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There has been an important shift at Tampa Prep this year.  Terrapin Day, which used to be singular, is now Terrapin Days (plural)!  Inspired by this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,” this means that the Tampa Prep Middle School students now set aside a total of eight days throughout the school year (nearly one day a month) to volunteer for a variety of non-profit local organizations.

“This change was really prompted by a desire to really live by the mission statement, A Higher Purpose than Self,” said Laura Bridges-Periera, Associate Head of the Middle School and Classical Languages Department Chair.” Also, Middle school teachers have always observed how amazing our students act and work in these volunteer opportunities, so we wanted to give them that opportunity more often. Lastly, at the end of each Terrapin Day in years past, students usually lamented that they didn’t have more opportunities to volunteer because they enjoy it so much.”

How many Terrapin Days are we doing now? A shift from 1 day to 8 days total = 3000+ hours of service!>

Is it just for Middle School?  Just Middle School

What are all of the organizations that will benefit this year, from our students volunteering?  Rosa Valdez Learning Center, Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries, Keeping Tampa Bay Beautiful, Ronald McDonald House, Gandy Bridge Beach, St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, and Love for Our Elders, the Tampa Prep community as well!

“While I always have loved Terrapin Day, it is making a huge difference to do acts of service for our community throughout the year. We have been able to take on big projects like the renovation and clean up of Rosa Valdez Day Care center where students painted, sanitized toys, picked up debris, and did mulching and landscaping in the playground. Rosa explained how they were making a difference for her organization which serves the community,” added Andrew Hoy, Chorus Faculty.

What are the various activities that the kids are doing?Preparing food baskets, reading to children, painting pumpkins with children, writing letters to isolated elders, beach and park trash pick-ups, mural painting, sorting clothes, treat bags for children in the hospital, and more!  We have adopted a local park for two years, through the Keeping Tampa Bay Beautiful program.

“Being with people you know and like to be with makes the volunteering fun,” said 8th grader Lauren B., ’27. “I like knowing that I had helped the community while having fun. And, I think that it is important for students to volunteer in the community because it gives us an opportunity to help the less fortunate and it gives us a sense of how fortunate we are.”