Monday, December 28, 2009

Give Kids a Smile

Every year a group of dentists, with the Pinellas Dental Association, offer their services free of charge on specific one day for uninsured children in Pinellas County. This program is called the Give Kids a Smile program. This year it will happen on Friday, February 12th. To participate, children must be Pinellas County residents, between the ages of 4 and 17 and without health insurance coverage. Families need to go through a financial screening process that will be happening from January 4th through February 8th. For more information about financial screening sites or about the program, call 727-210-4222 or talk to the School Counselors at your local school. They are also able to do the financial screening. Appointments for dental treatment will be scheduled after the financial screening at the screening site.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Wishes!

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares staff wishes our volunteers and their families a wonderful holiday season.  We thank you for the difference you make in our community each and every day.  Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2-1-1 TBC Celebrates Our Volunteers!





 Congratulations to our Call Center volunteers Richard and Ida on their 1 year Anniversary with 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares.  Over the past year Richard and Ida have contributed approximately 142 hours to our agency and dedicated support to our community.  Each week they provide vital resources to individuals and families in need of food, housing, financial assistance and much, much more.  We thank them for their committment and dedication to 2-1-1 TBC and the community they are helping us serve.  Congratulations on your 1 year, we look forward to many more!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jamba for 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares!



Please stop by Jamba Juice-Clearwater Mall anytime from 12/6-12/12 and purchase a smoothie.  Be sure to mention 2-1-1 TBC and Jamba Juice will donate a portion of the proceeds to our agency.  So tell all your family & friends to "Jamba for 2-1-1 TBC".  Thank you for your support.  http://www.211tampabay.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=147&Itemid=145

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cold Night Shelters

Homelessness is one of the most critical issues in our community. 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares has already handled 8,604 calls this year from individuals and families in need of shelter. It is even more important now that the winter is almost here. In order to increase the number of beds available in the community, the Cold Night Shelter Program is operating in Pinellas County from November 15, 2009 to March 15, 2010 every time the temperature falls below 40 degrees. If you or someone you know needs a warm and safe place to stay or if you want to volunteer assisting homeless families, call 2-1-1 for more information about the program or search our online database (Find Help Button) on our website www.211tampabay.org.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Seminole Supports 2-1-1!

Thank you to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Seminole for selecting 2-1-1 TBC as one of their benefiting charities from their All Community Celebration & All You Can Eat Fish-Fry. This Celebration and All You Can Eat Fish Fry is being held to celebrate Good Shepherd's 51st Anniversary serving our community! This celebration, in which the entire community is invited, will be held on Sunday November 22, 2009 from 11:30 am until 4 pm at 10891 102nd Ave. Seminole, Florida. The "All You Can Eat Fish Fry," provided and prepared by 5-Star Catering & Fundraising, will include fried fish, chicken strips, popcorn shrimp, desert and beverages. Games-2U will have their outdoor mobile theater at the festival including outdoor Laser Tag for the kids and Giant HDTV flat screens that will televise sports for the guys and gals! Enter Games-2U Mobile Game Theater and get ready for the most eye-popping, spine-tingling, video game and laser tag experience ever. This state of the art truck is the hottest thing on wheels! Suncoast Bounce will bring their bounce houses and slides! Tickets for this family-friendly celebration AND the All You Can Eat Fish Fry are $9 for adults (age 13 and older) and $6 for children(age 12 and under)! To purchase a ticket to this great event, please call Micki Thompson at 727-210-4240 or e-mail her at mickit@211tampabay.org!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thank You Volunteers!

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares says thank you to our Call Center volunteers for doing such a great job assisting those holiday callers needing help & those callers who want to give help.  We appreciate your support and dedicated service.  If you would like to be a 2-1-1 TBC volunteer and are 18 years of age, visit the link below for an application or e-mail geric@211tampabay.org.
http://www.211tampabay.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=13

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Jamba Juice Time!



2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares has partnered with Jamba Juice-Clearwater Mall for a fundraising opportunity and will donate a portion of their proceeds from 11/1 through 11/7 to 2-1-1 TBC.  Tell your family & friends...."It's Jamba Juice Time" and be sure to mention our name when you make your purchase.  Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Jamba Juice Time!





Once again, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares has partnered with Jamba
Juice - Clearwater for a fundraising opportunity. Beginning Sunday, November 1st through Saturday, November 7th, Jamba Juice will donate a portion of its proceeds to 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares.
So please stop in and make a purchase to help support our agency. Just log on to our website ,
download the Jamba Juice flyer to present at the time of your purchase. Be sure to mention our name when you make your purchase.
Thank you for your support!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Do You Enjoy Helping People?

Are you interested in making a positive impact on the community? 2-1-1 has volunteer opportunities in our Call Center. This position provides information and referral to those callers needing help by linking them to vital resources in the community.
  • Volunteers are required to complete a Call Center Training plus 1 hour of call monitoring prior to assignment.
  • Qualifications for this position include computer skills, the ability to communicate verbally in a non-judgmental manner and the ability to work well with a diverse population.
  • Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of 2 hours per week - between the hours of 9am - 2pm.
  • Minimum age requirement for this volunteer position is 18 years of age.
This is a great opportunity to gain experience working in a Call Center environment and provides the volunteer with the ability to develop knowledge of programs in the community and provide information and referral on health and human service issues.

