Avalon Park Sun Orlando May 2024

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Avalon Park: Where Community Fuels Mental Wellness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, recognizes the month of May as a time for bringing awareness to mental health. The focus of the 2024 national movement is on the message “Take the Moment.” This focus is to encourage open dialogues and cultivate empathy and understanding.

In 2023, the national movement emphasized the importance of “Communities Connected to Care,” highlighting the significance of belonging and support networks in fostering mental wellness. Today, as we reflect on this message, it’s evident that our community has made significant strides in prioritizing mental health.

Feeling accepted and welcomed within a community is where the journey to mental wellness begins. Whether it’s through civic groups, church gatherings, or simple neighborly interactions, the bonds we forge with one another serve as pillars of strength and resilience. By nurturing these connections, we create a safe and supportive environment where individuals can thrive emotionally and psychologically.

Groups like the Rotary Club of Avalon Park, the Avalon Park Kiwanis and Post 409 American Legion, continue to be great resources in building strong social networks. For a full listing of the clubs and organizations in Avalon Park visit the online directory here and select the organizations category.

As we embark on this collective journey, it’s crucial to recognize the prevalence of mental illness in our society. Shockingly, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, yet only half receive treatment. The average delay between symptom onset and treatment is a staggering 11 years, underscoring the urgent need for proactive intervention and support.

In Avalon Park, we are fortunate to have access to a wealth of resources and initiatives aimed at promoting mental wellness. Local organizations like 4K Wellness and the non-profit Projecthinkforward offer sponsored therapy and invaluable insights through podcasts, while local counselors and therapists provide personalized support tailored to individual needs. For contact information and listing of the providers, visit the directory here and select the medical category.

A strong social network is one of those things that may not seem important but can make a big

difference when life gets hectic. Having friends and family nearby who can provide emotional support can be a huge boon to your mental health. Furthermore, keeping up with your favorite people face-to-face instead of online keeps you present and connected to your community. It’s also good for them—keeping in touch with friends and family helps prevent depression.

Additionally, spending time with friends, family and neighbors is a great way to stay positive and healthy. Avalon Park offers many opportunities to do just that, from meeting up at a favorite local restaurant to getting together at one of the many community events, there are multiple ways to have healthy social interactions in the community.

Alternative ways to help mental health are art, physical activity and self-care. According to the Mental Health Foundation, any type of art can boost confidence and make us feel more engaged. It can also alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress. In Avalon Park, the Arts and Culture Center provides many opportunities and resources for people who enjoy the arts. Nature walks, working in the community garden, art therapy, and yoga in the park all are great ways to relieve stress and address your mental health.

The benefits of physical exercise far exceed just the physical benefits. According to TheHelpGuide.org it can also boost your mood, improve your sleep, and help you deal with depression, anxiety, stress and more. From joining the East Orlando Gym and Wellness Center, to shooting hoops at the amenity center or taking a self-care day at one of the local spas: Infinite Me Spa, Definitive Beauty or InStyle. There is a wide range of ways to get physically and mentally active in Avalon Park.

As we navigate the complexities of modern life, let’s seize the moment to prioritize mental wellness and support one another on this journey. Whether you’re living, learning, working, or playing in Avalon Park, you belong here. Let’s come together as a community to ensure that everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to prioritize their mental health.

For those seeking additional resources and support, we encourage you to visit the NAMI website for valuable information and guidance. Together, let’s take the moment to prioritize mental wellness and create a community where everyone thrives.


business journey and why we chose to work with them as a financial partner. I thought that I would share some of those to show how important it has been in the entrepreneurial journey of Avalon Park Group, and myself, to have a strong financial partner.

Early dreams of cycling glory in the Tour de France gave way to a new path. Instead of chasing after elusive victories on the cycling track, I found my calling as an entrepreneur, and embarked on a journey that has led me around the globe.

The inspiration behind Avalon Park Group’s diverse portfolio of companies stems from the three-decade adventure of building a town from scratch in East Orlando. From real estate ventures to community events, our journey has been fueled by a passion for innovation and a

ally, understanding the unique needs of Central Florida’s business landscape. Unlike impersonal banking giants, Addition Financial embodies the essence of local banking, with a team dedicated to fostering community connections and supporting entrepreneurial endeavors.

