Field Day Event For Foster Kids Needs Volunteers

Mark Oliver, CEO of the Specially Fit Foundation, will host a field day for 75 foster kids on Saturday, January 4 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. It will take place at A Kid’s Place in Brandon. Oliver recently learned about A Kid’s Place while on a visit with his leadership Brandon class and feels that despite their circumstances, the kids deserve an opportunity to participate in an exciting field day and have opportunities to learn about health and wellness.

Located on five acres in Brandon, A Kid’s Place has five homes on an expansive tree-lined campus that provide a safe, home-like environment in a neighborhood setting providing residential program services for children from birth to age 18, who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Nonprofit Specially Fit Foundation provides free year-round workouts, mentorship and sporting opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities and those who are at risk.

Volunteers are needed for the Fitness Field will provide fun fitness games, bounce houses and face painting. Afterward, a party will be hosted, which will include food, trophies and medals for the participants. Mark Oliver’s Special Olympic athletes will also volunteer and coach at this event so that they can make a positive impact and give back to the community. If you would like to volunteer or help out with the Fitness Field Day for foster kids at A Kid’s Place, please email Oliver at

The Bridges Retirement Community Hosts Veterans Assistance Seminar

The Bridges Retirement Community is hosting a veterans assistance seminar on Tuesday, February 4 to educate wartime veterans and their survivors about a benefit through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ‘Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance.’ This benefit can help offset the cost of living in a retirement community for a wartime Veteran or his/her surviving spouse.

Veterans of any branch of the armed services who served 90 consecutive days on active duty, including one day during a wartime period, may be eligible to receive up to $1,912 per month for assisted living expenses if they served during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Era or other more recent conflicts (duration of service required may vary). Surviving spouses may qualify to receive up to $1,230.

Dennis Mont’Ros, a veteran service officer with Hillsborough County’s Department of Consumer and Veterans Services, will provide information and answer questions about this benefit. This free seminar will be held at The Bridges, located at 11202 Dewhurst Dr. in Riverview, from 11 a.m.-12 Noon with lunch provided. Seating is limited. Please reserve a seat by calling 413-8900.

New Programs Start In New Year AT FAOPA

Children from grades K through adults can sign up now for new musicals starting in the new year with the Florida Academy of Performing Arts at Music Showcase. Actors can participate in the upcoming productions of Doctor Doolittle Jr., Mulan Jr., Rock of Ages and Sweeney Todd.

Children in grades K-3 can register now for Doctor Doolittle Jr. Practices will held on Tuesdays from 4-5:30 p.m. starting on January 14. The musical tells the classic tale of a wacky, but kind, doctor who can talk to animals.

Also starting on January 14 will be practices for Mulan Jr. for grades 3-6. The musical is based on the Disney film and takes place in China where a girl named Mulan poses as a man and joins the Emperor’s army. Practices will be held on Tuesdays from 6-7:30 p.m.

Middle school students can take part in the musical Rock of Ages. This jukebox musical uses classic rock songs from the 1980s from groups like Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe. Rehearsals will start on Wednesday, January 15 from 6-8 p.m.

High school students can register for Sweeney Todd. The musical about the Demon Barber of Fleet Street will begin practices on Saturday, February 1 from 2-6 p.m.

FAOPA will also hold auditions for its audition-only group (ages 7 to adults) for a musical production still to be named starting on Monday, January 13. In the fall, the group performed Matilda. Rehearsals will be on Monday and Thursday from 6-8:30 p.m.

All rehearsals are held at Music Showcase at 402 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. Registration is happening now at or by calling 490-2787 (ARTS).

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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.