Hillsborough County, Fl – The 10News team was out in force today volunteering their time at the Kings Forest Community Center. Dozens of folks swarmed the place with paint brushes and rollers and shovels and rakes.
The effort was all a part of Make A Difference Day, a national day of service sponsored by our parent company TEGNA, Points of Light, and the Arby’s Foundation.
In January the long vacant center will house an afterschool program for neighborhood children and we wanted to brighten it up a bit to make it more inviting.
“This is an area where so many kids spend their time and it’s great to spruce it up a little bit and make the area a little nicer,” said 10News anchor Ian Reitz.
The transformation inside was amazing; plain tan walls turned green and blue. “We are working so fast, we’re getting a lot done,” said 10News anchor Courtney Robinson while painting a door. “It’s awesome to see so many people out here and having a great time and really coming together as a team.”
10News anchor Allison Kropff can’t wait to see what the kids think. “To know that they’re going to walk through those doors—it fells bright, it feels happy and to know that’s it’s going to put a smile on their faces is so cool.”
On the outside of the center, it looks like we took a little inspiration from the Tampa Bay Rays, because our color scheme there was blue and yellow.
“Oh yeah, it’s coming together. This looks awesome,” remarked Road Warrior Hilary Zalla while she was painting a pillar.
Volunteers also got a little down and dirty—removing weeds and replacing them with plants and pavers. “It’s taken just a few hours of our time—a little sweat equity. And we know it’s going to be a lasting legacy for the kids in this neighborhood,” said 10News anchor Tammie Fields.
People living in the neighborhood also helped out and they’re loving the results. “It’s making a difference right now, because everyone’s out here with a smile on their face doing what they can to help out,” said resident George Creekmur.
Because of the donations, a $5,000 TEGNA grant for supplies, could instead go to support the children’s program run by Safe & Sound Hillsborough.
After most of the volunteers had left, a few kids from the neighborhood stopped by. They approved of the paint job. “I like blue”, said one little boy. And when they saw the reading room, they oohed and awed in unison. One girl said, “Yeah, I like the books.”
For last year's #MDDAY celebration 10News painted the Boys and Girls Club, formerly the historic Royal Theater, on 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg.
Our parent company TEGNA has continued the work started by USA TODAY in 1992 to create a company-wide day of service, one of the largest in the nation. TEGNA has partnered with Arby's Foundation and Points of Light to make Make A Difference Day 2016 possible.
"TEGNA is committed to having a positive impact on the communities we serve. Through Make A Difference Day, we are able to do just that. I look forward to Make A Difference Day every year. This day reminds us that everyone has the power to do something that makes a difference in the lives of others," TEGNA president CEO Gracia Martore said.
In addition to 10News' local efforts, fellow TEGNA stations are doing their part to Make A Difference:
- WXIA in Atlanta will help the Atlanta Mission, a shelter for women and children.
- WKYC in Cleveland will work with Business Volunteers Unlimited on five community projects including volunteering at a homeless shelter and renovating a public school library.
- WWL in New Orleans is joining forces with STEM NOLA, a non-profit which introduces children to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.
- KPNX and G/O Digital in Phoenix will volunteer at the Be A Leader Foundation to assist non-English speaking student apply to school.
- KING in Seattle is kicking off a partnership with the Nature Conservancy and Stewardship Partners on a five-year effort to help clean Puget Sound. They will build rain gardens at five locations.
- KMSB and KTTU in Tucson will team with Casa De Los Niño’s, a crisis center for abused and neglected children, to host a carnival and other fun events for the children staying at the home.
- KCEN and KAGS in Waco, TX are working with United Service Organizations, Inc to clean and reorganize a USO warehouse at Fort Hood. They will also assist with Fort Hood’s Movies On The Lawn Event serving Fort Hood’s service members and their families.
(© 2017 WTSP)