PCUL’s annual fundraiser knocks it out of the ballpark!

BY SKYLA LUCKEY, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – The Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL) held their 37th Annual Equal Opportunity Day Gala at Tropicana Field Sat., Sept. 26.  Keeping with this year’s theme, Sandals & Sequins, ladies swapped their stilettos for comfortable sandals as they partied with a purpose.

The ballpark party with an upscale experience event served as a fundraiser and recognized outstanding community leaders.

Bay News 9’s own Erica Riggins wore a black dress and elegant but comfortable sandals as she once again hosted the ceremonies for the evening. PCUL President & CEO Watson Haynes welcomed some 480 guests and thanked the many organizations involved with making the Urban League a success.

Alex Glenn, president of Duke Energy, spoke on the importance of helping the underprivileged in Pinellas County.

“He had quiet words but they speak to us with a loud calling tonight,” said Glenn of Pope Francis’ address to Congress.  “He said a political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerabilities or risk.”

Glenn explained that PCUL programs such as Summer Training in Youth Leadership and Employment (STYLE), their GED assistance program and the Education Advisory Council are helping young people in the community to succeed.

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway echoed Glenn’s comments stating that the community must take steps to move the youth in the right direction. He explained that the PCUL is helping lead the way with youth and family services, health programs and utility assistance.

This year’s honorees came from different sectors of the community, but were all recognized for their unwavering support to the PCUL.

Leah Brown of Bright House Networks was presented with the Business Industry Award. Bright House Networks has been supportive of Brown as she shares her passion to help others. Alvin Nesmith, a production manager at the Tampa Bay Times, was honored with the President’s Award for his involvement in programs such as STYLE and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch was honored for helping the organization meet its transportation needs by working with the Pinellas County government to procure a health van to service people with medical needs in the community.

Keynote speaker Paul Tash, Tampa Bay Times CEO & chairman, has long admired the Urban League for recognizing the connection between individual success and the role community plays in personal achievement.

“One reinforces the other. It’s hard for individuals to succeed in communities that don’t have safe neighborhoods, good schools, decent jobs and stable families. But it’s also true that communities struggle when people don’t make the most of opportunities that are available so I salute the Urban League for lifting up our communities and coming at the challenge,” said Tash.

Attendees were treated to the Shawn Brown Band and the Mt. Zion Marching Band. A smorgasbord of food was served and guests danced the night away in the outfield.

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