Monday, December 20, 2010













                                                                                                                                                             Staff celebrated our 2-1-1 TBC volunteers at a fun-filled Holiday Treat Buffet last Friday, December 17th.  It was a celebration to thank our volunteers for their dedicated work all year.  As holiday music played in the background, volunteers and staff moved around a buffet table filled with cookies, cakes, candies and hot chocolate to warm us on this chilly day!  
 We wish our volunteers a very Happy Holiday Season.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2-1-1 TBC's Recipients of the President's Volunteer Service Award

JoAnn Celso & Geri Costello
JoAnn Celso, a 2-1-1 TBC Call Center Volunteer received the President's Volunteer Award on October 27th from Geri Costello, Coordinator of the 2-1-1 TBC Volunteer Program.   JoAnn started with 2-1-1 TBC on October 21, 2009 assisting our Call Center staff by answering basic needs type calls and has helped with Outreach Events.  JoAnn is a dedicated volunteer, and with 114.15 volunteer hours and is the recipient of the Bronze President's Volunteer Award.

Carol Williams
 Carol Williams, a Volunteer Admin Assistant, started with 2-1-1 TBC on October 28, 2009.  She helps with many special projects and Outreach Events throughout the year. Carol is a conscientious and dedicated volunteer.  With 115 volunteer hours, Carol is the recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Bronze Award.

Congratulations to Carol and JoAnn on this wonderful achievement and for all their dedicated hours of volunteer service they so generously give to us and to our community.












Monday, October 25, 2010

HoneyBaked Ham Holiday Fundraiser with 2-1-1

We are happy to announce that 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares is partnering with HoneyBaked Ham Company for a fundraiser from Monday, October 25th through Wednesday, November 17th.

This is a great opportunity to get a head start on your holiday shopping.  Thanksgiving dinner, or how about donating a gift card to your local charity.  Local organizations have made out their wish lists in hopes that you'll make the season a little brighter for our less fortunate neighbors.

Here's how it works.  Purchase a gift card and 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares will receive 20% of the proceeds.  You can purchase either a $10, $25, $35, or $50 gift card which can be used any time of the year at any of HoneyBaked Ham locations nation wide.  You can even order from their catalog or online at www.honeybakedonline.com.  Use the card for yourself or for gifts.

If you would like to purchase a gift card, please contact Geri Costello either by phone 727-210-4209 or e-mail at geric@211tampabay.org.  Gift cards will be distributed beginning Friday, November 19th.  Please make your check payable to 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc.

Share wonderful food and great times by purchasing a HoneyBaked Ham gift card.  
Thank you for your support.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlFqEagiqiw&feature=channel

Monday, October 18, 2010

2-1-1 TBC AWARDED $350,000 GRANT

On October 6, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. with a $350,000 grant for social services and benefits enrollment coordination in Pinellas County.  The awarding agency within HHS, the Office of Community Services (OCS), announced that 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. was one of five grantees in the nation receiving one-year grants totaling $1.7 million.

"On behalf of our Board, staff and volunteers, we are honored to receive this very important grant to expand 2-1-1 services throughout the community," said Grant Petersen, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. Board Chairman.  "We are pleased to be partnering with three outstanding local organizations - Childs Park YMCA, Daystar and the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB)."

This one year demonstration grant will support two 2-1-1 access centers located at the Childs Park YMCA, Daystar Life Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Both access centers will be staffed with 2 Benefit and Social Services Coordinators that will help individuals and families access multiple benefits and services of government entities as well as local social service programs such as Florida Kid Care, Child Support Enforcement, Food Stamps, Head Start, Veterans Services, Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), Medicaid, Medicare, Safelink Wireless Florida, Community Voice Mail, etc.

"2-1-1 is flooded every day with calls from individuals and families having a difficult time making ends meet..  Many times they also face challenges when it comes to accessing federal, state and local benefits programs," said Micki Thompson, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. Executive Director.  "The mission of 2-1-1 is to connect people with local resources and we are thrilled that this demonstration project will enhance our ability to connect many more individuals and families to those services!"

"There are many eligible families who are reluctant to obtain assistance at social services offices simply because they may not understand the process," said Yolanda Butler, acting director for the Office of Community Services.  "The release of these funds will help eliminate some of those barriers and assist families in meeting their basic needs."  

"Daystar Life Center is excited to be a part of this initative," said Jane Walker, Daystar Life Center, Executive Director.  "Our mission is to serve people in need of emergency basic needs.  This grant will enhance our ability to directly link folks to services that can keep them healthy, safe and secure in our community."

"Our intent for the Childs Park YMCA is to provide holistic services.  To offer a variety of resources that would not only provide K-12 after school academic programs, positive and productive teen mentoring programs, but also offer support for our seniors, single parents, and grandparents...something for the whole community.  I just can't stop imagining that this partnership is one of many steps toward building a strong and unified community," said Deborah Figgs-Sanders, Executive Director of the Childs Park branch with the YMCA.   

"We were pleased to coordinate with our community partners on this grant," said Juvenile Welfare Board Executive Director D. Gay Lancaster.  "Given these perilous economic times, now more than ever we need to work with outstanding organizations like 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc., the Childs Park YMCA, and Daystar Life Center to bring resources to Pinellas County."

Other grantees receiving awards included:
  • Amador-Tuolomne Community Resources, Inc., Jackson, CA
  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Maine Community Action Association, Augusta, ME
  • PathWays PA, Inc., Homes, PA
 If you would like to help our cause, you can donate, volunteer or request a speaker by visiting our website at www.211tampabay.org
                               

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September is National Preparedness Month!


National Preparedness Month is designed to encourage you to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in your home, business and community.

September 2010 is the seventh annual National Preparedness Month and this year will focus on encouraging everyone to work together to take concrete actions toward emergency preparedness to help themselves, their neighbors, and their communities be Ready.

Visit www.Ready.gov today to learn how to get a kit, make a plan, be informed and get involved!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2-1-1 TBC Announces its New 211Connects iPhone App

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. is excited to announce its new 211Connects iPhone App available for download at the iTunes App store.  Search 211Connects to find a local non-profit health and human service organization in the Tampa Bay area that you can help or that can help you whether you are looking to help give back by volunteering, donating, adopting, building a house, or mentoring a child.  211Connects lists more than 4,500 local health and human service programs serving Pinellas, Citrus and Hernando Counties in Florida.

