ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – Alumni classmates from Leadership St. Pete® (LSP)’s class of 2019, the “Golden Class,” virtually came together to spread a heartfelt message to their community members, in an effort to support Pinellas County Commission’s order to stay home and slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Initiated by Dr. Farhan Malik (LSP Class of 2019) and supported by Madeline McCarthy (Chair, LSP Class of 2020), the Golden Class formed a COVID-19 Task Force to centralize efforts and resources for the city of St. Petersburg. Within just a few days, the leaders engaged the pro bono assistance of TriForce Pictures to create a campaign pleading the citizens of St. Pete to respect social distancing. With one strong voice, they call on our community: “It’s never been easier to save lives, just stay home.”
"This situation is unique in that COVID-19 relies on our basic human instinct to connect to thrive. But its strength is also its biggest vulnerability. By coming together in other ways, we can defeat this virus,” shared Dr. Farhan Malik, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
“As leaders, we have an obligation to stand up and set an example for our community always, but especially now. During this time of uncertainty, we are committed to focusing our energy, and efforts on working to bring people together for support, with the goal of saving and preserving our community,” added Madeline McCarthy, TJM Properties.
The LSP Class of 2019’s Task Force came together on March 23, days before Pinellas County issued the stay at home warning for citizens. The video launched today on social media platforms, the same day Governor Ron DeSantis’ stay at home order for the state goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. April 3. The order instructs individuals to stay home, leaving only for essential services or activities for the next 30 days.
The Stay Home campaign is only one of the many initiatives the Golden Class’ city leaders have undertaken:
- Alumna Eve Epstein created StPeteTogether.com, a centralized platform that matches those with local resources to those who need support during the crisis.
- Alumna Julie Rocco helped lead The Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund for artists, arts organizations and small creative businesses whose livelihoods have been put in peril by the pandemic.
- The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, where alumna Jennifer Reed serves as Director of Grants, is providing free, hot dinner meals for any youth ages 18 and younger at all six club locations.
- The Downtown Partnership, led by alumnus CEO Jason Mathis, is starting the hashtag #KeepStPeteShining to share all the positive things going on in our community. Things like St. Pete Rising's fundraiser to bring local take-out food to healthcare workers and local restaurants, such as Grattzi, providing free meals to hospitality workers who have been laid-off, and the St. Pete Group’s work to raise money to hire laid off service industry workers to support nonprofits.
- … And the list goes on!
“I truly believe that each one of us can make a difference. And together, we make change,” said Golden Class Alumna and Chairwoman Sunscreen Film Festival, Agathe Daskalides, who spearheaded the Stay Home campaign. “In this time of pandemonium, our community leaders are demonstrating, once more, that St. Pete shines together!”