As with any entrepreneurial journey, challenges have been plentiful, from navigating economic upheavals to weathering global crises. Yet, through perseverance and a steadfast belief in our vision, we have overcome obstacles, emerging stronger and more resilient with each trial.

While growth remains a constant pursuit, our focus does not lie in expansion, but on nurturing the next generation of leaders within our organization. As we pave the way for a seamless transition of leadership, our commitment to local communities and core business values remains unwavering.

Beyond the realm of business, Avalon Park Group remains deeply rooted in the local community, organizing free events and actively participating in charitable endeavors. From supporting healthcare initiatives to serving on advisory boards, our commitment to community engagement is integral to our identity as business leaders.

As we continue to navigate the everchanging landscape of business, let us remember the importance of finding the right partners who share our values and aspirations.

Linda Stewart Announces Run for Orange County Commission

Today, May 1, 2024, State Senator Linda Stewart (D - Orlando) announced her candidacy for Orange County Commission District 3, signaling a desperate need for change in leadership on the Board of County Commission (BCC).

Over the past two decades Linda Stewart has proven that she can deliver to the needs of Orange County citizens. Just this year alone, she has secured 50 million dollars in the state budget for Central Florida, representing 20 projects such as funding for the construction of the new Holocaust Museum for Hope and Humanity, Habitat for Humanity, a community center with Alianza, Devereaux for enhancement to children’s mental health programs, and affordable housing initiatives with Lift Orlando.

Continuing her advocacy, Linda has championed reforms for women’s issues by vocally supporting women’s freedom to choose reproductive healthcare and through the passage of Miya’s law, Donna’s law, and Gail’s law. She has also

been a big contributor to the needs of law enforcement. Passing policies aiding in the prevention and prosecution of inappropriate public exposure, for luring and enticing children, and for disturbing a body to conceal evidence. Working with other legislature members, she has championed water quality improvements and maintained funding for conservation efforts.

Linda has continued to demonstrate the bipartisan work she has done with everyone without compromising her values. She feels that respect and honesty are the most valuable attributes she has possessed throughout her 18 years in public service. This attitude has demonstrated a strong record of success and is more valuable than ever in today’s world.

Her service and knowledge will be a major asset to our community as we move into the next decade. Responsible decisions must be made, and we must listen carefully to everyone and continue to provide outstanding constituent services.

“Some of my most rewarding times as an elected official came from my service at the local level, and there is nothing quite like the direct day-to-day involvement in your community. I hope to continue my success here in Orange County and continue to work with the State on issues to make sure our voices are heard,” said Stewart.


From the Desk of Commissioner

Maribel Gomez Cordero

Happy May!

The month of May brings a season of renewal and hope, inviting us to embrace opportunities and embark on new journeys. Within this vibrant month is May 12th, a special day set aside to express our gratitude and affection for the guiding lights in our lives, our beloved mothers. It’s a time to praise them with love and appreciation, celebrating the love and support they offer us every day, and especially on Mother’s Day!

May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, when we work to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health issues. This month-long observance provides an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of mental health awareness, the prevalence of mental illness, and to destigmatize discussions about mental health. Mental health affects everyone, and it is essential to prioritize self-care and support those who may be struggling with their mental health. This month, take time to check in with yourself and your loved ones, as our own

mental wellbeing is very important to our general quality of life. Let’s work together to promote mental wellness and create a world where everyone can thrive.

I would like to extend an invitation to anyone who is interested to attend the upcoming Orange Code Town Hall meeting on May 2nd. Orange Code will be the new land development regulations that focuses on placemaking standards and context-based regulations. This Form-Based Code relies on desired development characteristics rather than what communities seek to avoid. To learn more, please attend the town hall meeting on Thursday May 2nd, at 6pm at Lake Nona High School.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or if you would like to receive my newsletter, you can email me at district4@ocfl.net or call my office at 407-836-5881. You can also meet me in person at one of my two satellite office locations. On the first Wednesdays of the month, you can meet me at the East Orange Community Center (12050 E Colonial

Dr) or on the Third Wednesdays of the month at the Meadow Woods Recreation Center (1751 Rhode Island Woods Cir). My time at both locations is from 10am to 12pm. Thank you again and happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in our community!