Interested volunteers are required to complete an application and participate in the interview and screening process. To complete our on-line application, please visit our website scroll to bottom of page to vol app. Once you have completed your application, please e-mail to geric@211tampabay.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. Fundraiser

We are happy to announce that 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. has partnered with Jamba Juice-Clearwater Mall for a fundraising opportunity.
Beginning Sunday, October 4th through Saturday, October 10th, Jamba Juice-Clearwater Mall will donate 20% of your entire purchase to 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc.
Stop in and purchase a beverage at Jamba Juice-Clearwater Mall located at 2689 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Suite 1840, Clearwater and help to support 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. Hours at this location are: Monday-Friday from 7am-9pm, Saturday from 8am-9pm, and Sunday from 9am-8pm.

Please present the attached flyer when you visit Jamba Juice
and mention 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc.
click here

Please share this information and a flyer with family, friends and neighbors.
Thank you for your support!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

FEMA Administrator Releases Preparedness Video Message

The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today released a Web video message highlighting the need for the public to be prepared for any emergency.

Personal Disaster Preparedness is Vital!

2-1-1's Important Role in Disaster

Publish Post

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). The goal of NIAM is to increase awareness about immunizations across the life span, from infants to the elderly.

August is the perfect time to remind family, friends, co-workers, and those in the community to catch up on their vaccinations. Parents are enrolling their children in school, students are entering college, and healthcare workers are preparing for the upcoming flu season.

Call 2-1-1 or visit our website at www.211tampabay.org to find out where you can get free or low cost immunizations for your children before school starts.

For more information from the CDC on immunizations, click here.

Back-to-School 2009

Is your child ready for school?
Summer will soon be coming to a close and the first day of school is right around the corner! Our 2-1-1 information services provide easy access to a broad variety of resources that can help families plan for their child's back-to-school needs including:

School supplies, immunizations, school physicals, before/after school care, internet safety for children, mentoring & tutoring programs, school information/calendars,/menus, health insurance for children, voluntary Pre-K, dental exams, health and nutrition information.

For more information on Back-to-School resources in Pinellas County, visit our website at www.211tampabay.org, and click on "Seasonal Activities"or dial 211. 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares also has pages on the Do Good Channel, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Anyone can subscribe, follow, or join our activity so they can stay connected. You will find links to our blogs and social networking sites on our website at the bottom of our homepage. Log on today and get connected!

Does Your Emergency Kit Contain Recalled Items?

Currently the United States is in the midst of one of the largest food recalls in American history. As Americans dig through their cabinets and refrigerators to remove potentially contaminated food associated with the recent peanut recall, we would like to also remind citizens to open and check their Emergency Preparedness Kits to remove any potentially harmful items from these also.

Because peanut products are often recommended as staples in Emergency Preparedness Kits due to their long shell life and because they are a good source of protein, we encourage all kit owners to look at their kits to ensure food products are not on the peanut recall list. Please keep in mind that the peanut product recall extends beyond peanut-flavored products. The following are some examples of foods also included in the recall that may contain peanuts:

  • Granola
  • Snack bars
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Trail Mix
  • Cookies
  • Noodles
  • Dog treats

A full list of recalled peanut products and what individuals should do with recalled items can be found on the Food and Drug Administration’s Web site, http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm.

In addition to checking for peanut-related items, please be sure to check for other items in your kit that may have expired, including medications, food and pet food, water, and other recalled items. The U.S. government provides information on unsafe, hazardous, or defective products ranging from consumer products, food, medicine, and cosmetics at www.recalls.gov.

Ensuring family and neighbors are prepared is an essential step in helping communities during and after an emergency. Families should have an Emergency Preparedness Kit in all locations that are frequented often, including homes, offices, schools, cars and day care facilities. These kits should hold a variety of essential items that are needed during a disaster, such as a flashlight, radio, cash, clothing, protective equipment, medicines, and of course food and water. For a complete list of Emergency Preparedness Kit recommended items, please visit http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/supplykit.shtm.


Source: The National Office of Citizen Corps, FEMA Community Preparedness Division

2-1-1 Your Disaster Connection

THE ROLE FOR 2-1-1 IN A DISASTER:

2-1-1’s primary mission during times of disaster is to maximize community access to critical resources. 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares can respond to crises such as a hurricane, flood, or other local or national catastrophe at a moment's notice. 2-1-1 continues to be an essential resource weeks or years after the crisis event, providing access to information without forcing residents to resort to finding and trying multiple phone numbers.

Pre and post disaster, 2-1-1’s focus expands to referrals for emergency information, to operational service providers and to disaster-specific services provided by the community in Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus Counties. 2-1-1 will provide current and accurate information regarding:
  • Disaster information and assistance,
  • Website access to disaster related information and assistance,
  • Maintaining the connection with local service providers regarding services available.

WHAT KIND OF RESOURCES CAN 2-1-1 PROVIDE?
  • Disaster Recovery Assistance;
  • Sand Bag Information;
  • Preparedness Resources;
  • Special Needs Registration Information;
  • Non-Profit Agency Openings/Closings;
  • Evacuation Zones Information;
  • Disaster Volunteering;
  • Local and State Resources.

TO ACCESS 211:

SIMPLY DIAL 2-1-1. A qualified Call Center Representative will provide you with resources in your community. If you are calling from a 3-digit blocked landline or cell phone or hear a rapid busy signal, please call 727.210.4211. 2-1-1 is a free confidential phone number available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week in 150 languages and is TTY/TDD accessible. Visit our website
www.211tampabay.org for more information.

