“Best school in the universe” meets TECO volunteers with out-of-this-world community commitment

TECO volunteers at Metropolitan Ministries on May 25.

TECO volunteers at Metropolitan Ministries on May 25.

If the end of the school year is enough to send students’ spirits soaring, TECO volunteers at Metropolitan Ministries’ Patricia Sullivan Partnership School did their part to boost the excitement level into the stratosphere on May 25.

And while summer break for some means saying goodbye for now to homework and books, the school is saying hello to TECO as its newest corporate sponsor.

Sullivan Partnership School, on Metropolitan Ministries’ campus in Tampa Heights, opened in 2015 to serve elementary students who are living in transitional housing at the nonprofit agency, along with those who did previously and others nearby who are homeless or otherwise at-risk. TECO takes over from Nestle as corporate sponsor, complementing the many ways TECO team members have donated countless hours of volunteer people power in recent years to make a positive difference there for families in need.

On May 25, that included at the school’s end-of-year field day, that moment when nothing takes priority over simply having fun – which in this case included games, team sports, various friendly competitions and more.

“The teachers were grateful for the opportunity to allow the students to burn off some energy before going back to class to finish out the school year,” said Tracy McPhail Reed, manager of Assessment and Organizational Development with TECO. “It was a great feeling among all the volunteers at TECO to be able to show we care and bring joy to kids that are homeless and/or living below the poverty level. I know that our field day involvement was a success from all of the hugs and smiles we received in the end!”

Bruce Napier, senior administrator of Organizational Development with TECO, coordinated the volunteer participation of about a dozen co-workers. He said his company’s sponsorship will include nine monthly events recognizing students who have demonstrated great behavior. In addition, the company’s involvement will include supporting a variety of school events, including the start-of-school kickoff in the fall and celebrations for Halloween, Christmas, fifth graders’ graduation – and, of course, Field Day at the end of another year packed with all the things a school year holds…with maybe an extra dash of hope for the future.

Napier said that like so many people at TECO have learned firsthand, Metropolitan Ministries is a perfect place for volunteers at his company to bring positive energy to the community.

“One student told me, ‘This is the best school in the universe!’” he said. “Seeing everything it does to help students in need – and seeing their happiness on field day – it’s hard to disagree.”

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