2019 marked a number of changes for FICS and we are sharing highlights with you here! We had some firsts -- and many repeated -- successes despite the increasingly difficult socio-political climate for im/migrants and multicultural populations throughout our country.

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End of Year Top 10: 2019 edition
scott and sister at rays 2
Dear amigos and friends of FICS:

2019 marked a number of changes for FICS and we are sharing highlights with you here!  We had some firsts — and many repeated — successes despite the increasingly difficult socio-political climate for im/migrants and multicultural populations throughout our country.
FICS has taken a strategic approach to well-being – BIENESTAR – as our communities respond with resilience and cultural capital that amazes us every day.  Through our Partners in Well-Being approach, we have successfully served over 100 families, which translated to 120 adults, including 33 Seniors at the Town n Country Senior Center, with targeted diabetes/nutrition education in Spanish.
One of the firsts I alluded to is that, for the first time, we have a semi-resident Webmaster in Scott Schneider, a student at Polk State College (pictured at the Rays game with his sister and me).  He has worked a miracle in bringing our technology into the 21st Century. Thank you Scott, we are grateful!  We hope we have captured this in the pictures here and on our newly-revised website!
familia adelante samhsaMost of all, we are THANKFUL for all of you, for your continued support for communities and youth who are succeeding despite the odds. BTW: We were founded in 2002 and that means only one thing: we are prepping for our 20th Birthday Party in March 2022!
On behalf of all of us, les deseamos un feliz y saludable 2020! We wish you a healthy and happy 2020!
alayne's first name


Mark Your Calendars: January and February Events

IMG_6623January 8, 6 PM: FICS Morgan Woods Wellness, Volunteer Orientation
January 14, all day, FICS Morgan Woods Wellness, KICKOFF for TU CUENTAS/You Count – Census 2020
January 15, 5-6 PM: FICS Morgan Woods Wellness, Monthly Parent Meeting
TUESDAYS starting January 21: STRAZ Hip Hop
THURSDAYS starting January 23: STRAZ Musical Theatre
February 2-March 2, 3-4:30 Mon-Weds FMOPA Photography
February 11, 2020: 5:15-6:45 PM, Town n Country Library, FICS/Prodigy Annual Showcase
February 28, 2020: Opening of Uncaged Art – the traveling exhibit of children’s art from the Tornillo Child Detention Center in Texas (TBA)

Stay up to date by checking our website


Countdown 10 to 1: 2019


It’s hard to narrow our 2019 achievements to only 10 but we did it! 
#10:  2019 Annual Prodigy Showcase at the TNC Library! 
We were blessed with a great turnout, a balloon arch and WONDERFUL MCs “El Shakiro Colombiano” and Diugnitza Perez!  Also on hand were the Bolivian Roots Dancers. Thank you Prodigy!


#9: Summer4Success in TNC and Wimauma

wimauma rays2019 saw record numbers of youth and families ENGAGED and learning all summer, ending up with about 115 just in summer! 
What’s better than that? For the FIRST TIME EVER, we had more youth in Wimauma read their 20 hours of Reading with the Rays than in Town n Country!  They rocked it, went to the Rays, courtesy of donors like you who helped to pay for buses, and we look forward to more rivalry this summer.  Our faith in youth and their love of reading cannot be shaken. Do NOT accept that immigrant parents who lack English skills cannot produce readers. They do!
But FICS did this with NO EXTRA funding!  Currently, we are about $3200 short as a result.
If you would like to give us an end-of-year donation, tax-exempt of course, please donate either on Facebook (no fees) here or on the FICS’ donation page (2% stripe account) or mail us a check at FICS, PO Box 16745, Tampa FL  33687


#8: Witness at Tornillo Screening and Community Panel, held 12/7/19

The global-local connections in today’s world are always present. Although witness at tornillomany people may not directly feel the pull of immigration policies as strongly as our immigrant communities, there are an equal number of caring and involved organizations and individuals who came out to the beautiful Tampa Theatre for an unforgettable day of discussion, sharing and planning. Several local groups are planning NOW to travel to Matamoros, Mexico and witness on 1/12, in response to Joshua Rubin’s call at the movie: if you would like more information, email us at alayneu@ficsinc.org. 
FICS’ webmaster Scott Schneider has uploaded a video of the discussion here in case you missed it:FICS Youtube


#7: Rays Game – Reading with the Rays

rays tank 2Eighty-eight (88) people rode the buses and another 20 or so attended the Rays v. Marlins game in August thanks to our many youth completing 20 hours or more for 2 free tickets to the game! FICS donors picked up the cost of the bus and we had an amazing time!  This is one of the few times that our families in South Shore meet our TNC families. Lasting friendships are made here, every day!  Oh yeah, Rays won and we got 1/2 price Papa Johns Pizza!