With this application you can:
  • Search for Resources by name and have the results ordered by relevancy or distance from your current location.*
  • Save Resources as favorites for viewing later.
  • View the Resource in maps, call the Resource*, and view their website.
  • See general information and primary services offered.
  • Share the Resource using SMS* or Email.
  • Quickly identify from the search results which Resources are handicap accessible and shelters.
*Supported devices include iPhone 3GS & 4, iPod Touch, and iPad

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. is the first 2-1-1 organization in the United States and Canada to provide the community with a mobile directory application as an alternative to going to a website to access health and human resource information or utilizing a paper directory or guide.

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. also has pages on the Network for Good, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and You Tube.  On our websites at www.211tampabay.org or www.211connects.org, you can also sign up for our electronic newsletter.  Help our cause by donating, volunteering or requesting a speaker.  Log on today and get connected!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Come Join the 2-1-1 TBC Volunteer Team!

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares has several volunteer opportunities available. Volunteering with 2-1-1 TBC is a great opportunity to gain experience and provides you with the ability to develop knowledge of programs in our community.

To join our volunteer team, click the link below to fill out the Volunteer Registration Form.    
http://www.211tampabay.org/Get-Involved/volunteer/Volunteer-Registration-Form.  Once we receive it, we will contact you to set up an interview and schedule you for one of our upcoming orientations.

Volunteer positions currently available:

Call Center Volunteer
This position provides information and referral to those callers in Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties needing help by linking them to vital resources in the community.

Basic Computer Skills
3 hours Orientation and 4 hour Call Center training
Minimum 2 volunteer hours each week
Must be 18 years of age

 
Resource Assistant Volunteer
Assist 2-1-1 TBC Resource Department by verifying critical information on existing database programs or service information.

Must be computer literate
Complete 3 hours Orientation and 6 hr Resource Assistant training
Mimimum 4 volunteer hours per week
Must be 18 years of age

Foreign Language Ambassador
 Assist 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares in promoting the value and importance of 2-1-1 to the non-English speaking community through translation and/or community outreach.

Must be fluent in Spanish
Complete 3 hours Orientation
Computer Skills (Microsoft & Google products) and use of internet
Valid Florida Drivers License & proof of automobile insurance needed for outreach events
Must be 18 years of age


We look forward to hearing from you soon!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Free Back-to-School Events from St. Pete to Tarpon Springs

School is right around the corner! Make sure your child is ready to go. Don't forget, there are still lots of free events happening in the next couple weeks from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs! Children can receive free:

- Immunizations
- Phyiscals
- School supplies
- Backpacks
- And more

Community Health Center of Tarpon Springs
Saturday, August 7th 8:00am - Noon
247 S. Huey Avenue, Tarpon Springs

Event Description: Free school supplies and backpacks (while supplies last)

Back-to-School Care Fair
Saturday, August 7th 8:00am - 2:00pm
Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center (medical screenings
1344 22nd Street S. St. Petersburg
Midtown Youth & Family Enrichment Center (agency forum/school supplies)
1201 22nd Street S., St. Petersburg

Event Description: Children in the company of legal guardians can receive free physicals, immunizations, vision screenings, dental screenings, backpacks and school supplies.

Back to School Fest
Saturday, August 7th, 8:30am - Noon
North Greenwood Recreation & Aquatic Center
900 N. Martin Luther King Ave., Clearwater

Event Description: Over 700 free backpacks, entertainment, lunches, supplies and wellness exams

Tools for Schools

Saturday, August 7th 9:00am - 1:00pm
Great Explorations Children's Museum
1925 4th Street N., St. Petersburg

Event Description: In addition to getting a backpack, school children and youth will be able to get a haircut, get a physical, receive a clothing referral, get their face painted, have lunch, and have access to all of Great Explorations Children's Museum! Eligibility is based on agency referrals made due to need - children must have a referral to get a backpack. The referral must be from an agency on their letterhead. For more info, contact Michael at 727-543-2600.

Free School Supplies (must pre-register by Aug. 6th)
Tuesday, August 10th 11:00am
People That Love Mission
817 5th Avenue N., St. Petersburg

Event Description: Free backpack with school supplies for pre-registered youth. Parents can sign-up starting July 20th, Mon-Fri 10:45am - 2:00pm. Each applicant must prove dependent children (S.S., birth certificate, etc.) for which they will receive a numbered ticket. A parent or guardian must accompany the children to the event and turn in the numbered ticket to receive school supplies. For more information, contact 727-820-0775.

Operation Backpack
Saturday, August 14th, 10:00am - 2:00pm
United Methodist Church of Tarpon Springs
501 E. Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs

Event Description: Games, haircuts and physicals.

Community Health Center of Pinellas Park

Saturday, August 14th 8:00am - Noon
6237 66th Street N., Pinellas Park

Event Description: Free school supplies and backpacks (while supplies last).

Community Health Center of Clearwater
Saturday, August 14th 8:00am - Noon
1020 Lakeview Rd., Clearwater

Event Description: Free school supplies and backpacks (while supplies last).

Back to School Children's Health & Safety Fair
Saturday, August 14th 9:00am - 1:00pm (must register for physicals by 11:30am)
Prince of Peach Lutheran Church
455 Missouri Avenue, Largo

Event Description: Free school physicals (excludes sports physicals and immunizations), Boy/Girl Scout registration, face painting, healthy snacks and activities.

9th Annual Back-2-School Celebration
Saturday, August 21st 11:00am -2:00pm (must register for backpacks by Aug. 13th)
Safety Harbor City Park
940 7th Street S., Safety Harbor

Event Description: Service areas: 34695, 34677, 33759, 33761. Registrations must be completed at Safety Harbor Neighborhood Family Center, 1003 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Street N., Safety Harbor. Proof of Safety Harbor residency required (lease agreement, utility bill or power bill). 700 backpacks will be distributed to school-age children.

The 15th Annual All About Kids Back to School Bash
Saturday, August 21st 10:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday, August 22nd Noon - 4:00pm
Tampa Convention Center
333 S. Franklin Street, Tampa

Event Description: Admission is $9 for adults; children 12 and under admitted free. Back to School Bash features 100,000 square feet of interactive activities and giveaways for children of all ages. For more info, visit www.BackToSchoolBash.com

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back-to-School 2010

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

This is also a great time of the year to provide an invaluable resource to your community. You can get involved by donating school supplies for children in need.  These donations can include such items as shoes, pencils, paper, notebooks, tissues, 3-ring binders, etc.  Local agencies welcome these items, and your generosity can bring brighter futures to children in need.

