HAWL Luncheon


On December 11, 2013, Director of Programs Jessica Estevez and long time volunteer Shivani Alamo represented Community Tampa Bay at the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers Celebration luncheon (HAWL) hosted by attorneys, Mamie Wise (past Anytowner), Katherine Yanes (parent of a Iliana Yanes, Anytowner 2013) and Victoria McCloskey.

The HAWL organization has 250 members and are dedicated to promoting diversity in the legal profession. Visit www.hawl.org to learn more about their organization.

Thanks for representing CTB Shivani and Jessica!

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Interfaith Service 2013

Martin Luther King Jr.Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Interfaith Service 2013

You are invited to attend the 27th Annual Hillsborough County, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Memorial Service

Monday, January 21, 2013 · 4:30 pm

The program includes inspiring speakers and a wonderful diversity of musical performances.

A free dinner will be served following the service.


Mt. Calvary Seventh Day Adventist Church

4902 N. 40th Street

Tampa, Florida


Community Tampa Bay featured in HR Tampa

A special thank you to Ashlie Melillo-Banks, PHR Diversity Director for featuring ANYTOWN™ and Community Tampa Bay in the October newsletter for HR professionals in Tampa.

The organization creates opportunity for the exchange of ideas on issues challenging human resources professionals in our communities; encourage participation in group discussion leading to better methods, better relationships, improved human resource leadership; and to advance the profession and the personal development of those responsible for, or who assist in human resources.

See her article here! HR Tampa Newsletter

Prepared by ANYTOWN™

Many graduates say that ANYTOWN™ prepared them for life in a way they could not imagine.  Here is one graduates recent communication.

“I am a junior at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg majoring in Political Science with a minor in American History. I attended ANYTOWN™ in 2010, and ever since have been volunteering with Community Tampa Bay.

Before I went to ANYTOWN™ I was shy, not comfortable in my own skin, and talking to people made me nervous. After I began volunteering with CTB regularly all that began to dissipate. With that came so many opportunities I would have never been able to experience had CTB not become a part of my life. I was able to participate in the State Department International Visitor Leadership Program with professionals from Kazakhstan as well as give a talk on The Gender Binary for TedxYouth Tampa Bay.

Currently, I am interning abroad in London for a semester. I am working with FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health and Development) -a non-profit organization working to stop Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Marriages in Africa and the United Kingdom.  Reflective of London, this is one of the most culturally diverse work cultures I have ever been a part of, as many of the women who work here are diaspora from western Africa. My time at ANYTOWN™ and continuing work with CTB has given me dialogue experience about culturally sensitive topics which has really helped with my work at FORWARD as FGM is intensely private and rarely discussed.

In my first month in London I have gotten to meet people from all regions of the world. I have really enjoyed getting to know them and think of some of them as my friends, but this reality would have been unlikely had I not come out of my shell in the way that Community Tampa Bay encouraged.  Thank you so much.  Lyndsey Collins.”

If you or a graduate you know has a story, contact us!  We would love to share your journey of growth on our blog! 

The Energy of ANYTOWN™

What a great season of ANYTOWN™ this summer!

See below for a wonderful video produced by a young supporter, Tyler Bradley, that captures the energy and excitement of Community Nights.  158 teens graduated from the residential session ready to be agents of change in their schools and communities.  Over 50 have already attended the first session of the Be Intentional Institute and others are organizing Youth Summits through FLY and HYC or Youth Conferences in their schools.  What are you doing with your ANYTOWN™ energy??!!



From Refugee Camp to ANYTOWN™

Community Tampa Bay partners with many local programs to ensure a rich diversity of participants at the ANYTOWN™ sessions.  One of these partners is the Refugee Youth and Family Program (RYFP) of Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services.

The inclusion of newly arrived refugees in our programs provides perspective and face to face experience with teens who have experienced significant discrimination, loss, migration, fear and challenge because of their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality and social group membership that is unlike the experiences of most U.S. born youth.

