The Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County, Inc. invites you to join us at Maestro’s Café at The Straz Center.

The Early Childhood Council has been a leading early childhood organization since 1983 promoting healthy child development and advocating for children with special needs.   Join us to hear guest speaker, Ernest Hooper of the Tampa Bay Times.

Ernest Hooper has served the readers of the Tampa Bay Times for more than 25 years. He’s handled a variety of roles during that span, and currently works as a metro columnist and an assistant sports editor. The dual role features two of his journalistic passions: representing the Tampa Bay community and reflecting the passion of its ardent sports fans. His news columns contain unique perspectives on politics, news events and life in an area he has grown to love since moving here in 1988. Hooper, who also hosts “That’s All I’m Saying,” a public affairs show on WEDU-PBS, often shines the spotlight on nonprofits and other community contributors in his work. He also represents the Times as an unofficial ambassador, frequently appearing as an emcee or keynote speaker at nonprofit efforts. The son of college professors, he strives to honor teachers, support education initiatives, promote journalism and help organizations who are bringing aid to our most deserving citizens. He’s married to his University of Florida college sweetheart Florence and they have raised three children.