Orange County Supervisor of Elections Implements New Statewide Uniform Voter Registration Application

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Glen Gilzean announces the implementation of the new Statewide Uniform Voter Registration Application.

This update aligns the language in the Statewide Voter Registration Application with recent statutory changes to Florida law. These changes include providing additional information to applicants regarding collection through thirdparty voter registration applications. Additionally, the updates include language and formatting enhancements to the application and technical updates to supervisors of elections’ addresses and telephone numbers.

The Orange County Supervisor of Elections office had this new form available online and in the front office along with the new Statewide Written VoteBy-Mail Ballot Request form ahead of schedule on Friday, April 12, 2012.

Supervisor Gilzean emphasized, “These updates were made by the State after gathering input from both the public and other supervisors of elections during a series of public hearings.” He continued, “They were put in place to conform to the law, make clarifying changes, and address requests for enhancements.”

The updated application is available on our website. Orange County residents can register to vote in several convenient ways:

• Online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov

• In Person at our office on 119 W. Kaley Street Orlando, FL 32806 or:

- At a driver’s license office

- At a public library

- At the Center for Independent Living

- At WIC and DCF offices

- At any elections office

- Tax collector’s offices

- Entities issuing fishing or hunting licenses

• By Mail:

- Mail to Orange County Supervisor of Elections, P.O. Box 562001, Orlando, FL 32856-2001

• Or call the office at 407-836-2070 to have a form mailed or answer any questions about voter registration.

Older versions of the forms will still be accepted for some time, but new registrations or making an update are encouraged to use this form moving forward.

The application can also be found through the online registration system at www.registertovoteflorida. gov. Residents can prefill and print a copy for submission to a Supervisor of Elections’ office.

Senate Bill No. 7050 mandates the adoption of a uniform statewide voter registration application by the Department of State, Division of Elections. Form DS-DE 39, titled “Florida Voter Registration Application” (effective April 2024), is now incorporated by reference for use across the state.

For further information, please visit the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website at www. OCFElections.gov or call 407-836-VOTE.


What is the National Association of Realtors Lawsuit Really About?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) antitrust lawsuits claim that the organization’s rules limit competition and artificially inflate commission rates by tying access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to NAR rules. The lawsuits also claim that the NAR’s “adversary commission rule” violates federal and state antitrust laws. This rule forces home sellers to offer payment to the buyer’s broker when listing a property on the MLS. The jury ruled the Defendants were guilty of conspiracy to violate anti-trust laws in the civil class action.

The NAR rule requires that a seller broker disclose an offer of compensation to the buyer broker when the house is first listed. The buyer doesn’t pay their agent’s fee directly. Instead, the commission is fully paid by the seller as part of their closing costs. The question is, “Is it reasonable for the seller to pay a third party who is not representing their interests? The NAR Rule has been in existence since the mid-1990s.

According to the recently settled lawsuit, this is a form of antitrust, by reducing competition and inflating commissions.


A. Home Prices Will Fall. Not Likely! Home prices are determined by market forces such as the supply and demand for homes, the cost of construction, and interest rates. Even though interest rates remain high, we are still

experiencing a shortage of homes. Prices will continue to increase. Home sellers will likely capture more profit.

B. Real Estate Commissions Will Fall.

1. This will likely be true for sellers as their listing agents can no longer publish any offer of compensation to the buyer’s agent and sellers are free to determine how much if anything they’ll pay the buyer’s agent.

2. This will likely not be true for buyers because they could see an increase in cost of between 2-3% for representation. They may be responsible for paying some part, or all the buyer’s agent’s commission. It’s likely to make purchasing a home more expensive for buyers. For example, a firsttime home buyer using FHA financing will now need to save at least 3% for a down payment, 3-5% for closing costs, plus 2-3% if they want representation from a buyer agent.

Thinking of Selling Your Home?

