I grew up in the extremely diverse city of Chicago, where I was lucky enough to meet and be friends with people from all kinds of unique backgrounds. Upon moving to the Tampa Bay Area, I realized I had taken diversity for granted. My fellow high school students hadn't even heard of my ethnicity. Thankfully, I learned about Community Tampa Bay's ANYTOWN program and decided to attend. Here, I found other teens and adults who were passionate about not only diversity, but about the overarching concept of social justice. I used to think I knew a lot about the social issues facing my community, but I had a lot to learn. ANYTOWN gave me the confidence to not only come out of my shell, but also to start advocating for change in my own school. I was able to witness so much change in other program participants as well; one of my co-participants even went on found a nonprofit for the benefit of differently-abled youth! I am fortunate enough to come back every year as a counselor for this program, and I get to watch 60 teens undergo a huge change in their attitude and lifestyle every time. Becoming involved with Community Tampa Bay taught me what passion for social change really looks like.
Community Tampa Bay is in a category by itself in terms of its programs' life-changing effect on the youths it serves. I know of no other youth leadership and diversity training program in the country--and I've volunteered for several--that so inspires and impacts teens at a critical point in their lives. Talk to any youth who has experienced ANYTOWN and your optimism in the future will be restored. I only wish more youth, in Tampa Bay and elsewhere, could benefit from ANYTOWN; it is an incredibly effective antidote to intolerance, discrimination and bigotry.
I went to Anytown over this summer and had a GREAT time!! I went in with a negative attatude and really came out a new person. I learned how NOT to judge people based on how they look, beliefs, or class. And most of all I learned skills that will help me out through out my life. I am VERY thankful I went to Anytown. Now I volunteer at the Community Tampa Bay office!
In 2006, I attended Community Tampa Bay's ANYTOWN program as a delegate. It completely changed my perspective on the world. I learned to be much more open minded toward people who were different from me in any aspect of their social identity from race to religion to sexual orientation. I returned in 2008 as a volunteer counselor for the first time where I had the privilege of touching lives as mine was touched. I strongly believe that every student who walks into ANYTOWN walks out changed for the better. The experiential learning that it allows makes people not only sympathize for those who are different from them but also allows to empathize with them. I am proud to say that I am now working at the CTB office as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the summer. I spend so much of my time volunteering for CTB because I firmly believe that this organization makes measurable improvements toward the vision of creating a community free from all forms of discrimination.
I loved it... it was very awesome getting to know alot of new beautiful people I didn't know before I came to Anytown. It was great really great.. I'm very happy o came to Anytown :)
Even as a volunteer, I feel like a client served by this organization because of the continual development I experience through Community Tampa Bay's programming. Whenever I volunteer or attend program events, the staff is always welcoming and makes me feel absolutely appreciated while continuing to give me great feedback on how I can better serve their mission. I am always challenged with new questions, concepts, perspectives, and stories. When I volunteer with programs, I see an immediate impact on program participants who are challenged to engage in genuine cross-cultural dialogue and advocating for respect.
Review from Guidestar