Thursday, December 15, 2011

Florida Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Plan

The central focus of Florida Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Plan (July 2010 – June 2015) is to build resilience in all of Florida’s families and communities in order to equip them to better care for and nurture their children. To learn more

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Volunteer Connection!

We have added several new volunteer opportunities where you can utilize your time, talents and experience to give back to your community.
Contact Center Opportunities

Research Volunteer - researches and gathers outreach information on events in Citrus, Hernando, Lake & Sumter counties.

Statistics Volunteer - reports generation, updating indicators board and analyzing data relative to contact center calls. Extract data and generate trend charts using several sources of information.

Follow Up Volunteer - places follow up calls to callers from Citrus, Hernando, Lake & Sumter counties with the objective of collecting data about effectiveness of services in these counties.

Data & Web Services Opportunities

2-1-1 English Web Services Volunteer - engages the community in our social media channels and web portals. Responsible for planning and executing campaigns and media for all appropriate channels.

2-1-1 Spanish Web Services Volunteer - engages the community in our Spanish social media channels and web portals. Responsible for planning and executing campaigns and media for all appropriate channels.

Administration & Special Project Opportunities

Office/Receptionist Volunteer - assists with general office/reception duties.

Volunteer Program Assistant - assists the Volunteer Program Manager with coordinating the volunteer program.

Outreach & Events Ambassador - represents 2-1-1 TBC at various community events/fairs. Helps to organize materials, and displays for a table display or presentation.

Special Projects Volunteer - on an as needed basis throughout the year.

If you are interested in volunteering, you are required to complete an application and participate in the interview and screening process. We provide comprehensive training for all positions. Must be 18 years of age.

Please visit our website to complete a Volunteer Registration form.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


On Wednesday, November 9, around 2pm Eastern, the U.S. Government will be conducting its first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). While most of us are used to regular state and local tests of EAS on radio and television stations, this is the first time that the entire nation will be activated simultaneously as a "Presidential Emergency Action Notification."

Due to the limitations with the technology associated with the Emergency Alert System (EAS), some messages which appear on television or radio may not necessarily indicate that "This is a test." As such, there is some concern that some people who are unaware of the impending test will react adversely.

It is very important that everyone be aware that the test will occur and that despite what the message may say, it is in fact ONLY A TEST. There is no need for anyone to react to the test message.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight!

We are very proud to announce that this year we have four volunteers who earned "
The President's Volunteer Service Bronze Award". Please meet Paul Wood, Lygia Lostal, Carol Ann Wuyckhuyse, and Cassandra Valley.

Paul Wood
Contact Center Volunteer
164 hours

Lygia Lostal
Contact Center Volunteer
114 hours

Carol Ann VanWuyckhuyse
Special Projects Volunteer
102 Hours

Cassandra Valley
Special Projects Volunteer
108 hours

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares and to our community.

If you are interested in volunteering with 2-1-1, just visit our website to complete a
Volunteer Registration form. Our next Orientation/Training is on January 26, 2012.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Military Families, Veterans and 2-1-1

Lindsay Wyatt, a volunteer in the 2-1-1 Contact Center, shares her story of how she came to volunteer with us.

Growing up Lindsay spent a lot of time on Air Force bases and has always supported our military. Her dad is now retired from the military and has worked as a civilian for approximately 20 years at MacDill Air Force Base in Telecommunications CentCom. Lindsay's first job was at MacDill Air Force Base working at the base exchange. In this job, she said, "I witnessed many military families who were not only having financial difficulties, but when the military returned home from overseas, I saw the difficulty they had in locating a place to stay and readjusting to civilian life." Lindsay said, "I remember people coming into the base exchange to make purchases for the care packages they were assembling to help the military families." In February 2011, Lindsay joined our volunteer team at 2-1-1.

Last year 2-1-1 answered 4,743 calls from military families and veterans regarding housing, electric assistance, food, and mental health and substance abuse issues.

80% of the callers were homeless and of the total number of calls answered, 31% had minor children living in the home.

When asked, how Lindsay heard about the volunteer opportunities at 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, she replied, "I heard about 2-1-1 through Argosy when applying to grad school. I selected the Contact Center position because it would give me a preview of what my career would be like, to gain experience, and I wanted to help others."

