This Month’s Employee for February 2016

harris ambush

Harris Ambush is a St. Petersburg, FL native and grew up in a very dynamic and lively family.  Growing up he played in many local sports leagues run by his father, with the great support of his mother’s help.  He excelled in soccer and played competitively throughout high school and college.  In high school Harris had the good fortune to study in Spain, which ignited his love for travel.  He subsequently carried out that passion of travel throughout college, and the years after, by visiting over 30 different countries.  He completed his Bachelor of Science in International Business at the University of Central Florida (UCF), and went on to graduate school to study education.  During this time, Harris began teaching in elementary education and continued on to receive his Master of Arts in Education.

In his free time Harris continued his travels, and growing focus on education. Now, through the eyes of an educator he began to see a need in many of the developing countries for more foundational and holistic educational opportunities for the children in these countries.  He found that many of these children had little to no schooling, and many of them had dropped out of school for various reasons.  This led to his focus on education in developing countries.  In 2007, he created a non-profit organization called Hands 4 Hope, www.hands4hope.com, which focused on education in areas of need.  He now combined his two passions of travel and education and began to help with education around the world, having helped in countries within Asia, Central America, South America, and Africa.  Upon his return to Florida, and more specifically St. Petersburg, he noticed that many of the issues he was seeing in these developing countries (lack of quality holistic programs, disparity in education, poverty, and health issues) were right here in his hometown.  The focus of Hands 4 Hope was realigned to also assist further in St. Petersburg.  The organization began to offer holistic programming for local schools and communities, in the form of Kids’ Yoga, educational enrichment, and health and wellness programs, which continue today.

Harris is currently working to obtain his Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology.  He has completed all of his coursework and is working on his dissertation, with a focus on holistic youth enrichment programs in areas of distress.  During this time, he began to partner with USFSP College of Education on local youth programming.  As the values and focus of both organizations aligned, they began to offer an expanded curriculum to local elementary students in St. Petersburg.  When the USFSP College of Education Interim Community Liaison position became open, Harris came aboard to continue building youth programs and partnering with local organizations.  Now with USFSP he has been able to connect even more adult students with youth students and has expanded programming in both the USFSP and St. Petersburg communities.  With partnerships in the local schools, the students have been able to receive valuable mentoring and holistic programming.  Harris is very grateful to be working with the USFSP College of Education and its efforts to make a difference in the lives of ALL children.

Some other facts about Harris include that he is a Certified Yoga Instructor (both Adult and Kid’s), Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Group Exercise Instructor.  He is also a Minister and had the great opportunity to officiate his sister’s (and now brother in-law’s) wedding!  Now, he is getting prepared for his own wedding this year!

In his free time, Harris enjoys being with family and friends, reading, taking various classes and workshops, listening to music, cycling, kayaking, being out in nature and of course, traveling.