St. Petersburg: A City for Art Lovers

Made up of five different arts districts, downtown St. Petersburg is a mecca of restaurants, boutiques, art, and music for all visitors to enjoy.  After your conference sessions are over for the day, enjoy the nightlife and the sights that are found throughout the downtown districts.

Central Arts District st. pete district - central arts

Encompassing the 300-700 blocks of Central Avenue, you can easily enjoy a full day getting to know the city’s art hub. Lovers of art will enjoy the murals and street art seen all over the district and foodies will find restaurants to rave about. Live music can be heard at the many restaurants that line the streets like Acropolis Green Taverna, La V, and Cycle Brewing. Some of the must-sees include the Morean Arts Center, Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop (which offers glassblowing demonstrations four times daily for a fee of $8.95), and the Florida CraftArt Gallery. For those of you who want a more hands-on approach, check out the Morean Glass Studio’s Glass Experiences for the chance to create your own piece of glass art.  Don’t forget to take the trolley for a fun experience or drive.

Grand Central District st. pete district - grand central

Formed in 2001, Grand Central District is recognized as a Florida Main Street Community. Their goal is to revitalize the community through an eclectic mix of historic preservation and economic development. Purchase some books at Haslam’s Book Store, the largest new & used book store in Florida. Don’t worry about being hungry after your conference sessions are over: with multiple cuisine options in Grand Central District like Casita Taqueria, Punky’s Bar&Grill, Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria, or (swah-rey), you’ll be sure to find something that pleases your taste buds.

The Edge District st. pete district - the edge

As another Florida Main Street Community, The Edge District claims its sense of vibrancy from its pubs, clubs, galleries, and restaurants. Stop by Green Bench Brewing Company and enjoy the tasting room, where you can try over 15 different varieties as you take in the uniqueness of the décor. Continue out into their Beer Garden where the landscaped seating and covered patio provide a great place to enjoy the lawn games, food trucks, and live music on the weekends. Explore The Edge District and take painting classes, visit boutiques, and discover hand-crafted beauty products and jewelry.

Warehouse Arts District st. pete district - warehouse

The Warehouse Arts District started as an industrial zone, and because of its large spaces, artists love using this area to complete larger-scale projects. Come visit the Duncan McClellan Gallery or the Train Station Center for Clay. If you’re looking for a great way to tour the district after your conference sessions, take advantage of the WADA (Warehouse Arts District Associations) Walks. With two Walks to choose from, these self-guided tours take you through a few of the Districts must-see places.

  • WADA Walk One takes you to the Duncan McClellan Gallery and St. Pete Hot Glass Workshop, Zen Glass Studio and Gallery, Charlie Parker Pottery, The Venture Compound, and Funktionhouse, Urban Lumber & Furnishings.
  • WADA Walk Two takes you along 22nd Street South to visit Carrie Jadus Fine and Portraiture, MGA Sculpture Studio, Dazzio Art Experience, Morean Center for Clay, The Clay Center of St. Petersburg, and From Mayan Hands/New World Imports.

Peruse the Where to Visit page for the list of WADA Walk addresses along with other galleries and studios not included in either Walk list.

Waterfront Arts District st. pete district - waterfront arts

Don’t miss out on exploring the Waterfront Arts District! This district boast numerous museums such as the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Chihuly Collection, and more. The Hilton Hotel where the conference is being held is also located in this district, so attendees won’t have far to travel to visit the sights that the Waterfront Arts District has to offer. Spend your free time enjoying the nightlife, visiting museums, or simply taking a walk or watching a movie.

No matter which districts you are able to visit, downtown St. Petersburg has beauty to offer at every turn.

Sunken Gardens

Located about 10 minutes from the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront hotel where the 32nd  Annual Florida Literacy Coalition conference is being held, Sunken Gardens is a great and easy stop to unwind for a couple of hours.

The Gardens

Pay a visit to St. Petersburg’s historic Sunken Gardens. Over 100 years old, Sunken Gardens is St. Petersburg’s oldest living museum. These lush gardens cover four acres and are a treasured piece of the city.

sunken gardens Prepare to enter a place of tranquility once you step foot in this tropical paradise. Enjoy strolling among 50,000 plants (over 500 species) and relax with the sight and sounds of birds as you explore the winding paths. With a rock garden, waterfalls, and a wishing well, Sunken Gardens is a pleasurable activity for the off-hours during your conference stay.


Sunken Gardens was originally a lake that George Turner purchased, drained, and turned into a tropical garden so captivating that by the 1920’s, he was able to turn it into a business. Turner’s family continued the tradition for three generations until the city of St. Petersburg came together to purchase the garden as a way of continuing and honoring George Turner’s original vision.

