COOP Hosts 1st Summer Youth Celebration

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — The Community Opportunity for Our People (COOP) sponsored its first End of School Year/Start of Summer Youth Celebration at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Tangerine Plaza Sat., June 6.

COOP is a new city initiative organized to provide resourceful information about different summer programs and work opportunities in the City of St. Pete.

“Our plan today is to let kids know about positive things they can do for the summer and keep out of trouble,” said Tony Macon of COOP.

COOP’s goals are more specifically geared towards assisting boys and men in receiving support and guidance from the community within the community.

“We set up in the heart of the community to meet the people where they are,” said COOP member Carl Lavender.

Lavender was referring to the organization being housed in the resource center at Tangerine Plaza, 1786 22nd St. S.

“People don’t have to go outside of the community to find resources for tutoring, job-seeking skills, ex-offender re-entry, personal development or financial development for our boys and men,” said Lavender.

Macon added that COOP also provides information for assisting the elderly in the surrounding community.

COOP embodies multiple community service organizations that have partnered with the City of St. Petersburg’s Community Affairs, Urban Affairs and the Police Department. Other organizations present were GTE Financial, Growth Finance, Police Athletic League, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department and several faith-based representatives.

Exemplifying the positive side of what can happen when youth are embraced, trained and guided down the path of success was the Mt. Zion Progressive Baptist Church Youth Marching Band. One of the best marching bands put on a dazzling, show stopping performance that drew adults and children in from all directions.

Macon thanked Walmart for their donation of the space to serve a community purpose. For more information about COOP, you can contact Kiara Williams at (727) 346-8631 or (727) 895-6562. The COOP can be contacted also by email at wearcoop.1@gmail.com.

To reach Allen Buchanan, email abuchanan@theweeklychallenger.com

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