Ready Kids - Disaster Preparedness

Disasters are often in the news and they can be scary. Try not to get too scared by being better prepared! Read what you can do to be ready in case a disaster comes your way.

Are you ready to put your planning skills to good use? Are you ready to help your family get prepared for the unexpected? Your family can use this Web site to create a plan that will help you be ready for many different kinds of unexpected situations!

You're already a great planner! Every day you get your homework done, get to music or sports practice on time, and plan where and when you'll meet up with friends. But how do you get prepared for emergencies?

It's simple! It just takes planning and practice, and these fun activities from Ready Kids can help! Click here to start your disaster planning adventure Ready Kids - Disaster Preparedness.

Business Civic Leadership Center Announces Important Disaster Resources

BCLC Announces Important Disaster Management Resources
Current Economy Makes Disaster Management Even More Critical

WASHINGTON, D.C. -The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) together with the Safe America Foundation today announced new resources, including a disaster recovery report, to strengthen community disaster management nationwide. The announcement comes after BCLC's two-day disaster workshop during which more than seventy officials from businesses, chambers of commerce, humanitarian organizations, and emergency management agencies practiced a coordinated response to a back-to-back disaster scenario.

The Chamber's report, A Critical Role: Top Ten Policies That States Need to Recover from Disasters, offers best practices for states to reduce the potential effects of disasters and expedite recovery. The report, sponsored by Allstate, is based on twenty-five years of research on various disaster recovery efforts across the United States and is available online.

"Disaster recovery is a complicated process, and, in these trying economic times, a disaster could be absolutely catastrophic to a community," said BCLC Executive Director Stephen Jordan. "But by building community resiliency, implementing effective response systems, and then helping communities build back better than before, the process can be successful."

Also announced at the press conference was the Safe America Foundation's 9/11 Drill Down for Safety. Around the country on September 11, 2009, in conjunction with businesses, community leaders, and government agencies, Safe America will host local preparedness drills. This day, sponsored by businesses including UPS, Motorola Foundation, and Office Depot Foundation, gives every American the opportunity to participate in and strengthen community resiliency.

"Companies are interested in maximizing resiliency and minimizing loss in the communities where they do business," said Jordan. "The resources announced today are examples of business helping local communities establish faster and smarter disaster management tools."

BCLC is a 501(c) 3 affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and manages the U.S. Chamber's Disaster Assistance and Recovery program. BCLC is a resource and voice for businesses and their social and philanthropic interests.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce | 1615 H Street, NW | Washington, DC 20062-2000

www.uschamber.com | www.chamberpost.com

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hand Sanitizer Recall

We know that a number of you are using hand sanitizers to help combat the spread of H1N1 influenza and other diseases, therefore we are sharing the following FDA warning:

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Skin Products Made by Clarcon Due to Bacterial Contamination Risk

Products marketed under various names

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah, is voluntarily recalling some skin sanitizers and skin protectants marketed under several different brand names because of high levels of disease-causing bacteria found in the product during a recent inspection. The FDA is warning consumers to not use any Clarcon products.

Consumers should not use any Clarcon products and should throw these products away in household refuse. Analyses of several samples of over-the-counter topical antimicrobial skin sanitizer and skin protectant products revealed high levels of various bacteria, including some associated with unsanitary conditions. Some of these bacteria can cause opportunistic infections of the skin and underlying tissues. Such infections may need medical or surgical attention, and may result in permanent damage. Examples of products that should be discarded include:

  • Citrushield Lotion
  • Dermasentials DermaBarrier
  • Dermassentials by Clarcon Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer
  • Iron Fist Barrier Hand Treatment
  • Skin Shield Restaurant
  • Skin Shield Industrial
  • Skin Shield Beauty Salon Lotion
  • Total Skin Care Beauty
  • Total Skin Care Work

Findings from the FDA’s recent inspection of the Clarcon facility are particularly concerning because the products are promoted as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds, damaged skin, and protect against various infectious diseases. The inspection uncovered serious deviations from FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm164863.htm

Federal Trade Commission - Debt Collection FAQs:

A Guide for Consumers

If you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly make it appear that you are, a debt collector may be contacting you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

Here are some questions and answers about your rights under the Act.

Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers / English

Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers / Spanish

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 Summer Youth Volunteer Guide

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. has updated its Summer Youth Volunteer Guide

Volunteering is the perfect way to bring about meaningful change within yourself and your community. The summer is a great opportunity for youth to volunteer. The 2009 Summer Youth Volunteer Guide is a listing of non-profit organizations throughout Pinellas that need assistance, enthusiasm and energy from the youth throughout the summer months and the school year. This guide will make the search for a perfect opportunity even easier. To view or print a copy of the guide, visit our website at
www.211tampabay.org. Click on “Guides”, "Pinellas County", and under “Volunteering” click on 2009 Summer Youth Volunteer Guide.

Pinellas County School Physicals - FREE

Free School Physicals for Pinellas County Students
(BY APPOINTMENT)

SUMMER SCHEDULE

WHO: Any school age child playing sports or entering a Pinellas County school.

WHERE: Northeast High School Clinic
5500 16th St N
St Petersburg, FL 33703

Phone: (727) 570-3025

WHEN: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays
June 9, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, & 25
July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, & 30
August 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20

TIME: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Please bring a physical form signed by a parent or have a parent present at the time of your physical. Also, if you are registering for entry into a Pinellas County school, please bring a copy of your shot record.