Lindsay would like to pursue a career in private practice for clinical child and adolescent Psychology. Lindsay said, "I want to continue volunteering with 2-1-1, I had no idea the vast amount of resources there are to help the military and their families, and 2-1-1 is extremely important to all the people in our community."

If you are interested in volunteering with 2-1-1, just visit our website to complete a Volunteer Registration form. Our next Orientation/Training is on January 26, 2012.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2-1-1 Out & About

The end of summer is a busy time for us, not only here in the office, but out in the community attending many back-to-school events. 2-1-1 was out and about connecting the community with vital school readiness resources. Our staff and volunteers participated in a variety of these summer events reaching over 1,832 parents and children educating and connecting them with 2-1-1!

Knowing about 2-1-1 information services provided easy access for parents to connect with a broad variety of resources that helped them to plan for their child's back-to-schools needs including:

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

Our community outreach is just another way for us to get the word out about 2-1-1 not only during the summer, but throughout the entire year! Through our marketing efforts and other outreach activities, we continue to create greater awareness of the value of 2-1-1, and increase the use of 2-1-1 services in the communities we serve.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Volunteer Connection

We provide a variety of volunteer opportunities along with position specific training. So if you have a few hours a week and would like to volunteer - We encourage you to join our volunteer team!

In addition to our current available positions, we are excited to announce a new volunteer position.

  • Outreach Investigative Assistant - this position assists the Call Center Supervisor by researching and gathering outreach information from health & human services in Pinellas, Citrus, Hernando, Lake & Sumter counties. Need background in marketing, public relations or journalism.

Our new Intern Program has the following non-paid positions available.

Follow Up Assistant Intern (4 positions) - this position places follow up calls for callers from Citrus, Hernando, Lake & Sumter counties with the objective of collecting data about the effectiveness of services in these counties. Minimum 5th semester Social Services student, good communication skills, typing, analytical, pro-active.

  • Call Center Statistics Intern - this position assists the Call Center Manager on reports generation, updating indicators board and analyzing data relative to call center calls. Minimum 5th semester Business Administration, statistics or math student, Excel proficient (formulas, charts).

  • 211 English Web Services Intern - this position assists the Data & Web Services Department Manager engage the community in our social media channels and web portals. The intern is responsible for planning and executing campaigns and media for all appropriate channels. Superior communication, writing, and listening skills. Intermediate knowledge and skills with social media and content management systems.

  • 211 Spanish Web Services Intern - this position assists the Data & Web Services Department Manager engage the community in our Spanish social media channels and web portals. The intern is responsible for planning and executing campaigns and media for all appropriate channels. Must be fluent in Spanish, superior communicatin, writing and listening skills. Intermediate knowledge and skills with social media and content management systems.

If you are interested in volunteering, you are required to complete an application and participate in the interview & screening process. We provide comprehensive training for all positions. Must be 18 years of age.

To inquire about these or other volunteer opportunities, please complete a Volunteer/Intern Registration Form or e-mail to

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Safety

211 Tampa Bay wises you and your friends a happy and safe labor day weekend. While this holiday is a time to relax and celebrate the end of summer, this can be a dangerous holiday for travelers and fun seekers. Visit for history and safety information. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Get Prepared & Stay Informed

We are well into the 2011 Hurricane Season and Florida is facing its first real threat to a storm with Hurricane Irene. Keep informed of the latest trajectory by visiting the National Hurricane Center.

211 Tampa Bay will be here providing you the latest information on storm preparation and recovery efforts. We work closely with local Emergency Management officials to ensure residents have the most current information. Stay informed by subscribing and reading our blog for the most current information. You can always live chat, Facebook or Tweet your questions and help during normal business hours or call or email 24 hours a day. 

It's still not too late to finalize your disaster plans. Make sure you and your family have a plan on when and how you will evacuate if needed. Get prepared & staying informed are your best way to help your family and friends. Get information from FEMA on how to prepare. You can also watch the informative videos below from our friends at Common Craft that explain how to create an emergency plan and what to put in your emergency kit. .

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tips On Searching Our On-line Database

211 Tampa Bay provides all our database information to the general public on-line 24 hours a day. When you use our online database, you will see the same information that our caring professionals in the call center see when talking with you on the phone, email or live chat. Our online database lists more than 4,000 agency, programs and services in Pinellas, Citrus, Hernando, Lake & Sumter Counties in Florida to help individuals and families get connected to the help they need. To access our online database, go to our services website at and click GET HELP in the menu. 

