Filling a back-to-school need
Pasco Kids First serves more than 1,600 children each year through prevention, assessment and treatment services addressing child abuse and neglect.
Most of these children are school age, and many do not have the resources to purchase the needed school supplies and clothes for the new year.
Local businesses, individuals and groups reached out to help fill this need. Some of these local philanthropists include:
- Mike Peters Insurance Agency in New Port Richey donated to Pasco Kids First’s Children’s Advocacy Center. The State Farm Good Neigh Bear, Peters and his team visited the center and dropped off boxes of school supplies, headphones, gift cards and more to help the kids get ready for the school year.
- Dr. Todd Bodanza, of Champion Wellness Clinic, and his Conforti Crossroads Chiropractic team in Trinity had their second annual event to collect backpacks and school supplies, offering new and current patients free exams and adjustments for those who brought in a backpack with supplies.
- Bonnie and Pat Martucci, of Gulf Side Corvette Club, rallied members and others to pitch in to purchase backpacks and supplies for kids in need.Bonnie and her granddaughter, Kinsley, delivered 38 backpacks filled with supplies to the Pasco Kids First Healthy Families Pasco-Hernando Hudson Office.
Miss Florida Teen
Ashlynn Nicole Diaz, a recent graduate of Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, was crowned the 2020 National American Miss Florida Teen, an organization that provides young girls with academic scholarships and promotes volunteerism through its dedication to encourage character development.
Diaz is a freshman biology student at the University of Florida and one day hopes to become an anesthesiologist.
She will compete in November at the national level to win an additional cash scholarship and an opportunity to travel the United States to spread awareness on the importance of giving back to others.
Diaz also received the Presidential Gold Service Award for volunteering more than 1,000 hours, to make a difference in her community.
Scholarship America, a nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, is accepting applications through Oct. 15, for the 2021 Scholarship America Dream Award.
The program is open to any college student with financial need who has overcome barriers and has successfully completed at least one year toward their college education.
The scholarships are inclusive of all types of students, from diverse backgrounds, seeking a two-year or four-year degree.
The scholarships are renewable and increase in amount each year.
Scholarship America has awarded more than $2.3 million to 108 students, with scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 based on financial need.
Eligible students can apply online at LearnMore.scholarsapply.org/dreamaward/.
Upon application, students also will be notified about additional scholarship programs that they may be eligible for.
Lutz teen competes
Lilly Luttrell, a Freedom High School student, has been selected to represent Lutz at the Miss Florida USA/Miss Florida Teen USA competition, as Miss Lutz Teen USA.
Luttrell’s selection was based on her academic and professional interests, involvement in her community, her passion for the pursuit of excellence, and her interest in empowering other young women to follow in her footsteps.
Girlbossing Inc., will produce and conduct Florida’s oldest and most celebrated competition in April to qualify two young women from Florida to advance to either Miss Teen USA or Miss USA, and ultimately Miss Universe.
Luttrell said, in a Miss Florida USA press release, “When we are young sometimes our voice is not heard but this organization gives me the spotlight to make a change. I am a 15-year-old that wants to shift my story into epic proportions…..I am representing Lutz and all of its classic beauty.”
Young women, ages 14 to 27, who want to represent their hometown at the state event can submit an application at MissFloridaUSA.com.
Saint Leo ranked as a best value
Saint Leo University was ranked as one of the best values in higher education and one of the best regional universities in the South in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings, which was released on Sept. 14.
The university moved up to fourth place from last year’s fifth place among Best Value Schools in the South. And, among the Best Regional Universities in the South, Saint Leo ranked 26th.
Once again, the school was named a Best for Veterans School among southern regional universities, ranking 14th, the same as last year.
Saint Leo’s diversity was noted by the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, as it ranked sixth, up from last year’s seventh-place rank, for campus ethnic diversity among regional universities in the south.
The university was ranked 14th in the Top Performers on Social Mobility category.
And, the school ranks in the top five for most international students.
Spanish language degrees
Saint Leo University is collaborating with global education services partner AVENU Learning to offer fully online degree programs in Spanish, starting in March.
In the first year, eight Saint Leo online degree programs will be available to students.
The programs will include bachelor degrees in business administration, accounting, human resource management, liberal studies, psychology, computer information systems, cybersecurity, and health care administration.
In fall 2021, the partnership will expand to include three master degrees: business administration, accountancy and cybersecurity.
CareerSource Tampa Bay and the TechHire program are offering scholarships to students who want to receive entry-level certification for information technology and health care related fields.
The TechHire scholarships will cover 100% tuition for qualified programs.
The classes are accelerated programs for ages 17 to 29 in the Tampa Bay area, to help students discover and learn technology skills that are in demand by local businesses.
Scholarship coverage includes tuition, lab and certification fees, and amounts range from $100 to more than $3,000, depending on the program and funding availability.
For a list of covered IT and health care training programs, visit tinyurl.com/y2p2vdgf.
Students who qualify will be contacted by a TechHire administrator who will assist in the application process.
Internet & WiFi offer
Charter Communications Inc., has relaunched its Remote Education Offer to provide free Spectrum internet and WiFi access for 60 days to households with kindergarteners through 12th- graders, college students and/or educators.
The promotion is available for customers that live in a Spectrum market and do not currently have Spectrum internet services.
To enroll, call (844) 310-1198, and a free installation kit will be provided.
WREC 2021 scholarships
The Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative (WREC) every year offers scholarships to high school students. The students are selected by local guidance counselors and WREC personnel.
Applications for the 2021-2022 school year will be available after Dec. 1, and must be postmarked no later than March 26, 2021.
To apply, students must:
- be a high school senior and maintain a 2.0 GPA
- be a dependent of a WREC member
- be a bona-fide resident within the service area of WREC for at least one year prior to Dec. 31.
- plan to attend an in-state college, university or technical school full-time (minimum 12 credit hours per semester)
- keep a 2.0 GPA each semester (or higher if mandated by the institution) to maintain eligibility
Applications can be found at any local WREC office, high school guidance office or online at WREC.net.
Successful candidates will receive $1,375 per semester ($11,000 maximum) for undergraduate studies.
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