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MetroWest AUGUST 2021



Your Smile's Best Friend Meet Dr. Battle of Premiere Orthodontics








Kids are heading back to the classroom. As parents, you want them healthy and ready.

Orlando Health Physician Associates makes it safe and easy by offering virtual visits and

same- or next-day appointments at your neighborhood family medicine or pediatric practices. CHOOSE THE BEST CARE FOR BACK TO SCHOOL. Schedule online for your visit: Wellness checks • Sports physicals with EKG • Immunizations For appointments and more information go to:

MyChart Now Available Spring 2021

100 Top Hospitals® is a registered trademark of IBM Watson Health™.

+ LETTER From the Associate Publisher

A New Beginning It is with great pride that I, Kaitlyn Fusco, introduce myself to you as the new Associate Publisher for Central Florida Lifestyle publications. I began my Lifestyle journey 10+ years ago as an editorial intern during my sophomore year at the University of Central Florida. Since then, I’ve worked in communications and public relations for local nonprofits and digital marketing firms. Today, as I sit here writing this letter as the Associate Publisher, I am reminded how I have come full circle. Now that the circle is complete, I’m looking forward to a new beginning and taking Central Florida Lifestyle’s established path of community strength and success to the next level. It is my intent to carry on the Lifestyle legacy laid before me, but to also bring in a new perspective, especially as we navigate through the hardships of a global pandemic together. The many decisions our readers have faced this past year have been monumental, including deciding whether to send their children to daycare or school or to keep them home. Now, as we start to move forward and our children start a new academic year with high hopes of reconnecting with their teachers and friends, again, I’m hopeful that brighter things are on the horizon. What I have learned this past year is when we all come together, we can achieve great things. And that is what my hope is for this publication – to bring people together by sharing stories – YOUR stories – and by writing about the many people, places and things that make living in Central Florida a lifestyle of its own. I look forward to taking this journey with you.

CEO/PUBLISHER Kristi Gomen ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kaitlyn Fusco DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA & SPECIAL EVENTS Catie Moore GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Feland EDITORIAL CONTENT COORDINATOR Gabriella Dedmore INTERN Alina Hoarau WRITERS Robert Agrusa, Tarre Beach, Michael Brehne, Stina D’Uva, Nancy Glasgow, Brittany Hoppenworth, Kristen Jackson, Rich Maladecki, Marlena Morton, Casey Near ADVERTISTING SALES Lisa Harley




Happy reading,

Kaitlyn Fusco Associate Publisher

Lifestyle Publications is comprised of multiple editions, each mailed monthly, directly to homes and businesses throughout Central Florida. Lifestyle Publications is published monthly by Karst Media Group. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. WINDERMERE LIFESTYLE, DR. PHILLIPS LIFESTYLE, METROWEST LIFESTYLE, WINTER GARDEN LIFESTYLE, CELEBRATION LIFESTYLE, DOWNTOWN ORLANDO LIFESTYLE, WINTER PARK LIFESTYLE, COLLEGE PARK LIFESTYLE, LAKE NONA LIFESTYLE, AVALON PARK LIFESTYLE, WATERFORD LAKES LIFESTYLE, OVIEDO LIFESTYLE, WINTER SPRINGS LIFESTYLE and CENTRAL FLORIDA LIFESTYLE are federally registered trademarks. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents of this magazine or of the trademarks of Lifestyle Publications without written permission of the Publisher is prohibited. Lifestyle Publications makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of content published. Neither the publishers nor advertisers will be held responsible for any errors found herein, and the publishers accept no liability for the accuracy of statements made by advertisers in ads and/ or in paid promotional features. June 2021.

Proud Member of:

Follow us: • • • A Product of Karst Media


+ WHAT’S Inside

Contents | August 2021 Departments 6












Features 12



After a year of virtual school, these Central Florida students share what they are most looking forward to as they prepare to go back into the classroom.



The coronavirus pandemic has motivated some Central Floridians to head back to the classroom to finish their degrees or start new job training programs to help better define their career path moving forward.







