Engaging with the community, developing relationships, and building partnerships with a common goal of keeping our neighborhoods healthy and safe is key to reducing and preventing violence. For the third year, Safe & Sound Hillsborough and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tampa Division’s Citizens Academy Alumni Association partnered to honor extraordinary individuals in Hillsborough County that have gone above and beyond to uplift and transform their communities through public safety initiatives.

On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, The FBI Tampa Division recognized Community Builder Award honorees. Each recipient received a mini-grant of up to $750 to continue their positive efforts in partnership with a non-profit organization of their choice. At the conclusion of the Safe & Sound Hillsborough’s monthly Leadership Council meeting, a special presentation was made by FBI Community Outreach Specialist LeShanda Williams and Lon D. Guarino, President – FBI Tampa Citizens Academy (FBITCAAA). Honorees gave a brief presentation on their future community projects and how the mini-grant will help them to implement it. This year’s honorees include Jacqueline Coffie Leeks, Ricky Coronado, Bethany McNeil, and Brian NeSmith. Their upcoming projects will include a seminar on “Redirecting Children’s Behavior for Stronger Resilience, Sweaters for the Cold – Homeless Initiative, East Bay High School & South County Community Block Party, and “One Bag, One Dream Block Party” in the Robles Park Community.

In addition, a Youth Community Champion Scholarship in the amount of $1000 awarded to a high school youth that has demonstrated outstanding volunteerism, with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and plans to pursue a degree in law, health, or public safety was presented to Kierra Jenkins, a recent graduate of C. Leon King High School.

“The FBI Tampa Citizens Academy Alumni Association is once again very excited about partnering with Safe & Sound Hillsborough in honoring some very special citizens for the great work they have done in their communities,” Lon D. Guarino, President – FBITCAAA. “It is through these community partnerships and outreach programs that we strengthen and unite our community.”

Partnering with neighborhood heroes that selflessly serve while keeping their pulse on the needs of the community is what Safe & Sound Hillsborough is all about. Supporting their efforts with the FBI is the consummate example of working together to build strong families, safe schools and healthy neighborhoods.

Safe & Sound Hillsborough’s Leadership Council meetings are held the on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and is open to the public. For more information visit www.SafeandSoundHillsborough.org or contact 813-327-8317.

Image Credit: FBI Tampa Division
ltor: Marie Marino, Public Defender’ Office Chief Forensic Behavioral Health Intervention Unit, Cindy Stuart, Hillsborough County Public Schools Board Member, Brian NeSmith, Community Builder Award Honoree, Honorable Kevin Beckner, former Hillsborough County Commissioner, Lon D. Guarino, President – FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, Public Defender Julianne M. Holt, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Kierra Jenkins, Youth Community Champion, Bethany McNeil, Community Builder Award Honoree, Jacqueline Coffie Leeks, Community Builder Award Honoree, Executive Director Freddy Barton, Safe & Sound Hillsborough, Ricky Coronado, Community Builder Award Honoree, LeShaunda Williams, FBI Community Outreach Specialist, Sergeant Audrey Peterson, Tampa Police Department, Dr. Kathleen Heide, USF Department of Criminology