Brandon Area Newcomers President Barbara Babiarz and Vice President Jean Pastore presented a check for $2,000 to Theresa Hickie, Brandon Sports and Aquatics Club's Senior Director of Sports Programming.

Children around the Brandon area will be safer in the water thanks to the generous members of a local group. The Brandon Area Newcomers presented a $2,000 check to The Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center (BSAC) last month to be used to fund water safety scholarships for children in need.

According to Newcomers Vice President Jean Pastore, the group chooses one or two local charities to support a year based on nominations from members.

“We are so excited to be able to offer so much support to BSAC this year,” said Pastore, who has been a member of the Newcomers for five years. “We always try to find a charity that keeps the money in our community and young children and toddlers drowning is such a terrible problem in Florida. We decided we wanted to help BSAC’s program as much as we can.”

The group raised the majority of the $2,000 through its Make It, Bake It, Sew It, Grow It annual auction fundraiser.

“At the auction, all of our members contribute something, from a plant they have grown to a blanket they made or a cake they baked,” said Pastore. “We find it a great way for all our members to be able to contribute and raise funds for out community.”

Members of the public are invited to attend the auction and attendees will also receive a meal during the event.

The Newcomers group, which was established in 1961, is open to all residents, not only people who recently moved to the area.

“We are always looking for new members, especially people who can bring new ideas and passion to the group,” said Pastore.

Members meet monthly September through May as a large group, but the club also offers many small-group meetings including book clubs, bunko, bridge and dominoes groups, craft get-togethers, chick flicks, lunch and dinner outings, nights out and overnight trips out of state.

“We really offer something for everyone, anyone who wants to get out of the house, do some fun things and meet some great people,” said Pastore, who explained that the group currently has almost 100 members from all over Eastern Hillsborough County from Plant City to Riverview.

Dues for the group are $20 annually and meetings take place on the third Wednesday of the month, September through May, at the Brandon Community Center, located at 502 E. Sadie St. For more information, contact Pastore at 203-805-9530. BSAC is located at 405 Beverly Blvd. in Brandon. Visit

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.