By Kathy Collins

Each year, members of the community, including representatives from local businesses and non-profit organizations, participate in Leadership Brandon, a community leadership development program of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce. The 2016 Leadership Brandon Class is comprised of a dynamic and energetic group of individuals.

Part of what each Leadership Brandon Class does is raise money for a local non-profit. This year’s Leadership Brandon Class, known as the Dream Team 2016, selected A Kid’s Place. According to Suzy Watts, a member of the Dream Team 2016, “We considered many charities. A Kid’s Place tugged at our hearts. We liked the idea of helping kids because they are our future, our family, and we take care of family.”

On July 15 Beverly Walker, owner of Pinot’s Palette in Brandon, opened her studio so that some of the older children who live at A Kid’s Place could come and create a piece of art just for them. Watts explained, “We wanted to do something for the older children. They are often taken out of their homes in the middle of the night and have nothing of their own. We thought that they could create art work for their walls, and it will be something that belongs to them.”

Mary Berg, executive director of A Kid’s Place said, “If it was not for the community, we could not do this for the children because we do not have the funds.” Berg would encourage others, including individuals and organizations, to donate an outing for the children. “If we can provide an offsite activity where they can experience something, it is great for them. We can provide transportation and youth counselors to accompany the children,” said Berg.

The Dream Team 2016 has provided tickets to Novemberfest, movies and bowling. When the children went to the Florida Strawberry Festival, they were escorted by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The Leadership Brandon Class 2016 is holding a Casino Night Party on Friday, September 16 from 6:30-11 p.m. at The Regent located at 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. Attendees are asked to bring new shoes (all sizes for both boys and girls) for the children at A Kid’s Place. If you bring new shoes, you will receive three tickets for the Chest of Cheer Raffle. For more on Leadership Brandon Class, A Kid’s Place and Pinot’s Palette, visit Brandonchamber.com, akidsplacetb.org and pinotspalette.com.