SEMINOLE HEIGHTS, Fla. — Step inside Tribe Seminole Heights and you'll get a sense that kids have an opportunity to create and be themselves.
"So Tribe's a nonprofit community center, and what we do is we offer low cost easy to manage activities for kids. So it's our goal to provide equity and children's programming by making them low cost and drop-in," explained Kristen Brown, founder of Tribe Seminole Heights.
In the summer, Tribe offers 50 activities a week that all cost $5.
Tribe is run by volunteers. There's a passion for helping kids and making sure they have a safe place to play, create and be themselves. Almost all of the items they use for activities are donated.
"The reaction is powerful, actually, it is always amazing to see how grateful people are to find what their kids need at a price they can afford. And then while they're here to be able to tell them hey, take clothes, take books, what else can we help you with? How can we, like, get involved with your family? It is a very unique perspective from which to get to approach families. And it's been the greatest probably joy in my life so far," said Brown.
Tribe is about more than just activities. They also run a community closet for families to get any sort of clothes they may need.
Brown said, "That's the thing is, it takes a village but until you find your tribe, it's you're a little bit lost and nobody gives you a phone number. So my project has been all about community creativity, resiliency."
All the artwork on the walls and inside the building is made by local artists or kids who participate in their programs.
"So, art is everywhere here, art is so key to everything that we do. It's both transformative in an aesthetic way like everything here is donated, we're in a hundred-year-old building," explained Brown. "And also for its healing, right. It's in creating, we can reconnect with ourselves and find an outlet for whatever we are experiencing, whether it's joy or pain. And right now, kids have been through a weird couple of years, no matter what their circumstances have been. And so art is a way for us to connect with them and local artists in particular. They come here and they create with kids, they work at our schools, we make a studio available to them, we make art supplies available to them, all our stuff is donated and a lot of it's not appropriate for kids. So we sort of like sort through what is and what isn't and we share. Our whole project is about sharing. It's about community. It's, you know, how can we take what we have and use it to build what we need."
Brown was also recently named a mother of the year by American Mothers, Inc. She's the fiftieth nominee from Florida and believed to be the first from Tampa.
You can read more about their activities, programs and how to get involved by clicking here.