It feels like just yesterday that I moved back to St Pete, started a new job at Community Tampa Bay, and began learning all I could about ANYTOWN®. I recall how nervous I was connecting with past ANYTOWN delegates and volunteers to find out exactly what makes ANYTOWN® so special.
It wasn’t long before I was able to put pieces together and realize that what makes ANYTOWN® truly one-of-a-kind isn’t the location or even the workshops (Although they’re pretty incredible, too). What makes ANYTOWN® special is the dedication from everyone that participates in it!!! Everyone I talked to from the volunteers to people who graduated from ANYTOWN® decades ago to recent graduates, all had the same wonderful sentiments about ANYTOWN® “It changed their lives.”
So, there it was—the key to success—align the right people, the right volunteers and the right dedicated students and that would be the recipe for an amazing ANYTOWN® 2022 program. Our coordinator Chris Jeter and I got started right away, recruiting volunteers, visiting schools and meeting incredible, empowered members of the community who understood and valued the work of Community Tampa Bay.
I am proud to say that ANYTOWN® 2022 had extraordinary volunteers and students committed to making sure that this year was a tremendous success (spoiler: It truly was). A fresh group of volunteers and staff brought new ideas and excitement. We were able to bring high schoolers from across Tampa Bay together for two incredible weeks of powerful learning and two packed community nights filled with parents, friends, past staff and ANYTOWN’ers – all there to see how this group of youth were experiencing ANYTOWN®.
Our ANYTOWN® youth delegates finished their summer equipped with tools and resources needed to advocate for their peers to help end discrimination in their schools and communities. Many delegates are now preparing for Advocacy Academy, where they will continue to develop these skills and positively impact their communities throughout the 2022-2023 school year.
I couldn’t be prouder of the staff at Community Tampa Bay, our volunteers and our youth for making our return to a residential ANYTOWN® an overwhelming success. I’m even more excited to begin planning Advocacy Academy with Chris and working on recruiting students and volunteers for ANYTOWN® 2023. Planning for 2023 begins now!
If believe in transformative effect of ANYTOWN®, please consider making a donation. A donation to Community Tampa Bay ensures vital programs like ANYTOWN and Advocacy Academy continue to empower youth in our community for decades to come, please click this link to donate now: https://www.communitytampabay.org/donate