Best Of 2011

BEST YOUNG HOPEFULS: Current of Tampa Bay

BEST YOUNG HOPEFULS

A non-profit volunteer organization based in Tampa and operated almost entirely by college students, Current of Tampa Bay says its main mission is “to educate young adults on current social initiatives and mobilize them to bring about change.” The group gathers at the USF Tampa campus once a week for meetings, as well as hosting documentary screenings and events. Founder and president Jason Sowell (pictured) is a former youth pastor, but he says Current is non-denominational; if anything, it’s a reaction against organized Christianity, which has gotten “really good at talking,” says Sowell, “and really bad at acting.” Geared toward meeting “specific needs people can’t meet themselves,” Current’s projects include Hope for Homes, which assists low-income families whose houses are in need of repair. Current puts up the family in a hotel over the weekend and entertains them at local attractions like Busch Gardens, meanwhile working on their home around the clock. On Sunday, the group surprises the family with the big “reveal” of their newly renovated home. Current’s Laundry Love Project turns laundromats into ad hoc community centers, putting coins in the slot for those unable to pay for clean clothes themselves and providing activities for families while they wait. EngageTheCurrent.org.