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ECHO GED Prep Class

ECHO GED Prep Class

ECHO’s GED Preparation Class in full swing with students working one on one with volunteer tutors.

ECHO is committed to helping area residents achieve and live a self-sufficient life. Education is a key element to achieving self-sufficiency. ECHO offers a free GED Preparation Program to all residents of Hillsborough County who are 18 years and older. We have tutors who work one on one with the students to get them ready in math, language arts, science and social studies.

If you have experience teaching or tutoring and would like to make a difference in someone’s life, please contact Lori@echofl.org.

Thank you to everyone who supports ECHO.

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Brandon News: Woman lauded for her charity efforts

Brandon News: Woman lauded for her charity efforts

BY Linda Chion Kenney
Special Correspondent
Published: March 18, 2015  Click to original article

Surrounded by her peers from the GFWC Brandon Service League, Jean Ippolito still had no clue she was about to receive a coveted community service award for her many volunteer associations.

The occasion was the annual Community Affairs Dinner, hosted by the Community Roundtable of Brandon in February, at Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association in Brandon. There, Dave Braun, a former honorary mayor of Brandon and last year’s recipient of the Roundtable’s Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award, was about to announce his successor.

“He said our recipient is a member of the Brandon Service League and I looked to one of my friends and said, ‘Oh, good, it’s one of us,” Ippolito said, adding that she had been surprised to see so many of her fellow club members in attendance.

Ippolito had been the invited guest of club president Sandy Pullinger, who received the Alice B. Tompkins award in 2011, followed by Tammy Holmberg and Betty Jo Tompkins. The award was first given in 1975 to Patricia B. Odiorne, followed by Dick Stowers a year later and the award’s namesake, in 1976.

Only when Braun got deeper into his recitation of this year’s recipient’s background did Ippolito realize she was the intended honoree, which in turn was the reason for the club’s strong turnout.

“I was dumbfounded. I was God-smacked,” Ippolito said about the award, named posthumously for a former editor of the Brandon News. “There are many, many people who do so much more than I do, so I’m quite humbled by it.”

Ippolito’s modesty belies her breadth of volunteerism, which extends way beyond her long-term affiliation with the Brandon Service League, for which she serves as education chair and has worked with OASIS, a nonprofit that provides clothing, shoes and personal hygiene products for students and their families.

She previously chaired the league’s Very Special Arts Festival, founded by Alice Storms and held annually at the First Baptist Church of Brandon, which invites kindergartners with disabilities from the Greater Brandon area to engage in specially designed arts and crafts activities.

“It’s a very interesting life, I can tell you that,” said Ippolito, who retired from the School District of Hillsborough County after 33 years of service, including a stint as administrative secretary for Earl Lennard, then the assistant superintendent for technical and adult education, who at the Roundtable dinner gave the keynote address.

Ippolito’s recognition brings notice to some of the Greater Brandon area’s most noble undertakings.

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Brandon News: ECHO opens doors for tours

Brandon News: ECHO opens doors for tours
BY Barbara Routen
Special Correspondent
Published: March 18, 2015  Click here for story. 

— Individuals, organizations and groups are invited on a tour of the Emergency Care Help Organization to see what it is and what it does for the community.

“People often give to food and clothing pantries but may wonder what happens to their donation or what happened in a person’s life to cause them to end up in need. ECHO is now offering tours designed to educate the community on the services ECHO offers and the community they serve in Eastern Hillsborough County,” said Laura Young, donor relations manager.

The hourlong Discover ECHO tours are free and make no donation appeals, said Young. They include a tour of the facilities as well as information on emergency services, educational programs and the career assistance program.

Depending on the time of day, tours may include a light breakfast or lunch.

Individuals should register online at www.echofl .org or by contacting Young at laura@echofl .org or (813) 685-0935, ext. 8008. Private tours for groups of 8 to 18 may be arranged by calling or emailing ECHO.

ECHO provides food and clothing to people in crisis situations in 15 ZIP-code areas, including newly added Thonotosassa.

ECHO also helps “clients with creating or updating their resume, applying for jobs, interview preparation and even transferable skills analysis, if appropriate,” said ECHO Executive Director Stacey Efaw. “We also offer a flexible GED prep program and some very popular classes such as Healthy Living, Mommy & Me, Basic Financial Literacy and Basic Computer Literacy.”

Individuals with immediate needs for services may visit ECHO between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They should bring photo ID, proof of local residency and a Social Security card for each family member.

Send news of community interest to Barbara.Routen@gmail.com.

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Amarillis’ Story

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Sharmaine Burr, ECHO’s Director of Social Services, was instrumental in helping Amarillis land a job. ECHO was also there when Amarillis needed clothes for her job.

