2024 UNCF Black History Month Walk for Education kicks off in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Dozens of community members walked Perry Harvey Park learning about historic leaders, while also raising funds for student education.

“It’s so important because a lot of the students we support are of low income households so we are here to support our first generation college students to get to and through college,” Development Associate Jazmine Barnes explained.

The United Negro College Fund was founded in 1944 to help more African American students attend and graduate from college.

Since then, over 500,000 students now have college degrees.

“They’re able to eat,” Barnes said. “They’re able to buy supplies. They’re able to buy books. A lot of our students are from low income households.”

“They can’t afford, and they don’t even think they’re able, to go to college so we are able to provide them that opportunity,” Barnes concluded.

This year, Tampa police department awarded five scholarships to students.

TPD Explorer Chandler Glover was one of those scholarship recipients, saying he hopes it helps his future in the military.

“It’s like a reward,” he explained. “It just tells me how much I’ve done.”

“I like it because it’s a little recognition,” he continued.

Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw took on the walk himself, hoping to send a clear message.

“That we’re a community that embraces diversity and that we have a great time together and this whole Tampa is a great community and that’s part of our crime reduction,” Chief Bercaw explainied. “It’s not just police officers and detectives doing a great job, it’s the community trusting us and providing us with tips.”

As he and his team wear their new black history month badges, Tampa police say it’s important to get hometown recruits.

“You want candidates or recruits to know the area, know the culture and you want them to look like what the streets are, what the city is,” TPD recruiting officer Stefon Filer explained. “So if, someone went to high school here, they’re going to know some of the people walking these parts.”

“They’re going to know how things operate, how to talk to people,” he continued.

Tampa Police Department has a new Recruit Scholarship Program that covers the cost of tuition, uniforms, equipment, and books needed for the police academy.

Recruits in the scholarship program are paid an hourly wage of $19.50 to attend classes and are considered full-time employees of the City of Tampa while in academy.

This means they get benefits like medical, dental, vision, and deferred compensation plans.

To donate to the 2024 UNCF Black History Month Walk for Education, click here.

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