Summer Fun for the Kids: Free Movies

This summer will be full of cinematic fun for parents, children and babies, too!

For free family fun, bring blankets and snacks to watch movies outdoors. Fourth Fridays in Safety Harbor at the Gazebo. Third Saturdays at the Pier in St. Petersburg. The Dunedin Fine Arts Center will show flicks on Second Sundays that are free to members, followed by a kid's activity.

For cool escape with the little ones that is easy on the pocketbook, The Cobb Theater in Wesley Chapel will show free kids movies this summer on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. Groups are welcome. See the schedule.

We don't want to leave out the moms with babies! Pack up the bambino and get some needed time out of the house together. Enjoy a morning of pampering, a movie and some lunch at Cinebistro at Cobb Theater on scheduled Mondays at 10 a.m., starting June 22.

For the hottest info on fun family flicks all summer long, go to our Ongoing Events page at parentguide.com for schedules and details.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Expands Reach to Not-for-Profits

Through its grassroots movement to help businesses, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) is reaching out to not-for-profit organizations as awareness of their needs rise to the forefront.

In a recent study of their membership, the
Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) found close to 100 not-for-profit members on their roster. The Chamber then created a council to address the specific needs of these charitable organizations and after surveying the not-for-profit member organizations, it was determined that “Awareness with other Not-For-Profit organizations” was a top priority. In response to this request, the CRCC is announcing its first Introduction & Awareness Event for not-for-profit business organizations. The event will be held on Thursday, July 30th from 5:30-7:30pm at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center.
  • To talk about issues concerning them in today’s business climate,
  • To start to develop relations that can be mutually beneficial.

“We have to go outside the box. It's no longer just cocktails and networking,” Chamber President Bob Clifford said. Mr. Clifford encourages all business, for profit or not-for-profit, to reach out and make contacts. “Making [business] contacts is more crucial than ever today,” he said. The CRCC says all not-for-profits organizations are welcome. If you would like to attend you
MUST RSVP before the Monday July 27th deadline as space is limited. Please contact Cathy Germer, VP Business Assistance for the CRCC by calling 727 461-0011 ext 233 or via email at cgermer@clearwaterflorida.org. Established in 1922, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce set out with the vision to be the premier Voice of Business in the Clearwater region. Representing more than 1,400 member businesses, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) is one of the largest chambers in the Bay area and has become a large and powerful voice for its members through its ability to partner with other agencies and advocate on behalf of business and its members.CRCC’s mission is to enhance the business environment and promote economic health and growth in the Clearwater region. Visit http://www.clearwaterflorida.org/

Friday, June 19, 2009

United We Serve

Press Release

The Corporation for National and Community Service in coordination with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies has been preparing for the launch of an exciting new summer service initiative in partnership with the White House. Today, in avideo message, President Obama will officially announce the initiative, United We Serve,encouraging Americans to create meaningful change in their communities by engaging in service.

United We Serve will kick off on June 22 at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service and will run through the new National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11. All the tools for participating in this initiative can be found on the Corporation’s website, Serve.gov. Please go there today, if you haven’t already, to post your own volunteer projects.

In addition, we encourage you to spread the word about United We Serve by:
  • Sending a message about United We Serve, including a link to the President’s video, to your distribution lists.
  • Putting a link on your homepage to Serve.gov – banners and logos are available athttp://www.serve.gov/link.asp.
  • Issuing a press release about your participation in United We Serve – a sample release is available here: http://www.serve.gov/assets/documents/09_0616_sample
  • Sharing stories about how your volunteers are making a difference athttp://www.serve.gov/share.asp. We will highlight examples of exemplary service throughout this summer.

    Capacity is strained in community organizations across the country, so today we are also calling on Americans to take a leadership role in recruiting and organizing their friends, family, and neighbors to develop their own service projects that address pressing community needs in partnership with local organizations. To assist you, Serve.gov features toolkits for developing projects in education, health, energy and the environment, and community renewal.

    This will be a very exciting 81 days. But, of course, the call to service will not end on September 11. We hope that Americans who serve this summer will stay engaged in the ongoing work of strengthening our communities. America’s new foundation will be built through an ethic of service and the personal commitment of individuals willing to give of themselves to create a better future.

    In Service,

    Secretary Shaun Donovan

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Embracing Our Changing Community: Responding to Cultural Differences

On Friday, July 31, 2009 the Hispanic Leadership Council will be hosting their annual conference at St. Petersburg College. This conference will provide a forum for conversation on current issues facing teachers, staffs, students, families, social workers, mental health counselors and other community members and will identify possible solutions for working with the community. There will be several presentations and forum that will discuss how multicultural diversity and accelerated changes are current reality in our community.

This conference will emphasize a principle approach to address issues based on the active involvement and collaboration of staff, students and community members as well as highlight the best practices that can lead to providing positive outcomes in our schools and community agencies.

Pre-Registration $20 (by July 23, 2009)
Late Registration $25

Register on line at: www.jwbpinellas.org or call Karen Sandini (727) 547-5680 for more information. Registration includes: light breakfast and boxed lunch.

