By Tatiana Ortiz

The flags of 23 various countries such as Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Argentina just to name a few did get raised inside the gymnasium at Campo Family YMCA in Valrico to commemorate the Second Annual Hispanic Heritage event. More than 200 individuals attended, which consisted of members and non-members. This celebration brought people together as they exchanged smiles, danced or consumed foods.

A focus group called Hispanos Unidos at Campo Family YMCA developed the idea for the event. In March 2016, Hispanos Unidos became established by the Hispanic members at Campo Family YMCA. The Hispanos Unidos group strives to connect the community through the Spanish language and its culture.

“With being so diverse, we do not discriminate against any countries,” said Veronica Hernandez, Coordinator of Hispanos Unidos at Campo Family YMCA.

Furthermore, Hernandez shared that this event had 35 business sponsors. These businesses either donated food, water, prizes or money towards it. For example, Pinch a Penny Pool Patio Spa supplied numerous pool floats and more.

In addition, a new eight-week program began over the summer at Campo Family YMCA called Spanish for Kids. The program teaches youth ages six to eight how to read songs in Spanish, learn various dances, pronouns, colors and much more. The students in Spanish for Kids conducted two dance performances during the Hispanic Heritage event.

“Students also learn empowerment in a sense that they too can do it when learning Spanish,” said Zue Simpson, Spanish for Kids instructor at Campo Family YMCA.

The next class with Spanish for Kids will meet on February 7, 2018, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Visit the Facebook page to learn more.

“Overall, such a wonderful opportunity for the Hispanos Unidos as an organization to embrace the needs in the entire community,” said Rob Gray, Vice President of Operations at YMCA.

For more information, visit It is located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico. Open Monday through Friday 5 a.m.- 10 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m.- 6 p.m. Call 684-1371.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.