Unfortunately, once in the U. S., the refugee youth report near constant bullying in their schools because of their language, accent or appearance. One example of a particularly frustrating common experience involves the ignorance of the insults surrounding their ethnicities, with the Burmese youth repeatedly being called Chinese. Some of the youth have spent years in refugee camps, unable to access basic schooling and must work extremely hard to attain the same educational level here as their age group. At ANYTOWN™, they are able to improve their acculturation by sharing their experiences with peers, educating others about their journey and forging new friendships as they expand their understanding of US culture. ANYTOWN™ provides language to describe their shared experiences and interpretations surrounding prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination, while engaging with other youth in meaningful cross-cultural interactions. They are welcomed and included, and genuinely surprised at the interest of the other teens in their lives and stories.

Particularly compelling for the delegation is how the issues of mass atrocities and genocide, routinely addressed at ANYTOWN™, are brought to life by the recent experiences of these and other refugee youth.

One delegate in particular, Fabrice, was very skeptical and worried when he first arrived at the program. He was sure that he should leave ANYTOWN™ and return home to his family. He was confused because the ‘youth’ programs he had experienced in his country had all been outdoors with a focus on sports, while at ANYTOWN™ there was so much talking and discussion happening inside. We convinced him to stay, and throughout the week he flourished, participating in dialogues, teambuilding, and workshops. On the last day, he was so sad to leave. When asked why he said with a beaming smile, “I made a friend!”.

Following the residential portion of the program, RYFP staff reported, “Thank you for including our youth in your program.  You have to see them now, how they greet each other. As you know the Burmese clients usually do not look at you on your eyes, it is disrespectful, they don’t greet each other by shaking hands, and now they hug each other. They are very happy when they see their Iraqi friends, their Congolese friends, their Eritrean friends, and Cubans, as well. It had been an amazing experience for them.”

Pictured are recent ANYTOWN™ graduates: Myo, Ali, Jonathan, Robert and Fabrice. They are newly arrived from Iraq, Burma and Congo. They are participating in the annual RYFP soccer match between the Pinellas and Hillsborough refugee youth programs. (In addition to their soccer skills these Anytowner’s showcased their breakdancing, and gymnastics with their peers during the talent night portion of the program!)  Picture credit: Niki Kelly.

Thank you to the Refugee Youth and Family Program and our other great community partners:  Starting Right Now, UACDC, Temple Beth-El and Kinship Kids!  For more information about refugees and how you can help visit The UN Refugee Agency or US Office of Refugee Resettlement.


Hello! Goodbye! AmeriCorps VISTA staff at Community Tampa Bay

Community Tampa Bay benefits greatly from the investments made by AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers.  We are fortunate to have two full-time VISTA staff for the upcoming school year and have had three summer VISTA staff the past several months.  Their dedication to the mission make it possible for us to extend our staffing reach in many ways.  Their contribution is notable as it is a full-time cNatalie, Shivani, Maria, Nadiaommitment with just a small stipend and educational award in return.  Their hours are long but and their impact is tremendous.  Some of their work includes:  extending our connection and outreach with ANYTOWN™ graduates, acting as facilitators with FLY (Facilitating the Leadership of Youth) and HYC (Hillsborough Youth Collaborative), attending to myriad program logistics and improving our reach with university and college volunteer training and recruitment.

We say hello and welcome to:

Nadia Rumbolt!  (far right in picture)  Nadia was born in Jamaica and has a bachelors degree in psychology from Florida Southern College.  She loves long walks through libraries for both the ambience and content therein.  She attended her first ANYTOWN™ this summer and she says, “If ANYTOWN™ was a person, I’d marry them!”  She will serve for a full year with returning VISTA Member, Tom Earl.

We say goodbye (for now) and thank you to our summer program VISTA staff:

Natalie Weinstein-(far left in picture) She is launching her professional career with a goal of working as a revenue management analyst having just graduated from the University of Central Florida.  Natalie is a 2006 ANYTOWN™ program graduate and served as volunteer staff in 2008 and 2012.  Natalie defies gender stereotypes by playing hockey, excelling in math and practicing capoeira.

Shivani Alamo-(middle left) She is returning to Stetson Law School for the second year of her program.  Shivani has worked with Community Tampa Bay in a variety of capacities since 2008.  Shivani is passionate about creating spaces for diversity and informing privilege and would like to work with Community Tampa Bay and ANYTOWN™ for the rest of her life!