Today, the Gardens are a cultural and educational center in St. Petersburg, offering workshops and weekly events for people of all ages to enjoy. Visit the Sunken Gardens’s website  for detailed information about events.


Hourssunken gardens map

Monday – Saturday 10 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday noon – 4:30 pm

Last admission is sold at 4pm daily.


  • $10 Adults
  • $8 Seniors (62+)
  • $4 Children (2-11)


Welcome to FLC John Sanchez!

John Sanchez

My name is John and I’ll be joining FLC this year as an AmeriCorps VISTA.  I grew up on (not in) Long Island about an hour’s train ride from New York City. Prior to moving down to Florida, I graduated Stony Brook University with a B. A. in Music and in Spanish Language & Literature. While studying in school, I served as a volunteer adult literacy tutor on and off campus and worked with the New York Police & Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund as a Development Intern.  As for my life outside of work, I enjoy riding bikes, reading books, and playing board games.

My joining the FLC team is in many ways a combination of my passions for literacy education and the nonprofit sector.  In terms of my blog posts, I will mainly focus on financial, health, and digital literacy, providing you with relevant resources that you may use in your teaching. I will also be exploring other mediums of social media to share information with you! But I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks. As for now, I’m excited to begin my year at FLC and work with some of you in the future!

New Happenings at FLC!

Many of you already know me…I (Yari Payne, education and training coordinator) will be guiding you through our social media channels until our next AmeriCorps VISTA joins us.

I asked our newest staff to send me a picture that represents them. Here’s an inside view on how they think.

Meet our newest staff additions…

Jennifer Caldron, Referral Specialist, grew up in Southern California where she graduated from Cerritos College with an A.A. in Business. She has a passion for education and tries to teach her niece and nephews that school/learning can be fun!  Jennifer enjoys spending time with friends and family and teaching her dog new tricks!

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.  ~Vernon Howard

Camille Davidson, AmeriCorps VISTA, is currently a graduate student studying International Higher Education and Nonprofit Management. She has been involved and employed in the fields of special education, disability, ESOL, and higher education for the past 10 years. Camille completed her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education at the University of North Florida and her Master’s Degree in TESOL at the University of Miami.

The picture is from a trip to Paris in 2011. It was taken outside of the golden gates of Versailles (the original was torn down during the revolution). My attempt to replicate the perspective of an impoverished citizen looking in on the luxuries of the palace.


Being involved with FLC and having a family that is touched by illiteracy every day, I understand the struggles and concerns that the support system feels. I am thankful of all the community based organizations and the thousands of volunteers who are there to help.

That’s why I’ve made a commit to read to my little one every night. AND she loves books!

This is a great opportunity to send us feedback about what you want to read or learn about.

Top Stories in Literacy: February 27

Top Stories in LiteracyProposed state budget cuts target Flagler programs for disabled adults
Flagler County school officials say they may lose funding for programs that serve adults with disabilities. Board Member Colleen Conklin said during Tuesday’s School Board meeting the situation is one she would “classify as an emergency.” Affected programs would include Step Up, Community Inclusion, the Adult Activity Center and Adult Basic Education.

Smart Horizons Career Online Education Announces Partnership With Anthem College to Launch Anthem High School
Anthem High School will provide students who lack a high school diploma the opportunity to earn their diploma and a credentialed career certificate in preparation for enrolling in one of the numerous degree programs offered by Anthem College.

Program Provides Internships for Unemployed Adults
A partnership between Southwest Florida Works and the Alliance of Educational Leaders organized the job fair setting in the Student Union Ballroom, where 25 Southwest Florida companies interviewed candidates for paid internships.

Jeb Bush: Education ‘the leading indicator of a successful life’
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush awarded Maria Segura with a scholarship last Friday during his 12th Annual Celebration of Reading event. The event raises money for literacy programs and advocates for the importance of family involvement in overcoming illiteracy, both in children and adults.

Jump on the Financial Literacy Bandwagon

Financial literacy has become one of the most important focuses of literacy organizations over the past 12 months.  The federal government has made financial literacy a key component to its educational pathways to success and many AmeriCorps Vistas are working across the state of Florida to increase financial literacy rates.  Many organizations are beginning to offer financial literacy courses in their programs and experts are applauding this trend.

David Hiller has written about the long-term benefits of financial literacy courses.  Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke is also jumping on the financial literacy bandwagon with her decision to speak about the importance of helping individuals make better financial decisions.  There are also many organizations that are attempting to help the millions of people fighting foreclosure.

Many organizations would love to implement financial literacy courses into their programs, but they don’t have training curricula and other resources.  The Florida Literacy Coalition created a page on its website to help with this problem.  Visit this site to gain access to dozens of free resources that you can immediately use in your program!

