Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 12/15/2014
Dec. 2014 CBHC newsletter now available online

In this issue:

  • A message from Kelly Parris, Executive Director
  • Children's Board Family Resource Center Central Tampa Grand Re-Opening
  • Children's Board Free Tuesday's kicks off at the Glazer Children's Museum
  • Volunteer Spotlight: Bonita Granger
  • Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and the Children's Board keeping families safe

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Read the newsletter »

Posted: 12/12/2014
Tampa’s Water Department offers “Build Your Own Rebate”
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Tampa water customers can get up to $500 to use less water

Tampa - The City of Tampa Water Department is offering its residential customers a unique opportunity to save water and money.

It’s called the “Build Your Own Rebate” (BYOR) program. By making a commitment to save a pre-selected percentage of water in 2013, customers can reduce monthly water charges on their bills and receive a rebate.

To participate in the rebate program, customers need to enroll between January 2 and January 31, 2013. The program is open only to single-family account holders whose average monthly water use with the City of Tampa is 15,000 gallons or more. The department estimates about 10 percent of Tampa’s single-family customers may meet this criteria, although the average use for this type of account holder is a little less than 6,000 gallons a month.

Customers can choose their own ways to reduce use - no specific reduction method is required by the program. Some ways to reduce water use could be:

  • Modifying irrigation schedules to meet seasonal plant needs;
  • Checking for and repairing leaks;
  • Placing a rain sensing device on their irrigation system;
  • Installing more water efficient appliances or fixtures;
  • Converting from sprinklers to micro-irrigation in non-turf areas;
  • Changing personal habits such as taking shorter showers, turning off the tap when shaving or brushing teeth, or only running full loads in washing machines and dishwashers; and
  • Connecting to reclaimed water for irrigation, where possible.

Participants will be assigned a personal efficiency coach and be offered individual counseling and advice to help achieve selected goals. Along with other program specific tools, participants will be able to use mobile and online tools to help track their progress.

The process is simple. The customer chooses a targeted water use reduction goal: 5, 10, 15 or 20 percent. Customers who reach their goal will receive a rebate based on the level of reduction they selected:

  • 5% = $50
  • 10% = $150
  • 15% = $300
  • 20% = $500

The reduction amount will be determined by comparing customers’ February-July 2012 bills with their February-July 2013 bills. Customers that reach their goals will receive rebates as a credit on their utility bills by September 2013.


BradBaird,Director of Water Department, City of Tampa,
phone:(813) 274-8663.

Posted: 9/29/2014
Show Florida foster youth it CAN be done!
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The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and its many community partners, including businesses, organizations and individuals, are coming together to show their support of Florida foster youth and help them achieve their goals.

DCF is asking youth, foster and adoptive parents, businesses, organizations and individuals to post photos and videos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, tagging it with #itCANbedone. The photos should show your encouragement for the youth to accomplish their dreams.

DCF encourages communities to mentor, offer internships, provide professional development, offer resources, foster, adopt, etc. so these kids have the foundation to reach for the stars!

Visit for more info, photos, videos and to find out how you can help youth in your community.

Let's show the kids IT CAN BE DONE!

Posted: 9/25/2014
Children’s Festival at USF March 2nd

College of Education’s annual event includes Busch Gardens Live Booth, exergaming, computer learning games and more.

TAMPA – “Learning is WonderBull!” is the theme of the University of South Florida College of Education’s annual Children’s Festival, Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Tampa campus.

Children of all ages can interact with small, tame animals at the Busch Gardens Live booth and enjoy a variety of other fun-filled learning activities. The Children’s Festival is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the unreserved spaces surrounding the College of Education (Lot 1) and the Leroy Collins Blvd. parking deck (excluding reserved parking spaces).

The Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s (FCIT’s) iTeach Lounge will also be open. The Lounge features several stations with activities designed for children, including “Photo Booth” software with funhouse mirror-type filters that can be used to create unusual images. Participants will be able to e-mail the pictures to themselves and others. Children will also be able to try several learning games, including those related to geography, typing and music. One such program, “Garage Band,” allows users to sing and play different instruments with keyboard accompaniment.

