Keeping People and Pets Together Since 1949

GUEST SPEAKER for March 16th. Sharon Boyes is the Director of Development for the Humane Society of Pinellas. Sharon relocated to Florida in 2015 from the shores of Lake Erie in her native hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Graduating from John Carroll University with a degree in English, Sharon brings more than 15 years of non-profit management, fundraising and marketing experience to the Humane Society of Pinellas.  In addition to being a lifelong dog owner, the love of animals is a family affair. Sharon’s daughter is a Certified Veterinary Technician with an Animal Sciences degree from Ohio State University. Her stepson, Alex, holds a Zoology degree and works at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Sharon and her husband Marc have two dogs, a Black Lab named Marley and a Golden Retriever named Butters (after her favorite South Park character). In her spare time, Sharon enjoys listening to Pearl Jam, rooting on her hometown Cleveland Browns, Indians, and CAVS, watching Ohio State football and exploring the many beaches of Florida.


Etiquette for Interacting With Someone with a Visual Impairment

GUEST SPEAKER for March 2nd.  Adrianna Garcia is dually certified as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialist. She currently works for Pinellas County Schools, serving students who are blind or visually impaired grades Pre-K through 12. Adrianna graduated from Eckerd College with a Bachelor’s of Art in Human Development, and from Florida State University with a Master’s of Science in Visual Disabilities Education with an emphasis in Orientation and Mobility. She works with classroom teachers and therapists, like Physical and Occupational Therapists, to collaborate and create an individualized education plan for each student. As a Teacher for the Visually Impaired, TVI, Adrianna works with students to teach them how to access not only their school curriculum, but all that is available in the environment around them. Orientation and Mobility, O&M, encompasses introducing a student to a white cane and building their skill set in becoming a safe and efficient independent traveler, while working on consumer skills and navigating through various environments in the community.


Bringing art to all

GUEST SPEAKER for February 16th. Sabrina Hughes is the Vice President for the Nomad Art Bus. Art, as a form of human expression, is for all people, not just those with access to the tools, supplies and education to participate. Artist Carrie Boucher transformed a retired bus into a mobile studio to bring hands-on, open ended art exploration to the world.

NOMAD’s art outreach program is the core of our “Art for ALL” mission. It looks and feels just like our for-hire services, the only difference is that it is donor-funded. We make regular visits to places like group foster homes, halfway houses, domestic abuse shelters and programs that work with at-risk kids. We create a safe space for people in sensitive life situations to find their voices through joyful creative exploration.

It is because of the generosity of people like you that we are able to do this work, and our work is never-ending: Our donors enjoy seeing the impact of their contributions by following us on our social media outlets. If you would like to help us continue getting art to ALL please consider supporting this programming with a donation.



Proper Life Planning for Our Elder Years

GUEST SPEAKER for February 2nd.  April Hill is the founder of the Hill Law Group, P.A. which opened in 2002.  She specializes in the field of elder law having obtained her Juris Doctorate in 1997 at Stetson University College of Law.  She is a Board Certified Specialist in  Elder law, certified by both the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation.

April speaks at continuing education seminars in her field as well as being an adjunct professor at Stetson teaching an elder law course.

Prior to opening Hill Law Group, P.A. April worked for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County and played a key role in establishing their Elder Justice Center.  EJC is a unique court program designed to help elderly individuals gain access to the court system.

Community service is important to April, she served as the 2015-16 Chair for the Board of PARC, a local organization that serves individuals with developmental disabilities, is an active supporter of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, just to name a few.


Hold your Breath and Think…

GUEST SPEAKER for January 19th. Join Isabelle Simon as she presents on “The Healing Power of Thoughts & Breath”. Isabelle is a Board Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Practitioner. She has been in practice in St. Petersburg for 17 years & uses her experience and expertise to educate her clients on how the body has the innate ability to heal itself , for as long as we give it the right tools to function the way it is designed to. Isabelle teaches her clients how to incorporate those tools into their lifestyle, so they become the pro-actors of their vibrant health, as opposed to the victims of their poor health.  She is passionate, knowledgeable, and has a true loyalty to help her clients regain their quality of life, naturally. Her motto is: Good health is a choice, not a chance, and it begins with good nutrition. Her first book “Pillars to Health” is scheduled to be published soon.


Yvonne Ulmer from YWCA

GUEST SPEAKER for January 5th.

Yvonne Ulmer (President and CEO): Yvonne is a graduate of the University of South Florida who also holds a masters degree from Georgia State. She is the former Provost/CEO of St. Petersburg College’s Downtown campus and Midtown campus. Beyond her 26-year successful tenure at St. Petersburg College and running an executive coaching business, she has built a legacy of community involvement through Leadership St. Pete and the Leadership Development Institute at Eckerd College. Yvonne is no stranger to YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism. She is a former YWCA Tampa Bay board member who has fundraised for its signature “Pearls of Wisdom” event and a sponsor of its “Legacy of Hope” video. Her goal is to establish YWCA Tampa Bay as the “go-to” resource for social justice and women and children in need of assistance in the Tampa Bay area.



Linda Owen and Karen Hale from The Christmas Toy Shop

GUEST SPEAKER for December 15th.

The Christmas Toy Shop originated in 1921. It was organized in 1952 at the request of The Community Welfare Council to coordinate the efforts of clubs, agencies, and individuals in toy giving. The Christmas Toy Shop was chartered by the City of St. Petersburg in 1959. Since then, many disadvantaged children in south Pinellas have received gifts to help them experience the excitement and joy of the holiday season.