Every day the staff and volunteers at ECHO see people in need. We do our best to help them in

whatever way we can. We do not just give food and clothes and send them on their way. We truly care

about our clients and want to help to turn their lives around.

Recently, Amarillis of Brandon returned to ECHO with great news. Amarillis had been out of work for an

extended period of time. When she was in dire need of food and clothing for her and her grandchildren,

she came to ECHO. While here, she met with our Director of Social Services, Sharmaine, who

encouraged her to keep up her spirits and continue to look for a job. Amarillis took this advice and got a

job at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Riverview. Amarillis came back to ECHO to get clothing for

her new job.

ECHO is here to help not only with emergency food and clothing assistance, but to give guidance and

support to assist individuals from crisis to self-sufficiency.

 

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ABC Action News: Gift of Hope helps families celebrate Thanksgiving

ABC Action News: Gift of Hope helps families celebrate Thanksgiving
11:11 AM, Nov 22, 2014

BRANDON, Fla – Responding to the great need in our community, several churches in the Greater Brandon area are partnering withECHO once again this holiday season in sponsoring “Gift of Hope ,” which is supplying everything that is needed to make a great Thanksgiving meal for some 500 families — complete with turkey and all the fixings!

The give-away began Friday, with volunteers from Brandon area Churches, civic groups and Mosaic (who donated a truck-load of Turkeys and Chickens for those in need

But there’s more giving on the way… in less than a month, they’ll crank up the give-away at the First Baptist Church in Brandon for Christmas.  At that time, not only will the families receive the items needed to make a great Christmas meal, but also have the opportunity to shop for toys for each of their children!

Donations are always welcome!  For more information, or to donate, click on the Gift of Hope page for locations and sponsors.

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Back To School Items Needed

Back To School Items Needed

Help a child be ready for school this year. Donate a backpack or make a cash donation.  Every little bit helps.

BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES NEEDED

  • BACKPACKS (elementary, middle and high school- boy and girl)
  • Pencils
  • Pencil cap erasers
  • Markers
  • Pocket folders (2 each)
  • Scissors
  • Black pens
  • Blue pens
  • Wide rule paper
  • College rule paper

You may drop off at the ECHO facility or contact Kathy Collins at kathy@echofl.org  for more information.

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Children’s Board Grant helps ECHO improve technology for Community Training

Children’s Board Grant helps ECHO improve technology for Community Training

10462558_867416239939868_3827597977781912675_nIn a world where technology is everything, ECHO is fortunate to have the support of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.  We recently received a Tech Grant from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County which allowed us to purchase new chairs, four laptop computers, a whiteboard and a filing cabinet.  These will be used in our newly redesigned Community Training Room where we offer GED classes, financial literacy classes, basic computer literacy classes and healthy living classes.  All of these are open to the public at no charge.

For over 25 years, ECHO has been providing emergency food and clothing assistance to residents of Eastern Hillsborough County.  With funding from generous funders such as the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, we are able to expand our social services which allow us to do more.  We strive to help residents get out of the cycle of need and become self-sufficient and independent.

We thank the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County for their generosity and commitment to the community.

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Citi Group Volunteers for ECHO

Citi Group Volunteers for ECHO

On Saturday, June 7, 20 volunteers from Citi Group came to ECHO to fulfill a few much needed tasks. This included permanently fixing the fence behind ECHO. It also included assisting with sorting clothes in the donation room. When businesses and corporations allow and encourage their employees to volunteer at local non-profits such as ECHO, everyone benefits. Thank you Citi Group volunteers for your hard work and dedication. We at ECHO are most appreciative of all you do for us.

 

 

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Suncoast Credit Union Provides ECHO with Back To School Grant

Suncoast Credit Union Provides ECHO with Back To School Grant

Once again, Suncoast Credit Union Foundation has stepped up and provided ECHO with a grant for $5,000 for our Back to School Program. This directly translates into hundreds of children being equipped with a voucher for new shoes, age appropriate school supplies and a backpack. These children will be able to succeed in school because Suncoast Credit Union Foundation cares enough to know that children can and will succeed when they are given the basic tools to do well in school. No child should have to bear the burden of attending school without the same basic tools as their classmates, and this includes new shoes as well as notebooks, pencils and a backpack.

Thank you Suncoast Credit Union Foundation for your vision and generosity.

 

About Sunocast Credit Union Foundation: Suncoast Credit Union is proud to have founded the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to benefit sick children and their families and to support educational initiatives. The foundation is a vehicle for Suncoast to support the communities we serve and help the people who live here. Since its inception in 1992, the Foundation has raised and donated over $7 million dollars to help provide a better future for the children of our community.

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