Trinity Cafe and Feeding Tampa Bay have a new Communications VISTA for 2019!
He is a world traveler, talented story teller and you will soon experience a photojournalist with a heart to serve those in need, meet Phil Lampron.
So far, I’ve been extremely fortunate in my life in the places I’ve lived, people I’ve worked with and the communities that I have had the honor to serve.
Going back in time, my professional background is in IT management and photojournalism. I enjoyed the financial gains within the IT profession, while enjoying the gains of the soul in the field of journalism.
I was cruising along, freelanced for a few area newspapers, covered the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics, had contract work with ESPN, photographed the away games for the Chicago Bears Report and worked as the house photographer for multi-billion dollar Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in Connecticut. From Pavarotti, to Beyonce, to the Rolling Stones, they brought in the world’s top entertainers, as well as top professional sporting events. I also produced a weekly local cable television program for almost 10 years on professional sports, having many top athletes appear in our studio, as well as on location. Legends such as Joe Namath, Arnold Palmer, Floyd Patterson, Yogi Berra, Jake LaMotta, Johnny Unitas… to name a few.
Back in 2008, my IT co-workers and I found ourselves out of our jobs due to the very trendy outsourcing initiatives of many corporate IT departments. Not the first time I had gone from the frying pan into the fire. Back then, I thought it was time for a radical change.
One of my co-workers sarcastically mentioned that I should just give it all up, join the Peace Corps and leave the country. So, for the heck of it, I actually looked it up and checked it out. The next thing I knew, I was on a plane headed for a place called Macedonia, a small landlocked country that is just north of Greece.
I worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in community development in a beautiful city called Bitola. The former City of Consuls, which also has within its boundaries the ancient city of Heraclea, founded by King Philip (great name) II, father of Alexander the Great. The town sits just off the southwest Greek border.
Initially, I worked in communications for the Bitola Center of Tourism, then for the National Theater of Bitola, where you will find exceptional stage and film actors. But the truly most amazing thing about Macedonia – is its people. Beautiful, welcoming people from the villages to the cities, always treated me like family.
Not one to let any grass grow under my feet, I also took on many secondary projects, including such work and activities as:
Habitat for Humanity Macedonia
Macedonia Olympic Committee projects – Intro to Golf and Track & Field regional and national competition initiatives
Own weekly radio program – the Americanski Hour
Worked two full-length motion pictures as still photographer
Initiated and directed five photography clubs in five different cities throughout Macedonia
Adult English conversation classes
Thank You for Not Smoking program
MaldiInfo organization for Young Journalists
High School for the Visually Impaired
Service Learning for People with Disabilities
Young Men’s Leadership Camp
Along with a few other organizations… again, to name a few. The opportunities to get involved were pretty much endless. Because of my work in the Peace Corps and Habitat Macedonia, I was also fortunate enough to travel and work with other Habitat organizations, including Budapest, Kyrgyzstan and St. Petersburg. I also participated in a month-long program in Copenhagen to better integrate the Roma community into their society by having a photo exhibition based on my photography work with the Roma communities in Macedonia.
Eventually, I spent almost a year with Habitat Mozambique, where they provided housing in the very rural communities for single or no parent families. Most families had single mothers, strong-will people who were also battling HIV-positive health issues, as the southern part of the country suffers from one of the highest percentages of HIV-positive people in the world. Also spent time with a beautiful woman and her family as she also battled another debilitating disease from the area – leprosy.
On a very sad note upon returning from Mozambique, all of my external drives containing 98% of my work – were stolen from my travel bags at the airport. ☹
While I lost my work through theft, I found the volunteer experience to be a true life changer. While expecting to return to the workforce after the two-year commitment with the Peace Corps, I extended my stay by almost another two years… and have been volunteering ever since. Had a couple of stints with AmeriCorps as Communications Specialist for Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools in Washington, D.C. and Food Bank of Alaska. Then took a road trip through Central America with self-initiated volunteer work during the travels, including a few months in Nicaragua, helping to install clean water filter systems and environmentally clean stoves, working with an organization that helps feed families that are living and working in landfill dumps as they collect plastic bottles.
Actually, I went back to Macedonia to once again to see friends and to volunteer for Habitat Macedonia, as well as for another food bank, this time Food Bank Macedonia. After that, I got on a 44-ft sailboat and sailed from Baja California, Mexico to Hawaii. Wouldn’t recommend spending a month sailing across the open sea it if you are subject to sea sickness, as I was. But I did have the opportunity to photograph the active volcano Kilauea from the land, sea and the air.
Finally, I have landed at Trinity Cafe and Feeding Tampa Bay. I have been fortunate enough to meet so many people who are doing great work by giving back and helping their communities. Trinity Cafe has taken serving meals to people to a whole new level. Preparing gourmet meals while providing their guests with a restaurant-style experience. Feeding people in hunger with dignity. What a beautiful way of bringing in a ray of sunshine into the lives of people with hunger issues.
The volunteers are the backbone of all non-profit organizations. Easy enough to see that the staff and volunteers here are passionate about their work in helping others. They make peoples day with a warm welcome and a simple smile.
Volunteering is just a beautiful thing. See ya soon!
To volunteer at Trinity Cafe >>> CLICK HERE
to volunteer at Feeding Tampa Bay >>>> CLICK HERE