#6: Photography with Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMOPA) and Prodigy

fmopaWhat do you get when you add professional photographers to FICS?  Magic!  Thanks to Prodigy, over 70 youth in small classes in both south county and TNC sites had the rare opportunity to learn about things like “aperture” and “f-stops”, with many “gallery-worthy” shots being showcased in July at the FMOPA. Too many moments to choose from for you, but suffice it to say our youth are natural “storytellers” who will go far if they stick with it.
In collaboration with FMOPA and Prodigy, we are offering PHOTOGRAPHY in Town n Country starting 2/2/2020! FREE, join us!


#5: Mother’s Day in Tampa and Wimauma

mothers day tncWe kicked off Mother’s Day this May with two back-to-back events that included many fun activities such as LOTERIA in Wimauma and Karoake in Tampa.  Thank you to Ms. Mary Torres from GCJFS for her help in Wimauma!  We love our mamas and it showed. So proud to share these gems!  Same time, this year!
wimauma 2


#4: Variety Show (organized completely by youth for Hispanic Heritage 2019 in TNC)

christell and cartltonHistory was made on 10/4/2019 in Town n Country.  Thanks to the wonderful organizing by Christell, pictured at right with her mom and FICS Board Chair Carlton Lewis, our youth sang their hearts out, we held a talent show and Michael Jackson showed up and won with his rendition of Billie Jean!  What’s more, they sang in SPANISH!  Truly a remarkable achievement. Congrats to Chrystell and all of the performers for putting on an unforgettable show.  There are many pictures and some live footage on our FICS Facebook page: @FICSCreates


#3: All Things Culture and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County

strazThanks Gracias y Merci to the Arts Council for the CAIG grant of $5,000 that funded our new website and 5 fieldtrips for transportation-disadvantaged families in south county and TNC. We were able to go to the Tampa Museum of Art, FMOPA, a Day at the Straz (behind the scenes) and two shows at Straz (Havana All Stars rocked our socks)!  All Things Culture inspired us in every way!  Please: Do us a favor and write a note to your Hillsborough County BOCC to let them know you support the program! (click)


#2: Code4Success(TM) + High-Speed STE(A)M at FICS

IMG_6687 4115 lines of code in two hours? Check. Over 1200 lines of code in a little over a month? Check. Under the tutelage of Scott Schneider, about 15 youth from the age of 7 through 12 are mastering Computer Coding and having fun at the same time.  Scott not only went through our donated computers and beefed up our computer lab but he ALSO installed modules and a leaderboard to create a competition for Coding at FICS.  Our leaders are 8 year olds who have over 1000 lines of code, at levels that are impressive. 
Code4Success classes happen around 4 PM when youth finish homework and reading.  It is FREE and open to anyone of any age!  Call us for details: 813-801-6844 or write us at webmaster@ficsinc.org.  Thank you to the incomparable Scott Schneider!
prodigy showcase 2
#1 Winner 2019
Centro de Bienestar logo


Partners in Well-Being – Socios en el Bienestar
In 2019, we held multiple health “challenges,” many classes of yoga (Thanks Ms. Mary), even more zumba, including outside (Thanks Priscilla), and worked closely with the Town n Country Senior Center on Nutritional Classes which included the wonderful dietician, Ms. Shirley Sullivan, RD. 
planting morgan woodsEven though this CDBG-funded project got a late start, we were able to surpass our performance measures by 8 households!
Partners is now a proven program that was able to increase scholastic achievement for youth and improve health literacy for adults!  
By the Numbers: 95% Hispanic/Latino
108 Households
120 Adults
100 Youth
Total # Reached: 321 individuals (total household)
Mean # Children/Family:     3.00
Mean Individual Income: $15,266
Mean Family Income:      $19,262

Join us as we will continue our Well-Being Journeys in 2020!



More Photos!

janet and margarita 4

We couldn’t find a space to include our 1/2 day Fieldtrip to the Tampa International Airport and pizza party arranged by the amazing Janet Scherberger!  This turned into one of our most highly rated activities because it included a LOT of STEM, links to future and current jobs for bilingual people!  Gracias Janet!


More To Explore


FICS Holiday Celebration

FICS celebrated its Annual Holiday Celebration with a visit from Santa and Hillsborough County School Board Member Ms. Karen Perez

2019 Top 10 From FICS