Your guide to keeping your kids healthy and well all school year long.

Dr. Jason Battle of Premiere Orthodontics takes pride in boosting his patients’ confidence, but let’s take a look at what is behind his beautiful smile.


Being Mindful When Your Mind is Full

How Homestead Law Could Affect Your Real Estate Plan

Conversations for Your Community

Looking Toward the Future

Why We Owe Kids a Real Financial Education


CFHLA Membership Luncheon







5 Apps for a Successful School Year

All Fun and Games

Protect Your Roof During Hurricane Season







Outreach in the Age of COVID

Education Never Ends



Dr. Robert Masson of the Masson Spine Institute helps patients reclaim their life in the face of an injury.





The MetroWest Master Association shares back-to-school tips to protect our children, ways to save on back-to-school shopping, information on Food Truck Connection and details on the return of National Night Out.

Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Robert Argusa

Web Life


Healthy Back-to-School Breakfasts

 o online for stories and G photos not seen in print.

+ IN THE Kitchen

Rise and Shine: Healthy Back-toSchool Breakfasts How the right meal can set your child up for a successful school day. By Alina Hoarau


hey say breakfast is the most important meal of the day not because eating early is better for you, but simply because it’s the first thing you’re putting into your body. This sets the tone for your entire day. Imagine heading to work without properly fueling your body. You will likely lack energy and focus. The same thing applies to children. While it’s great to indulge in sugary cereal every once in a while, healthy choices during the school year will result in more brain power and energy. Before they head off to school, make sure they’re prepared for the day ahead with healthy breakfast ideas that consist of protein, grains and fruits of vegetables, depending on your child’s preferences. Good protein options are eggs, meat and fish. Snacks to pack for them throughout the day can include nuts, hard-boiled eggs or peanut but-


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

ter with apples or celery. This is going to satisfy any hunger as well fuel the body with essential nutrients. Whole grains are high in vitamins, fiber and minerals and include foods such as bagels, toast and oatmeal. Great healthy snack alternatives that contain whole grains are plain popcorn, muffins and crackers. One of the most important components of a child’s healthy breakfast is fruit. Options like berries mixed into oatmeal or a banana with peanut butter taste good and provide the necessary boost for a successful school day. Mornings can be hectic, but remember, one of the most important things you can do to help set you and your child up for a successful day is to provide a healthy breakfast option with protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Microwave Breakfast Sandwich Courtesy of Chef Gary Appelsies, YMCA of Central Florida Ingredients: • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped • 2 tablespoons red or green bell pepper, chopped • 1 large egg • 1 tablespoon water • 1 whole wheat English muffin, split and toasted • 1 slice cheddar cheese (optional) • 1 thin slice deli ham (optional) Directions: Place onion and chopped peppers in an 8 oz. microwavesafe dish. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and stir. In a separate bowl, use a fork to beat egg and water until blended. Add egg to onion and pepper mixture. Microwave the mixture until the egg is almost set, about 30–45 seconds longer. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Place the slices of ham and slice of cheese on half the English muffin if you’re using them. Top with egg and the other half of English muffin.

+ LIVING Mindfully

Being Mindful When Your Mind is Full How to handle conflict in your life through mindfulness techniques. By Alina Hoarau


e’re often told that we should face our problems head on, and it’s no different when it comes to stress. For most, the main areas of stress are home and work life, resulting from feelings of disappointment or being overwhelmed with responsibilities that could bubble over into conflict. While easier said than done, practicing mindfulness techniques in times of conflict can calm the body, acting as a form of stress management.

Stress at Home

Conflict at home is inevitable, as it’s easy to take out your stress on those closest to you. Maybe you have been arguing non-stop with your spouse and, on top of that, are dealing with a hormonal teenager who doesn’t seem to understand the word “no.” The result is often high anxiety and stress in what should be a place of peace and relaxation.

Stress at Work

Similarly, work can raise stress levels. Perhaps you didn’t receive a promotion that you felt you deserved, or you’re not seeing eye-to-eye with a coworker on an important project. With either example, you’re faced with an outcome you don’t like.


