SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — Gardens are a place of beauty and peace. But at Starting Right, Now, a new garden is also a place of learning.
Starting Right, Now or SRN is a shelter and mentoring program for teens who can’t live at home.
“They’re usually couch surfing, going from friend to friend,” explains SRN founder Vicki Sokolik. “Or they’re sleeping in cars or on the streets."
SRN provides shelter, mentoring, and a path to higher education.
“It’s life changing,” said 18-year-old Nick Sonetirot about his experience in the program. “You can be the worst person and it will flip you around.”
This spring, the teens spent hours each week tending to a garden. They grew vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
And while they learned how to nurture and care for plants, they also learned how to care for themselves and grow a healthy lifestyle.
“Tending to the plants…it roots you,” said 17-year-old Aurianna Castor. “Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve grown as a person.”
A $5,000 grant from 10 Tampa Bay and the TEGNA Foundation helped establish the garden.
Great Day Live is Tampa's only LIVE weekday lifestyle show celebrating all things Tampa Bay! For an hour each day, we show our audience all the great small businesses, nonprofits, sports teams, events, arts and entertainment the region has to offer! Watch Java and Janelle weekdays at 9 a.m. on 10 Tampa Bay.
Meet our Hosts
Java Ingram is a New Orleans native/ Texan and is excited to call Florida home! Prior to joining Great Day Live in 2019 as host, Java served as Host of a lifestyle-entertainment show in Birmingham, AL. She also woke up dark and early, weekday mornings to help drivers make it to their destinations safely as a traffic anchor.
Java started her on-air broadcast career in the birthplace of Elvis Presley, Tupelo, Mississippi. In Tupelo, she served as morning news anchor, producer and reporter.
Java is an award winning journalist, having been recognized by the Associated Press for best anchor, best reporter and best franchise reporting, just to name a few.
When she's not working, Java is very passionate about giving back to the community having served on the corporate boards for The Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi, The Civic Ballet Company, The Doniphan Dance Project and the Leadership Council for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama. She has also volunteered with a number of civic organizations.
Janelle Martinez was born and raised in Tampa and is beyond excited to be part of Great Day Live! She loves the idea of sharing all the “great” people, places and things her hometown has to offer.
Janelle met her husband at the University of Florida, and they are raising their three daughters to be die-hard Gator fans. She fell in love with all things “Gators” while she was a member of UF’s Dazzler Dance Team.
After graduating with a degree in telecommunications, Janelle worked in markets across the southeast. She has had just about every job in television news over the course of her more than 15+ year career. She anchored evening newscasts in Sarasota, Winston-Salem and Charlotte, NC and even helped people get around town as the morning traffic anchor right here in the Tampa Bay area. She’s covered big stories and small ones, rode out hurricanes and traveled on presidential campaigns. But by far, her favorite part of working in television is telling your stories. She’s thrilled to be able to do that every day on Great Day Live