TAMPA — The Skills Center on East Sligh in Tampa has been open for more than ten years.
Executive Director Celeste Roberts says this year’s summer camp will have a different backdrop though, as they are debuting their newly renovated Academic Café and gym. Roberts says what she and the co-founders of the facility do every day, is so much more than just the building.
“It’s three of us who started the organization and this is way bigger than we thought it would be,” said Roberts. “We knew what we wanted. We wanted a cool place for kids to come so that they can learn. We engage them through sport, but we also want them to have access to sports they may otherwise not be able to play in a safe place and a nice facility.”
Larry Daniels, 18, has been going to The Skills Academy since he was in the 4th grade.
"It’s been keeping me out of trouble,” said Daniels. “It’s been teaching me life lessons and it’s been making me better at basketball. I don't live in the best neighborhood. So being here keeps me away from those bad scenarios and stuff."
The non-profit operates all year long providing seven sports opportunities for the kids who sign up. One of those programs is Soccer for Success, where kids will learn life skills through soccer.
Many of the students who the summer camp serves are from Title I schools. Many of the participants are looking for a safe place to go during the day. The summer camp is for ages 6 to 14, but high schoolers can go during the summer for free SAT and ACT prep. Daniels said the program helped him increase his SAT score 300 points.
For more information on The Skills Center and their Summer Camp program click here.