July 31, 2009 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
St Petersburg College
2465 Drew Street
Clearwater, FL 33765

Clothes To Kids - New St. Petersburg Store

Clothes To Kids Announces New St. Petersburg Store Location

St. Petersburg, Florida Jennifer Silva, Executive Director of Clothes To Kids, announced today that the organization has selected a location for its new St. Petersburg store. Clothes To Kids (CTK), whose mission is to provide new and quality used clothing to low-income, school-age children in Pinellas County free of charge, has been operating for nearly six years out of a single location in Clearwater. The addition of the second store will allow CTK to better fulfill its mission by making its services more accessible to the more than 25,000 eligible children who live south of Ulmerton Road. The new CTK store, slated to open in August of this year, is located in the Cornerstone Center at 3251 Third Avenue North, Suite 145 South, in St. Petersburg.

The CTK staff hopes to open the doors to the new St. Petersburg store in time for back-to-school shopping in August. To be eligible to shop at CTK for free clothing, a child must be enrolled in school in any grade Kindergarten through 12, reside in Pinellas County and in financial need. Those children who receive free or reduced lunch through the Pinellas County School system automatically qualify to shop at CTK. A child may also be referred to CTK by a teacher, guidance counselor, social service agency, place of worship or law enforcement agency (for more information on eligibility and referrals, visit www.ClothesToKids.org).

For more information on Clothes To Kids, please visit www.ClothesToKids.org.

Safe Start Partnership Center - Helping Children Feel Safe

The Safe Start Partnership Center offers services to children ages 0-6 years that have been exposed to violence and their families. The Safe Start Partnership Center is comprised of 5 partner agencies, Help-A-Child, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, The Haven, CASA and the Pinellas Co. Health Department. Services are private and confidential and provided free of charge. Provided services include: case management, crisis counseling and intervention, clinic assessment of young children exposed to violence, information and education, referrals to community resources, training and consultation. For more information about the Safe Start Partnership Center, call 727-544-3900 ext. 152 or visit their website at www.helpachild.org

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Senior Grant - Home Repairs

Grant Program Available to Seniors for Home Repairs

The Senior Grant Program provides funding for home repairs up to $20,000 for improvements such as a leaking roof, windows and doors, electrical systems and more. Qualifying, low income homeowners age 62 and older are eligible. For enrollment, please contact Pinellas County Community Development at (727) 464-8210.

The Local Community Housing Corporation processes these Grants in Tarpon Springs and Dunedin. If you have interested home owners who meet the requirements in Tarpon or Dunedin please have them call here and ask for Kim at extension 208. For more information: www.pinellascounty.org/community


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Storm Preparedness for Families with Children

As Floridians enter into hurricane season it’s important to remember that children probably will need special care and attention during this time. Children’s fears can stem from their busy imaginations, and adults should take their feelings seriously.

When talking to your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable. Be aware that after a disaster, children most fear that:

  • They will be separated from family, and they will be left alone;
  • The event will happen again; or
  • Someone will be injured or killed.

Assemble a kit for your child, including:

  • A few favorite books, crayons and paper
  • Puzzles, a board game, deck of cards
  • Two favorite small toys, such as a doll or action figure, a stuffed animal
  • Favorite blanket, pillow
  • Pictures of family and pets
  • Other special items that will comfort children

Children’s immunizations should be up-to date to protect from vaccine-preventable diseases, including an unexpected outbreak during a disaster. Keep a copy of your children’s complete immunization histories in your disaster kit attached to the family emergency information. All family members should also record the date of their last tetanus-diphtheria shot in this record as well.

Communicating with children about disasters

Here, from the Pinellas County Health Department, are some tips on communicating with children and adolescents during an emergency situation:

  • Remember that your words and actions can provide reassurance to a child who feels afraid.
  • Assure your children that the family is safe. Make sure children know that the family circle is strong.
  • Share your family disaster plan, so that children know that you’ve taken steps to ensure their safety.
  • Discussion is critical. Adults need to help children understand the emergency or disaster. More information is available at www.aap.org.

For more information, please contact your pediatrician, health care provider, local county health department or visit www.doh.state.fl.us or www.FloridaDisaster.org. The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557

The mission of the Pinellas County Health Department is to promote, protect and improve the health and safety of our community through public and private partnerships in an environment that respects diversity. www.PinellasHealth.com

Safe Steps to Protect Florida's Children

A Parent's Guide to Online Safety, Child Abduction, and Runaway Issues

Message from the Office of the Attorney General

Parents and Guardians, The safety of Florida’s citizens, especially our most vulnerable, is a top priority of the Office of the Attorney General. It is for this purpose that we are presenting a new tool that deals with the safety of our children. 

SAFE STEPS is designed with parents in mind as they pursue their primary responsibility of protecting the youngest members of their family. Over the past year, we went into elementary schools throughout the state to train children - as well as their parents - on child abduction prevention strategies. They were introduced to the concept of a “bad stranger” based on a person’s actions instead of their appearance. An important area where parents must be involved with their children is the use of the Internet. It is not uncommon for young children to fall prey to Internet predators who have the influence and the ability to lure children into situations and circumstances that are harmful. News reports have detailed instances where a child has been lured out of their home, across state lines, and even across international borders. SAFE STEPS can assist in minimizing the risks so that families will not suffer a similar fate. This publication contains valuable information and resources that may be of assistance to you and your children. We hope you find this useful. 

Office of the Attorney General PL-01, 
The Capitol Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050 
850-414-3300 

Child Car Seat Guidelines

Give children the best protection as long as possible - Child car seats protect well, but only if used correctly.

* Babies up to 20 lbs. (and under one year of age) should use a rear-facing Infant Seat.

* Babies weighing 20 lbs. before one year of age, or if baby’s head is one inch from top of Infant Seat should use a rear-facing Convertible Seat that goes to 30 lbs. or more.

