Gratitude for community helpers

Between Hillsborough and Pasco counties, Metropolitan Ministries cares for more than 300 children on our campuses. Your support helps provide them with a loving and safe environment that helps them grow and learn while healing from the traumas associated with homelessness and domestic violence.   

One of the programs you support is C.R.E.A.T.E (Children’s Recreational, Education, Arts, and Therapeutic Experience), a therapeutic after-school care program funded by The Children’s Board. C.R.E.A.T.E helps students navigate their feelings and process their world while providing a safe place for fun activities.   

During the COVID-19 crisis, our education team has created a specialized curriculum to address current events in a way that’s both informative and fun for the students. Recently, the students learned about community heroes and friends. They learned about essential workers and their role in our community during the pandemic.   

Teachers shared that Metropolitan Ministries, where the students live, is also considered an essential service that offers support and resources for other families in need. After learning this, they came up with the idea to deliver handmade cards to our staff on the frontlines.   

Emily Philips, a Therapeutic Specialist for C.R.E.A.T.E, helped lead the initiative.  

“We choose themes each month on what we teach our kids, and this month they’ve been learning about community and friends,” she shared.   

“When we discussed community, a big part of that was learning who the community helpers were,” she said. “They know that police officers, firefighters, and mail carriers are community helpers. We also taught them about Metropolitan Ministries and how they help.”   

Philips also said Metro is a perfect example of a community because the students live here, have friends here, eat here and go to school with other families on our campus.

“Giving them that example makes it come to life for them. We can connect them with real-life examples that they can relate to. They are a part of this community that gives back, and they take pride in that,” said Philips.  

After learning about Metro and how we were stepping up to aid families during COVID-19, the children wanted to show appreciation by making handmade thank you cards. The C.R.E.A.T.E team jumped right in, providing paper, markers, crayons, and support as the students created cards, posters, and notes of thanks.   

“We wanted to support them and show them that being a part of a community means you give back, practice social responsibility, and show gratitude,” Philips shared. “We choose the Family Support Center because that’s where people are getting food and vital services from, especially during COVID-19.”  

The students and teachers walked with their cards and posters to the Family Support Center, where they observed a large food donation being dropped off. Philips and her team explained that all the food they saw would go to families who don’t live at Metro but needed help, especially during this crisis. They saw families, that looked like them, getting help at the place the students call home.   

“Seeing how excited the kids were was amazing. Their eyes were lighting up as they saw other families being helped. They were proud to deliver their notes of thanks to the Family Support Center team and learn how Metro helps year-round and during COVID-19.”   

Because of your support, our education team can continue to support, teach, and encourage young minds. The students on our campuses learn about compassion, community, and how to contribute to the world through small acts of kindness.   

Thanks to your kindness and generous support from The Children’s Board, more children will have their lives impacted by programs like C.R.E.A.T.E 

To learn more, visit our Programs for School Age Children page.