By Tamas Mondovics

Back to School Supply Drive Supports A Kid’s Place Residents

Thanks to the generous and caring spirit of one Bay area business, children currently sheltered at A Kid’s Place in Brandon started the year by strutting a variety of brand new school supplies as they returned to school.

Elder Automotive Group, Elder Ford of Tampa and A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, teamed up to host a successful back-to-school supply drive that resulted in the collection of thousands of dollars worth of items and more than $2,500 raised for A Kid’s Place.

“The children at A Kid’s Place often arrive to the organization with only a garbage bag of belongings; sometimes less,” said Robert Elder, president and CEO of Elder Automotive Group, parent company of Elder Ford of Tampa. “As a father and member of this community, I believe that it is our obligation to support kids and help provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”

The children received pens, pencils, paper, rulers backpacks, clothing, shoes as well as basic home supplies from food to detergent and cleaning products.

“Before I came to A Kid’s Place, I was ashamed that I didn’t have a backpack or stuff to put in it,” said 14-year-old Wynn. “Now, I go to school and I am just like everyone else.”

Located on five acres at 1715 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, A Kid’s Place is a 60-bed facility for children who range from newborns to kids ready to age out of the foster care system at 18. Since 2010, A Kid’s Place has provided a home to more than 850 children as well as assisted more than 370 families.

“We are thrilled that Elder Ford of Tampa is reaching out to its customers to help make sure the children at A Kid’s Place have school supplies,” Samantha Mellen, development specialist at A Kid’s Place. “The community always comes through for our area’s foster children.”

To learn more about A Kid’s Place, visit, or call 381-3839.

For more information about Elder Ford of Tampa, visit

Local Junior Achievement Leaders Earn Awards

Junior Achievement (JA) of Tampa Bay was pleased to announce that several of its regional board members and volunteers were honored with JA National Leadership Awards, which recognizes JA volunteers for their outstanding service to Junior Achievement.

Honorees were selected from more than 213,000 U.S. volunteers to earn the JA ’s premier award for volunteerism.

Last year, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay reached 94,579 students in the Tampa Bay area. It is no surprise then that JA volunteers play a key role in bringing Junior Achievement’s entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work-readiness programs to life.

Earning the Bronze Awards are: Joe Brancucci, GTE Financial; Joseph Cannella, KPMG LLP; Joe DeLuca, Tampa Bay Times; Michael P. Quackenbush Jr., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Being honored with the Silver Award is Dr. Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida.

For information on how you can get involved and become a Junior Achievement volunteer, call 490-4495. For more information, visit

New Teacher Orientation

Nearly 1,200 newly-hired teachers were welcomed by school board members, the superintendent, and district staff as part of the district’s new teacher orientation.

Held earlier this month at Armwood High School, the four-day event featured classroom learning with various break-out sessions helping the new recruits to learn the district’s vision, mission, and goals.

New teachers received training in classroom management, instructional strategies, exceptional student education, professionalism, and meeting the needs of diverse learners.

School officials emphasized that teachers new to education were assigned a district-based mentor to work with them during the four-day event as well as throughout the school year. Optional follow-up training sessions are also scheduled to take place throughout the fall.

For more information, visit

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