You have a chance to help make changes in your community. Applications are open for the Hillsborough County State Attorney Office Community Council.
Brian Butler is the CEO of Vistra Communications but decided to dedicate his spare time to the Community Council.
"There's not many better ways to get involved, to help shape policy, to have a platform, to talk with decision-makers that really are responsible for effecting change in our community," Butler said.
He said while he and Vistra employees participated with the service initiative called "The Laundry Project," he realized for many of those community members, getting into even minor trouble with the law could have lifelong repercussions.
"People that had those challenges with law, they just couldn't find the jobs that they need to take care of families," Butler said. "Even if they turn their life around, they were really struggling to make basic ends meet."
State Attorney Andrew Warren says getting input from people who already have a heart for service and a direct line to several communities makes this program successful.
"Having an effective program requires getting into the details of how we operate it, how we make it the most successful. And that's where that input's really valuable for members of the community," Warren said.
Warren created the 20-person community council in 2018. Butler and others served for two years. Then, some of the group was inspired to branch out.
"Members wanted to take on something more actively rather than just talking. So they started doing on their own with our help, these community projects," Warren said.
They hosted mock trials for high school students and art campaigns themed around criminal justice. Now, Butler is encouraging others who care about their community to apply.
"This is just one little way to weigh in and help make a difference," Butler said.
Applications are open right now and due on May 13. You can find the criteria you need to meet as well as the application HERE.