Purpose: Our goal is to provide toys during the Christmas holiday to less fortunate children in lower Pinellas County so that they can experience the joy and excitement of the holday season.

The CHRISTMAS TOY SHOP PROJECT, INC. is a non-profit, all volunteer organization with the goal of providing both new and refurbished toys to less fortunate children in South Pinellas County.

Since originating in 1921 the Christmas Toys Shop has served thousands of families in need. In 2011 we served over 2,350 children with toys and gave out over 510 bikes and trikes.

Ways to Help: Volunteers are always welcome during the hours Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to sort, wash, repair, paint and pack toys. This includes individuals, corporations, churches, community service clubs, students who need community service hours to fulfill Bright Futures requirements and anyone else who is interested. Call 727-898-3962 or email toyshopelf@juno.com


Please bring new & unwrapped toy. Ages 0-12 years old with a much need for older children between 8 to 12 years old. Books, sports equipment, purses, hair dryers, Fisher Price toys, remote control cars are just suggested items. 

toy-shop-2 toy-shop-3 toy-shop-1

Beth Houghton – Empowering Women and Good News from St. Petersburg Free Clinic

GUEST SPEAKER for December 1st.

Beth Houghton, St. Petersburg Free Clinic Executive Director, has been involved in the community for many years. After years in both the for profit and non-profit world, she is thrilled to commit her talents to the amazing work of St. Petersburg Free Clinic.

She has taken 15 mission trips to rural Honduras and currently serves as Treasurer for the Foundation for International Missions which supports a rural medical clinic.  She serves as Chair of the Hospital Board of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research and Vice Chair of its Institute (Parent) Board, and is a member of First Presbyterian Church.

Beth is a graduate with highest honors from Stetson University College of Law, where she was Law Review Editor. She graduated from Tulane University Graduate School of Business earning an MBA with highest honors. Her BA is from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She is licensed to practice both law and public accounting in Florida and has been an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida and Stetson University College of Law.

Ms. Houghton has received many awards for her community service, including being named 2013 Ms. Sun by the St. Petersburg Suncoasters, Distinguished Citizen by West Coast Council of Boy Scouts of America, Spirit of Service Award by the Women’s Service League, Iconic Woman (Community Service) by the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, the Celebrity Award by West Coast Jewish Family Services, a Pearl of Wisdom honoree by the YWCA and Edythe Ibold Humanitarian Award by PARC.

Previous employment for Beth includes serving as Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of All Children’s Health System. Beth and her husband, Scott Wagman are the parents of three grown children and are raising their two toddler grandsons.


Shelby Willis – Issues facing women firefighters

GUEST SPEAKER for November 17th. Firefighting tends to be a male-dominated, physically challenging profession. Female fire chiefs are exceedingly rare. Shelby Willis is 5 feet 4 inches tall. But that didn’t stop her from climbing up the ranks to become Largo’s first female fire chief and the only female fire chief in Pinellas County. Willis began working for Largo as a firefighter-paramedic in 1997. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida in 2003. She was promoted from lieutenant, to division chief, to deputy chief. In a Fire Department with about 150 employees but only a handful of female firefighters, Willis said she always held herself to the same standards as male colleagues. “You learn how to do things smartly instead of relying on brute strength,” she said six years ago when she became Largo’s first female division chief. “I have to do it in a different way.”

Shelby Willis

Shelby Willis

Sophia T. Wisniewska, Ph.D., Regional Chancellor of the USF St. Petersburg

GUEST SPEAKER for November 3rd. Sophia T. Wisniewska, Ph.D., began her tenure as Regional Chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in July 1, 2013. As Regional Chancellor, Dr. Wisniewska oversees all aspects of the institution, including the academic, administrative, and external relations. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks USF St. Petersburg as No. 24 among Southern Regional Public Universities.

During her tenure, Dr. Wisniewska has led the development and implementation of an institution-wide strategic plan, Vision 20/20: Engaging Students and the Community to Transform the World. She was key in establishing the Kate Tiedemann College of Business with a $10 million gift, the largest in USFSP’s history. The College’s online MBA has achieved national recognition from US News and World Report as the 15th best program in the nation, 2nd in Florida. Dr. Wisniewska was has been instrumental in expanding USFSP’s physical plant through strategic land and property acquisitions.

As Regional Chancellor, Dr. Wisniewska has forged partnerships with local institutions, including Johns Hopkins/All Children’s Hospital, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Valpak. She serves on the boards of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Partnership, and the Dali Museum. She co-chairs the City’s new Innovation District. She is also a trustee of Widener University in Chester, PA.

Dr. Wisniewska is a scholar of Russian language and literature with extensive experience in key leadership positions in the Penn State System. She joined USF St. Petersburg after eight years as chancellor of Penn State Brandywine. Prior to her service at Penn State, she served six years as dean and chief executive officer at Temple University Ambler. She also taught Russian language and literature at Bryn Mawr College.

Born in a small Polish town, Dr. Wisniewska grew up in Philadelphia and was the first member of her family to graduate from college. She earned a Ph.D and a Master of Arts in Russian from Bryn Mawr College and a Bachelor of Arts in Russian with a minor in history from Penn State. She also participated in Harvard University’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.