According to the NAR, 52% of buyers found their home online, 28% through a realtor. Over 90% worked with a buyer’s agent to successfully purchase their home. It may be in your best interest to consider some form of compensation for the buyer’s agent. You’re welcome to discuss with me how to navigate the changes in the real estate market structure. Feel free to call, email, or text me.


How Music Influences the Mental Health of Seniors

Music can be an excellent tool to help seniors stay active and alert, enhancing their mental health and well-being. Music can also help prevent or lessen the impact of several issues that commonly affect seniors, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety disorders. The following are some ways music can improve seniors’ mental health—and how you can make sure your loved one stays healthy through music throughout his or her golden years.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a holistic approach to mental health that combines music, sound, and movement. This modality can help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression in both children and adults. It is also used to improve memory. Research has shown that making music can also be helpful in treating Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Improves Memory

One study, conducted by researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, found that among people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, those who listened to music for just half an hour a day were much less likely to develop depression. The soothing effects of music may help lessen emotional distress in seniors as well.

Reducing Anxiety and Stress

When seniors are alone, they are prone to feelings of isolation and loneliness. If a senior’s children or grandchildren live far away, he or she may feel as if he or she has no one around. Fortunately, there are many ways to help reduce these feelings. One way is by playing soothing music that helps calm anxiety and stress.

Stimulating Recall

Dr. Carol H. Green-Risse and Dr. Suzanne C. Segerstrom, researchers from Tufts University, found that stimulating music

can help seniors recall positive memories and improve their moods. When we feel happy or upbeat, we’re better able to identify positive memories, said Segerstrom, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis on health psychology and behavioral medicine from Florida State University; she’s also a core faculty member at Florida State’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory.

Encouraging Physical Movement

Often, seniors think that because they are elderly, they should not move around as much. However, studies have shown that seniors who engage in physical activities like walking and gardening report lower stress levels than their sedentary counterparts. In addition to relieving everyday stressors, regular exercise also helps mitigate depression among older adults—and it doesn’t matter if you start at age 65 or 80; it’s never too late to start moving your body and improving your mental health.

Promoting Awareness in Daily Activities

Add some music to your day, both as a way to lift your mood and to help you avoid distractions. Studies have shown that listening to music while you work can make you more productive, so blast away while performing menial tasks like cleaning or laundry. If nothing else, you’ll have something good playing in the background while doing chores—and if it’s good enough, you may just not notice how long it’s taking to finish!

Is Your Loved One Ready for a New Song?

Music doesn’t cure Alzheimer’s, but it does make symptoms more manageable and improves your senior’s quality of life. With certified dementia practitioners, Encore at Avalon offers special memory care-focused living communities for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s. Through community partnerships, we have access to services and activities, including music, that enrich our residents’ experiences. To schedule a tour, call today at 407-2707500.

341 Lasso Drive Kissimmee 6bd | 5+ba | 2936sqft | $4,500 2902 Wild Tamarind Boulevard Orlando 4bd | 3ba | 2451sqft | $2,850 342 Cortona Drive Orlando 4bd | 2.5 ba | 2528 sqft | $3,200 811 North Lavon Avenue Kissimmee 3bd | 2ba | 1276sqft | $2,750 10224 Vickers Ridge Drive Orlando 3bd | 2.5ba | 1570sqft | $2,500 10100 Green Branch Court Orlando 3bd | 2.5ba | 1829sqft | $3,065 2540 Woodgate Boulevard Orlando 2bd | 2ba | 930sqft | $1,650 1527 Wynell Street St. Cloud 4bd | 2.5ba | 2185sqft | $2,750 471 Steerview Street St. Cloud 4bd | 2ba | 1890sqft | $3,200 rent for 14426 Indian Ridge Trail Clermont 3 bd | 2 ba | 1282 sqft | $2,600 9810 Introduction Way Orlando 5 bd | 3.5 ba | 3951sqft | $4,875 CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR VIRTUAL TOURS Jim Carvajal 407.337.0300 | Info@Carvajal-Group.com | Carvajal-Group.com LIVE


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Summer Camp Corner



May is National Small Business Month!