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Mindfulness Techniques

So how can we manage or diminish the stress of these situations? One of the most practical ways to handle stress is by practicing mindfulness. The smallest adjustment in one’s thought pattern and approach can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with conflict. First, focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in for three seconds, paying attention to the sensation of the air entering your lungs, then exhale for three seconds, imaging yourself breathing out the stress that you’re feeling. Continue until you feel in a more relaxed state. Experts say mindful breathing exercises become easier to perform in difficult situations over time with regular practice. This technique is suggested for stress because it has the ability to lower your blood pressure and heart rate due to the parasympathetic nervous system becoming activated. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one of the simplest mindfulness training exercises is known as present moment sensation. This requires an individual to adjust their focus on the present moment; for example, by picking up an object and focusing on its texture, smell and shape. This technique redirects

your attention, even if for a short amount of time. Lastly, it’s important to achieve a level of awareness in the moment. This entails noticing and acknowledging your reaction to the conflict, avoiding negative speech and coming up with a positive resolution. This technique allows you to pause and move forward effectively without saying something you may regret later. Practicing mindfulness techniques allows you to approach situations with a non-judgmental attitude. You can be present and observe your feelings as they come rather than react negatively as a result of not giving yourself enough time to process the situation. Understanding that stress exists in all of us is the first step to approaching it in a positive way.

+ YOU ASKED We Answered

How Homestead Law

Could Affect Your Estate Plan What you need to know about Florida’s homestead restrictions and how they could impact any wills, trusts or life estate deeds you have in place if they’re challenged in probate court.


What good are last wills and enhanced life estate deeds if upon someone’s death their beneficiaries must hire an attorney to go to court to enforce these documents only to have any wishes of the deceased overturned by the court?

By Kristen Jackson, Jackson Law P.A.


Each state has its own set of statutes. In the case of Florida, homestead restrictions include rules of how a will, trust or life estate deed may be affected if challenged in Probate Court. Consider the following example. Anna’s mother prepared a last will years before her death, leaving the family home to Anna, a paraplegic, so she would have a place to live. Anna’s mother also prepared an enhanced life estate deed naming Anna as remainderman to avoid probate court action and any contention or interference by Anna’s siblings who might want to sell the family home leaving Anna homeless. Unfortunately for Anna, Florida homestead restrictions got in the way of her mother’s last will and the enhanced life estate deed. When Anna’s mother died, Anna had two younger siblings, both minors, and an older adult sibling

who was named in the will as the guardian of the minor children in the event of her mother’s death. Because two of Anna’s siblings were minors at the time of her mother’s death, the homestead rules in Florida superseded both Anna’s mother’s last will and life estate deed. The older brother and guardian of the minor children challenged both the will and life estate deed in Probate Court arguing that he and the minor children had equal right to the home and their fair share in the assets upon selling once the minors became adults. In the years that followed, the mother’s home was sold and after paying off the mortgage, a small remaining asset was divided between Anna and her other siblings. Anna is now homeless. Florida Homestead Law states that if you are survived by minor children or a spouse, you cannot transfer your Homestead in a Will or a Trust to anyone else. If you are not married and have no minor children, then you may transfer your homestead to whomever you want.

An enhanced life estate deed, often a good estate planning tool, should be used with caution when there are multiple remainder beneficiaries. Such a deed could be a disadvantage if a remainder beneficiary does not get along with the others or if one of them were to die during your lifetime. If one of the beneficiaries dies before you, then Florida probate will be needed at your death for that beneficiary’s interest unless you change the deed or have designated a right of survivorship between the remainder beneficiaries. Wills, trusts, life estate deeds and Florida homestead restrictions need to be considered collectively. Contact an estate planning or real estate title attorney before you make any estate planning or real estate property retitling decisions involving your homestead property.

