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Sulphur Springs Youth Leadership Council, Tampa, Florida

 The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, Conn Memorial Foundation and the Rays Baseball Foundation provide funding to support the Sulphur Springs Youth Leadership Council (Youth Spring into Action - YSIA), which formally started in May, 2010 and has 25 youth actively involved. This Youth Council was created when the community voiced the need for more resources for the neighborhood youth. The purpose of the Sulphur Springs Youth Initiative is to create opportunities for leadership development, community service projects and improve educational achievement for neighborhood youth. The teen council is led by the youth with mentoring and advisement from Devereux Kids staff. This practice is inherent in the Devereux Kids strength based philosophy of services, which requires us to seek full participation and engagement of those impacted by our services as we develop and implement program services. The overall mission is to assist residents and community leaders in Sulphur Springs in building its capacity to be a healthy and safe community for the children, families and residents who live there.

Youth Spring Into Action with Sodexo Foundation grant project!

In March, 2013 the Youth Spring into Action (YSIA), Devereux Kid’s Teen Council was awarded a $500.00 Sodexo Foundation Grant.  This was their first attempt at grant writing! These grants are only awarded to student led projects.  During our January and February meetings, the youth brainstormed and came up with two ideas to submit for National Youth Service Day.  There were several categories that the proposal could address.  They submitted a recycling project for $1,000.00 and a Healthy Eating Project for $500.00.

The teens voted to name their project 3H (Healthy Helping Hands) to give out 50 bags of fresh fruits and vegetable.  In the proposal the teens had to show in-kind donations and a budget.  They partnered with Feeding America to provide as many donated fruits and vegetables as possible. The other fruit and vegetables were purchased at Wal-Mart. A letter was submitted to Wal-Mart, to show the efforts of the teens in their own community and Wal-Mart agreed to donate 50 recyclable bags to distribute the food to the families. The City of Tampa Parks and Rec. partnered with the youth to store the food and supplies until they were ready to distribute. 

The group met at the George Bartholomew Community Center to assemble the bags and put healthy recipe cards into each bag.  Over 25 youth participated in working to serve their community.  On April 26, 2013, National Youth Global Service Day, six Teen Council members went to the YMCA at Sulphur Springs Elementary and distributed fifty bags full of fresh fruits and vegetables. As the families were receiving their bags, the teens told them about the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and how eating healthy is not only beneficial to them individually, but also to the community as a whole. The families were proud of the teens for serving in their community, and very thankful for the food and information.

Youth 2014

Youth 2014


In accordance with a MOU with the City of Tampa, Devereux Kids facilitated Teens Leading Change (TLC) for Parks and Rec and Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay for the 2nd year. Twelve (12) TLC classes were conducted in the summer with over 70 middle and high school students attending three (3) times a week. (approx. 200 students weekly) The course is derived from the Sean Convey book “The Six (6) Most Important Decisions a Teen Will Ever Make.”  We have covered School, Friends, Parents, Dating and Sex. The last two were Addictions and Self Worth. The application of the last two lessons, were very real.  So many of our youth said this topic was an everyday issue in their lives. This has been an amazing series. The fall series returns to the book Five, Where Will You Be Five Years from Today by author Abraham Maslow. Devereux Kids will facilitate a Train the Trainer city-wide to teach their staff the curriculum at their respective sites.    

Youth 2014


Youth Springs into Action (Y.S.I.A.) along with partners, Boys and Girls Club, and City of Tampa Parks and Recreation sponsored another college tour. Thirty (30) youth visited the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA campus. This tour was made possible through the networking of facilitator and a student representative of University of South Florida by name of Travis Tyson. The men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity conducted the tour. During the visit, the youth were able to walk across campus to learn of the history of the school. They were able to visit the different facilities on campus and student housing. The members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated conducted a “TIE TO SUCCESS” piece during the tour. This was a dress to success presentation. They discussed how to conduct his or herself in an interview. Along with the information, the teens were able to see live models wearing the proper business attire. Lunch was also provided by the members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. After lunch, the youth were presented with a step show from the fraternity.

Youth 2014
Devereux Kids partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and we were able to take a bus load of students to visit BETHUNE COOKMAN UNIVERSITY in Daytona Beach.  What an amazing experience.  This was one of the colleges our Teen Council has asked to visit.  They had done research, knew what was offered and knew the history of the school.  The behavior on the trip was MAGNIFICANT.  We have surveys that show what they learned and great feedback from the trip. The college tour was a success! All the youth stated "they now have an increased desire to attend college". They all also felt they are now more likely to go to college after attending this college tour. Below are some comments and feedbacks from the youth when asked, how do they think Devereux Kids can help them meet their goals?

"They challenge me to do better and I want to take tough challenges"
"They can keep influencing me on what I want to do when I grow up"
"Going on more tours and providing information about college and careers"
"Showing what I need to get into college"
"Continue to encourage"
"More college tours and keep pushing us to go forward"
"Just keep talking to me about life"

Youth 2014

Youth 2014
Devereux Kids staff Fantzly Hyppolite and Jacque Leeks
always supporting and encouraging our teens to succeed.


A Message to Our Donors


Dear Devereux Donors,

July 1 marked the beginning of our new fiscal year.  For Devereux, the last 12 months proved to be very challenging and very rewarding.  We served more children and families needing services than ever before and did so on one of the tightest budgets imaginable.  I am very proud of every one of our employees—they positively impact the lives of children and families every day.  I’m also very proud of those we serve.  They struggle with battles that I can sometimes barely imagine and their steps to successes are enormous.

This hard work—by employee and client—is accomplished, in great part, because of your generosity.  For the first time ever, Devereux’s Florida donors provided more than $1.3 million in contributions.  Your gifts helped to provide backpacks for school, holiday gifts to children who would otherwise have none; they supported after-school and child abuse prevention programs in high-risk neighborhoods and helped cover to cover the cost of critically needed therapeutic services.

As you read through the articles in this newsletter and throughout the year—as you join us for our Golf Tournament, send a check during the annual appeal or drop off a gift for the holidays—pat yourself on the back.  You are doing the most amazing job of all!


Steven J. Murphy

Executive Director

YSIA meets Harper Hill
  YSIA Meets Harper Hill  Read More»

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