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Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful awarded $12,000 in scholarships to local youth ambassadors. (Photo: Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful)

Youth ambassadors recognized for their community service to Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful

December 19, 2017 - Student Success

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) recently hosted their Annual Awards Breakfast on December 6 to recognize volunteers, sponsors and supporters. Attendees filled TPepin's Hospitality Centre in Tampa to acknowledge those who have made a positive impact in the Tampa Bay community and the environment. 

Eleven Hillsborough County Public School students, proudly referred to as Youth Ambassadors were awarded with scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000 toward any accredited college or university.

“Volunteer service should not only be a requirement it should be a way of life,” said Pierre Alsint, youth ambassador and Hillsborough High School senior. Pierre has been volunteering for KTBB since the fifth grade with Men of Vision (MOV), a Tampa-based mentoring organization for young males from elementary through high school. This year, Pierre took a more active leadership role and led cleanup projects during the Hurricane Relief efforts.  `

Plant High School senior Matthew Hernandez has volunteered with KTBB for the past 4 years and received this year’s highest scholarship award. “Being in a leadership role with KTBB has offered me the opportunity to meet people who make a difference in the community,” shared Hernandez. As a member of the Youth Advisory Council, Matthew has accumulated more than 110 hours of community service through KTBB alone. 

KTBB Executive Director, Debbie Everson proudly shares her excitement about youth getting involved in leadership roles, “I am excited to see these students become environmental stewards.”

These Youth Ambassadors are an important part of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and they usher in the next generation of environmental stewards. Congratulations to these scholarship recipients!

Please visit KTBB's Facebook album to view photos from the Annual Awards Breakfast.


Below is a list and short bio for each KTBB Youth Ambassador and Scholarship award recepients:

Mikael Harris

Mikael is a senior at Tampa Bay Technical School in the nursing program. He plans to combine his passion for helping people and football to pursue a career in sports medicine. Over the summer, he works with the City of Tampa as part of their Neighborhood Development Program where he says that he enjoys cleaning up his city and feeling as though he is making a difference in his community. He said that volunteering with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has changed his perspective on life and helped him know that a little bit of work and kindness can go a long way.

Mitchell Lehman

Mitchell will be graduating from Strawberry Crest High School in May. He currently holds a 5.78 Cumulative GPA. Mitchell hopes to attend either Florida Polytechnic or University of Central Florida to study computer engineering. Mitchell spent this past summer as an intern in the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful office. He also participated in the beach cleanup following the Fourth of July celebrations. He says that this cleanup changed his perspective on the use of fireworks, and he realized the environmental effects caused by those who leave their fireworks behind. 

Anna Nelson

Anna is a senior at Newsome High School with a 5.78 cumulative GPA. She hopes to attend Florida State University to study her passion for science and the environment with a degree in environmental engineering.

Anna is a member of our Youth Advisory Council and has led cleanup and beautification projects in her neighborhood. She also participated as a summer youth intern at the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful office. She says that leading trash cleanups makes her feel good and she knows that she has directly and positively impacted the environment. Anna’s cleanup efforts helped her choose her college major and developed her passion about the environment. She believes by helping to prevent litter and protecting the environment she can contribute to help better our community.

Hunter Owens

Hunter attends Plant High School and after graduation he plans to study Finance and Economics because he finds it interesting to understand something that has an impact on everyone and plays such an important role in society. This past summer, Hunter became a Youth Ambassador for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and took on the daunting task of helping lead cleanup efforts around Harbor Island. He says that he has most enjoyed seeing the positive impact Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has had on the environment.

He mentioned the greatest reward was witnessing wildlife come back to an area that was once decimated with litter. Hunter encourages others to remember that a little motivation and a will to work makes amazing things happen and produces a positive impact on everyone involved.

Jalen Ray

Jalen will be graduating from Jefferson High School in the spring and hopes to attend the University of South Florida. Jalen volunteers with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful through Men of Vision where he says that through volunteering he gets a chance to bond with the others in the group while making the community look good. This group has adopted a stretch of roadway near Rowlett Park. Jalen mentioned that his grandparents live in this area as well. He says that cleaning litter from the side of the road has helped him see how a small act of kindness can have a big impact in the community.

Ricardo Watson

Ricardo will be graduating this spring from Jefferson High School. He hopes to attend Florida State University to study Biology. Ricardo likes to give back to his community and realizes that keeping our environment clean shows that we care. His favorite volunteer experience happened when he volunteered with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and Men of Vision to help residents clean up their yards after Hurricane Irma.

Wyatt Farrior

Wyatt is a senior at Plant High School with a 4.6 cumulative GPA. He looks to attend the University of Florida to study business or economics in hopes of one day running the family business. Wyatt is president of the Plant Outdoorsmen Alliance club at his school and has hosted many cleanup efforts at their adopted location - Fred Ball Park. He says that he loves being in the outdoors riding horses, fishing, and snorkeling. He also enjoys serving his community with his friends and giving back to the environment that he enjoys.

Jorge Garcia

Jorge attends Hillsborough High School with a 5.5 cumulative GPA. He plans to attend the University of Florida to study journalism and media production next fall. He is the current president of the Environmental Awareness Club at his school and volunteered in the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful office for the past two summers. He says that while volunteering in the office he realized how important environmental education is to children, and the work that Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful does is so important.

Aaron Webb

Aaron is a senior at Brooks Debartolo Collegiate High School. He is hoping to attend Bethune-Cookman University next fall to study nursing. Aaron has a passion for helping people. He enjoys every aspect of nursing including being by their side through thick and thin. His caring nature carries over to his volunteer service. He says that the part of volunteering that he enjoys the most is making people happy. Aaron chooses to find the positive in every situation and encourages others to do the same.

Congratulations, Aaron Webb.

Pierre Alsint

Pierre is in his senior year at Hillsborough High School and hopes to attend Florida State University to study Business and Communications. Pierre is very active in and out of school. He has been volunteering for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful since fifth grade. This year, he took a more active leadership role and led cleanup projects especially during the Hurricane Relief efforts. He says that the first time he led a project he had a moment of panic, but others rallied around him to help him through. When he walked away from that project, he realized that by creating a team any job can get done well.

Pierre understands that by working together we can make a positive difference in our community. 

Matthew Hernandez

Matthew is a senior at Plant High School and plans to continue his education at the University of South Florida. Matthew would like to focus his studies in the medical field in order to help others. He is a member of the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Youth Advisory Council and has accumulated more than 110 hours of community service through Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful alone. Matthew says that by volunteering to help clean the environment, he has been encouraged by people from all walks of life working together for the same cause. He says that leading projects for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has provided him with self-assurance, knowing that he would be able to handle other challenges that would arise in life.