For more on Back-to-School resources in Pinellas County, visit our website at www.211connects.org to search our online database by clicking on "Get Help" or you can dial 2-1-1.    http://www.211connects.org/

Thursday, July 22, 2010

10th Anniversary of 2-1-1 Designation by FCC

Ten years ago this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined a scarce resource, 2-1-1 –a remaining 3-digit abbreviated dialing code—should be used for access to community information and referral. Just as 9-1-1 connects people to emergency services, 2-1-1 connects people to important human services.

In the 10 years since the FCC’s decision, 2-1-1 has been enabled—at least in part—in 46 states. Last year, 2-1-1 centers answered over 16 million calls, connecting people with job options, food, housing, education, counseling and much more. Local and state agencies rely on 2-1-1 as the “go-to” number for connecting victims, volunteers and donors with information that speeds recovery post disaster.

Over 300 members of Congress agree that 2-1-1 should be available for all Americans. A broadly bi-partisan group of 246 Representatives and 61 Senators have co-sponsored the Calling for 2-1-1 Act (H.R.211/S.211), a bill that would authorize a modest matching grant program to support 2-1-1. The overwhelming majority of Congress understands that 2-1-1 needs to be available to all people everywhere 24 hours a day so that people can get the help they need in a personal crisis or natural disaster.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the 2010 hurricane season could be “one of the most active on record.” If forecasters are right, 2-1-1 Centers will be besieged with calls as they were during prior hurricanes, floods and wildfires. Yet, many Americans still do not have access to 2-1-1. How will they find disaster recovery information? How will others learn how to volunteer or help? The overwhelming volume of calls to 2-1-1, due to the economic recession, has already pushed 2-1-1 to the edge of its call-handling capacity. Americans deserve to have 2-1-1 enabled and ready —in advance of the next big disaster.

On this 10-year anniversary of the FCC Order to designate 2-1-1, local community leaders are calling on Congress to enact the Calling For 2-1-1 Act before the August recess and before any new major disasters hit the U.S. 2-1-1 has proven itself as a cost-effective answer to help residents navigate the complex and ever-changing maze of human services—during personal crises and natural disasters.

Media are invited to tour our local 2-1-1 Center (50 S. Belcher Rd. Suite 116, Clearwater, Florida) and interview local leaders and/or members of Congress. Because calls to 2-1-1 are confidential, tours of 2-1-1 Centers should be planned in advance and require confidentiality forms.

Florida Congressional Support for 2-1-1 Legislation Senator Bill Nelson (D) and Representatives Allen Boyd (D-2nd), Gus Bilirakis (R-9th), Virginia Brown-Waite (R-5th), Corrine Brown (D-3rd), Kathy Castor (D-11th), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-21st), Alan Grayson (D-8th), Alcee Hastings (D-23rd), Ron Klein (D-22nd), Susanne Kosmas (D-24th), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-18th), and C.W. Bill Young (R-10th) are co-sponsors of the broadly bipartisan bill named The Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S. 211/H.R. 211). The Calling for 2-1-1 Act would authorize a federal matching grant program for 2-1-1. The Florida 211 Network and its Centers have already secured the required 50% match through philanthropic sources. Members of the Florida delegation recognize that H.R.211/S.211 is a modest investment to match the state and private investments already in place.

The Florida Legislature recognized the importance of the Florida 211 Network and in 2002 passed legislation (F.S. 409.918) that “authorizes the planning, development, and, subject to appropriations, the implementation of a statewide Florida 211 Network, which shall serve as the single point of coordination for information and referral for health and human services.” In 2009 the Legislature designated “The Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services as the 211 collaborative organization for the state which is responsible for studying, designing, implementing, supporting, and coordinating the Florida 211 Network and for receiving federal grants.”

The Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services, Inc. (FLAIRS) is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen the health and human service information and referral provider network in the State of Florida through advocacy, coordination and education. FLAIRS members include representatives from a variety of information and referral hotlines such as 2-1-1s, United Way information and referral helplines, elder helplines, child care resource and referral providers, crisis hotlines, 3-1-1s, disability hotline providers, volunteer centers and others who provide information services. See www.FLAIRS.org.

The Florida 211 Network is a cooperative effort of the Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services and the United Way of Florida to fulfill the mandate of SB 1276, adopted by the Florida State Legislature in 2002, to make 2-1-1 available to every person in Florida. Certified Florida 211 Network members are listed below. All 2-1-1 centers can be reached by calling the 2-1-1 number in their respective region or by using the 10-digit numbers listed. In 2009 more than 1.1 million calls were answered by the Florida 2-1-1 hotlines.

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. serving Pinellas, Hernando & Citrus Counties Pinellas Co.
Hotline Number: 727-210-4211; Hernando Co. #: 727-210-4212; Citrus Co. #: 727-210-4213 www.211tampabay.org; Micki Thompson, Executive Director

2-1-1 Big Bend serving Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla Counties
Hotline Number: 850-617-6333 or www.211bigbend.org; Randy Nicklaus, President

2-1-1 Brevard serving Brevard County Hotline Number: 321-632-6688 or www.211brevard.org; Libby Donoghue, Executive Director 2-1-1 Broward serving Broward County
Hotline Number: 954-537-0211 or www.211-broward.org; Sheila J. Smith, President & CEO

2-1-1 Charlotte, Charlotte County Public Safety serving Charlotte County
Hotline Number: 941-205-2161; Chief Dennis Didio, Director of Public Safety or Faezeh Andrews, 2-1-1 Supervisor

United Way 2-1-1, Heart of Florida United Way serving Seminole, Orange, and Osceola Counties; Marion County; and Alachua, Bradford, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, and Union Counties; Gainesville Area Hotline Number: 352-332-4636; Orlando Area
Hotline Number: 407-839-4357 or www.211communityresources.org; Larry Olness, VP Community Services

211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast serving Indian River, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties
Hotline Number: 561-383-1112 or www.211palmbeach.org; Susan K. Buza, Executive Director

2-1-1 Tampa Bay A Division of Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, serving Hillsborough County
Hotline Number: 813-234-1234 or www.211atyourfingertips.org; Debra L. Harris, Director, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay

2-1-1 Volusia-Flagler serving Flagler and Volusia Counties
Hotline Number: 386-253-0564 or www.unitedway-vfc.org; Tim Sylvia, Director

Switchboard of Miami, Inc. serving Miami-Dade County
Hotline Number: 305-358-4357 or www.switchboardmiami.org; Catherine Penrod, CEO United Way 211

United Way of Lee County serving Lee, Glades and Hendry Counties Lee County
Hotline Number: 239-433-3900; Glades/Hendry Counties: 800-877-9234 or www.unitedwaylee.org; Linda Pankow, Director, United Way 211

United Way 2-1-1 of Manasota, Inc. serving DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota Counties
Hotline Numbers: 941-485-1880 (Sarasota County); 941-308-4357 (Manatee County); 941-366-5025 (Other) or www.uw211manasota.net; Jessica Ventimiglia, Executive Director

United Way 2-1-1 of Pasco County serving Pasco County
Hotline Number: 727-845-4357 or 877-828-8929 (toll free); Kristen King, Community Investment & Relationship Director

United Ways of Northeast Florida 2-1-1 serving Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Clay, Putnam, Baker, Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties
Hotline Number: 904-632-0600 or www.nefl211.org; Robert E. Arnold, Director

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

School is Right Around the Corner!

School is right around the corner! Make sure your child is ready to go. There are several back-to-school events happening right in your neighborhood during July and August. Children can receive free:

- Immunizations
- Phyiscals
- School supplies
- Backpacks
- And more

Check out some of the events that are happening in the next couple weeks!

Highlight on Health Children's Health Fair
Saturday, July 24th 9:00am - 2:00pm
Long Center
1501 N. Belcher Rd., Clearwater

Event Description: Free children's immunizations (be sure to bring immunization record); school physicals; sports cardiovascular screenings; dental exams; vision screenings; Scoliosis exams; safety information; and free hot dogs and goodies.

Community Health Center of Tarpon Springs
Saturday, August 7th 8:00am - Noon
247 S. Huey Avenue, Tarpon Springs

Event Description: Free school supplies and backpacks (while supplies last)

Back-to-School Care Fair
Saturday, August 7th 8:00am - 2:00pm
Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center (medical screenings
1344 22nd Street S. St. Petersburg
Midtown Youth & Family Enrichment Center (agency forum/school supplies)
1201 22nd Street S., St. Petersburg

Event Description: Children in the company of legal guardians can receive free physicals, immunizations, vision screenings, dental screenings, backpacks and school supplies.

Tools for Schools
Saturday, August 7th 9:00am - 1:00pm
Great Explorations Children's Museum
1925 4th Street N., St. Petersburg

Event Description: In addition to getting a backpack, school children and youth will be able to get a haircut, get a physical, receive a clothing referral, get their face painted, have lunch, and have access to all of Great Explorations Children's Museum! Eligibility is based on agency referrals made due to need - children must have a referral to get a backpack. The referral must be from an agency on their letterhead. For more info, contact Michael at 727-543-2600.

Free School Supplies (must pre-register by Aug. 6th)
Tuesday, August 10th 11:00am
People That Love Mission
817 5th Avenue N., St. Petersburg

Event Description: Free backpack with school supplies for pre-registered youth. Parents can sign-up starting July 20th, Mon-Fri 10:45am - 2:00pm. Each applicant must prove dependent children (S.S., birth certificate, etc.) for which they will receive a numbered ticket. A parent or guardian must accompany the children to the event and turn in the numbered ticket to receive school supplies. For more information, contact 727-820-0775.

Community Health Center of Pinellas Park
Saturday, August 14th 8:00am - Noon
6237 66th Street N., Pinellas Park

Event Description: Free school supplies and backpacks (while supplies last).

Community Health Center of Clearwater
Saturday, August 14th 8:00am - Noon
1020 Lakeview Rd., Clearwater

Event Description: Free school supplies and backpacks (while supplies last).

Back to School Children's Health & Safety Fair
Saturday, August 14th 9:00am - 1:00pm (must register for physicals by 11:30am)
Prince of Peach Lutheran Church
455 Missouri Avenue, Largo

Event Description: Free school physicals (excludes sports physicals and immunizations), Boy/Girl Scout registration, face painting, healthy snacks and activities.

9th Annual Back-2-School Celebration
Saturday, August 21st 11:00am -2:00pm (must register for backpacks by Aug. 13th)
Safety Harbor City Park
940 7th Street S., Safety Harbor

Event Description: Service areas: 34695, 34677, 33759, 33761. Registrations must be completed at Safety Harbor Neighborhood Family Center, 1003 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Street N., Safety Harbor. Proof of Safety Harbor residency required (lease agreement, utility bill or power bill). 700 backpacks will be distributed to school-age children.

The 15th Annual All About Kids Back to School Bash
Saturday, August 21st 10:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday, August 22nd Noon - 4:00pm
Tampa Convention Center
333 S. Franklin Street, Tampa

Event Description: Admission is $9 for adults; children 12 and under admitted free. Back to School Bash features 100,000 square feet of interactive activities and giveaways for children of all ages. For more info, visit www.BackToSchoolBash.com

Monday, July 12, 2010

Is Your Child Ready for School?

Summer will soon be coming to a close and the first day of school is just around the corner. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing info and resources to help kids get ready for school. To kick it off, check out the link for some free back to school dental exams.

Pinellas County Health Department will offer FREE dental exams and x-rays for children ages 4-18 who are new clients at any of its dental clinics. No appointments needed.

Pinellas County Health Dept. dates and locations:

Wednesday. July 14th
8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
310 North Myrtle Ave.
Clearwater
(727) 469-5800 x121

Wednesday, July 21st
8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
301 S. Disston Ave.
Tarpon Springs
(727) 942-5457, ext. 111

Wednesday, July 28th
8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
6350 76th Avenue N.,
Pinellas Park
(727) 547-7780, ext. 103

Wednesday, August 4th
8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
205 Dr. MLK Street N.
St. Petersburg
(727) 824-6975

Stay tuned to our blog and Facebook pages for more back to school information and events.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ABC's of Pool Safety!

