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.

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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.

History

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.

Admission: 

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

 

Florida Health Literacy Initiative- Grants Now Available

FL Blue Foundation One Line TransparentBig white background

Florida Blue and the Florida Literacy Coalition are pleased to continue the Florida Health Literacy Initiative, providing grants up to $5,000 to support health literacy in adult ESOL and family literacy programs.

Low health literacy costs between $106 to $236 billion a year in the form of longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, increased doctor visits, and increased medication, according to a recent report from the University of Connecticut.  Adults with low literacy levels often fail to engage in early detection and preventive health care.  They also have significant difficulties navigating the health care system and following their doctor’s treatment plans.

The Florida Health Literacy Initiative provides training, resources, and funding to assist Florida ESOL and family literacy programs to integrate health education into their instruction.  The objective is to help students develop basic literacy and English language skills while gaining information to make informed choices regarding their health and nutrition.

Applicants must be nonprofit or government-based organizations providing adult ESOL and/or family literacy instruction in Florida.  Services may be delivered via classes, small groups, and one-to-one tutoring.

Click here for the application and grant guidelines.  Proposals must be received by March 4, 2014 by 5:00 pm.

Lesson Plans and Thanksgiving!

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Get a Turkey, some stuffing, and mashed potatoes, Thanksgiving is here! One of the best holidays with its share of food, friends, and family. This is also the perfect time of year to use lesson plans linked with the holidays! Since it is Thanksgiving almost, it only suits to use some lesson plans linked to Thanksgiving.

Here are some ideas for having Thanksgiving a part of your lesson plans!

 A Fill-in Exercise

A Short Thanksgiving Film from Scholastic

Things You Don’t Know About Thanksgiving

Some Fun Facts About the Holiday!

And a game:

Thanksgiving Escape and the Walkthrough

Why, you ask for the game. Larry Ferlazzo writes that using a Walkthrough alongside a game helps language-development and reading skills. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy holidays!

Goodbye, FLC

John and intern, Amanda Terrell at the 2013 Florida Literacy Conference

John and Amanda Terrell at the 2013 Florida Literacy Conference

Some people say they’re not much for goodbyes, and then start saying goodbye. When I left New York, I gave my friends a two-week notice after having known that I would become an AmeriCorps VISTA with FLC for at least two months prior. I guess you could say I’m not one of those people. Instead, I took the time before I left to do things worth remembering and say things worth listening to without falling under the monotony of gonna-miss-yous and the like. I’d like to do that now.

When I first began here at FLC, I was excited to be a part of an organization that provided support to the community-based literacy programs throughout Florida—I had tutored before and considered going into TESOL for a year or so but decided teaching wasn’t for me. While sitting at my desk early in my year of service, I researched and found eye-opening statistics on the correlation of literacy and poverty, how low literacy skills affect a person’s life, and how much more of a chance an adult has at success if they receive their GED certificate.

As telling as the numbers were, it wasn’t until the FLC Annual Meeting at the Florida Literacy Conference, after what had already been two days of plus-12-hour event coordination and many cups of coffee, when I truly understood just how much of an impact we make on an adult learner’s life. During the meeting, students were allowed to come to the front of the room and read their stories.

After several student stories, a tall, slender man, who seemed too frail to be 35, approached the microphone with a paper in his two shaky hands. He told his story of how he came from a low-income family and dropped out of school to work in a factory in Ohio, where his right hand got severed in the machinery. Soon after the occurrence he quit, and having little money, he became homeless and soon developed an addiction to crack cocaine.

His rock bottom came when he ended him up in a hospital after he broke bones in both his legs escaping a garbage truck that had loaded his bed, a dumpster, into its bed. He then enrolled in a rehabilitation program while in jail and started taking adult education classes to take the GED test.

At the time he read his story to the audience, he still remained drug-free and passed the GED just a few weeks earlier with plans to enroll in a state college. His success after such hardships was what made me realize how valuable our work is. Of course, I already knew the correlation between education and poverty, but no amount of statistics could legitimize our work more than his story ever did.

I’ll never forget that story and how it’s just one of the thousands of stories like it. That’s what our work does for the people we serve; it enables and empowers them to find success. And that’s why I’m glad I made a living working as a VISTA rather than making a killing doing something less meaningful.

-John Sanchez, AmeriCorps VISTA

Thrilled for the Thirtieth!

The Florida Literacy Conference is celebrating THIRTY years this May. Can you believe it? The Conference pre-dates the Coalition, which only emphasizes the importance of providing quality professional development for the leaders in literacy and those working in the trenches of adult education. FLC is celebrating this momentous occasion at the Hilton Daytona Beach, May 7-9, 2014. A group of FLC staff members and ten members of the Conference Planning Committee met at the hotel last week to scope the scene and prepare for the event. I’ve added some pictures below so you can begin to imagine how this event will take place.

Inspired to make a difference? Submit a proposal to present at this year’s Conference.

Can’t wait to spend time with your favorite teachers and program administrators? Registration is now open! 

Grand Ballroom, where you'll be able to listen to FLC's great keynotes.

Grand Ballroom, where you’ll be able to listen to FLC’s great keynotes.

Exhibit and Registration Area

Exhibit and Registration Area

Location of the Opening Reception. Can't you hear the live band already?

Location of the Opening Reception. Can’t you hear the live band already?