Kristen Jackson is the founding partner of Jackson Law P.A. (407-363-9020). She is experienced in estate planning, real estate law, business and contract law. Her firm has earned an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell signifying the highest level of professional excellence as obtained through opinions from members of the bar and judiciary. For more information, visit


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

What Are You Mo s This Scho o After a year of virtual school, these Central Florida students share what they are most looking forward to as they prepare to go back into the classroom.

stion. hard queeacher, a ’s t a h t T “ nds, new ly New frieing school supp o g and g.” shoppin ade, , 2nd gr Maddie h Elementary ric Domme School

a “I’m looking forward to re the e er wh new school, w will be good food and ne friends.” Sam, 7th grade, The First Academy


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

“I’m excited to see my friends!” Emmy, 1st grade, Princeton Elementary School

“In this upcom ing school yea am looking forw r, ard to growingI as a person, and my communica expanding me, school is tion circle. For education and not just about the about growing learning aspect. It is a training mysel s an individual and with others in f to communicate a way. I cannot wkind and respectful grade year at ait to start my 8th WPS in who I am as, and grow more a person!” Lorrin, 8th gra de, Windermere P reparatory Sch ool

t “I am excited aboue us ca everything be to I have never beenre!” fo be en rt kinderga , Pip, Kindergarten ol ho Audubon Park Sc

“I am excited to see my friend There is lots of s. and kindness ajoy t my school.” Frannie, 2nd Audubon Parkgrade, School

o st Excited About o ol Year? “I’m looking forw to senior year andard student body pres as id I’m looking forwar ent, making it a great d to ye everyone and havi ar for ng a good time.” Kat, 12th grade, The First Academ y

the best “I hope I have er.” teacher ev arten, Ruby, Kindergmentary le E Dommerich ol Scho

“Miss Gek Excited fo eler and Maddie. r teacher annew friends, new d goin second flo g to the or.” Eleanor, 2 n d g rade, Dommeric h Elementa ry School

“I’m pretty new so I’m looking forward to g meeting everyone, joinin my d an m, the soccer tea AP classes.” Daniela, 11th grade, The First Academy

t “I’m excited abou .” ts af cr g makin en, Annie, Kindergartemy Foundation Acad

d for school “I am excite n’t wait for to start. I ca 2nd grade.” in Market Day d grade, Isabella, 2n cademy The First A

“What I a the studem most excited fo r n together t body being backis in the upco year. I am ming a to also palso beyond excite d rt year’s glo icipate in next bal game s.” Jack Winderm , 7th grade, ere Prep School aratory

“I am most e about the thxcited couldn’t do b ings I of COVID, hecause a lockers, and ving having to so not ciall distance.” y Bethany, 9th The First Ac grade, ademy


+ TALK of the Town

Conversations for Your Community A monthly look at what's happening in the Orlando area, along with fun facts and important reminders.

Many of us travel each day on Semoran Boulevard. Did you know that this street was named by simply combining the two words of Seminole and Orange?

By Rich Maladecki

The first Central Florida theme park to open its gates to the public was Gatorland, which began operations in 1949.

Many businesses in-store and online are selling specialized magnets with attached rope for those interested in this new hobby. The process is simple these powerful magnets “catch” metal objects (some may say treasure) in bodies of water. Good luck!


The call letters for local radio station, WDBO (Orlando’s home for news, weather and traffic, 107.3 FM and 580 AM) is rumored to stand for Way Down By Orlando. This piece of regional radio history started operating nearly 100 years ago.

REMINDER: Something to Ponder ... author Albert Pine once wrote, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others, and the world, remains and is immortal.”

What’s in a name? Today, we live in what is called Orange County; however, the name first given to this area was Mosquito County.


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

As school is almost back in session, don't forget to purchase needed supplies during the Backto-School Sales Tax Holiday from July 31 - August 9.