The XRKade Research Lab in the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science will also be available for use. The laboratory is a teaching and research facility established to investigate and promote the use of interactive gaming technologies. This movement is known as Interactive Fitness or Exergaming—technology-driven screen based games that require the participant to use his/her body to play the games. Exergaming is increasingly being used in school systems, YMCA’s, recreational centers, and private fitness clubs to help children of all ages increase levels of daily physical activity.

VSA (formerly Very Special Arts) of Florida will also be leading participants in chair painting and other activities.

The Children’s Festival at the USF College of Education was launched 34 years ago, in 1979, held annually through 1996 and attended by thousands of Tampa Bay area children and their families, who participated in approximately 100 learning activities sponsored by classes, clubs, and organizations. The festival was revived in 2006.

For more information, contact Aaron Greaser, event coordinator at (813) 974-6399.

Posted: 9/25/2014
Tampa Water Department Funds K-12 Classroom Grants

TAMPA – For the fifth consecutive year, the City of Tampa Water Department is making $5,000 available to Hillsborough County teachers who want to feature classroom project lessons that include water conservation and awareness.

“Our children have a critical role in environmental stewardship”, said Brad Baird, Tampa Water Department Director. “We have a responsibility to prepare our children for the time when they will be managing our water resources to the benefit of our communities, our natural environment, and future generations.”

The Classroom Grants funded by the Water Department range from $250 to $1,000 per project. The Hillsborough Education Foundation administers the funds, which are available to teachers in grades K-12 whose schools are served by both the Tampa Water Department and the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

The online grant application period runs through October 17, 2014. Applications, eligible schools, and project criteria can be found on the Hillsborough Education website at Apply for a Classroom Grant | Hillsborough Education Foundation. Classroom grant information as well as other environmental education resources can be found on at Conservation For Educators | City of Tampa.

For more information, contact the Hillsborough Education Foundation at (813) 574-0273, or the Tampa Water Department at (813) 274-8121 option #5.

More information »

Posted: 9/25/2014
Free, Fall Movies in the Park Begins October 4

The City of Tampa Parks & Recreation and Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc. (FOTR) have teamed together and are pleased to announce a series of free, family-fun films at Water Works Park this fall.

What:  Screen on the Green presented by Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
Where:  Water Works Park, 1710 N. Highland Avenue
When:  Saturday, October 4, 11, 18 & 25, 2014
Start Times:  Movies start at 7:30 p.m., seating begins at 6 p.m.
Admission:  Free!

What's Playing?

October 4:  "Muppets Most Wanted", PG
October 11:  “Despicable Me2”, PG
October 18:  “Avengers”, PG-13
October 25:  “The Lego Movie”, PG

Come on out and join us in watching some good family entertainment on these cool fall nights in an open-air environment, overlooking the Hillsborough River. Cool down, cozy-up and sink in. Admission is free! The City of Tampa’s Teens Leading Change (TLC) will be selling popcorn, candy and drinks to raise funds for scholarships. Just Desserts Ice Cream truck and a food truck will also be on site each.

Like Events in Downtown Tampa on Facebook for weather updates and announcements. For more information and Frequently Asked Questions, visit the Screen on the Green web page.

Screen on the Green is a community event produced by the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department and the Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc., presented Grow Financial Credit Union, and sponsored by The Tampa Tribune, Magic 94.9 FM, and News Channel 8.

Screen on the Green webpage »

Posted: 9/11/2014
Read the Children's Board e-Newsletter
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Sign up to receive the Children's Board e-Newsletter and get information about recent and upcoming events delivered to your inbox. In this issue:

• A message from Kelley Parris, Executive Director
• Empowerment Summit for the Women of Sulphur Springs
• Children's Board Took the #IceBucketChallenge
• Children's Board Receives Secretary's Award

Read the newsletter »


JoannaCheshire,Public Outreach Coordinator,Children's Board of Hillsborough Couty,, 1002 East Palm Avenue, Tampa, FL.33605
phone:(813) 204-1729.

