Cohort of Champions celebrates another year of success

The Cohort of Champions celebrated another year of successes and new beginnings with the community last month.


ST. PETERSBURG – The Cohort of Champions celebrated another year of successes, new beginnings and hope for better futures on Dec. 10. But instead of the traditional banquet or program you might expect, program leaders decided that the celebration would include the entire community.

The program, dedicated to encouraging education, entrepreneurialism, workforce options and enrichment training, invited the community to celebrate the year with a host of activities for young people at the Campbell Park Recreation Center.

Attendees and their families were treated to a live band, a DJ, photos with the St. Petersburg Fire Department, arts and crafts, face painting and free food truck options. The event was free and open to the public.

Carlos Daniels, the program coordinator, said nearly 300 people attended, and along with the opportunity for fun, the afternoon included an emphasis on health and wellness.

“We had a yoga instructor and tennis for the youth, too,” Daniels said. “We try to teach the kids that mindfulness and fitness are important if they want to be successful.”

The Cohort of Champions is funded by the City of St. Petersburg and is a part of a series of programs aimed at providing support to at-risk youth. While the Cohort focuses on young men ages 16-24, the girl’s program, a newer initiative, works with young ladies ages 12-16. Both programs are a part of the city’s My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper campaign.

Students in middle and high school can attend the afterschool initiative program, where they concentrate on health and fitness, mindfulness, job readiness, and business ownership. There is no cost to families, and they can also sign up for the group’s summer camp program.

Since the program’s inception, it has supported more than 600 members of the community, and about 70 participants or champions have been placed with jobs or internships. Several members have also received their certification in various professions, including cell phone and tablet repair, clinical medical assistant and phlebotomy.

Daniels, who spent almost 30 years in the Parks and Recreation Department before joining the Cohort of Champions seven years ago, said he decided to make the career change and join the program because he wanted to have a greater influence on his community — a chance to really make a difference.

About 100 new students joined the Cohort this year, and about 40 new members joined the girl’s program.

Daniels said watching a student find his way because of the program is the most rewarding part of his job.

“It’s watching one of our students enroll and finish at St. Pete College in the nursing program and then go on to become an RN,” said Daniels. The program is working.”

Anyone interested in joining should contact Daniels to learn more about how to apply. He is happy to meet with anyone interested in the program. Stop by the Enoch Davis Center at 1111 18th Ave. S or give him a call at 727 893-7894.

You can find more information about the Cohort of Champions and other related programs at

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