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School counselor offers advice, voice of stability for students outside the classroom

TAMPA, Fla. — While Hillsborough County students are stuck in the middle of ever-changing, back-to-school plans, a local guidance counselor is going above and beyond to provide some much-needed stability.

About 10 miles away from her school in Seffner, Jennifer Shiver sits on a bench at the corner of North Jefferson Street and Kennedy Boulevard.

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“The kids need someone to talk to,” said Shiver. “I absolutely love this. This is what I was called to do.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic is keeping Shiver from serving her students, she says it’s up to her to give back to the tax payers who pay her salary.

Whether it’s offering life advice or just lending a friendly ear, Shiver is willing to speak with anyone who happens to stroll by the downtown Tampa intersection.

“People are on shaky ground,” said Shiver. “I want to be able to tell them what I believe and want them to understand that the ground doesn’t have to be so shaky.”

For parents frustrated over the back-to-school showdown between local and state officials, Shiver is a reminder just how much school staffers care about the students they serve.

“I honestly think it’s amazing,” said Kelli Schrutt. “I think we need more people like her that. She’s being paid by the tax payers so she’s offering her services at a place where we can see her and a place where we can get to her and I commend her for that.”

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