Making a Difference in the Community
Help Wanted. Challenging Work. No Pay.
You might think a request like this would fall upon deaf ears, but not at ASPEC. Our members volunteer their services to community organizations individually, and as groups representing the Academy. Thousands of hours as well as materials and financial support are given by dedicated, compassionate members. We consider involvement in the community part of our "lifelong learning."
Community Partner with Sanderlin School
During the last year ASPEC, through its outreach program, has partnered with the JAMES SANDERLIN IB (International Baccalaureate) World School. The School is committed to teaching and learning with the brain and heart in mind and to develop a community of lifelong learners who will use an inquiry approach to become internationally-minded citizens. Through this partnership, the members of ASPEC continue to exemplify their interests in intergenerational and lifelong learning.
Many Sanderlin students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and ASPEC volunteers serve as mentors through one-on-one lunches with their students for one half hour each week or through tutoring in reading. Julia Lewis, the initiator of this partnership says, “The idea is just to be there for the child and to present a different life perspective.” In addition to a physical presence, ASPEC members have contributed financially to the school, enabling the students to visit the Chihuly Museum and experience Science Center visits.
In appreciation of the physical and financial contributions by ASPEC members, ASPEC is proud to be nominated as Corporate Partner of the Year by the School.
The Academy also has a team of volunteer carpenters, mechanics and laborers that help many of the small agencies in St. Petersburg where the need is greatest, improving the physical conditions they operate in.
Our team call themselves the "Applied Technology Group" and are famous for repairing the large fleet of yellow bikes that are the innovative ”green” transportation system used by students to get around the Eckerd campus. If you see a yellow bike you can ride it to your classroom or your dorm, and leave it there until the next student uses it. The bikes suffer considerable damage form constant use and our members have repaired and recycled hundreds of bikes.
In the community our members have renovated the offices of many not for profit organizations. The Director of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, which aids the jobless, the homeless, and people with medical needs, was delighted with the work dove by Academy members. Director Jane Egbert said:
"The ASPEC team created much needed additional office space used for meeting with patients and renovated a break room used by staff and volunteers into a considerably more welcoming space. We are grateful for the work by ASPEC members and really appreciate their support and talents!"
Likewise at the St. Petersburg Daystar Life Center, who also provide support services to the community (a postal address, access to phones, the internet), our team expanded their undersize office by converting a closet.
Most recently our team improved the offices of the St. Petersburg Red Cross and are planning their next community project.
Well over 100 community organizations benefit from the contributions made by ASPEC members, including:
- City of St. Petersburg, Florida Orchestra
- St. Petersburg Community Chorus
- St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts
- Mahaffey Theater
- Goodwill Foundation
- Gulfport Historical Society
- Habitat for Humanity
- League of Women Voters
- March of Dimes
- Meals on Wheels
- Rotary Club
- United Nations Association
- Pinellas Public Library
- Science Center of Pinellas County
- All Children's Hospital
- Hospice of Florida
- Ronald McDonald House
If you are a community organization and need help, do contact us, our members thrive on "making a difference" in our community.