Inaugural virtual 5K to help local Latino students attend Tampa Bay colleges

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The COVID-19 pandemic forced many Tampa Bay non-profits to cancel their signature events which meant losing thousands of dollars used to enhance their missions. Now, with vaccines rolling out, some groups are starting to bounce back.

That includes the Tampa Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council. The organization has held the “Latinos Unidos” luncheon for 21 years up until the pandemic struck.

“We’ve accomplished many great things in the last 38 years but one of the most important initiatives we created was in 1998 the Latinos Unidos Scholarship Luncheon,” said Brian Serrano, the chair of the Tampa Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council.

Calling off the 600-person event in 2020 meant a huge loss of crucial funds that help young Latino leaders pursue a better life right here in Tampa Bay. The council has given out hundreds of scholarships through the years for students to attend USF, the University of Tampa, and Hillsborough Community College.

This year, the council decided to not cancel the Latinos Unidos luncheon by making it virtual and adding the Viva Tampa 5K to provide more scholarships.

“Part of what we do is we want to inspire the community, our city is beautiful. We want to inspire our families to get outside and enjoy our city,” said Anthony Perez, the vice-chair of the Tampa Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council.

“Walk, bike, run, trot, skip, backflip, whatever you feel comfortable doing. We actually have a one-mile family run and we have the 5K,” said Serrano.

The virtual run spans from Friday, April 23 to Sunday, May 2. There’s also an in-person race scheduled for April 30 at 6:30 p.m. from Armature Works in Tampa. Registration is $25 and includes entry to the “Latinos Unidos” luncheon set for May 5 at noon. The virtual event will feature Mayor Jane Castor and Sylvia Acevedo, a former NASA rocket scientist and former Girls Scouts of America CEO.

For more details or to sign up for the virtual run, visit the Tampa Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council website.

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