Matching students with non-profits

Hillsborough County Schools

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Students across Tampa Bay need community service hours before they can graduate, but finding a match between kids and non-profits isn’t always easy. Now there’s an easy for students in Hillsborough County — from children in elementary school all the way to high school — to find that community service match.

The new program is called CAFE. It stands for “Charity Awareness Fair and Expo,” which is the brain child of former Berkeley student, Daniel Stein.

The idea of CAFE is to bring non-profits together in one setting, like Tampa’s Old Hyde Park, so students can meet each organization and their representatives in person.

“More than 50 organizations showed up, and they hand out flyers and information, and talk to the students one on one,” says Stein. CAFE is now in its fourth year and has expanded to students in both the private and public sector in Hillsborough County. Student volunteers are also getting younger.

“We have board members from elementary to high school – so any one can get involved in planning these events or learning more about these non profits,” said Stein. By matching students with the right charity, many are building a strong bond, and taking their volunteer responsibilities to a whole new level, far beyond the required hours.

“It’s come to a level that I’m so passionate about.” said Tampa Prep senior Gracie Goltermann. Her passion is feeding the homeless. The 17-year-old works at Tampa’s Trinity Cafe and while there, figured out a way to take the charities mission of feeding the homeless to a whole new level. “I’m trying to bring in local restaurants to come in an serve home the meals to the homeless,” said Goltermann.

The plan is already taking off, with the Columbia Restaurant being the first one to sign on to the idea of bringing in food to help with Goltermann’s mission. “Then I have the Hilton in Tampa, I have Taco Bus and there are a couple of others that are figuring out the logistics.”

Goltermann has been a Girl Scout since a child and remains active to this day. Feed The Need Tampa Bay not only helps student get community hours before graduation, but it will hopefully earn her the Girl Scouts Gold Award. One thing is for sure, through volunteering, many students across Tampa Bay are building a legacy of helping others, before heading off to college.

Find out more about “Feed The Need Tampa Bay” here.

Find out about upcoming CAFE events here.

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