* Children over one year of age (20-40 lbs.) should use a Forward-Facing Seat with harness.

* Children over 40 lbs. (to a maximum of 80-100 lbs.) should use a Booster Seat to make the lap and shoulder belt fit properly.

* Use Booster Seat until child is about 4/9” tall or can pass the 5-Step Test:

  1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
  2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
  3. Does the lap belt stay on the top part of the thighs?
  4. Is the shoulder belt centered on the chest and shoulder?
  5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

For more detailed information, visit American Academy of Pediatrics’ Car Seat Safety Guide at

www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm

Monday, May 25, 2009

National Hurricane Preparedness Week May 24th-30th

History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2009 will be held May 24th through May 30th.

The goal of this Hurricane Preparedness Web site is to inform the public about the hurricane hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take ACTION. This information can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water. Visit the website at Hurricane Preparedness Week to learn more about getting prepared for the upcoming storm season.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Clothes To Kids, Inc. Plays a Critical Role in the Community

Here is a grat community resources for you to consider. 

Clothes To Kids, Inc. provides new and quality used clothing to low-income, school-age children in Pinellas County, free of charge. In 2008 a total of 9,013 wardrobes were distributed as well as 44,728 pairs of socks, 43,886 pairs of underwear, 35,052 pants/shorts, 4,079 jackets and 7,424 pairs of shoes. For more information visit their website at www.clothestokids.org.

Internet Safety for Kids

Internet Safety for Kids

There was a day when parents only had to worry about "Street Smarts". If our kids had Street Smarts we didn't have to worry. Then along came the Internet. The Internet is a wondrous tool. It exposes our children to new ideas, cultures and people. But, it also exposes them to dangers.

In addition to resting a bit easier knowing that you have educated your kids to stay safe you will have the satisfaction of being involved in this increasingly important part of their lives. In today's hustle and bustle and with computers and the Internet becoming such an important part of all of our lives, it's a journey you can take together. The Internet really is presenting parents with the opportunity for "quality time for the new millennium."

Online Safety Guidelines for Parents

  1. Personal information stays personal. While this is an important rule for children it's also an important rule for parents. Giving information on your family and your children to the wrong person could be dangerous.
  2. Make sure your child doesn't spend all of his or her time on the computer.
  3. People, not computers, should be their best friends and companions.
  4. Keep the computer in a family room, kitchen or living room, not in your child's bedroom. This way parents can monitor what is happening when the child is online. Knowing you are watching, kids are less likely to put themselves in risky situations and you can safely oversee what's going on.
  5. Learn enough about computers so you can enjoy them together with your kids.
  6. Watch your children when they're online and see where they go.
  7. Make sure that your children feel comfortable coming to you with questions. This should apply to all situations including the computer. If your children feel they can trust you they are more likely to come to you with tough problems and questions.
  8. Keep kids out of chatrooms or IRCs unless they are monitored.
  9. Encourage discussions between you and your child about what they enjoy online. This way you can direct your children to safe sites that fit in with their interests and it helps our children like we want an active role in their lives.
  10. Discuss these rules, get your children to agree to adhere to them, and post them near the computer as a reminder.
  11. Help them find a balance between computing and other activities.
  12. Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer.
  13. Get to know their "online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends.
  14. Warn them that people may not be what they seem to be. I can say I'm a 12 year old boy named Billy but I'm not. The Internet provides a cover for people to put on whatever persona's they desire. Predators often pose as children to gain our children's trust.
  15. Passwords: Don't give out your passwords and change them frequently.

Excerpt from www.wiredkids.org

Florida Kid Care

What Is Florida KidCare?

Florida KidCare is a new health insurance program for Florida children age 0-18. There are several types of insurance within KidCare to meet the needs of your child.

Who's Eligible?

  • Children age 0-18 who don't have health insurance now
  • Your child may be eligible even if both parents work
  • Families may make application for unborn children prior to the birth of the baby so that coverage can begin at birth

How Do I Apply for My Child?

The application process consists of completing a simple, one page form. The form can be obtained from the Pinellas County Health Department, the Healthy Kids office, the school, the Department of Children & Families or by calling 1-888-540-KIDS (1-888-540-5437). The application is quick and easy to fill out. If you have any questions or difficulties, call our toll-free hotline.

How Much Does It Cost?

  • Some families pay $20 a month
  • Some families pay more or none at all

What Types of Things (or Benefits) Are Covered by Florida KidCare?

Florida KidCare offers a complete set of health benefits for your child, such as:

  • Doctor's visits
  • Hospital care
  • Prescribed drugs
  • Lab tests
  • Behavioral or mental health

Who Provides Health Care?

Florida KidCare uses licensed health care providers and health plans who provide high-quality care to your children.

Important Numbers to Call:

Call either Florida KidCare at 1-888-540-KIDS (1-888-540-5437) or The Pinellas County Health Department at (727) 824-6900 or visit http://www.floridakidcare.org/.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pfizer offers 70 medications free to unemployed

Pfizer Inc. is unveiling a new program Thursday that will let people who have lost their jobs and health insurance keep taking some widely prescribed Pfizer medications - including Lipitor and Viagra - for free for up to a year.

The world's biggest drugmaker will provide more than 70 of its prescription drugs at no cost to unemployed, uninsured Americans, regardless of their prior income, who lost jobs since Jan. 1 and have been on the Pfizer drug for three months or more.