Summertime is here, and with it comes alot of water activities for the family.  Water safety should be a primary concern when engaging in activities in or around the water.  Do you know the ABC's of Pool Safety?   http://abcpoolsafety.org/ABCs_of_Pool_Safety.377.0.html

Thursday, June 17, 2010

FDLE Recognizes June as National Internet Safety Month

FDLE NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 17, 2010

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) joins the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and SecureFlorida.org in recognizing June as National Internet Safety Month. Floridians are encouraged to educate themselves about Internet safety and review tips for keeping children safe online.

“Online safety is important year round,” said Special Agent Supervisor Mike Phillips of FDLE’s Computer Crime Center. “Adults and children should be aware of the potential dangers in cyberspace and take steps to protect their information and themselves against cyber stalking, identity theft, and sexual exploitation.”

Parents are encouraged to discuss the dangers of the Internet with their children and develop guidelines for using it safely. Some helpful tips include:

* Teach children what personal information is and how to keep it private
* Help children find information online. By searching the Internet together you help them find reliable sources of information and distinguish fact from fiction
* Encourage children to tell you when they encounter problems online

FDLE recommends Floridians visit www.secureflorida.org or www.missingkids.com to learn how to minimize the potential risks of instant messaging, social networking, online gaming, and more. Citizens may also go to www.flsexoffender.net to search an e-mail or instant message address to determine if it may belong to a registered sexual predator or offender. Florida’s Sexual Offender/Predator Registry is maintained by FDLE and currently houses data on more than 54,000 registered sex offenders and predators. Florida law requires all registered sexual offenders and predators to register their e-mail and instant message addresses prior to using them. Additional tips for keeping children safe online may be found at http://www.netsmartz.org/.

In 2009, the Florida Computer Crime Center (FC3) worked 80 major investigations, made 38 arrests, managed 1,096 requests for assistance and provided computer crime investigation training to 291 law enforcement personnel. In addition, FC3 provided Internet safety training to more than 1,800 parents and children.

FDLE is an active member of the three Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in Florida. There are 59 federally-funded task forces nationwide created solely to investigate Internet crimes against children that include the online sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Chernosky or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001


Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Office of Public Information
www.fdle.state.fl.us

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Safety for Teen Drivers

Handing your teenager the car keys - are you confident or concerned?

Learning to drive is a major rite of passage for teens (and their parents). It's a time of exciting possibilities and achievements. It's also a time of potentially serious risk. The good news is that you can make a difference by getting involved with your teen's driving.

Statistically, teenage drivers have the most accidents out of any age group. There are a number of different things that can account for this from inexperience to distractions to other factors. While no one can eliminate all the risk factors entirely, teens can educate themselves on safe driving habits. Parents too can teach their teens how to drive in a way that will increase their own safety as well as that of other drivers on the road.

Here are some tips, tools and educational resources to get you and your teen on the path to safe driving behavior.

National Safety Council
Links to local parent workshops, safety newsletters and more.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Teen driving fact sheets, statistics and more.

Parent/Teen Driving Contract

Florida Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles

About.Com
Staying Safe on the Road: Driving tips for teens, how to teach a teenager to drive, and more.

Safe Driving Tips

Short one-minute videos to learn some valuable information on how to be safe in your vehicle.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Celebrating Women's Health Week

In celebration of National Women's Health Week, Surgeon General, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin released the following statement on the importance of recognizing this week and empowering women to make health their top priority.

"With the theme "It's Your Time", the goal of National Women's Health Week is to empower women to make their own health a top priority and encourage them to take small, manageable steps to improve their health and reduce their risk for many diseases. This year I encourage women to celebrate themseleves by focusing on their own health and well-being.

The most important steps women can take to improve their health include eating well a balanced, nutritious diet; getting regular physical activity; avoiding unhealthy behaviors; and paying attention to mental health. In addition, women should get regular checkups and preventative screenings.

During National Women's Health Week it is important to tell our wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and girlfriends to make the time to improve their health, prevent disease, and live longer, healthier, and happier lives. After all, when women take even simple steps to improve their health, the results can be significant and everyone benefits" Source: SurgeonGeneral.gov

The President also proclaimed this week as National Women's Health Week. Click here to read the proclamation.

Below are some resources to get you on track to a healthy life with tips for meeting your nutritional needs, healthy skin, a healthy body, emotional health, online health tools and more...

HealthyWomen.org

CDC.gov

Women's Health Magazine

Self Magazine


Prevention Magazine

Health.com

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Physical Fitness for You & Your Family

As National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, May is suggested as an ideal time to celebrate active living! Regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy and people who are active live longer, feel better and are happier.

The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it's fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you've been inactive for a while, use a sensible approach and start out slowly. Physical fitness doesn't always have to be about racing, winning or competing in order to be fun and healthy.

Physical exercise can also be a fun family activity. The biggest key to success is making it fun. Whether that mean a daily walk to the park after dinner, a family bike ride or a game of catch in the backyard, keeping the activity fun and lighthearted takes the pressure off and makes kids more likely to enjoy themselves and want to keep doing active things.

An enjoyable fitness experience that works well for you can mean lifelong health, increased well-being and a happier life. Use the links below to learn more about recommended fitness guidelines and ways to make physical activity a regular part of your life.

10 Tips to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for You.
Fitness.gov

Physical Activity in Your Daily Life
American Heart Association

Physical Activity for Everyone!
CDC.gov

Be Active Your Way - A Guide for Adults
Health.gov

Adult Fitness Test
HealthierUS.gov

Physical Fitness & Activities for Families
US Department of Health & Human Services

Florida Physical Fitness Programs, Activities and Guidelines
Florida Department of Health

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank You To Our Local Business Partners!

WOW, what an incredible response from our local businesses!  

Your donations helped to enhance the message, "Thank You For All You Do" to our volunteers at our Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon held during National Volunteer Week.

We thank the following businesses for your generosity and for valuing the importance of our 2-1-1 TBC volunteers and the service they provide to our community.

Many Thanks to:
Chili's - Tri-City Plaza, Edible Arrangements - Clearwater, Honeybaked Ham Company - Clearwater, Mosi Museum of Science & Industry - Tampa, O'Keefe's - Clearwater, Olive Garden Italian Restaurant - Largo Mall, Panera Bread, Party City - Tri-City Plaza, Publix, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Sam's Club - Clearwater.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Parenting - Surviving the Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

Are you a stressed out parent? Has your daily "to-do" list gotten so long that it no longer fits on a single piece of paper? Or are you so busy that you don't even have time to make a to-do list? You're not alone.