Maria Naranjo-(middle right) Maria is returning to Florida State University where she studies International Affairs and Political Science.  Her dream is to take the ANYTOWN™ movement global!  She graduated from the program in 2008 and has volunteered ever since.

Thank you all for helping us achieve our vision of a community free from discrimination.  It is our privilege to work with these inclusive minded, young leaders!


ANYTOWN™ Class of 2012 – 158 Teen Graduates!

“I learned that my voice is important and I can help end discrimination now.”

B.B. program graduate, 2012

The mission of Community Tampa Bay’s ANYTOWN™ program is to empower diverse groups of young people to create more inclusive and just schools and communities where all individuals are treated with respect and understanding.  The year-long program begins with an intensive 5-day, 4-night residential session at Eckerd College.  Three sessions were held with 158 students graduating from the residential experience of ANYTOWN™ this summer.

As the only local youth leadership and diversity education program we intentionally recruite a delegate class that reflects our school and community demographics.  These students represented 49 different public and private high schools in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco Counties.  The delegates were diverse ethnically and racially, with African American/Black delegates comprising the largest percentage (39%), followed by Latino/Hispanic delegates with 22%,  European American/White delegates at 19%, Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic delegates (12%, up from 8% last year) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (7%).  A quarter of the delegates speak multiple languages or a language other than English at home and nearly a quarter represent Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i or other non-Christian religions.   More than half the delegates receive free/reduced price school lunch and 56% were female.

ANYTOWN Graduates 2012


“The ANYTOWN™ program works.  Before this, I would have never taken the time to talk to people that are not like me.  Now I want to get to know every individual person.  This is a glorious program, it works tremendously!”

E.H., program graduate, 2012

The graduates will now embark on a series of five additional skill building trainings through the Be Intentional Institute this year as well as receive support for their individual inclusive leader service projects.  The first Be Intentional Institute training this year is ’7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens’ to be held on August 18, 2012. 

Community Tampa Bay is grateful to the many donors, corporations and foundations that make this life changing program possible. 

Supporters include:  Bank of America, Kanes Furniture, Pinellas County Schools, Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, Conn Memorial Foundation, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Community Foundation of Greater Sun City Center, Rays Baseball Foundation, Unity of Tampa,  Dana Beck Fancher Missions Committee of the First  Presbyterian Church of Dunedin, Progress Energy, Hillsborough County Florida, Florida Blue, Wells Fargo, Tampa General Hospital, Wellspring Foundation, MedPartners HIM, Foley & Lardner LLP, Nielsen Company, St. Petersburg Police Department, and Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office. 


Nielsen Makes Generous Contribution to Our Mission

The Nielsen Company has become an avid supporter of our mission in their aim to fulfill community needs in Tampa Bay. “Our commitment to diversity is the core element in our outreach within the communities we serve,” said Amy Rettig, Vice President of Public Affairs at Nielsen. “It is our mission to create an awareness of Nielsen and our business, so that multicultural consumers know how their purchasing behaviors and habits are vital to our clients.”

Nielsen is finding several ways to partner with the agency in addition to a $10,000 donation they recently made.    “As the face of America becomes increasingly more diverse, it is important to note the cultural differences which make each consumer unique,” Rettig said. “We support the ANYTOWN™ program because it highlights the need for diversity to be embraced and respected.”

On April 26th, 2012, two of our AmeriCorps VISTAS, Tom Earl and Nicole Dufva, facilitated four trainings sessions on cross-cultural interactions for the children of Nielsen employees on “Take Your Child to Work Day”. Many children of Nielsen employees have also attended ANYTOWN™ in previous years. We thank Nielsen for their support and look forward to working with them in the future.

Apply To Be A Volunteer For The 2012 Residential Sessions Of ANYTOWN™


The Anytown™ dates are listed below:

All sessions are from Sunday – Thursday

(Saturday is required for volunteer staff)

June 23-28  · July 7-12  · July 21-26

Completion of this SurveyMonkey is required in order to be considered as a staff member.

The interest form should be completed by February 29th, 2012.

Please share this email with anyone you think may be interested in serving their time!

If you have an questions or concerns please email sogdie@communitytampabay.org We are so excited for our upcoming summer season!




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