still volunteers once a week.

Once a school aide for children with special needs, Mizzi now volunteers in a first-grade classroom, offering help to the teacher and one-on-one time with struggling students, teaching reading and writing skills. She has banked over 50 hours of volunteer work since September 2018.

“SPC made community service part of my education by teaching me the impact each individual can make on others by just offering a helping hand,” she said.   

SPC Names Community Engagement Designees

Community Engagement

St. Petersburg College seeks to support, facilitate, and promote collaboration, partnership, and engagement between the college and its many constituent groups. 

Many of our faculty members strive to nurture this set of values set forth by the college, and so SPC has designated ten instructors as great examples of civic and community engagement in their subject areas. These designees have demonstrated outstanding achievement in and commitment to community outreach and engagement. We are proud to honor our colleagues who are making significant contributions to their communities through their time, actions, talents, and dedication outside of the classroom.

2019 Designees

SPC Students Renovate Raptor Enclosures

Penelope the bald eagle was just a fledgling when she suffered a shoulder injury that caused a wing droop that rendered her unable to live in the wild. She was found and treated, and today she’s five years old and living at the Moccasin Lake Nature Center in Clearwater. A group of SPC students and staff from multiple campuses spent a lovely Friday morning participating in a Volunteer Day on Friday, February 9 at Moccasin Lake, where they helped the Audubon Society renovate five raptor enclosures.

In addition to Penelope, Moccasin Lake is home to several raptors, including red-tailed hawks, screech owls, a barn owl, great horned owls, a bald eagle, black vultures and others. After leveling the dirt on the bottom of the enclosures, volunteers brought in pea gravel to place on top of the dirt. Barb Walker, an Audubon Society volunteer, said the group’s efforts will increase the comfort and well being of the raptors.

“The gravel keeps the people and all the birds healthier,” Walker said. “Their feet are nice and clean, not dirty.  When they drop food, sand is not stuck to it and fewer bugs and mites live in pea gravel. The enclosures are also easier to maintain and more visually appealing.”

After each enclosure was finished, the bird was placed back inside their renovated home.  Natural Science Faculty Member Kellie Stickrath said it was a fun day for all, and also very rewarding to help these injured birds of prey, who can never be released back into the wild due to the nature of their injuries.

“The birds seemed to love their new enclosures,” Stickrath said. “For me, it was a magical experience because I was not only able to work with great people side-by-side to help these beautiful birds, but also to get so close to such an amazing animal like the eagle was worth all of the hard work.”

SPC Sends Hurricane Relief

Titans for Texas Graphic

Living on the shores of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico is not without its cost. The gorgeous waters that offer beach days, boating, fishing and adventure also harbor potential destruction. Every year from June to November, especially from August to November, coastal citizens check our weather forecast with fingers crossed that the next storm track does not include us. On Friday, Aug. 25, the citizens of South Texas braced for their turn. Harvey came ashore southwest of Houston a category 4 hurricane, bringing with it -in one weekend- more than 50 inches of rain, which is more than the usual amount of rainfall for the entire year.

St. Petersburg College’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement is leading the way for the SPC family to send hurricane relief to our distressed neighbors in Texas. Everyone is invited to drop off donations of bottled water, non-perishable food items, toiletries, clothes, bedding and other necessities to any SPC Student Life and Leadership Office through 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1. All donations will be turned over to the Red Cross for their disaster relief efforts in Texas. Cash donations are also helpful, and can be made at the Red Cross or The Salvation Army.

In letter to all of SPC, College President Tonjua Williams said the weather event being experienced in Texas is very relatable to people in our coastal community.

Titans for Texas“As Floridians, we know all too well the pain and anxiety that can occur during and after severe weather events like the one happening to our neighbors across the Gulf of Mexico,” she wrote. “We also understand how important it is to reach out and lend our assistance to others in their time of need.”

The storm knocked out power for more than 100,000 people, and officials predict that around 30,000 people will take refuge in public shelters, and some 450,000 will seek disaster assistance. So, the needs of this community are enormous. Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement Director Tara Newsom says they are encouraging everyone to donate – no matter how big or small.

“The amount of loss in Texas is painful, and directly impacts many of our SPC staff, faculty and students,” Newsom said. “Helen Keller said it best: ‘Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.'”



Call to Artists

SPC's The Art of Politics

The Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement is proud to announce their fall art exhibits, titled Propaganda, Protest and Satire. The exhibits, which will be displayed at the St. Petersburg College Downtown Campus art walkway and Allstate Campus art hallway August 17 – November 16, will display aspects of political and civic thought including patriotism, community involvement, dissonance and propaganda. Artists are encouraged to interpret the art of politics to include issues of social justice, the community, and the individual’s place within.

These exhibits are the first of a series of events during the Fall semester called The Art of Politics: The Art of the Possible, which is designed to illustrate the diverse threads of civic thought and expression often represented through art, whether it be politically motivated art or meaningful civic dialogue.

Other events this fall include:

  • SPC Art of PoliticsCivic Public Mural Art: Murals will be on display from Sept-Oct. at the Seminole, Gibbs and Downtown Campuses
  • The Art of Civic Dialogue Workshops: In partnership with USF, students will explore the role of art in positive civic dialogue and produce pieces to share with the Mayor and the community at large. Oct. 14 and 21 at USF campus; Oct. 27 at St. Petersburg City Hall steps
  • A Silent Message in a Tweeting World:  A panel discussion led by local author Peter Kageyama addressing the issues of political art in all its forms, including the role of art in the 2016 political arena, which is saturated with terse, ephemeral electronic messages. Nov. 1, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg
Art exhibition instructions

Artists interested in having their work displayed in the Propaganda, Protest and Satire exhibits can note the following specifications:

Work Media: All welcome
Work Size: Up to 5′ x 5′; weight limit is 50 pounds/hanging cable. Please advise if modifications or accommodations for art are necessary.
Art drop off:  August 17, 1 – 3 p.m. or by appointment as needed

Submission review: Artists can submit 1 – 3 works for review online by clicking here.Please submit .jpeg images that clearly depict the works. You will be prompted to include title card information (Name, Title, Medium, Size, Price) with your submission, indicate any special needs for the piece and choose which campus you prefer. Faculty and administration have the right to refusal. Subjects should not depict nudity and should be appropriate for public viewing. Artists will receive emailed letters of acceptance, along with artist contracts and additional instructions.

Delivery: Art should be delivered to the St. Petersburg College Downtown campus, located at 244 2nd Avenue North. Artists will be allowed to park in the parking garage for art delivery. Directions and campus map are located here: The art space is located on the second floor of the parking garage. Artists will need to sign forms.

For more information, please contact Tara Newsom at