The challenge is that there are many ways to search for information using our online database therefore it can seem very daunting, but really our online database is deceptively simple. Here are some key things to know about our on-line database so you can successful get the search results you desire. 

1. Simple Searches. 
  • Common Searches. When you get to the front page of our online database, below our video and live chat links on the left hand side of the page, you will see a list of common searches. These are a list of the most common items people search and call us for information. If you simply click one of those links, you will be taken to a list of providers who can help with that topic. 
  • Search Box. When you get to the front page of our online database, you will notice an empty search box. If common searches are not your thing or what you are looking for is not there, simply type in the box the name of the item you are looking for. You can type a name of an organization, a topic, or a keyword to start your search. 
2. Filter by Zip Code. After you have started your search using the common searches or typing in the search box, you will next want to narrow down your search to a specific geographic area. The best way to narrow down is by zip code. After your search, on the right hand side of the page, you will see a Refine By Distance box where you can enter a zip code and choose the radius out from that zip code you would like to expand your search. See image 1.1 below.


3. Send Tab. After you find a listing you are interested in learning more about, click the name of the service to open that profile. Once you open the profile, you will see a series of tabs in the profile listing as noted in image 1.2 below. 


These tabs provide you all the information that agency, program or services has provided to use about what they do. If you click on the send tab, it will give you an option to send this profile listing to yourself or someone else. You can print it out, send it by email or text it to a wireless phone. This allows you to share this information with those in your life who need it. 

4. Advanced Searches. If you are needing to enter additional information to get the search you want, you can use the advanced search option. With the advanced search, you can enter details like city and refine your search by the area the service is located in or the area they serve. Additionally, you can search for specific volunteer or donation keywords or even homeless shelter bed information for Pinellas County. The advanced search gives you the option to design a specific search for you or someone you care about. Be careful using the advanced search, if you use too many criteria to narrow down your search, then you will return no results. Less is always more!

You can start an advanced search: (a) from within a profile choosing advanced search from under the Refine By Distance box as noted in image 1.1, or (b) by selecting Search as noted in image 1.3 and choosing Advanced Search from the main page.

5. Personalized Settings. You can also begin to personalize your 211 Tampa Bay Online Database search experience. To do that, you must create an account as noted in image 1.3 below. 


  • Create An Account. To create an account or access your account, click on the My Account link as noted in image 1.3. When creating an account, please click on Create A New Account link and complete the registration form. Please note, you must have immediate access to the email address you register your account with to verify your account or you will not be able to use your new account right away. After registration, a verification link is sent to your email asking you to click on the link to verify that address before you can start using your account. Once you have verified your account and then click on the My Account link, you can sign-in using the Existing Users Sign-in box on the right of the My Account page. 
  • Save Favorites. Once you log into your account, you can create groups and save search results to groups you create. After your log into your account, a new box will appear on the bottom right hand corner or each page called the Resource Groups box as noted in image 1.4 below. After your create a group, you can add any profile or list or resources from your search results to a group by using the pull down as noted in image 1.4 by selecting a group name and clicking the add button. Anytime you want to access this group information, you just need to log into your account and click on the group to access your list. The most relevant information on the profile will always appear. This is a easy way to get to your favorite or most used resources without having to do a search. 

We hope these tips on searching our online database provides you with useful information that gets you the results you need and connects you to the services you desire. We would love to hear from you about this post or your experience using our online database. You can provide us feedback on how to improve our online tools by clicking on the red feedback button on any of our websites or on our on-line database. You can comment about this blog or your experience post by leaving comments here. 
If you need help with your search or would like to talk with someone about your situation, 211 Tampa Bay is available 24 hours a day by phone (call 211) or email ( You can also engage with us through live chat, Facebook or Twitter during business hours.

To start your search on our on-line database, click here to get started. For a simple video showing a simple search,  clicking here to check our video. Happy searching!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Live Chat Now Available!