Make The 5th Floor Home for Your Small Business

In the bustling landscape of entrepreneurship, finding the right support system can make all the difference. At The 5th Floor Orlando, we take pride in not just celebrating small businesses but also providing them with the tools and connections they need to thrive.

Located in the heart of Orlando, The 5th Floor offers more than just a workspace; it’s a vibrant community designed to elevate your business to new heights. Whether you’re a budding startup or an established enterprise, our flexible office solutions and invaluable connections ensure that you have everything you need to succeed.

Looking for a professional workspace to call your own? Searching for networking opportunities to expand your reach? Need expert guidance to navigate the complexities of business growth? Look no further. At The 5th Floor, we’ve got you covered.

As we dive into the month of May, we’re excited to extend a special offer to new members. With virtual memberships starting at just $99 per month and the second month absolutely free, now is the perfect time to join our community

and elevate your business game.

Ready to take the next step towards success? Contact us today at 407-730-3493 or visit our website to learn more: The5thFloorOrlando. com.


Business Cards for Avalon Park Small Businesses

Marketing is also about leaving an impression and getting your potential customers excited about your products or services.

At Avalon Mail Center, our graphics team can design, print, and package your products. Regardless of quantity, we can create a solution to minimize your cost.

We print a variety of business cards with multiple shapes and sizes. Here are some of the choices that may meet your needs.

• The classic matte business card is coated with a smooth, shine-free finish for a formal business.

• You can grab attention with popular, light-catching, glossy business cards for artsy businesses

• Uncoated business card paper is lightly textured with no additional coatings added to the paper stock. These standard cards provide businesses that rely on handwritten notes.

• With a shimmery look and subtle but eye-catching glitter, the pearl card stock makes a statement.

• The thickest, sturdiest business card paper available, ultra thick cards make a strong statement.

• A luxurious card option, linen cards are made from

paper woven with Italian cotton. Linen paper stock has an elegant, matte finish, making it a great option for businesses wanting a quality.

• Recycled materials are essential to many sustainable businesses, making them the perfect option for ecofriendly companies or projects.

• A tree-free paper option, bamboo business card stock is soft to the touch and thick yet flexible in feel.

• Plastic business cardstock. With clear and frosted options, create a business card with the same height and width as the familiar credit card.

Schedule an appointment with our graphic designers to explore long term solutions and quick low cost solutions. Visit AvalonMailCenter.com or come on by 3564 Avalon Park E Blvd, Ste 1, Orlando 32828, opposite Publix





Pepe’s Cantina Express Now Open in the Marketplace at Avalon Park

-Avalon Park Group is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of Pepe’s Cantina Express in the Marketplace at Avalon Park. Owned by Frank Chavez and operated by Alejandro Evans, Pepe’s Cantina Express aims to bring the same exceptional quality and vibrant atmosphere of its sister restaurants to a quick and convenient format. The community is invited to attend the grand opening event, which is set for Friday, May 10, 2024, 11:00 am-10:00 pm.

Pepe’s Cantina Express is now open and will be hosting a series of events leading up to the grand opening celebration, including a festive Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring $5.99 House Margaritas, $4.99 Amor Tequila Shots, $4.99 Coronas, and live DJ entertainment from noon until 8:00 pm. The festivities will also extend to special offerings for Mother’s Day on May 12th.

Pepe’s is also introducing a new partnership with Bowigens Beer Company, also located inside the Marketplace. The two have collaborated to introduce a new craft beer, “Sol y

Amigos,” a Mexican-style lager with a hint of lime and salt. “We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the grand opening of Pepe’s Cantina Express,” said Alejandro Evans, Operator of Pepe’s Cantina Express. “It’s an honor to bring the flavors of Pepe’s Cantina to the Marketplace at Avalon Park, and we look forward to welcoming guests with open arms.”

Pepe’s Cantina Express offers everyone’s favorites including Happy Hour specials and more. Patrons can expect a wide range of options including tacos, burritos, bowls, margaritas, and much more.

To stay up-to-date on the latest news and specials, follow Pepe’s Cantina Express on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ pepescantinaexpress/ and on Instagram @pepescantina_ express.

