Holiday Hopes: Plant High student made it this far alone, wants just one thing for college Holiday Hopes: Plant High student made it this far alone, wants just one thing for college

December 8, 2016 TAMPA — She heard it from the other room, at first thinking her brother was laughing, then knowing he was crying, harder than she’d ever heard before. He only had to say one word — “Mom” — and Catie Purnell knew that her mother was gone. Her knees got weak. She sat on the edge of her

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Wharton High senior lost her mother, but not her drive Wharton High senior lost her mother, but not her drive

June 3, 2016 NEW TAMPA — Sometimes a raw deal can knock a person off track. So it was for Crystal Ramroop, who was 16 when her mother’s heart gave out. “She was my best friend,” said Ramroop, now 18. “Every time something happened in my life, I told her first. It wasn’t real until she knew.” She had called

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Homeless sisters, one at Armwood, help each another stay in school Homeless sisters, one at Armwood, help each another stay in school

June 3, 2016 SEFFNER — When the school bell rang, Kemari Hayes sprinted home so her classmates wouldn’t find out where she lived. Home was a room at a motel, just off Interstate 4. Inside, Kemari, then 15, closed the door, locking out the crime that she see through the window. She did her homework and watched SpongeBob SquarePants. Kemari

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Rough road to graduation included sleeping on porch, couch surfing Rough road to graduation included sleeping on porch, couch surfing

June 3, 2016 TAMPA — Only in hindsight did Yves Luma realize her mother never intended to get on the plane. Luma was 9. She wore a flowing white summer shirt and baggy jeans that she could grow into. Her mother said they were going to the United States, a land of shining streets and beautiful homes. On the tarmac

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A young migrant worker transforms to college student A young migrant worker transforms to college student

June 11, 2015 DOVER — The hands that once picked fruit in the fields surrounding this east Hillsborough community helped guide a baseball across the plate at the Tampa Bay Rays game Wednesday. The hands that once shielded him from the wrath of an angry father accepted a diploma from Strawberry Crest High School last week, making him the first

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Holiday Hopes: HCC student strives to help younger siblings overcome tragedy Holiday Hopes: HCC student strives to help younger siblings overcome tragedy

December 12, 2014 TAMPA Telling the story gets a little easier each time, but it is always painful. He woke early that morning a year and a half ago to his sister’s screams and jumped from his bed. He can’t remember what month it was, just that he was about to take final exams for his junior year at Armwood

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Starting Right, Now Receives Humana Grant Starting Right, Now Receives Humana Grant

October 10, 2014 A local charity has been named the proud recipient of a giant donation in the form of a grant from a national company. According to a September 16 press release, the Tampa Palms-based charity Starting Right, Now (SRN — a nonprofit that works to eliminate homelessness among Tampa Bay-area youth), received this year’s Humana Communities Benefit charitable

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For Good: Starting Right Now expands programs for homeless youth For Good: Starting Right Now expands programs for homeless youth

September 23, 2014 Thanks to a nonprofit organization and shelter, homeless youth in Tampa Bay have a place to call home and motivation to succeed. Starting Right, Now (SRN) takes in youth who are unaccompanied (living without a parent or guardian) who may be couch hopping or staying with friends, but have no permanent place to call home. The youth

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Homeless kids to gain home, education Homeless kids to gain home, education

August 7, 2014 LARGO — Homeless students in Pinellas County public schools could get a place to call home and a ticket to college as early as January. Starting Right Now, a Hillsborough County nonprofit organization, has settled on the school district’s vacant Harris TIPS building, 4600 Haines Road, St. Petersburg, to launch the Pinellas wing of its comprehensive homeless

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After living in her car, student finds a home and hope After living in her car, student finds a home and hope

May 22, 2014 TAMPA – On a cold night four months ago, La’Quita Carter took a pillow from the trunk of her car, climbed into the back seat and wrapped herself in an old blanket. A polar blast was sliding south, prompting sheet-draped outdoor foliage and the opening of Tampa’s shelters. La’Quita was 18 that cold night and needed a

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