If you're looking for an enjoyable experience with friends and/or family, consider a scenic boat tour on the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. This unique and causal ride operates daily near downtown Winter Park. For additional information, visit






3251 Margaritaville Blvd. | Kissimmee, FL 34747

+ DANIEL’S Corner

Looking Toward

The Future

The memorial W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship Program at the Garden Theatre is more than just a learning experience for young people interested in theatre arts - it’s also a way to support a future of diversity and unity. By Tarre Beach


arden Theatre Associate Artistic Director Roberta Emerson says that the newly created memorial W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship Program is unique to the Central Florida community because it allows a young person (age 13-22) the opportunity to work alongside professional theater artists and be paid. “It’s not about the money, it’s about equitability,” Emerson says. “Having a program with paid opportunities allows those who can’t afford to not work the ability to learn their craft,” Emerson says. According to Garden Theatre Education Director Nick Bazo, the inaugural Daniel Mills Apprenticeship Program garnered 96 applicants, scores more than the theater’s administration expected. This was partially due to the theater’s excellent communication with Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties, but it says a lot about how rare this type of program is, too. “I think there are a number of reasons why we saw the amazing response we did,” Bazo says. “It shows just how close the Central Florida professional and school theater community is, and it also shows how much of a need there is for something like this.”


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Apprenticeship Overview

One of the goals of the Daniel Mills Apprenticeship is to honor Daniel Mills’ extraordinary spirit. “Daniel was loving, kind and wise-beyond his years,” Emerson says. She taught Daniel at Monteverde Academy in its high school theater program. “You could see it in his talent on the stage, but also in the way he was with others. You could tell he cared. He cared deeply,” she says. Likening creating the program during the pandemic to trying to build a car while it’s moving, Garden Theatre Artistic Director Joseph Walsh says it was Daniel’s passion for life and the performing arts that inspired everyone involved to ensure all the pieces came together for the 202122 school year. The Daniel Mills Apprenticeship offers paid on-the-job learning and classroom or workshop instruction and is open to those interested in apprenticing in performance, theater direction, design, technical work, and performing arts education. The Daniel Mills Apprenticeship recipient will attend weekly professional development workshops, take part in an education production and have the ability to take Garden Theatre Education masterclasses, camps, and classes at no cost, as well as at-

tending rehearsals, performances, and other events for free. What it Means

Emerson says supporting young people grows everyone’s future – not just those in the theater community. According to her, unity and connectivity are created when young people are given the opportunity to be paid for their creative work and when professionals are given the chance to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. Likewise, Walsh explains how thankful the community is for the generosity of the Mills family to put all of this into action. “We are grateful to Harold and Rosy Mills,” he says. “We understand the considerable trust they have put in the Garden Theatre and we are honored to be given such a meaningful responsibility in sustaining Daniel’s legacy.” Keep Up to Date: In next month’s issue, Central Florida Lifestyle will include a profile on the 2021-22 W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship Program recipient.

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+ MONEY Matters

“Click to Buy”

Why We Owe Kids a Real Financial Education Setting up a Joint Teen Account with Axiom Bank is an easy way to teach your child the importance of financial responsibility and creating long-term savings goals.


ast year, an estimated two billion shoppers (about a fourth of the world’s population) spent more than $4 trillion on online purchases. That’s a staggering number – and there’s no sign that our increasingly digital shopping habits will slow down any time soon. Spending money is as simple as as a tap of the finger, phone, or card, and while that can be more convenient, it’s also a mixed blessing. According to CNBC, credit cards and online shopping are the chief budget-busters among U.S. households. As the face of consumerism changes, it’s not just adults who need to learn new financial wellness skills – our kids need to be prepared, too. And it’s our job to help them learn good money management habits today so they’ll be ready for a successful, financially secure tomorrow. From credit to college loans, there’s a lot of material to cover, and developing a financial curriculum from scratch is a big ask. (After all, being a parent is hard enough without becoming a homeschooling pro). But you don’t have to do it alone.

