Michelle A. Robinson, the President of Verizon’s Southeast Region, was the evening’s keynote speaker, and entertainment was provided by the Empyreal Chinese Acrobats. Among those in attendance was Rev. Alfreddie Johnson, founder and director of the World Literacy Crusade, which he started in Compton, California in 1992.
The Tampa Bay Academy of Hope was founded by former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, James Evans. Through his leadership and dedication, the lives of thousands of at-risk youths and their families have been changed for the better. The Academy “offers counseling to inner city youth to put them on the path to become productive citizens,” as their website declares. Governor Charlie Crist says of the Academy, “With the help of organizations like Tampa Bay Academy of Hope, we can provide a better future for our children.” The Academy of Hope has assisted with leadership training, mentoring, job placement and scholarship development for over 100,000 youths since its inception, and is also active in the field of human rights.
The Tampa Bay Academy of Hope is a non-profit community-based organization funded by donations, without which their good works would not be possible. Through donations, the Tampa Bay Academy of
Hope was able to put on their Celebrating Faces of Hope event; everything from the decorations down to the last leaf of lettuce was donated. “What you see is some determined people,” said James Evans. It is remarkable what people can accomplish through donations and good will. “If The Academy had not been there for me I would have shattered dreams,” said graduate Shawn L. Harris. “I would be going down a long road that I was unprepared for.”
This summer, the Academy of Hope will run their fifth annual college tour through the state of Florida from July 23rd to July 26th. To find out more about the Tampa Bay Academy of Hope, or to donate, visit http://www.tampahope.com/