Umbrellas for Peace Created a Colorful Display of Togetherness in Tampa
The kickoff to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay’s new awareness and recruitment campaign was a great success. Nearly 200 volunteer mentors, parents, and children attended “Umbrellas for Peace” on Sunday, July 14, at the Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa.
Bigs (volunteer mentors) and Littles (children) spent time discussing their thoughts about peace and helping the community, while painting umbrellas with messages of hope atthe museum. Guided by stilt walkers from Busch Gardens, they then showcased their masterpieces during a colorful parade around Curtis Hixon Park. The parade culminated in the group forming a heart shape in the middle of the park. The “heart” is part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters logo. (See photos.)
Umbrellas for Peace started out as art therapy for people affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has since blossomed into a global peace initiative. More than 2-million people from 29 countries have participated in artist Matt Lamb’s “Umbrellas for Peace” concept. Sunday was be the first time the event was held in Tampa.
When initially presented with the idea, Stephen Koch, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Inc., felt it was a perfect tie-in with our new recruitment initiative. “Just like umbrellas shield us from the rain and storms, good mentors can shield kids from some of life’s harsher elements,” Koch said. In coming months, Big Brothers Big Sisters will host and partner in events intended to spur discussion about the need for mentors, especially men.
Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters matched more than 1,700 kids with mentors in Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties. Yet, more than 600 children remain on the waiting list. Statistics have shown the positive effects of the professionally supported mentoring that Big Brothers Big Sisters provides. In 2012, 99 percent of Littles had no involvement with the Department of Juvenile Justice, while 96 percent were promoted to the next grade.
The local “Umbrellas for Peace” event was sponsored by: the Broadrick Family Foundation, Earth Tech and the Glazer Children’s Museum. The Glazer Children’s Museum, along with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, is a Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.
*It is our policy not to publish the last names of Little Brothers and Little Sisters.
*Photo credit: Tacy Briggs-Troncoso of Mamarazzi Foto