Boys & Girls Club Grand Opening in Temple Terrace

by Stephanie Rodgers

The brand-new Temple Terrace Boys & Girls Club celebrated their grand opening on Monday, March 25, 2019. Structured around a community collaboration model, The City of Temple Terrace, Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Parks & Recreation are working together to bring new opportunities and learning facilities for the youth and families in Temple Terrace.

Established in the former site of the Temple Park Recreation Center at 7701 Temple Terrace Highway, the club’s main building features an innovation lab stocked with laptops and a learning center which holds over 3,000 books collected by the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council. Surrounded by six acres of land, there is more than enough recreation space for the kids to play sports, including a soccer field and a basketball court that is in the works.

Ribbon cutting ceremony.

Ribbon cutting ceremony.

The 100 children and teens that are on their way to becoming members of the club are highly supported by the Temple Terrace Police Department, who will ensure a daily presence of a law enforcement mentors to create stronger community ties with local officers. Championed by Temple Terrace Police Chief Ken Albano and Temple Terrace Mayor Mel Jurado, they both made guest appearances to promote the opening and vouch for their dedication to make the club a success for the community.

The main donor, the Sam & Laurice Hachem Foundation, along with other generous benefactors, have invested in this program to enable the youth involved to stay on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, learn to demonstrate good character and citizenship, as well as living a healthy lifestyle. The after school and summer programs, such as “Power Hour,” prevention lessons, STEM and art curriculums, will be sustained through partnerships with outside organizations, local schools and the police department, that will represent various demographics and build relationships to teach the members life skills.

Introducing a meal program at the club- which started as a snack but will become a hot supper for the kids- goes hand in hand with the healthy eating that TBF2S teaches. Boys & Girls Club current chairman, Keith Harris stated that, “What I would love to see come from [the partnership with TBF2S] is that kids begin to understand choices… that have implications, if you start eating right then you start feeling better and doing better in school, because that’s what it’s really all about.”

Attendees tasting Kid’s Kitchen plates.

Attendees tasting Kid’s Kitchen plates.

Tampa Bay Farm2School Kid’s Kitchen team supported the event by catering plant-based dishes for the 100 event attendees including local elected officials, community volunteer leaders, donors, business owners, religious leaders and others who help support the center. Serving up crunchy cucumber sandwich bites and vegetarian burrito bowls, the dishes prepared by the Kids’ Kitchen team were a hit with everyone and even surprised some with the all natural, plant-based recipes.

All the funs starts on Tuesday afternoon, April 2, when Tampa Bay Farm 2 School volunteers Brandi Murphy, Julie Cornwell, Nick Barnes, Richa Bisht and Elizabeth Leib lead kids in mixing the soil for their new Earth Box gardens. Community Impact Director Jason Jenkins points out that, “There is a perception that healthy food isn’t good, especially with the young kids and they can’t recognize that they need it. And a lot of the kids we serve come from lower income, and so they don’t get to eat a lot of healthy meals all the time- there’s a lot of fast food and junk food, and so that’s what their bodies will crave and they don’t understand to put something good in your body. That was a big component why I wanted to bring Farm 2 School to this club,”

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If you would like to continue supporting our programs, as well as the new Boys & Girls Club, please contact us via email:, or donate on our website. For more information on what TBF2S is all about, continue exploring our pages and consider donating out to help support our partnership with the new club.

Also check out our social medias (click the links at the top of the page) to stay updated and get awesome tips about gardening or plant-based eating!

Cork's Outdoor Classroom Build Day

Finished outdoor garden space for students at Cork, with Kid’s Kitchen and volunteers in background. (2019)

Finished outdoor garden space for students at Cork, with Kid’s Kitchen and volunteers in background. (2019)

On the weekend of January 19th, 2019, the Tampa Bay Farm2School and Kid’s Kitchen team, alongside the Cork Elementary staff, coordinated efforts of volunteers- representing USF's Stampede of Service, USF’s Engineers Without Borders, the US Green Building Council, the Patel College of Global Sustainability Alumni Association, and Bethany Baptist Church- to build an outdoor garden classroom, including four garden plots and classroom seating. Shoutout to those amazing volunteers, we would not have accomplished this build without you! We will be holding a grand opening celebration on Thursday, May 2nd at Cork Elementary in Plant City from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

With each garden we help create, our hope is that these spaces will make it possible for students to learn how to grow fresh vegetables, as well as how to prepare them, thanks to experiences cooking and tasting plant-based recipes with the Kids' Kitchen team this spring. This combination of gardens, nutrition and cooking lessons is key to fulfilling Tampa Bay Farm2School's vision of "Healthy Communities, Seriously Healthy Food," as well as fostering a healthier mindset for the growing Tampa Bay populace.

We are grateful to the Plant City Observer that published an article about Cork's new garden, and the generous donor that has stepped forward to provide supplies and construction to build an enriching outdoor classroom space for the children. This will include plants to put into the new garden plots, as well as a pergola that will provide some cover for students while they are learning and creating new connections.

Kid’s Kitchen Team Leaders, Richa and Brandon, demonstrate the lunch recipe. (2019)

Kid’s Kitchen Team Leaders, Richa and Brandon, demonstrate the lunch recipe. (2019)

Tampa Bay Kids' Kitchen team had its first demonstration of the new year while at the build day. Volunteers were treated to an array of healthy plant-based dishes, including Dr. Hansen's famous cranberry-hibiscus tea, carrots and celery with hummus, and rice cakes topped with peanut butter and bananas. For the lunch portion, some of the Kid's Kitchen volunteers helped prepare and chop all of the ingredients for the recipes, which really made a difference when it came time to put everything together. During the cooking demonstrations, Kids' Kitchen team leaders, Richa and new leader, Brandon, taught nutritional facts about kale, tomatoes, zucchini, beets, and even taught the audience how to use a spiralizer. The combination of a warm, hearty kale and tomato pasta dish and a colorful asian-styled zoodle salad left our volunteers smiling and ready to get back to action!

If you would like to donate time or resources to support the schools with outdoor garden classrooms, please contact us via email:, or donate on our website.

Also feel free to check out our social media pages (by clicking on the links at the top of the page) to stay updated and get awesome tips about gardening or plant-based eating!