City of Tampa and Nonprofit Hope Street Partner on New Programming for At Risk Youth in Sulphur Springs

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Mayor Buckhorn and Pastor Ken Whitten of nonprofit Hope Street of Tampa, Inc. are partnering to provide new programming for at risk youth at the George Bartholomew Community Center in Sulphur Springs.

“Creating partnerships that change lives and stabilize neighborhoods requires everyone doing their part. Government doesn't have all the answers. We need the faith based community, social service providers and neighbors to join us,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “I want to thank Pastor Whitten and his team of volunteers for their dedication and for the good work they will do as a result of this partnership.”

The programming being provided by Hope Street of Tampa, Inc. aims at outreach to at risk youth and strengthening relationships with the surrounding neighborhood. The programs to be offered are as follows:
• Catapault Learning – Aimed at 16-21 year olds, this program will assist participants in obtaining a High School diploma.
• iWork – This program will work with residents to identify and enhance skills needed for potential employment.
• Department of Juvenile Justice Reception Center- By creating a central meeting space, minors will have the opportunity to meet with probation officers throughout the week in their community.
• Block Party – Through social gatherings, Hope Street will solidify and enhance relationships with the surrounding neighborhoods.
• Adopt-A-Block – Volunteers will adopt families in the Sulphur Springs community, and work with them one-on-one to provide assistance.

In addition, snacks and/or dinner will be provided to mentees, volunteers, and tudors. Hope Street of Tampa will provide these services at no cost to the City of Tampa.

“Hope Street is excited about the possibility of engaging with the Tampa Parks & Recreation Department in the use of the Bartholomew Center for the purpose of rescue, restoration, recover, and relief to the Sulphur Springs community. If the engagement is successful, this Fall youth ages 16-21 who have dropped out of school will have the opportunity, through Catapault, to receive a high school diploma,” said Pastor Ken Whitten of Hope Street of Tampa, Inc. “In addition, because 20% of all juvenile delinquents in Hillsborough County live in Sulphur Springs, we hope to have an Evening Reporting Center (ERC) to offer mentoring, tutoring, recreation, and an opportunity, under supervision, to meet with their probation officer and mentors.”

Hope Street informally provides similar programs in a limited manner at George Bartholomew Community Center. A formal agreement will solidify the relationship and allow for the programs detailed above to occur at George Bartholomew Community Center. That agreement will go before Tampa City Council for approval on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

Sulphur Springs has long been the poorest neighborhood in the City of Tampa, and Mayor Buckhorn has made revitalizing the community a major priority for his administration. In addition to demolishing more than 70 vacant, condemned houses in the area, the City has built 11 new homes that are now owner-occupied. The Mayor also assigned three Neighborhood Enhancement officers full-time to the neighborhood to keep the area free of blight and partnered with TECO to install 408 new street lights in Sulphur Springs.

For additional information, please contact:
Ali Glisson, Public Affairs Director
(813) 274-8262