Applicants will have to sign a statement that they are suffering financial hardship and provide a "pink slip" or similar employer notice. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 31, with medication provided for up to 12 months after approval - or until the person becomes insured again.

Starting Thursday, patients can call a toll-free number, 866-706-2400, to sign up, and those whose drugs are not included in the program will be referred to other company aid programs. Starting July 1, patients can also apply through the Web site, http://www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com , which has information about the other Pfizer aid programs.

Free Glasses to Kids at Target

In case you have a child or know of someone who does (ages 12 and under), they can get a FREE pair of eyeglasses from Target.Target is doing a special promotion for their optical service. It could end any time but will definitely end no later than April 29th. Children 12 and under can get a free pair of glasses.

They need to bring in a valid prescription for glasses from their doctor and Target will let the child pick from about 40 different frames. They will place their best lenses in the frames which are non-glare and scratch resistant and normally sell for $200.00. There are no income guidelines. Any child 12 or under is eligible.

You can find stores with optical departments at www.target.com to confirm they are participating before making a trip to their store.

Bullying

Pinellas Schools have a zero tolerence policy for bullying due to a new state law. You can view that new law by clicking here.  If you or your child has been bullyed in a Pinellas County School, you should report the incident and you can report those instances here. If you are in Citrus or Hernando County Schools, please contact your school administrator to file a report.

Bully has been getting lots of press these days from schoool zero tolerance policies to state and federal legilsation conversations. 2-1-1 TBC has looked high and low to find some great resources for kids and parents reagrding bully. 

Stop Bullky Kids Now - The US Department of Health and Human Services
http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/

Publications Regarding School Bully
http://www.preventchildabuse.org/index.shtml

Help Children Deal With Bullying - Mayo Clinic Children's Health 

No Bully - San Franscico Initiative

Articles on Bullying in School - National School Safety Center

Bully Police - Watch Dog Advocacy Group

Bullies to Buddies Program - Bullying Alternative

Bullying: Tips for parents and victims

Every day, many children stay home because of bullying. Every child deserves an environment where they can develop without fear of aggression or cruelty.

Tips for parents:

  1. Be a good listener to your child.
  2. Be a positive role model - respect others and stand up for yourself when others don't respect you.
  3. Teach your child to walk away and get help from an adult if they witness bullying.
  4. Build your child's self confidence. Encourage them to set and reach goals.
  5. Use positive discipline and teach nonviolence.
  6. If you have concerns, consult a professional for support.

Tips for victims and witnesses...

Many children who are bullied keep it a secret. They may think telling will make matters worse, so know the warning signs. A victim may:

  • Seem quiet or depressed.
  • Have bruises or other injuries.
  • Come home with missing or damaged belongings.
  • Ask for more lunch money.
  • Loose interest in school or do poorly in school.

If parents learn that their child is being bullied, they can do the following:

  • Stay calm. Tell the child that nobody deserves to be bullied.
  • Ask why your child thinks he or she is being bullied.
  • Think of peaceful solutions together.

Encourage your child to:

  • Stick with a group. Avoid being alone in "target" areas like locker rooms, restrooms or empty classrooms, and avoid places where the bully hangs out.
  • Don't fight back or seek revenge.
  • Be assertive and confident. Use body language to show you are not afraid.
  • Agree with the bully. Say, "You're right." Then walk away.
  • Tell the bully to stop or walk away and get help from an adult. Report all bullying incidents.
  • Teach your child not to be a bystander. When no one speaks up, the bully learns he or she can get away with it.

Source: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/publications/downloads/bullying.pdf

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

H1N1 Product Scams

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission are alerting the public to be wary of Internet sites and other promotions for products that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.  The agencies are also advising operators of offending web sites that they must take prompt action to correct and/or remove promotions of these fraudulent products or face enforcement action.

“Consumers who purchase products to treat the novel 2009 H1N1 virus that are not approved, cleared or authorized by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of influenza risk their health and the health of their families,” said Michael Chappell, acting FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. “In conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA has developed an aggressive strategy to identify, investigate, and take regulatory or criminal action against individuals or businesses that wrongfully promote purported 2009 H1N1 influenza products in an attempt to take advantage of the current flu public health emergency.”

Products that are offered for sale to the public with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure infections caused by the H1N1 influenza virus that have not  been proven to be safe and effective for these uses must be carefully evaluated. Many of these deceptive products are being sold over the Internet via illegitimate web sites. The operators of these web sites take advantage of the public’s concerns about H1N1 influenza and their desire to protect themselves and their families.  These fraudulent products come in all varieties and could include dietary supplements or other food products, or products purporting to be drugs, devices or vaccines.  Such fraudulent products will not prevent the transmission of the virus or offer effective treatments against infections caused by the H1N1 influenza virus.

“The last thing any consumer needs right now is to be conned by someone selling fraudulent flu remedies,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.  “The FTC will act swiftly against companies that resort to deceptive advertising.”

Consumers are urged to contact their health care providers or legitimate medical supply services if they have questions or concerns about medical products or personal protective equipment. Consumers are also urged to visit the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web sites for more information about this emergency, and to determine which products the FDA has approved, cleared or authorized for use to diagnose, treat, prevent, mitigate or cure infections caused by H1N1 influenza virus. 