Teaching English Through Spanish Literacy

Do you have Spanish speakers who:

1. want and need to learn English?

2. Have difficulty reading and writing in Spanish?

This often difficult to serve population wants and needs to learn English, but research and experience suggests that these skills can often be more readily acquired if learners have basic literacy skills in their native language.

Spanish Basic Literacy/ESOL Curriculum – “Lectura y Escritura en Español”

In response to a growing need in the field for a combined approach to teaching ESOL and Spanish literacy, Ruth Colvin, noted author and founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, has worked with an educational researcher to develop a curriculum serving the needs of Spanish-speaking students with minimal native language reading and writing skills. She will be facilitating a session on May 6th-7th at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary.

We invite you to join Ruth in field testing this exciting curriculum.

To register, go to and select Teaching English through Spanish Literacy under Literacy News or click here.

Alan Darcy to Perform at the Florida Literacy Coaltion

Alan Darcy, saxophonist and vocalist extraordinaire, will be performing at the 2011 Florida Literacy Conference. Alan’s jazz/pop style has earned him rave reviews. Alan has also performed in hundreds of venues including the Historic Tampa Theater and New York’s Birdland. Alan has released three CDs. His 2003 CD, Fearless, includes his orignal music that was featured in the independent film, Runs in the Family.

We hope to see you all at the Conference, listening to the smooth stylings of Alan Darcy.

Enriching Your Financial Literacy (Fin Lit) Library

As a result of the increasing need for financial literacy education among Florida’s population, the Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) will be conducting a FREE webinar detailing important financial literacy resources beginning at 12 p.m. (Eastern), Thursday, Jan. 27!  This fun and educational training event will include access to online and hard-copy resources, helpful financial literacy articles, and a tour of the most important websites.  Literacy tutors/teachers looking to expand their literacy libraries will not be disappointed!  This training will enable you to provide/create a diverse curriculum for all your students.

Macario (Mac) Garcia, one of FLC’s AmeriCorps* VISTA members, will be presenting this virtual training.  During his time at FLC, he has focused on financial literacy and web-based learning, and is coordinating a statewide initiative to expand financial literacy in adult education programs.  His professional background includes social work, and educational and financial counseling.

You can participate from the comfort of your home or office!  All you need is internet access and speakers. This training is free, but registration is required.  After registering, a confirmation email will be sent to you with additional details.

Is your program currently offering financial literacy classes?  If so, share your successes and challenges with us in the comment box below. Or share any of your thoughts related to financial literacy!

Register Today for FLC’s Free Volunteer Literacy Tutor Symposiums

This month, FLC is presenting four volunteer literacy tutor symposiums highlightingtechniques and activities related to three facets of teaching literacy:

  1. Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences
  2. The Art of Teaching Speaking
  3. Teaching Writing

From Our Trainers

Roberta Reiss

“The Tutor Symposiums offered by FLC are some of the most energizing, productive events I have experienced in my role as a trainer.  We have the chance to focus on some of the best resources in our field.  It’s a real luxury to have an hour or two to explore and experience the theories and activities found in books that go beyond the typical core tutor materials.  There have been many times when I have gotten hold of a new resource, only to have it sit while other priorities took over my day.  This chance to come together with other tutors and discover the resource together is a great way to share.”

—Roberta Reiss, ProLiteracy America Certified Trainer & Lead Symposium Faciltator

“As a presenting trainer this year, I’m excited about the materials we will be using.  The Multiple Intelligences theory of “How am I Smart?” will be sure to stimulate discussion.  It will be fun to try some lesson plans and discover our MI.  The information contained in The Art of Teaching Speaking is so useful for those tutors trying to help ESOL learners speak English that is relevant to their goals and situations.  Encouraging our learners to speak can be difficult at times, so getting ideas and resources for stimulating conversation will be invaluable.

Some tutors may be asking why we are focusing a section on Writing, but we’ll find out why it is essential to teach writing as well as reading, and get useful tools for doing so.”

–Olive Burkard, ProLiteracy America Certified Trainer, presenting in Ocala and Orlando

Training dates and locations:

  1. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Jan. 8, Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library, Venice, FLTHIS TRAINING IS FULL
  2. 1-5 p.m., Jan. 15, Leon County Public Library, Tallahassee, FL
  3. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Jan. 27, Rasmussen College- Ocala Campus, Ocala, FL
  4. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Jan. 31, Adult Literacy League of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Each training will be led by a ProLiteracy America Certified Trainer and is free to attend, but registration is required as seating is limited. 

Please contact Yari Payne at FLC with any questions – (407) 246-7110 ext. 203 or

These trainings are collaborative learning events brought to you by the Florida Adult Literacy Resource Center, a program of the Florida Literacy Coalition.  These workshops are made possible through the support of the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education