Parents today are working longer hours and commuting longer distances to and from work. Their days don't slow down when they get home. Kids' after-school schedules can be jam packed with homework, sports and other activities, making life busy, and often stressful, for parents. Being a parent isn't easy. The additional stress of caring for children can, at times, make parents feel angry, anxious, or just plain "stressed-out". These tensions are a normal, inevitable part of family life.

Juggling all of the the demands of being a parent can be stressful but there are some simple and practical solutions to help lessen parental stress. Here are a few resources to help you learn how to recognize, understand, and cope with parental stress. These resources can get you started in helping you handle the stress that comes with being a parent so you can be the best parent you can be!

Child Development Institute
Understanding and coping with parent, family and child stress

About.com - Parents Under Stress

About.com - Stress Management Tools for Parents

Family Guide
SAMSHA guide for families

EverydayHealth.com

Family health; parenting and managing stress

ParentsConnect.com
Parenting advice and tips for all stages of raising a child, plus you can connect with other parents

Families On The Go Magazine
Interactive and informative family magazine for the Tampa Bay Area

Remember, you can always call 2-1-1 for more information on local organizations that can assist with parent and family support.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Put Play in your Day and Reduce Stress!

Exercise and play is a great way to reduce stress! Enjoy fun and relaxing active family time by visiting your local Y on Saturday, April 17 for YMCA Healthy Kids® Day. The nation’s largest health day for children and families, YMCA Healthy Kids Day offers families a chance to play together and learn more about ways that can prolong wellness and healthier living. YMCA Healthy Kids Day events are free and open to all.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day will be celebrated across the country at more than 1,700 YMCAs.

Last year, more than 700,000 people participated in YMCA Healthy Kids Day events nationwide, enjoying games, demonstrations, arts and crafts, educational resources, healthy treats, giveaways and more.


Some simple ways to put more play in kids’ day, and to get the family moving more, too!

  1. Make physical activity a regular part of family play time – the more active kids are the more likely they are to continue being physically active later in life.
  2. Allow kids to have unstructured playtime. All play is not created equal – kids need different types of play, including indoor and outdoor, active and inactive.
  3. Reintroduce your kid to the basics of active play: play hopscotch or basketball, jump rope, or enjoy games such as “Red Light, Green Light” and “Simon Says”.
  4. Limit screen time and use of electronic media to allow more time for play.
2-1-1 is fortunate to have these 2 YMCA's as partners! Please click on the following links to visit their websites and find out more about their services not only on Saturday April 17th but throughout the entire year!

YMCA of the Suncoast


YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tips & Resources on Managing Your Stress

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes, and it has become so universal that it seems to affect everything and everyone. Levels of stress, both physical and mental, and the ability to cope with it are different for everyone. You can learn how to utilize and transform stress so that it will make you more productive and less self-destructive.

All stress isn't bad. Stress can initiate change, help us focus on the task at hand, and in some cases even save our lives. Yet, when stress builds up, it can result in the opposites and cause us to spin our wheels, keep us from concentrating, and cause injury or even loss of life.

The first tip in managing stress is to recognize your stressors. The next step is to put each of them in their place. While there's a wealth of information about the effects of stress, it can be stressful trying to wade through it all! Here are a few resources to get you started in learning about the effects of stress that can go a long way in helping you understand stress and its role in your life. This can help you quickly and easily learn more about the effects of stress and find some effective stress management techniques that will work for you and you can incorporate into you life right now.

Discovery Health
Stress Management Center

American Institute of Stress
A non-profit organization providing information on all stress-related subjects.

WebMD
Reducing stress, stress symptoms, causes, treatments and relief

About.com
Understanding stress: stress basics, causes of stress and research

HelpGuide.org
How to reduce, prevent and cope with stress

MedicineNet
A complete overview of stress, history of stress, side effects of stress and managing stress

There is also a free, ten-week e-course that will help you examine the role of stress in your life, and learn stress management techniques to transform your life from a source of stress to a source of joy and vitality.
Course: Living a Low-Stress Lifestyle

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stressed Blogger

Americans are stressed. We stress about work, the economy, school, love, weight, even stress itself. Well, April happens to be National Stress Awareness Month. April 16th is Stress Awareness Day so take this day to relax. Right now, take just a moment to think about stress and its affects on your life.

The behavioral effects of an over-stressed lifestyle are easy to explain. When under pressure, some people are more likely to drink heavily or smoke, as a way of getting immediate chemical relief from stress. Others may have so much work to do that they do not exercise or eat properly. They may cut down on sleep, or may worry so much that they sleep badly. They may get so carried away with work and meeting daily pressures that they do not take time to see the doctor or dentist when they need to. All of these are likely to harm health.

Stress hormones accelerate the heart to increase the blood supply to muscles; however, blood vessels in the heart may have become so narrow that not enough blood reaches the heart to meet these demands. This can cause a heart attack. Stress has been also been found to damage the immune system, which explains why we catch more colds when we are stressed. It may intensify symptoms in diseases that have an autoimmune component. Stress is also associated with mental health problems and, in particular, anxiety and depression. Here the relationship is fairly clear: the negative thinking that is associated with stress also contributes to these.

To relieve stress, Americans try numerous things to a fight, prevent, and recover from stress:

  • Stress Balls, Relaxation Tapes, and other stress-fighting products and services account for $14 BILLION of spending in the U.S. EACH YEAR.

  • Globally, more than three out of five doctor visits are STRESS RELATED. In the U.S. alone, more than $22.8 BILLION is spent on anxiety-related health care each year.

  • Each year, more than 275,000,000 working days are lost in the U.S. because of absenteeism resulting from stress. One in four Americans admits to having taken a "mental-health day" to cope with stress. This costs employers $602 per worker per year.

Regular exercise can reduce your physiological reaction to stress. It also strengthens your heart and increases the blood supply to it, directly affecting your vulnerability to heart disease. If you suspect that you are prone to stress-related illness, or if you are in any doubt about the state of your health, you should consult appropriate medical advice immediately. Keep in mind that stress management is only part of any solution to stress-related illness.

Sources
Stress and Your Health: http://www.mindtools.com/stress/UnderstandStress/StressHealth.htm
National Stress Awareness Month, By the Numbers:
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/144/under-pressure.html#self

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Exciting Volunteer Opportunities Available!