Starting today, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay is offering the option for the community to live chat with a professional in our call center Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm. At this time, we are only offering this during normal business hours with additional hours to be expanded in the future. Prior to initiating a chat, we ask for users to read and agree to a disclaimer that outlines our policy on use of the chat and how we use the information we obtain during the chat session. To start a chat session, visit our site and click on the Click to Chat banner as seen below.
We now offer multiple ways to seek the assistance you need from a simple on-line search to engaging with one of our call center professionals. 24 hours a day, we can be reached by phone or email and you can search our on-line database for the same opportunities found in our call center. During business hours you can reach us by live chat or on Facebook or on Twitter. This provides an opportunity for individuals to contact us in the manner in which they are most comfortable using the tools they most prefer. 2-1-1 Tampa Bay is here when you need us and we look forward to talking with you soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Resolution Supporting Information and Referral Services

This press release was published today from the one of the co-sponsors who introduced this legislation. You can help support all information and referral providers in the United States by calling your senator today and ask them to support bill number is SR 241.

Wednesday July 27, 2011


Menendez Press Office 202-224-4744
Murray Press Office 202-224-2834
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Menendez and Murray Introduce Resolution Supporting Information and Referral Services
Resolution designates November 16, 2011 as “National Information and Referral Services Day”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced today that they are introducing a resolution designating November 16, 2011 as “National Information and Referral Services Day.” The resolution aims to raise public awareness and increase utilization of information and referral services.  For example,  calling 2-1-1 in many communities allows individuals who need critical health and human services, including food, shelter, health care, or counseling, to be referred to the appropriate community resource.
“Especially in this current economic crisis, information and referral services can be a lifeline to provide critical assistance to families across New Jersey and the nation,” said Senator Menendez. “I am proud to introduce this resolution to recognize their important role and encourage communities to promote these services.”
“Connecting families with information and referral services is so important, especially as so many of them continue to struggle to get the support they need in these tough economic times,” said Senator Patty Murray. “That’s why I have championed federal efforts to expand information and referral services across America. And I am proud to cosponsor this resolution with Senator Menendez to highlight the important role these critical  services play across the country.”
Resolution language is below.
# # #
Expressing support for the designation of November 16, 2011, as National Information and Referral Services Day.

Whereas information and referral services link the consumer who has a need or problem with the most appropriate service to address that need or solve that problem;

Whereas quality information and referral services are the keystone point of entry to the entire human services structure delivery system;

Whereas information and referral services have been recognized in Federal legislation for more than 35 years since the 1973 reauthorization of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.), and the subsequent establishment of the national Eldercare Locator and the development of Aging and Disability Resource Centers;

Whereas, as of the date of agreement to this resolution, the United States is served by information and referral through 2-1-1 programs, aging information and referral services, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, child care resource and referral services, military family centers, and other specialty information and referral services;

Whereas individuals who understand the variety of services available are better equipped to make decisions;

Whereas, in 1997, the national 2-1-1 initiative began with the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta creating the first 24-hour telephone information and referral service using the easy-to-remember 2-1-1 dialing code for access;

Whereas, in 2000, the Federal Communications Commission reserved the 2-1-1 dialing code for community information and referral services, intended as an easy-to-remember and universally recognizable number that would serve as a vital connection between individuals and families in need, and appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies, on a regular basis and in times of disaster;

Whereas the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems has been providing professional standards and credentialing programs for those operating information and referral services;

Whereas expanding access to information about, and referrals to, services provides individuals with lower-cost and safer options for managing their needs, and is likely to reduce confusion, frustration, and inaccessibility to services; and

Whereas requests for assistance through information and referral services and 2-1-1 have increased across the United States due to the economic crisis: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) expresses support for the designation of November 16, 2011, as National Information and Referral Services Day—
(A) to raise public awareness about the existence and importance of information and referral services available to all people in the United States; and
(B) to more effectively target those services to reach individuals most in need;

(2) encourages activities in communities across the United States involving schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and other entities to ensure information and referral services are part of everyday life in addition to emergency preparedness programs; and

(3) reaffirms the importance of clear and consistent professional standards to govern every aspect of quality information and referral services.

Monday, July 25, 2011

2-1-1 Resource Expo


Come out and meet with your local community organizations and find out about programs and services available to you and your family! Legal assistance programs, Florida KidCare, Pinellas County Human Services, counseling programs, family programs, and many more!

Saturday, July 30th

10:00 am - 2:00pm

Childs Park YMCA, 691 43rd Street South, St. Petersburg

Prize drawing & Agency Giveaways!

Friday, July 22, 2011

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 & nutrition information, Internet safety for children, school information such as calendars and menus, mentoring and tutoring programs.