For more information on the Marketplace, visit www. MarketplaceAtAvalonPark.com


Coming together to create a healthy community





Congratulations on 19 Years as Avalon Park’s Home Town Dentist! Thanks for Keeping the Avalon Park Smiles Bright!

Avalon Park Pickleball Celebrated 5 Years!

Avalon Park Pickleball celebrated 5 years (2019-2024) of pickleball Friday evening April 5th and also held the 37th South Village pickleball tournament. The tournament playoff was won by Prudence Richards, originally from Jamaica, and Elliana Harvey, a Timber Creek High School student who beat Brenda Greene, originally from Trinidad, and Tressa Juttelstad, originally from South Dakota.

Avalon Park Publix made a delicious vanilla with lemon filling cake for the 5 years of pickleball celebration.

In Cary North Carolina at a pro/am pickleball tournament, former Avalon Park resident Caleb Deckert won a Gold Medal in the 4.5 skill level (5.0 and above is Pro level), men’s doubles competition. Caleb’s father and South Village resident Chris Deckert often plays pickleball on the Tanja King and South Village courts.

Also at the North Carolina tournament, the best female pro pickleball player in the history of the sport, 17 year old Anna Leigh Waters from South Florida, won 3 more gold medals to hit the amazing milestone of 100 gold medals.

Orlando Squeeze Major League Pickleball

The four person Orlando Squeeze Major League Pickleball (MLP) team is hosting a free exhibition match Tuesday evening May 7, 2024 from 6pm-8:30pm at the USTA campus in Lake Nona, 10000 USTA Blvd. Orlando FL. 32827.

Signup and RSVP at: orlandosqueeze.com/showcase

The Orlando Squeeze play their first match of the year at the Atlanta MLP tournament against the St. Louis Schock Sat. May 11 at 6pm followed by two matches on Sunday May 12.

The Orlando Squeeze are owned by the DeVos family who are also part owners of the Orlando Magic NBA team. The Squeeze plan to open a 19,000 square foot pickleball training facility at 215 W. Grant Street in Orlando later this year.

Check their facebook page for streaming times and match results:

Orlando Squeeze | Orlando FL | Facebook


OUC Announces New Alternative Water Supply Project to Address Increased Demand from Population Surge

To keep pace with increasing water demand as Central Florida’s population grows, OUC’s Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday (4/9) to approve a new alternative water supply project. To be built at an existing repump station on 15 acres in Lake Nona, the 40,000-square-foot Southeast Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant is estimated to be a $125 million to $155 million investment at completion, with the initial plant design phase totaling $8.1 million. The project is set to begin construction in November 2025 and be completed in 2033.

The Southeast Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant will drill up to 2,000 feet into the ground, allowing OUC to reach even deeper into the Lower Floridan Aquifer and access an untapped source of brackish groundwater. Once retrieved, the water, which is more minerally concentrated at this depth, will undergo a high-pressure, microfiltration process – and then pass OUC’s rigorous treatment and testing standards –before being used as potable water.

“As Florida’s population continues to increase, so too does the demand for safe, high-quality water – so we must prepare now for our region’s future needs,” said Clint Bullock, OUC General Manager & CEO. “As Orlando’s hometown utility, we’re committed to promoting water conservation, which is key, as well as pioneering sustainable solutions. Reverse osmosis takes an innovative approach to diversifying our water supply while providing our community with safe, clean, great-tasting water for years to come.”

The Southeast Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant is just one element of an integrated approach OUC is taking to meet increased water demand. Encouraging customers to conserve water – through conservation audits, educational programs with local schools, conservation best practices, and more – remains a top priority for OUC, as a provider and as a steward of Florida’s natural resources. Other initiatives include implementing leak detection technology to proactively identify leaks in the water distribution system and on customer properties, a block rate approach increasing the price per unit of water as consumption increases, upgrading water meters with next generation Advanced Metering Infrastructure, and encouraging participation among customers in the City of Orlando’s reclaimed water program.