Posted: 9/8/2014
Learn How Efficient Water Use Can Save You Green
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TAMPA – Free water efficiency information is coming in April to a computer or mobile device near you! Expert advice for businesses and homeowners are offered during free e-Seminars, sponsored by the Tampa Water Department, to kick off Water Conservation Month.

E-Seminar: Water Use Efficiency Tools for Facility Managers
What: Commercial and institutional managers will learn about a new guide developed by the South Florida Water Management District to help facility and operations managers understand their building’s water use and develop a plan of action to increase efficiency without sacrificing performance.
When: April 4, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Why: The program will include an introduction of the guide’s features, how to utilize audits as a first step toward reducing operating expenses, and a discussion on adapting the guide’s tiered approach to specific facilities. The guest presenter will be Robert Wanvestraut, Senior Water Conservation Analyst, South Florida Water Management District.
Where: Register online at

E-Seminar and Live-Site: Irrigation Efficiency Basics
What: During this interactive e-Seminar our guest presenter, Jack Overdorff of ECO-Land Design, will provide an overview of typical irrigation components, common system maintenance issues and ways to help reduce the water you use for irrigation.
When: April 6, 2013, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Why: Watering lawns and landscape plants can account for up to 50% of an average homeowner's total water use. Watering a typical 5,000 square-foot yard with an in-ground sprinkler system could cost more than $10 per application. By properly creating and maintaining a water-efficient sprinkler system, you can reduce water usage while maintaining an attractive landscape.
Where: Register for the e-Seminar at To attend in person, a live participation site is also available for this topic at the New Tampa Regional Library with no registration required, but seating is limited.

Posted: 9/8/2014
Tune in to Children's Board radio each Wednesday at 11 a.m.
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Learn more about the nonprofit organizations funded by the Children’s Board. Each week, one funded partner is interviewed about their Children’s Board funded program and how you can get involved. Every Wednesday from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Listen by streaming live on or WMNF 88.5 HD Channel 4.

Click here to listen online

Posted: 8/25/2014
Help Hillsborough County Update the Local Mitigation Strategy
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A series of meetings are scheduled to provide residents throughout Hillsborough County, including Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City, information about the 2015 update to Hillsborough County’s Local Mitigation Strategy and Floodplain Management Plan (LMS).

The LMS is the “all hazards” guide developed to provide residents and businesses with information about the risks they could possibly face while living in Hillsborough County, such as floods, wildfires, tornadoes, thunderstorms and hurricanes. The guide also outlines mitigation techniques to help lessen those risks.

The meetings will have an open house format. Questions and suggestions are welcomed. The same information will be available at each of the following meetings: 

  • Monday, Aug. 18 at 6:30 PM, SouthShore Regional Service Center, 410 30th St. SE, Ruskin
  • Thursday, Aug. 21 at 6:30 PM, Mango Recreation Center, 11717 Clay Pit Road, Seffner
  • Monday, Aug. 25 at 6:30 PM, University Area Community Development Corporation, 14013 N. 22nd St., Tampa
  • Monday, Sept. 8 at 6:30 PM, Bloomingdale Regional Public Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico
  • Monday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 PM, Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library, 11211 Countryway Blvd., Tampa

Hillsborough County staff will be at the meetings to present updates to the management plan, provide information about what local government is doing to mitigate hazards, and explain how residents may take action to protect their family, businesses, and property.

Public Input

Public input is a key part of the process. Residents are asked to comment on any project currently listed in the plan and suggest other projects not currently being considered. Residents and community stakeholders are invited to attend Local Mitigation Strategy Working Group meetings and become involved. 
Additional public information meetings will be scheduled during the LMS update process.

Please contact Hazard Mitigation staff with questions or suggestions.

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