Suncoast Snapshot

Join us every Thursday for a new episode of Suncoast Snapshot, United Way Suncoast’s series highlighting local impact stories with our strategic community partners.

March 25, 2021

Special Guests:
Melissa Carr and Watson Haynes, Pinellas County Urban League

Melissa Carr arrived at the United Way Suncoast’s Campbell Park Resource Center last December ready to explain how the center helped her navigate the personal challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. She had no idea, however, her story of gratitude would lead to a life-altering change. Watch this Suncoast Snapshot as Carr and Pinellas County Urban League president Watson Haynes detail how Carr now finds herself on a new path to success.

April 1, 2021

Special Guests:
Bess the Book Bus’ Jennifer Frances, Patrika, and Johanna Deveaux

Ernest sits down with Jennifer Frances of Bess the Book Bus, and Patrika and Johanna Deveaux. Watch as they share how the Book Bus has persevered during the pandemic, and how Johanna has enjoyed reading and bonding with her family thanks to Bess. She even got a special surprise from the author, Mo Willems!

April 8, 2021

Special Guest:
Donna Gora, Women United Member

Ernest speaks with Women United Member, Donna Gora, about the 2021 Capitol Day, a statewide virtual day of advocacy with legislators in Tallahassee. Donna shares why it’s so important for women to use their voices to speak up for their communities and how Women United makes that possible.

April 15, 2021

Special Guest:
Autumn Pandolfo, Director of Community Engagement

Ernest is joined by UWS Director of Community Engagement, Autumn Pandolfo, and they talk Week of Caring 2021. Next week across our entire 5-county region, UWS volunteers will be matched with local nonprofit needs projects. After the impact COVID-19 has had on volunteer efforts, this Week of Caring is more important than ever.

April 22, 2021

Special Guests:
Tish Keller, VITA Volunteer, and Nichole Pena, Senior Manager of Financial Stability Initiatives

This week’s Suncoast Snapshot explores how United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program reaches some of our most vulnerable populations in DeSoto County.

April 29, 2021

Special Guest:
Carlene Ulacia, Senior Manager, Bank On Initiatives

In today’s episode, Ernest and Carlene talk Financial Literacy Month and Bank On Suncoast. 63 million Americans are currently unbanked or underbanked and are missing out on both short-term and long-term benefits. Money management, asset building, and the development of intergenerational wealth are crucial for Financial Stability in our communities.

Bank On Suncoast connects our neighbors to 11 financial institutions with certified accounts with low fees. Click here to find out more.

May 6, 2021

Special Guest:
Stacey Rothfarb, Seminole Heights Elementary Teacher

Ernest talks Teacher Appreciation Week with Stacy Rothfarb, a kindergarten teacher from Seminole Heights Elementary. This entire week we’re giving thanks to educators across the nation for the crucial work they do, and especially for their flexibility and efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way Suncoast also provides and supports many programs that Seminole Heights Elementary benefits from as part of our Early Learning initiative.

May 13, 2021

Special Guest:
Matthew Chernesky, Manager, Financial Stability Initiatives

This week Ernest talks with Matthew Chernesky, Manager of #FinancialStability Initiatives, about the importance of personal transportation. United Way Suncoast’s Saving for Stability transportation initiative works with Suncoast Credit Union to match car savings dollars for individuals and families needing reliable transportation. They are also matched with a trained Financial Coach to meet their financial goals through a holistic approach.

May 20, 2021

Special Guest:
Gabriella Gillen, Founder of Define Yourself

This week Ernest is joined by Gabriella Gillen to talk about Define Yourself, her nonprofit that helps foster care children become successful young adults after aging out of the foster care system. The nonprofit is hosting a virtual seminar this May 22nd focusing on confidence and empowerment to open doors to their success. Gabriella is a living example of what she aims to instill in the youth she helps: you can do anything you set your mind to.

May 27, 2021

Special Guest:
Mercedes Olmos, Early Learning Specialist

This week Ernest is joined by Early Learning Specialist, Mercedes Olmos. United Way Suncoast’s Reading Rooms in Manatee County focus on achieving grade-level reading and thus allow children ages 0-9 to engage in regular educational activities, sensory experiences, and even social and emotional development. Our Reading Rooms are located in the apartment buildings of local families to increase their access to this beneficial program. As they say, #ItTakesAVillage!

Click here to learn more about our Reading Rooms.

June 3, 2021

Special Guest:
Nicole Brown, Senior Manager of Education Strategies

This week on #SuncoastSnapshot, Ernest is joined by Nicole Brown to talk about the United Way Suncoast Summer Care program and its goal to help children with summer slide. The #COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated an already existing problem where students lose significant knowledge in reading and math over summer break. Our Summer Care program allows students to receive scholarships to summer enrichment activities, daycare, tutoring, and intensive literacy support if needed.

Click here to read more about Summer Care.