About OUC—The Reliable One

In June 2023, OUC—The Reliable One celebrated 100 years of providing exceptional value to its customers and community through the delivery of sustainable and reliable services and solutions. The utility provides electric, water, chilled water, lighting and solar services to more than 400,000 accounts in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties. As OUC prepares for the next century, it remains committed to its goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 while supporting its community with conservation, sustainability and energy efficiency resources. Visit www.ouc.com to learn more.

OUC, Orlando City Soccer Club and Orlando Pride gathered in support of the City of Orlando and Keep Orlando Beautiful

On Saturday, April 13, OUC, Orlando City Soccer Club and Orlando Pride gathered in support of the City of Orlando and Keep Orlando Beautiful. Approximately 60 volunteers from the three organizations participated in activities to enhance the beauty and sustainability of Eagle Nest Park. Kingston, the coolest mascot in MLS and beloved mascot of Orlando City SC, was also at the event to cheer the volunteers on.


Ticket Sales Open for Second Harvest Food Bank’s 3rd Annual Ultimate Garden Party

Gather your friends, don your most dapper attire, and Escape to Elegance with other hunger relief supporters on Saturday, May 18, for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s 3rd annual Ultimate Garden Party presented by the Glenda G. Morgan Charitable Foundation.

General admission is $150 with VIP access starting at $250. For an additional $75 donation, there’s a limited opportunity to enter for a chance to win the event’s ultimate prize – The Full Bloom, which includes fun experiences, entertainment, accessories, household goodies and more!

Enjoy a whimsical afternoon filled with fun entertainment, delicious hors d’oeuvres and live music. Test your casino skills while enjoying fancy cocktails at the libations lounge and shop the newest collections from your favorite vendors at the Trunk Show. Merchants will be donating 25% of sales to Second Harvest.

WESH 2 will be returning as the Media partner and provide guest emcees to kick off the ultimate party with a purpose!

All proceeds raised at the Ultimate Garden Party help fund Second Harvest’s hunger relief efforts, which include distributing enough food for 300,000 meals a day across Orange, Osceola, Lake, Marion, Seminole, Volusia and Brevard counties. One in eight Central Floridians (including one in five children) is at risk of going to bed hungry on any given night.

WHEN: Saturday, May 18, 1-5 p.m.

WHERE: Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek 14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane Orlando, Fla. 32821


General admission: $150

VIP access: $250

Magnolia Table for 10: $2,500

The Full Bloom entry: $75

WEBSITE: www.UltimateGardenParty.com

About Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (SHFBCF)

SHFBCF is a member of Feeding America – the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to more than 750 local nonprofit feeding partners throughout Central Florida. With the help of food and financial donors, volunteers and a caring, committed community, the food bank distributes 300,000 meals every day to a seven-county service area, which includes Brevard, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia. Feeding neighbors facing hunger is only the beginning. By investing in job training programs, advocating for access to nutritious foods, and inspiring our community to get involved, SHFBCF is leaning into the root causes of hunger and helping our neighbors thrive. With support from the Central Florida community, Second Harvest Food Bank is feeding inspiration, change, achievement, health — and families facing hunger. To learn more about SHFBCF, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.


Orlando Utilities Commission Recognizes Orange County Student Artwork

The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) and 34 students from Orange County recently celebrated artwork designed to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation.

OUC launched the Water Color Project in 2006 as a way to teach future generations about conserving water. Each year, elementary, middle, and high school students participate in the educational art program by learning about why water is such a valuable resource and how to reduce usage. Then students are tasked with creating a piece of art to express what they have studied. Nearly 30,000 students have created water conservation artwork since the program’s inception.

“The Water Color Project is not just about preserving resources; it’s also about inspiring the next generation to become good stewards of our planet,” said Linda Ferrone, OUC Chief Customer & Marketing Officer. “It’s heartening to see young minds take such interest in this precious resource – and we love seeing their passion come through in art form.”

“Art education teaches students the skills to draw or paint and improves their creative thinking, problemsolving, self-expression, and appreciation of the world,” said Christy Garton, Visual Arts Program Specialist at Orange County Public Schools. “OUC’s Water Color Project is an excellent example of how art education achieves these goals. It encourages our students to recognize and advocate for conserving our most precious resource, water, while improving the planet.”