Backyard of the Hotel for a late-night stroll by the water

Backyard of the Hotel for a late-night stroll by the water

Potential location for Adult Learner Day lunch or a surprising event.

Potential location for Adult Learner Day lunch or a surprising event.

FLC Announces GED Website Expansion

FLC is pleased to announce the expansion of its GED section on its website. This section has been updated to include general information about the GED test along with specific sections for students, teachers and administrators alike.

While the language can be understood by adult learners aspiring to obtain their GED diploma, the site also provides detailed information that everyone involved with adult literacy and adult basic education need to know. Whether it’s in search of a specific answer to a question or used for reference, the new GED section will help you find what you’re looking for.

In an effort to create the best site on the GED test, FLC researched the different state GED sites available. FLC has put together an intuitive, easy to navigate site which provides useful information on all things related to the GED. Our site also covers the upcoming changes of the GED test, warnings for test-takers, test day tips, self-study resources, teacher resources, tips for during and after the test along with an extensive FAQ.

While we all now know about the upcoming changes to the GED test, some still don’t know that GED diploma recipients may be eligible for the Bright Futures scholarship, or that the GED test can be taken in a language other than English. Perhaps there’s something you don’t know about the GED. The Florida Literacy GED site is up and running, so go check it out at [http://www.floridaliteracy.org/ged_information.html] as a refresher. You might even learn something new!

Highlights from the 2013 Florida Literacy Conference

Another great year for the Florida Literacy Conference! We had a fabulous turnout and several motivating speeches and sessions. The Conference started with keynote, Nelson Lauver. Nelson is the host of the American Storyteller Radio Journal and former Adult Learner. He told his story of how he learned that he had a learning disability and his ability to overcome it and work with it. We’re hoping to get a copy of the speech to post on our website in the future.

We had two and a half days filled with great sessions, but the most popular ones were the Adult Learner Experience and the Department of Education updates. In the Adult Learner Experience, members of the Adult Learner Committee spoke about their background and why they stayed in their literacy programs. Nelson was on the panel and a few students who were published in the Adult Learner Essay Book were able to read and share their story. Needless to say, everyone was moved.

On Thursday, FLC hosted it’s annual meeting. Executive Director, Greg Smith, provided an overview of the past year at our organization. He then opened the floor to adult learners who were there to read their essays. If you missed the meeting, you might be brought to tears from watching the video.


Jim Duffy was the closing keynote during the luncheon on Friday. Jim worked in broadcasting for 48 years and initiated a public service campaign on literacy. He incorporated the issue in programs and had television specials focused specifically on adults who could not read. Thousands of people joined literacy programs in their area as part of this campaign. The luncheon closed with the two drawings for a roundtrip ticket on Southwest Airlines. This year’s winners were Claire Valier and Paul Schaub!

What was your favorite part of Conference? Share it with us! Send your story to socialmedia@floridaliteracy.org .

The Florida Health Literacy Initiative is accepting applications for the 2013 Health Literacy Grants

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Florida Blue and the Florida Literacy Coalition are pleased to continue the Florida Health Literacy Initiative, providing grants up to $5,000 to support health literacy in adult ESOL and family literacy programs.

Low health literacy costs between $106 to $236 billion a year in the form of longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, increased doctor visits, and increased medication, according to a recent report from the University of Connecticut.  Adults with low literacy levels often fail to engage in early detection and preventive health care.  They also have significant difficulties navigating the health care system and following their doctor’s treatment plans.

The Florida Health Literacy Initiative provides training, resources, and funding to assist Florida ESOL and family literacy programs to integrate health education into their instruction.  The objective is to help students develop basic literacy and English language skills while gaining information to make informed choices regarding their health and nutrition.

Applicants must be nonprofit or government-based organizations providing adult ESOL and/or family literacy instruction in Florida.  Services may be delivered via classes, small groups, and one-to-one tutoring.

Click here for the application and grant guidelines.  Proposals must be received by March 19, 2013 by 5:00 pm.

A conference call will be conducted for prospective applicants on February 13, 2013 from 10 am to 11 am to provide an overview of the grant application and to answer questions.  Participation is optional.

Dial-in Number1-800-930-8721
Access Code6577983

If you have any questions, please contact Maribeth Buie at 407-246-7110 ext. 209 or via email at buiem@floridaliteracy.org.

10th Annual Literacy Leadership Institute

Attention directors, program managers, and board members!

The 10th annual Literacy Leadership Institute will take place at the Hilton Altamonte Springs. This is an exciting professional development opportunity designed for directors, program managers, and board members of non-profit and library based adult and family literacy organizations.The Leadership Institute will feature of variety of expert speakers from around Florida. The topics addressed include:

  • The New GED Test Series
  • Fund Development
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Board Development
  • Volunteer Recruitment and Retention
  • Social Media

On top of all these wonderful presenters, attendees can get up to $350 in travel expenses reimbursed (restrictions apply)! Don’t miss your chance to attend this training. Sign up by March 1 in order to guarantee your spot.

When: March 21-22, 2013

Where: Hilton Altamonte Springs. Make your reservations online by March 1 to take advantage of the $99 group rate!

More information on the Leadership Institute and the registration form can be found here. If you have any questions please contact Jessica Ward, Education & Training Coordinator, at (407) 246 – 7110 ext. 203 or wardj@floridaliteracy.org.

This training opportunity is made possible by Florida’s Adult and Family Literacy Resource Center and funded through a grant from the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education.

We look forward to seeing you in March!