If you have a background in Human Service and a few hours a week to spare, you may be interested in an exciting volunteer opportunity in our Call Center.  For more information about this and other volunteer opportunities, please contact Geri at geric@211tampabay.org. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

National Cyber Security Awareness Campaign Challenge

Secretary Napolitano Launches National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign Challenge

Release Date: March 3, 2010

San Francisco - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today unveiled DHS' National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign Challenge—a new initiative that calls on cybersecurity experts and individuals across the country to develop innovative new ways to enhance public awareness about the importance of safeguarding America's computer systems and cyber networks from attacks by terrorists and criminals.

"All Americans have an important role to play in securing our computer systems and cyber networks," said Secretary Napolitano. "We are challenging our nation's best and brightest to utilize their expertise and creativity to devise new ways to engage the public in the shared responsibility of safeguarding our cyber resources and information."

The Challenge invites cybersecurity experts and members of the public alike to submit creative ideas for improving the public's cybersecurity awareness and cyber literacy. Proposals must be submitted by April 30 via www.dhs.gov/cyberchallenge, and winners will collaborate with the Department to develop and launch the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign.

Secretary Napolitano announced the initiative during her remarks at RSA Conference in San Francisco, where she emphasized her commitment to partnering with her colleagues in Congress, the private sector and across the Obama administration to clarify and strengthen public and private sector cybersecurity and cyber resiliency—including more strongly aligning the Department's cyber and physical infrastructure protection efforts and making DHS a clearer focal point for cybersecurity within the federal government.

In her remarks, Secretary Napolitano stressed the Department's dedication to recruiting and retaining the talented cybersecurity employees needed to confront terrorist and criminal threats and underscored her continued commitment to supporting the latest cybersecurity innovations—including the ongoing deployment of the EINSTEIN system to better identify malicious cyber activity, enhance situational awareness and improve cybersecurity support across government.

Secretary Napolitano also highlighted DHS' close collaboration with the private sector to protect the nation-s critical infrastructure and cyber networks—including the current development of a National Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan; the training of more than 14,000 critical infrastructure protection professionals through the Control Systems Security Program; and regular consultation with cybersecurity stakeholders across the country.

For National Cyber Security Awareness Campaign Challenge rules and additional information, visit www.dhs.gov/cyberchallenge.

Did You Know?

Twitter has been added to the Pinellas County Hurricane Response Plan.  You can follow PinellasEM on Twitter to receive the latest updates when a hurricane is approaching our area.  For more information and to connect to PinellasEM Twitter page, visit the link below.
http://pinellascounty.org/emergency

Thursday, March 4, 2010

National Consumer Protection Week is March 7-13, 2010

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a coordinated consumer education campaign that encourages individuals across the country to take full advantage of their consumer rights. NCPW 2010 is March 7-13. This year’s theme — Dollars & Sense: Rated “A” for All Ages — highlights the importance of using good consumer sense at every stage of life – from grade school to retirement.

For NCPW 2010, partner organizations have provided free resources to help people protect their privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft, understand credit and mortgages, and steer clear of frauds and scams. This year partners are focusing on resources for kids by highlighting consumer education websites, videos and games designed for a younger audience. http://consumer.gov/ncpw/

You can also find local resources for credit and budget counseling, financial management workshops and debt management by calling 2-1-1 or visiting our website at www.211tampabay.org and searching our online database.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010 Proclaimed National 2-1-1 Day

On behalf of 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. we would like to express our gratitude for the high level of support expressed by the commissioners of the Pinellas County Government, Citrus County Government, Hernando County Government, City of Clearwater, City of Dunedin, City of Largo, City of Oldsmar, City of Pinellas Park, City of St. Petersburg, City of Safety Harbor, City of Seminole, and City of Tarpon Springs in proclaiming February 11, 2010 National 2-1-1 Day.

PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, every hour, of every day, someone in the United States needs essential services, from basic human needs to securing adequate care for a child or aging parent; and

WHEREAS,
2-1-1 is a free, easy-to-remember telephone number, connecting people to information about critical health and human services available in their community, volunteer opportunities, and improving the way in which people learn about and connect with the services they need; and


WHEREAS,
2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. a non-profit organization, provides 2-1-1 services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with centers that are accessible every day of the year to everyone; and


WHEREAS,
2-1-1 provides confidential interactions with trained 2-1-1 specialists who are able to help people get to the root of their concerns and can provide available options for health and human services assistance; and


WHEREAS,
2-1-1 provides an on-line database of more than 4,000 health and human service programs in Pinellas County, located on the 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. website at www.211tampabay.org; and


WHEREAS,
2-1-1 is a resource for businesses to help their employees while maintaining their productivity; 2-1-1 saves time, supports stressed employees, increases employment opportunities, decreases absenteeism and supports employee assistance programs; and


WHEREAS,
2-1-1 provides trend data on health and human service needs, met and unmet, for planning and resource allocation; and

WHEREAS,
2-1-1 serves as a support system for emergency management to help disseminate critical information, assist people through disasters and provide a long-term connection to relief and recovery services.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that February 11, 2010 be recognized as
National 2-1-1 Day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Secretary Napolitano Launches Public Engagement Website

Release Date: February 8, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Web tool will increase transparency, collaboration as part of Open Government Initiative

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the launch of a new online public engagement tool designed to solicit input from the public on ways to enhance transparency, participation, collaboration and innovation at the Department—part of President Obama's Open Government Directive.

"Creating an open, transparent, more efficient and effective government is one of our top priorities at the Department of Homeland Security," said Secretary Napolitano. "This new online tool allows the public to play a major part in our Department-wide efforts to enhance openness and accessibility."

The new online tool—available from Feb.6-March 19 at www.dhs.gov/open allows members of the public and interested stakeholders to submit ideas and suggestions on ways DHS can enhance transparency, participation, collaboration and innovation—while saving taxpayer money.

The ideas submitted will help guide the development of an official DHS Open Government plan.

On Dec. 8, 2009, President Obama issued the Open Government Directive to begin breaking down long-standing barriers between the federal government and the people it serves, and instructed agencies to take immediate, specific steps to open their doors and data to the American people. Agencies across the federal government will begin engaging the public through similar online tools this week.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov/open

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2-1-1 TBC's Newest Graduates!

Congratulations to our newest graduates of the Skill Level II Call Center training...Marion, Jo, Anne, Jo-Ann, Carol and Diane.  Your continued support to 2-1-1 and the community is appreciated.  Great Job!

