Lakewood High School graduate and former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, the first one-handed player in the NFL, announced his retirement Wednesday. The St. Petersburg native experienced amniotic band syndrome in the womb, which resulted in doctors amputating Griffin’s left hand at the wrist at age 4. Despite the challenges of playing football as a one-handed defender, he went on to star for the University of Central Florida. The Seahawks drafted Griffin in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, reuniting him with his twin brother, cornerback Shaquill. In his announcement, Griffin wrote that “football was always Plan B,” and he now hopes to make a positive impact throughout the NFL Legends Community foundation.
The Saturday Morning Shoppe and Live Love St. Pete are hosting a back-to-school backpack giveaway Saturday, Aug. 6, in Lot 4 at Tropicana Field. Volunteers will hand out over 2,000 backpacks to anyone in need, and no registration is necessary. Several community organizations donated the bags, with Live Love St. Pete providing 1,000 and the Tampa Bay Rays contributing 300. Both the giveaway and market begin at 12 p.m. and run until 5 p.m. The event is at 198 17th St. S. in St. Petersburg, and admission and parking are free.
The Pinellas County Commission, in collaboration with the St. Pete Free Clinic and other community partners, is hosting a free fresh food giveaway on Friday, June 10. The drive-through event takes place at England Brothers Park, located at 5010 81st Ave. N. in Pinellas Park. Distribution is open to all county residents from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., or while supplies last. According to the release, food insecurity is on the rise in the community and the St. Pete Free Clinic is working to ensure everyone has access to quality food.
The University of South Florida recently reported it received gifts from nearly 5,000 donors during Giving Week this month, more than doubling the previous record. Over 10% were first-time donors. From April 4-8, alumni, friends and community partners joined together to support 198 funds at the university - from mitigating student hunger to providing scholarships. On April 6, Jeff and Penny Vinik gave $5 million for an on-campus stadium, matching Carol and Frank Morsani’s donation to the same effort in March. In a release, the university said the outpouring of generosity would positively impact the lives of students from all three campuses. “This groundswell of support underscores just how much our community values our students and understands the impact they have on Tampa Bay and beyond,” said USF President Rhea Law in the release.
The City of St. Pete Beach is hosting two Earth Day celebrations on April 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first is at Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Dr. and the other takes place at the Pass-a-Grille Concession area at 900 Gulf Way. Both events are free. The Horan Park celebration features landscaping demonstrations and water conservation tips, and the city is also offering free red maple, beautyberry, sugarberry, magnolia, red mulberry, slash pine, sycamore, cypress and loquat trees to residents. In Pass-a-Grille, local environmental organizations Keep Pinellas Beautiful and Sea Turtle Trackers will speak about their missions and offer informational handouts.
Graduating seniors in Pinellas County Schools now have another resource to help pay for furthering their education. The Pinellas Education Foundation is now offering its new Jump Start Scholarship for county students that meet eligibility requirements. Students with a demonstratable financial need could receive a Florida Prepaid College Foundation Scholarship valued at $3,100 to attend a Florida public college, university or technical school. Students must first complete a Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), submit financial documentation and remain drug and crime-free. Over 100 scholarships are available, and the deadline to apply is April 30. To learn more and apply, visit the link here.
The Arts Conservatory for Teens improves lives by providing arts education to under-served young adults. After 10 successful years making strong progress in the realms of art, equity and education, ACT brings powerful insight and experience to the council which will help us make 2022 the most impactful year yet.
The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Founded by Walter P. Loebenberg, the museum teaches community members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. The Impact Council looks forward to sharing ideas and furthering the organization's mission.
The St Pete Innovation District brings you STEAM Dream TV, where student hosts interview local science, tech, engineering, art and math professionals. Episode 1 offers guaranteed smiles as you get to know the excellent studio hosts, through some fun and creative questions.
U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) announced two major grants from the U.S. Department of Labor aimed at ending veteran homelessness and reintegrating American servicemembers back into the workforce following periods of unemployment and financial hardship. St. Petersburg-based Volunteers of America of Florida will received $391,080 to continue ongoing work to end veteran homelessness, and $339,039 will be awarded to Boley Centers to support veteran services across Pinellas County and Tampa Bay. Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program grants are part of a nationwide $52 million investment by the Department of Labor to help homeless veterans return to meaningful employment and address the complex problems facing homeless veterans.
Citing positivity rates below 5%, the Florida Department of Health will no longer issue a COVID-19 daily report, nor will it update the COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. Instead it will issue a weekly situation report summary each Friday.