Y Achievers to mark 10th year
By JON WILSON, Times Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG -- It started small 10 years ago.
Perhaps 15 youngsters met at St. Joseph's Church on 22nd Avenue S.
Now the Y Achievers program has grown to about 80 youngsters, 4 and older, who gather after school five days a week at the Harbordale branch YMCA, 2421 Fourth St. S, to bolster their academic skills.
The program's 10th anniversary celebration is Thursday night, when three people important to its success will be honored.
John Cannon, formerly the St. Petersburg YMCA's president and chief executive officer, came up with an idea for the program in 1986. At the time, he was not with the Y.
It wasn't until he took the Y's leadership in 1991 that he was able to punch momentum into the idea, which became reality in 1993.
Cannon thinks hundreds of youngsters have gone through the program.
"It's like a miracle," he said.
The Rev. Joseph Teague and Theresa McEachern also will be honored as important figures in Y Achievers' development.
After the program left St. Joseph's, it began using Teague's Trinity United Methodist Church, which became its headquarters for years.
"Without (Teague), that program wouldn't have survived," Cannon said.
McEachern, president of the Harbordale Neighborhood Association, led a drive to raise money for the Harbordale branch, which opened last year.
Volunteer teachers help youngsters with homework, drill them in math, English and science, and help them learn computer skills.
Thursday night's event is by invitation only.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times
South Pinellas desks