- 01.14.2022 Anastasia Pagonis: Game Changer Of The Month
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is deeply appreciative of the philanthropic leaders who partner with our organization. These generous leaders are doing great things to improve the lives of all who live, work and play in communities across the United States and Tampa Bay is no exception.
As a nonprofit leader at PCA - Tampa Bay, I have witnessed incredible generosity this past year from people and organizations familiar with our mission to deliver workshops and program support to positively impact youth and transform the youth sports culture into an environment where all kids and high school student-athletes have a positive, character-building experience that results in ‘better athletes, better people.’
The Spurlino Foundation, spearheaded by Cy and Joanne Spurlino and their grants advisor, Diana Baker, have helped our greater Tampa Bay community for many years and in a number of ways. The couple gives thoughtfully to animal, environmental, and child development programs and we are thankful and proud to know and partner with them.
PCA is heavily involved with kids and coaches in the community and with the support of the Spurlino Foundation, our Tampa Bay chapter has established an ongoing relationship with Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation. Together, we have been able to provide experiences and opportunities that kids and families would not receive elsewhere.
2020 was a tough year for many people, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. The Spurlino Foundation worked very closely with PCA – Tampa Bay to talk about how they could continue to help and support our mission. Understanding that our opportunities and partnerships would look different in 2020, Cy, Joanne, and Diana talked with me to responsibly channel funding to where it could be most impactful.
They understood that our close partnership with Hillsborough County would not crumble due to COVID and that, in fact, we had even more opportunities to connect with Hillsborough’s staff. With fewer kids attending summer camp, more time and space was provided for PCA to spend in the parks assisting the staff, developing stronger relationships, and educating the coaches more fully and deeply on PCA’s Character Development Program - a program that focuses on respect, effort, resilience, bouncing back from mistakes, and resetting when emotions start to boil over.
When asked about the impact of the Character Development Program in 2020, one staff member from Hillsborough County’s Emanuel P Johnson Park said, “It’s definitely changed the group dynamics. We’re able to take a second, pause, break the situation down, and actually have a conversation about it, which kids understand now because they understand what it means to have emotions and control them.”
A child at Jackson Spring’s Park said, “If you respect yourself and the choices you make, it can bring a strong impact on what you decide to do in the future. It can improve your job, your grades in school, and what you can accomplish.”
The Spurlino Foundation has been a role model of philanthropic leadership for many years and their commitment to PCA and kids in the Tampa Bay community through a tough 2020 was a true testament to their spirit of giving. Their resilience, understanding, and commitment to generosity allowed PCA – Tampa Bay to continue to operate year-round, innovate and add virtual programming and creative worksheets, and convert work to Zoom, too. The Spurlinos helped our community advance in 2020 and set us up for success in 2021. As Adrienne Rouse, Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Supervisor stated, “Teaching character never stops.”
We are thankful for Cy and Joanne Spurlino and Diana Baker and their philanthropic interest in our work, our positive impact, and the culture changes we’re making in coordination with Hillsborough County. We are thankful.
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