 


Congratulations to our newest graduates of the Sill Level II Call Center training..Marion, Jo, Anne, Jo-Ann, Carol & Diane. Your continued support to 2-1-1 and the community is appreciated. Great Job!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Save the Date!

Volunteer Recruitment Events

Tuesday, January 26th or Tuesday, February 2nd

Interested in volunteering? 2-1-1 TBC has volunteer opportunities in our Call Center. We are recruiting volunteers to provide information and referral to those callers needing help by linking them to vital resources in the community.

When: January 26th  from 12:30pm-4:30pm
or February 2nd from 10am-4:30pm
Location: Largo Library, 120 Central Park Dr., Largo


Please join us to complete an application and participate in the interview and screening process.






Census 2010: A Snapshot

WHAT: The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States.
WHO: All U.S. residents must be counted - people of all races and ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens.
WHEN: Census Day is April 1, 2010. Questionnaire responses should represent the household as it exists on this day. More detailed socioeconomic information will be collected annually from a small percentage of the population through American Community Survey.
WHY: The Constitution requires a national census every 10 years. The census will show state population counts and determine the representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
HOW: Questionnaires will start to arrive at each household in February and March. As soon as you receive yours, answer and send it back. Many households will receive a replacement questionnaire in early April. Census workers also will visit households that do not return questionnaires.

With only 10 questions, the 2010 Census questionnaire is one of the shortest questionnaires in the history and takes just 10 minutes to complete.

By the law, the Census Bureau cannot share an individual's census questionnaire with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.

Please, be included.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Information on Individuals In Haiti

Here are some resources on how to help individuals obtain information on relatives in Haiti, and processes for U.S. citizens in Haiti to return to the U.S.

The U.S. State Department has provided the following information:

Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti should call 1-888-407-4747. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, call 1-202-501-4444.

Due to heavy call volume, some callers may receive a recording.

U.S. citizens in Haiti can call the Embassy's Consular Task Force at 509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672. U.S. citizens are urged to contact the Embassy via email to request assistance to ACSPaP@state.gov.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - Family Links website
For people seeking to restore contact with family members after the earthquake in Haiti.

Helping Haiti

Numerous organizations are mobilizing to lend a hand in the devastating aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti. The best way to help the three million people in Haiti affected by the destructive earthquake is through monetary donations.

Cash donations are the most efficient and effective way to get aid to people in time of disaster. Cash donations allow organizations to purchase exactly what is needed. Most are no seeking material items like clothes or food, or volunteers at this time. These agencies have set up phone lines, online donation pages and texting options for individuals to contribute to their relief efforts.

Authorities caution people to beware of online scammers. The FBI urges people who are looking for ways to help with earthquake relief to be wary of solicitations from scam artists. A few tips of advice from the FBI:
  • Do not give to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because they may contain viruses.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.
Many websites are posting extensive lists for relief agencies. Before making a monetary donation, you may want to do some research on the charity and become familiar with what they do and how your donations will be utilized. There are a couple recommended sites where you can get information on charities.

Charity Navigator: America's largest charity evaluator. The site also lists several relief agencies who are accepting donations.

InterAction:
A coalition of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It has a page of member organizations collecting for the Haiti disaster and guidelines for giving.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD): National VOAD is a nonprofit membership organization which includes national nonprofit organizations who mission includes programs either in disaster preparedness, response and/or recovery.

TEXTING OPTIONS:

Text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 on behalf of the YĆ©le Foundation, the leading contributor to rebuilding Haiti founded by Wyclef Jean.

• Text "Haiti" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of The Clinton Foundation (former President Clinton is Special Envoy to Haiti)

• Text "Haiti" to 85944 to donate $5 on behalf of the Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp International.

• Text "Haiti" to 25383 to donate $5 on behalf of the Internal Rescue Committee.

• Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the Red Cross in the U.S

LOCALLY:

Publix: Publix customers can donate at a register.

Holy Family Catholic Church-St. Petersburg

Haitian Association Foundation of Tampa: 813-416-2558 or 813-416-3946

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WARNING: 2010 Census Cautions from the Better Business Bureau

WARNING: 2010 Census Cautions from the Better Business Bureau

GOOD INFORMATION TO PASS ON TO EVERYBODY THAT YOU KNOW:

Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers.

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.

The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

** If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home.

** Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information.

Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. . Census.

REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ASK, YOU REALLY ONLY NEED TO TELL THEM HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE AT YOUR ADDRESS..

While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION.

The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.

AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION. No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census.

Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

PLEASE SHARE THIS INFO WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
http://www.bbb.org/us/article/bbb-alerts-consumers-about-us-census-workers-be-cooperative-but-cautious-10306

Friday, January 8, 2010

National Influenza Vaccination Week is Jan. 10-16, 2010

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national observance that was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as fostering greater use of flu vaccine after the holiday season into January and beyond. This year's NIVW is January 10-16, 2010.

Together, we can fight the flu.
This Sunday marks the beginning of the annual observance of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). This flu season has presented our community with a unique challenge to fight a new type of influenza -- the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.

The H1N1 flu is a serious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between mid-April and November 14, 2009, 47 million people in the United States were infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu, more than 200,000 people were hospitalized, and over 9,800 people died.

Influenza is unpredictable and we do not know the likelihood of a future wave of H1N1 flu, but we do know that vaccination is the most important step in protecting against influenza. Protect yourself, your family and your community by getting vaccinated. Visit www.flu.gov to find the closest vaccination clinic and learn more facts about the H1N1 flu. Show your love to your family and our community by keeping yourself and those close to you healthy; get yourself and your family vaccinated.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ready America in 3 Simple Steps!

Ready America! There are 3 simple steps we can all take to be prepared - be ready!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bank On St. Pete

BANK ON ST. PETE!

Bank On St. Pete is a partnership between participating banks, credit unions, non-profit organizations and the city of St. Petersburg to help people without a checking or savings account learn to manage their money and save for the future.

Bank on St. Pete offers:

  • no or low minimum opening balances
  • no or low maintenance fees
  • no or low minimum monthly balances
  • direct deposit of paychecks or monthly benefit checks
  • free ATM/debit cards
  • online banking
  • money management education
  • a Second Chance Program if you have a troubled banking past
  • quick access to your money
  • safety from natural disaster and theft
  • your money is Federally insured so you know it will always be there.
For more information on Bank On St. Pete click here to visit their website.