Compiled by Jenny Bennett

Sylvia Thomas Center Celebrates 22nd Anniversary

The Sylvia Thomas Center for Adoptive and Foster Families recently celebrated its 22nd anniversary. It keeps the ‘forever’ in forever families by providing adoptive and foster children and families the necessary tools and support to enable them to bond and thrive. It is committed to supporting families, working together to overcome obstacles and address challenges, which may include counseling, case management and other support to address experiences the children have had.

To learn more about Sylvia Thomas Center for Adoptive and Foster Families, visit its website at or call 813-651-3150.

Centerpoint Church Celebrates With Back-to-School Bash

Centerpoint Church is celebrating the last days of summer and getting ready for an exciting new school year with a back-to-school bash. The event will be held on August 6 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 1720 S. St. Cloud Ave. in Valrico.

There will be fun activities for the whole family, including laser tag, a bungee run, a rock-climbing wall, bounce houses, an indoor dance party and more. The event and all games are free, and food trucks and Kona Ice will be available to purchase food and drinks from.

Congregation Beth Shalom Religious School Open House

Congregation Beth Shalom of Brandon is a vibrant, warm and growing Reform synagogue. As the only Reform synagogue in the Greater Brandon area, for 32 years it has provided a home for Jews, interfaith and LGBTQ families of all ages and backgrounds.

It is accepting applications for its religious school for the 2022-23 school year. The mission of the school is to provide both an educational and enriching learning environment for all attendees and strive to nurture the child’s Jewish identity while providing a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.

You can register your child for religious school at its open house event on Sunday, August 14, between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Visit its website at for more details. Congregation Beth Shalom is located at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon.

HCC SouthShore Campus Kickoff

Hillsborough Community College (HCC) SouthShore is hosting its Campus Kickoff event on Thursday, July 28 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The theme for this year is Celebrating Our Heroes, in which local heroes, such as veterans, first responders, medical professionals and law enforcement, will be honored. The event will include music, food and community information booths.

HCC’s SouthShore campus is located at 551 24th St. NE in Ruskin. Additional information about HCC can be found on its website at

Florida Aquarium Awarded Lowe’s Hometowns Grant

The Florida Aquarium has been awarded a grant as part of Lowe’s Hometowns, an initiative that is helping to restore and revitalize spaces that serve as the hubs and heartbeats of communities. The grant will provide funding for The Florida Aquarium to renovate its first-floor lobby restrooms. The new restrooms will improve energy and water efficiency, supporting its commitment to sustainable business practices and serving visitors in the years to come.

The Florida Aquarium is located at 701 Channelside Dr. in Tampa. Information about the Aquarium and purchasing tickets can be found on its website at

HCA Florida Brandon Hospital Receives Distinguished Rating

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons awarded HCA Florida Brandon Hospital a three-star rating for its patient care and outcomes in isolated coronary bypass crafting procedures. The three-star rating, which denotes the highest category of quality, places HCA Florida Brandon Hospital among the elite for bypass surgery in the United States.

“At Brandon Hospital, providing safe, high-quality cardiac surgery is the top priority of our cardiac surgery team,” said Bradley Bufkin, M.D., cardiothoracic surgery specialist at Brandon Hospital.

For more information, visit

Furball Frenzy Event Is Looking For Vendors

Local pet charities Kittie Corral and Community Pet Project will be hosting a Furball Frenzy fundraiser in the fall and are looking for vendors of all types. The event will take place at Heroes Paradise, located at 733 Knowles Rd. in Brandon, on Sunday, November 6 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Spaces are $40 for a 10 ft. x 10 ft.

For more information and to reserve a space, email

Veterans Council Of Hillsborough County Seeking New Members

The Veterans Council of Hillsborough County is seeking to add new members. The objective of the Veterans Council is to serve as a local affiliate of military veterans organizations, act as a liaison between county government and veterans organizations on actions affecting veterans and veterans’ benefits as pertaining to military families in Hillsborough County and to uphold the ideals, principles and traditions of our armed forces.

For more information and to apply to join, visit the website at

Back-to-School Bash At Westfield Brandon Mall

The Westfield Brandon mall is hosting Florida Penguin’s Back-to-School Bash on Sunday, July 31. It will be handing out over 250 backpacks and thousands of school supplies as well as having after-school programs, tutors, pediatricians and other child care services in attendance.

There will be face painting, dance performances, photo stops and magicians to keep everyone engaged. The event will take place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

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