Just the mention of a block party creates an image of music, food, fun and most of all, a community coming together to share and celebrate. That was the case on September 7th when United Way Suncoast’s Campbell Park Resource Center in St. Petersburg hosted a community bash to celebrate the start of a new school year and the grand opening of the Resource Center’s new location on the campus of John Hopkins Middle School.
For the Center, moving into its new home is just the next step in a journey that began in the Fall of 2010 when United Way was approached by the Tampa Bay Rays about the possibility of launching a project in St. Petersburg modeled after Hillsborough County’s Sulphur Springs Resource Center.
With that seed of an idea planted, the hard work began. A comprehensive assessment was conducted, a plan was developed and the Campbell Park initiative officially began in 2012. Generous grants from Suncoast Credit Union, The Joy McCann Foundation and Duke Energy provided much-needed financial support and the move now to the new location creates an opportunity to bring additional resources to the community and build on work that’s already been done.
Approximately 56 percent of Campbell Park’s 3,500 residents live in poverty and the block party, attended by more than 200 people, created an opportunity to hear from residents about services they most need and it gave a voice to their hopes and concerns. There were bicycles for the kids, courtesy of Pinellas County Schools, and Feeding Tampa Bay was on hand for food distribution. A host of community partners and local dignitaries joined in for the ribbon-cutting, including: Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego and Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy State President – Florida.
With 9,000 sq. ft. of space, the Campbell Park Resource Center will have room to grow. A computer lab, training spaces and multipurpose meeting areas will allow for expanded services and create new possibilities. And with Feeding Tampa Bay, Bay Area Legal Services, the City of St. Petersburg and other partners nearby, the Center will serve as a community hub for family support services, financial literacy coaching, career readiness, legal advice and much more.
Dr. Jeffery Johnson, Manager, Neighborhood Initiatives, has seen firsthand what can happen when people come together with a common purpose. As Dr. Johnson shared, “The work that takes place in our neighborhoods, directly touching peoples’ lives, is what United Way is all about. It’s a privilege to know that the work we do can bring hope. The people in our community – our neighbors – deserve the best that we can give and it’s humbling to know that our efforts make a difference.”
Click here to learn more about the Campbell Park Resource Center’s impact in the community. If you’d like to visit the Center or learn more, please contact:
Vice President, Neighborhood Initiatives