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Awarded a Disneyhand Minnie Grant

$37,500 Given in Support of National Youth Service Day Projects in Tampa Bay and Across America

CLEARWATER, FL AND WASHINGTON – MARCH 29, 2005 – Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf is one of seventy-five socially conscious youth, teachers, and organizations selected from more than 400 applicants to receive a $500 DisneyHand Minnie Grant. The grant will support Blossom’s service project for National Youth Service Day 2005 (April 15-17). The grants are funded by Disney and awarded by Youth Service America (YSA).

The goal of the Minnie Grant is to inspire today’s youth, ages 5 to 14, to work with their families, schools, friends, and communities to solve relevant social problems, rather than just treat them (i.e., start a recycling program, rather than just pick up litter). National Youth Service Day, the largest service event in the world, is a public awareness and education campaign highlighting the contributions that millions of young people make to their communities 365 days a year.

Projects planned by award recipients include making positive strides in everything from literacy and the environment to animal welfare, hunger, military family support and child/domestic abuse.

For their service project, the students at Blossom have partnered with Pinellas Habitat for Humanity. They have committed to building and decorating a bookcase for each Habitat for Humanity home that is dedicated in Pinellas County this year. In addition, the students have partnered with several local businesses including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Weichert Realty and Marlin Title to collect gently used books to fill the bookcases. The books and bookcases are presented to each new family on the day of the dedication of their new home.

On Saturday, April 16th at 10:00 a.m., student representatives from Blossom will be distributing refreshments to the volunteers building the Blitz Build home located at 1032 Melrose Avenue South in St. Petersburg. The students will also be surveying volunteers to find out what they remember as being the most treasured book from their childhood. This particular home is the 130th Habitat for Humanity has built in Pinellas County and volunteers will be “Blitz Building” this special home in only 130 hours. With Blossom students in attendance, this “Blitz Build” home will be dedicated on Saturday, April 30th to the Miller family. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and Florida State Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor) are among those invited to participate in this project.

This will be the second Habitat for Humanity home that Blossom students will have participated in building this year. The first home was home #119, dedicated to the Zamora family on March 12th.

“It was really interesting to see how many people it takes to build a house,” said 10-year-old Mariah Potter, president of Blossom’s student council.

“One of our core beliefs at Blossom is that all children deserve the opportunity to learn to fully participate in their community,” said Michelle Robie, vice president of development for Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf. “By partnering with Habitat for Humanity and Youth Service America, our students are demonstrating their commitment to community service in the Tampa Bay area. We are incredibly proud of our students and their passion for giving back to their community.”

“Young Americans are volunteering today more than any other generation in history,” said Steve Culbertson, president and chief executive officer of YSA. “Youth Service America and Disney are heartened by their participation and through the DisneyHand Minnie Grant want to encourage them to further solve today’s relevant issues through participation and leadership.”

“The DisneyHand Minnie Grant is a great way to provide today’s youth with resources to make a positive difference in their communities,” said Jody Dreyer, senior vice president, Disney Worldwide Outreach. “We are looking forward to seeing the results of each recipient’s efforts and how each will make a positive impact on the future.”

Twenty-five additional grants will support international service projects in celebration of Global Youth Service Day, held concurrently with National Youth Service Day in more than 120 countries. For a comprehensive listing of the winners for National Youth Service Day projects, please go to:

About National Youth Service Day

National Youth Service Day is coordinated by Youth Service America, in association with the National Youth Leadership Council and in partnership with PARADE Magazine. In addition to thousands of projects led by youth, schools, community and faith-based groups, 50 organizations across the country serve as Lead Agencies for National Youth Service Day. The Lead Agencies are local, regional, or statewide liaisons for National Youth Service Day, promoting projects and celebrations, coordinating volunteer recruitment, local media outreach and hands-on participation by elected officials.

National Youth Service Day Tool Kits, Service-Learning Curriculum Guides, posters, grants, and more are available for youth, parents, and teachers at the Youth Service America website at: Participating in this event will teach youth how to create a financial budget, plan an event, design materials, fundraise, and take leadership roles.

State Farm Companies Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor for NYSD. Other sponsors include the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, DisneyHand, U.S. Department of Justice, General Motors, Verizon, AT&T, Motorola, and Bridgestone. Youth Service America is joined by a consortium that includes 115 of the nations largest nonprofit and youth development organizations, including the March of Dimes, YMCA, Camp Fire USA, National Education Association (NEA), the U.S. Conference of Mayors and many more.

About Youth Service America

Youth Service America is a national nonprofit resource center that partners with thousands of other organizations committed to growing the youth service movement. Youth Service America’s programs and services increase the effectiveness, sustainability, and scale of the youth service and service-learning fields on a local, national, and global level. In addition to National Youth Service Day and Global Youth Service Day, happening April 15-17, 2005, YSA also hosts SERVEnet (, providing the largest database of volunteer opportunities in America. For more information about grant opportunities for National Youth Service Day, please visit

About DisneyHand

DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company, is dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in the areas of compassion, learning, the arts and the environment. For more information, please visit

About Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf

Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf is one of few Florida schools for deaf and hard of hearing children. It is Florida’s only Montessori school for the deaf. Blossom was created for deaf and hard of hearing children, their hearing siblings, and hearing children of deaf adults to improve their communication and literacy skills, while preparing them for a lifetime of success. The school’s pre-K through-eighth-grade program provides pupils with skills necessary for mainstream education, while its monthly parent education program shows parents how to reinforce what is being taught.

Blossom employs physical and behavioral therapists, as well as a speech language pathologist to work with students, teachers and teaching assistants. Teachers and staff communicate in spoken English or  American Sign Language (ASL) as determined by each child’s individual needs.

Blossom is located at 14088 Icot Blvd. in Clearwater, FL

For more information about Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf, call (727) 539-7879 or visit

About Pinellas Habitat for Humanity

Pinellas Habitat for Humanity is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization.

Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with people in need to build and renovate decent, affordable housing. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

Volunteers provide most of the labor, and individual, faith community, civic organizations, and corporate donors provide money and materials to build Habitat houses. Partner families themselves invest hundreds of hours of labor – ‘sweat equity’ – into building their homes and the homes of others. Their mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build still more houses. For more information, visit

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