Elementary students create art for each month in OUC’s Water Conservation Calendar, which is distributed to the community. Middle and high school students paint rain barrels, which are auctioned off to OUC and OCPS employees. Proceeds go back to the school’s art program.

Winners were selected from the following schools:

• Arbor Ridge K-8

• Bishop Moore High School

• Dr. Phillips High School

• Oak Ridge High School

• Bay Lake Elementary School

• East Lake Elementary School

• Stonewyck Elementary School

• Andover Elementary School

• Blankner K-8

• Endeavor Elementary School

• Sunridge Elementary School

• Waterbridge Elementary School

• Wedgefield School

• Timber Creek High School

Photos of the artwork can be found by following this link: 2023-2024 Water Color Project.

For more information about the Water Color Project, visit https://www.ouc.com/environmentcommunity/for-teachers-students

About OUC—The Reliable One

In June 2023, OUC—The Reliable One celebrated 100 years of providing exceptional value to its customers and community through the delivery of sustainable and reliable services and solutions. The utility provides electric, water, chilled water, lighting and solar services to more than 400,000 accounts in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties. As OUC prepares for the next century, it remains committed to its goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 while supporting its community with conservation, sustainability and energy efficiency resources. Visit www.ouc.com to learn more


Goodwill Industries of Central Florida Partners with Resupply to Offer Home Pick-Up Service

Donating home goods and furniture in Central Florida just became easier thanks to a new partnership between Goodwill Industries of Central Florida (GICF) and Resupply.

Resupply is a veteran-owned and operated company that provides pickup services for furniture, appliances and other home goods. Interested donors pay a small fee for Resupply haulers to come to their home, remove items they wish to donate and deliver them to a local Goodwill. Any items not selected by Goodwill will be brought to other local charities.

“We’re always looking for ways to make the donation process easier and more accessible for our community,” said Ed Durkee, president and CEO at GICF. “Not only does this service do all the heavy lifting – literally – for our donors, but it also provides jobs for veterans trying to re-integrate into the civilian workforce. Goodwill is proud to partner with Resupply to make the donation of larger household items easier and support our military members in the process.”

Resupply has helped hundreds of veterans transition from active duty to civilian life. With GICF’s participation, 80 of the 154 Goodwill organizations across the country now partner with ReSupply to offer this service.

Over seven years, Resupply has created more than $20 million in value for charities through donations from 150,000

households and more than 25 million pounds of material saved from landfills.

“We’re proud to deepen our relationship with Goodwill Industries, and to provide a priority donation pickup experience to Goodwill’s donors throughout Central Florida,” said Paul Tocci, Co-Founder and CEO, Resupply. “The vision of Resupply is to revolutionize charitable giving in America. Every day, we strive to make giving ‘simple’ and to provide the most convenient donation experience possible. It is an honor to partner with one of the most influential charities in the country, and we look forward to providing a new avenue for donors to support the incredible mission of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.”

Goodwill also offers veterans comprehensive training opportunities to assist those with disabling conditions, homelessness or other special needs to develop employability skills for the workforce and become self-sufficient again.

To schedule a Resupply pickup, call (407) 857-0659 and select the “Donation Pickup” option, or visit www.GoodwillCFL. org

About Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Inc. (GICF)

For 65 years, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida has provided vocational and job placement services to tens of thousands of people living in Central Florida. Through 31 retail/outlet stores and 16 Donation Xpress locations in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Volusia counties, Goodwill diverted nearly 24 million pounds of clothing and household items from landfills in 2023. Goodwill Industries of Central Florida directly channels more than 90 percent of its annual revenue into programs that enable individuals to secure meaningful employment, achieve their personal goals and thrive economically.

About Resupply

Resupply is a Veteran founded organization on a mission to make giving simple. Through a nationwide network of partner charities, Resupply picks up gently used clothes, furniture and household goods, redirecting them from landfills and delivering them to nonprofits who will put them to work in their communities. We pick up, so that you can give back. Schedule a home donation pickup today at https://resupplyapp.com

Press contact for Resupply: Chris Macnamara, VP of Partnerships & Growth, chris@resupplyme.com

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