This is also a great time of year to provide an invaluable resource to your community. For organizations and individuals who choose to volunteer, there are many opportunities to get involved in your school and local community programs. Invest your time and make a difference in a child's life - be a mentor or a tutor!

Another way to get involved is to donate school supplies for children in need. These donations can include such donations as shoes, paper, pencils, notebooks, tissues, 3-ring binders, etc. Local agencies welcome these items and your generosity can bring brighter futures to children in need.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Food Program

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares is taking part in an outreach effort to inform families about the availability of the "Summer Food Service Program" (SFSP).

This program is for children who qualify for free and reduced-price school meals; school breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The "Summer Food Service Program" is a federal nutrition program meant to fill the nutrition gap when these meals become unavailable during the summer.

This program will be operational from Tuesday, June 14th through Tuesday, August 9th. For more information about the "Summer Food Service Program", please call 2-1-1 or visit

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares - Finalist for Tampa Bay Business Journal "2011 Non Profit of the Year" Award

Clearwater, FL - 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares has been selected by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as a finalist in the “Crisis Resource” category for the “2011 Nonprofit of the Year Award”.

These awards recognize Tampa Bay-based 501(c)(3), non-foundation community organizations benefiting residents of Greater Tampa Bay who are fiscally responsible and accountable with regard to program outcomes.

The winners will be announced at a luncheon held at the Embassy Suites in Tampa on June 23rd.

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares is honored to be selected as a finalist for this award.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2-1-1 TBC Achieves Re-certification by American Association of Suicidology

2-1-1 TBC has been re-certified by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) through April 2016. 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares has been evaluated and found to meet all the criteria established by this Association for Accreditation as an approved Crisis Intervention Program. Please visit our 2-1-1 Connects services site for more information.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares Wins "Community Service Leadership" Award

Pictured Edward Perry, Data & Web Services Manager & Michele Dunaway, Resource Specialist
accept the award on behalf of 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares.

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares received a Community Service Leadership award for our participation in the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program) from the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service. The award was given at the Recognition Ceremony hosted by the Wealth Building Coalition of St. Petersburg and held at the Museum of Fine Arts on Friday, April 22nd.

The Wealth Building Coalition of Pinellas County helps to improve individual quality of life and the local economy by bringing in and circulating more money into the community through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

The Wealth Building Coalition/Pinellas Prosperity campaign is a collaboration of the public, private and nonprofit sectors working together to:

  • Promote awareness and increase understanding of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program through an ongoing and coordinated marketing campaign.
  • Expand and improve community access to free income tax preparation at sites throughout the county in partnership with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and local organizations.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Thank You" 2-1-1 TBC Volunteers!

On April 12th, we honored our volunteers with a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon celebration. The program began with a message from Micki Thompson, Executive Director thanking the volunteers for their time and dedication to our agency and our appreciation for all they do. The volunteers enjoyed a video presentation from the 2-1-1 TBC staff with "Thank You" messages to our volunteers. 2-1-1 TBC Board Chair, Grant Petersen read each volunteers' accomplishments while Geri Costello, Volunteer Program Manager presented each volunteer with a gift and Certificate of Appreciation.

Additonally, Major George Steffen and Candy Duff-Bardill, 2-1-1 TBC Board members, presented gift cards/certificates provided by 2-1-1 TBC local business partners.

We are very proud to celebrate each and every volunteer who bring a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, talent and flexibility to our agency and community every time they volunteer.

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares would like to thank our local business partners for supporting our volunteers and helping to make their Volunteer Appreciation luncheon a great success.

Special Thanks To:

Edible Arrangements, Dali Museum, Honeybaked Ham-Clearwater, Mosi Museum, O'Keefe's, Panera Bread, Publix, Sam's Club-Clearwater, and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Resources to Aid in Contacting or Locating Family & Friends in Japan

There are several resources available to aid in contacting or located family and friends in Japan.

Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225.

The Google Person Finder site is available at:

If you have the mobile phone number of your family member in the affected areas, you may utilize the following services to check whether he/she has registered his/her message(s) on this service. Services are available in English and Japanese.



Willcom: htpp://;jsessionid=E1E3A8789C6AC141489E8E6AD5F2-825.ap1

Red Cross:

Please note that when you enter the mobile phone number for search on the webpage, you should remove the country code 0081 and add 0 at the beginning. For example, if you dial the number internationally as follows, 0081-90-8877-6655, enter it into the website as: 090-887-6655