Consumers should also visit FDA's web site for tips about how to protect themselves when buying medicines online:  http://www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide/

The two antiviral drugs approved by the FDA for treatment and prophylaxis of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus are Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) and Relenza (zanamivir).  Tamiflu and Relenza, in addition to their approved labeling, have Emergency Use Authorizations that describe specific authorized uses during this public health emergency.

For more information about FDA-approved antiviral drugs for influenza, see http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/antivirals/influenza/default.htm.

For more information on CDC recommendations regarding use of antiviral drugs against the current novel 2009 H1N1 influenza strain, see http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/?s_cid=swineFlu_outbreak_001.

For more information about personal protective equipment see http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ppe/.

At present, there are no licensed vaccines approved for this new H1N1 influenza virus.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Education Resources

The following links have great on-line checklists about communicating with and educating staff members and persons in the communities that you serve rteagrding the H1N1 Virus.

You can download the short versions of the checklists on the top of the weblink pages but if you scroll down you can complete the more in-depth versions of the checklists.

Here are the links:

http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/workplaceplanning/businesschecklist.html
http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/community/faithcomchecklist.html

If we find out other verified resources, we will post them here. 

Letter Carrier Food Drive

Every second Saturday in May letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America deliver much more than mail when they walk and drive along their postal routes. They also collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive – the largest one-day food drive in the nation and probably the world. 

In Pinellas, food will be unloaded from the back of the postal trucks in Clearwater/ Dunedin and placed in large postal boxes for transport to the Mallory Powell Center at 1521 E Druid Rd.

The food tends to come in all at once which is why we need we need folks to move the food as quickly as food banks can offer the trucks for transport to MPC.

The food comes in first to the post offices so peak times are generally noon-2pm and 3 pm to 5:30 pm.

Volunteers and donations are welcome and EVERYBODY can participate.

TO DONATE:

All citizens need do is to place a box or can of non-perishable food next to their mailbox before their letter carrier delivers mail on Saturday, May 9. The carrier will do all the rest. The food is taken back to a postal station, sorted, and then delivered to an area food bank or pantry. There it is available for needy families.

TO VOLUNTEER:

1) Dunedin Post Office from 12 noon to 5:30 pm. Dunedin Post Office is on CR1 just north of Main St in Dunedin – just show up.

2) Downtown Clearwater Post Office from 12 noon to 5:30 – just show up.

3) Salvation Army - Main Social Service Campus ( Mallory-Powell Center) at 1521 E Druid Rd, Clearwater from around 1 pm through 6 pm.   (Folks can volunteer for one hour, two, hours, or as long as they are able/willing). People interested in volunteering should contact either JoAnn Bruner, Volunteer Coordinator at 725-9777 or Kip Corriveau, Director of Social Services at 446-6507.

4) RCS Food Bank will need volunteers the same day.  They have three afternoon shifts available: 1:30-3:30 / 3:00-5:00 / 5:00-7:00. Those interested may contact Rachel Thurber, RCS Volunteer Coordinator at (727) 242-4606.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Update

The Pinellas County Health Department continues to be the lead agency for the county’s response.  Emergency Management is monitoring the situation in coordination with them as well as with the State Department of Emergency Management.

While the number of confirmed cases in the United States continues to rise, no cases have been reported in Florida. The only reported fatalities from the swine flu have been in Mexico.

While Swine Flu (aka H1N1 Influenza) can be a serious public health threat, but at this time there are no confirmed cases in Florida. The public should be advised to go about their normal daily activities, but exercise standard precautions such as hand washing and proper cough/sneeze technique(for example cough/sneeze in sleeve).

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a set of standard precautions and other information available at: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

Citizens who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should avoid public gathering places, and contact their primary healthcare provider for further advice. There are no local school or government office closures planned at this time.

General public/community inquires should be routed to the Disease Control Division of the Pinellas County Health Department at 727-824-6932

Monday, April 27, 2009

Florida Department of Health is Ready to Respond to Swine Flu

While no cases have been identified in Florida at this time, swine flu has been confirmed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“This is a situation where we must all be on the alert,” said Dr. Ana Viamonte Ros, Florida’s State Surgeon General. “We have increased our surveillance and we’re telling doctors that with flu season waning, if they see patients with sudden onset of high fever and a cough or sore throat, they should collect a specimen for testing.”

Dr. Viamonte Ros said the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and county health department have response plans and have put them into play. “Our state laboratories have the equipment necessary and our personnel are trained in identifying influenza samples.  We have increased surveillance, alerted doctors and are working with our local county health departments,” she said.

Florida has prepared for influenza events: 

·        All state laboratories have the facilities to safely identify influenza samples. 

·        The state has almost 100 sentinel physicians who report any unusual influenza-like activity to DOH and the CDC. 

·        We have the ability to monitor the sale of over the counter drugs, as an early warning sign for increased influenza activity.


The State Surgeon General provided these recommendations:

·        As always, individuals with respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections, including influenza, to others in the community.

·        Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill.

·        Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

·        Wash your hands frequently to lessen the spread of respiratory illness.

·        If you have cough, fever and fatigue, possibly with diarrhea and vomiting, you should contact your physician or health care provider.

Swine flu viruses are not transmitted through food and you cannot get swine flu from eating pork products.  The infections appear to spread from person to person.  Anti-viral drugs can reduce the consequences of the flu, if taken early. 


Dr. Viamonte Ros said Florida is receiving regular updates from the CDC, and is working with local county health departments to monitor the situation and immediately follow up on any suspected cases.  The CDC has created a web page with information at www.cdc.gov/swineflu .