Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Brandon ’86 Rotary Club Hosts Easter Egg Hunt At Everyday Blessings

The Brandon ’86 Rotary Club hosted an Easter Egg Hunt on April 8 for the children of Everyday Blessings, a foster care facility in Thonotasassa that focuses on keeping siblings together. The children were treated to an egg hunt and lunch. The Interact Club of Durant High School also participated in the event.

“We are so grateful to be able to work with Everyday Blessings to create memories for the children they serve,” says Marlene Adkinson, Vice President of the Brandon ’86 Rotary Club. “It’s a blessing to watch the joy on the children’s faces, and we look forward to hosting this event every year.”

The Brandon ’86 Rotary Club raises money to support Everyday Blessings and other local charities during their annual Brandon Seafood Festival and Partee Golf Tournament. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m., at the Grace Place, 732 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon.

Donate Books To Student Run Book Drive

Joey Woodward, a seventh grade student at Immanuel Lutheran School is holding a book drive. He and sister Jilly have begun the drive with 140 of their own books and now want to share with other kids.

They have chosen to help both Lopez and Ruskin Elementary schools and plan to donate collected books throughout May.
They are hoping to send books home with 450 students Lopez Elementary and 900 students at Ruskin Elementary.
Drop off locations are at: Olin Mott at 528 W. in Brandon Blvd. in Brandon, PDQ at 134 S. Gornto Lake Rd. in Brandon, Osprey Observer – 918 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, and Immanuel Lutheran School at 2913 John Moore Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call 833-9923. 

Durant High School Student Accepted To The Air Force Academy

Durant High School student headed to the US Air Force Academy. Maxemillian (Max) Griffith, 17, will be reporting to Colorado Springs, Colorado on June 29 to start his college career in hopes of being a pilot. Max is a member of the NHS, Spanish NHS, Honor Court, captain of the Lacrosse team for two years and graduating in the top 12% of his class. He has maintained his 5.3 GPA while playing sports, working 25 hours per week, maintaining a busy social life,  volunteering at The Boys and Girls Club of Brandon, Habitat For Humanity and Relay for Life just to name a few. Max hopes to inspire and be a positive role model for other kids in our community.

New Summer Programs At The Florida Academy of the Performing Arts

Children can learn to play violin this summer at The Florida Academy of the Performing Arts (FAOPA), which will be offering a new week-long camp this summer for children in grades 3-5. They will learn how to play a violin, how to read music, and learn music theory. Director Jeanne Machin said, “Our beginning violin camp will help first time students gain an understanding of the basics, learn proper technique and develop a solid foundation for everything from reading notes to budding musicianship.” The camp runs Monday to Friday, July 24-July 28 from 9 a.m.-12 Noon and children can stay for the whole day for more musical activities in the afternoon. The camp includes the use of a violin for the week.

Children who have already played the violin for a year can sign up for rock violin camp, which runs Monday to Friday, July 31-August 4. Campers will play pop, rock, and jazz music, and learn to play with background tracks.

These are just two of the camps offered by the Florida Academy of the Performing Arts. There are musical theatre camps as well as week-long full-day music camps called Music and More for children ages 5 and up.

The Florida Academy of Performing Arts at Music Showcase is located at 402 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. For more information on all summer programs or to sign up, call 490-2787 or visit

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.