Since Axiom’s founding in 1963 as the first minorityowned banking institution in Florida, we’ve always believed in the importance of building a brighter future through personal relationships and lifelong financial solutions. At our local branches, our experienced team members lead fun, approachable workshops on personal finances that are tailored to kids and teens. With real-life scenarios, hands-on learning opportunities, and engaging instructors, your child can learn the skills they need to manage their finances with confidence. And they can put those lessons into practice, too. By setting up a joint Teen Checking Account and easy-to-use mobile banking app, your teen can practice responsible saving, see their money grow over time, and start setting long-term financial goals. After all, it’s not about how our kids will navigate life’s challenges – it’s about giving them the right attitude, the right values, and the right habits to tackle them successfully. At Axiom, we’re here to help make that journey easier today and tomorrow.

Axiom Bank, N.A., a nationally chartered community bank headquartered in Central Florida, provides retail banking services, including checking, savings, money market and CD accounts, as well as commercial banking, treasury management services and commercial loans for both real estate and business purposes. For more information or the closest branch, visit


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021


CFHLA Membership Luncheon On Thursday, July 22, the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association held its Membership Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. This event featured a Central Florida Sports Update featuring panelists Kay Rawlins, Club Founder - Orlando City/Orlando Pride, SVP of Community Relations and President of Orlando City Foundation; Jason Siegel, President/CEO, Greater Orlando Sports Commission; Shelly Wilkes, Senior VP of Marketing & Social Responsibility, Orlando Magic; and Ryan Elijah, Anchor, FOX 35 News as the panel moderator.

Cares Drive resulted in over 28,000 items that were collected for homeless students in Orange and Osceola counties. These donated items included toiletry and hygiene products, school supplies and non-perishable foods. CFHLA is proud to support our local students in need and the entire Central Florida community.

In conjunction with the luncheon, CFHLA also held our second Cares Collection Drive of the year. This successful

Robert Agrusa is president and CEO of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, the world’s largest regional hotel association (

Accepting New Patients Evening and Weekend Appointments Available

CFHLA Board Chairman, Jesse Martinez, General Manager of The Alfond Inn at Rollins, panel moderator, Ryan Elijah, Anchor, FOX 35 News, Panelists Shelly Wilkes, Senior VP of Marketing & Social Responsibility, Kay Rawlins, Club Founder/SVP of Community Relations, Orlando City Soccer Club and President, Jason Siegel, President/CEO, Greater Orlando Sports Commission and Robert Agrusa, President/CEO, CFHLA.

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Continuing Education for Adults: Lessons from the COVID-19 Crisis The coronavirus pandemic has motivated some Central Floridians to head back to the classroom to finish their degrees or start new job training programs to help better define their career path moving forward. By Brittany Hoppenworth


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021


or many working adults, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for career reassessment. In 2020, as countless employees were furloughed from their jobs or placed into new working environments, some workers were led to ponder: What other opportunities are out there? What else could I achieve if I had the skills, training or education?

For Holly Dodd, who lives in Windermere, this was the case. Dodd, 33, was working as a musician, singing backup for the band Train and performing at corporate and similar events. Then, all her planned events were cancelled due to the coronavirus and suddenly she had a wide open schedule. During this newfound downtime, she considered finishing something she had started years ago - a college degree. “I don’t think I ever really knew exactly what I wanted to go back to school for, so I never really had the drive to do it. And then with everything kind of shutdown, my job was non-existent,” Dodd says.

Dodd attended a college program for graphic designers shortly after graduating high school, but didn’t finish. When she found herself at home in the midst of the pandemic, she decided to finish what she started and enroll at a local college to earn a degree and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to secure funding. “COVID kind of set things in motion,” Dodd says. Adult Learners Head to College

Dodd is not alone in her recent return to school as a “nontraditional student,” a category broadly defined by educational institutions

as learners who are age 25 or older who may have commitments that their fresh out-of-high-school peers do not have. Valencia College, one of Central Florida’s local public colleges, had a 7.4% increase in enrollment for nontraditional students during the pandemic compared to the previous year, according to data provided by the college. The statistic includes just enrollees who are 25 years old or older and encompasses those who are attending college for the first time, transfer students and students who completed a degree at Valencia and have now re-enrolled to complete another program.


Anxiety? It’s normal to experience some anxiety while getting back in the swing of school. New classes, new routines, new responsibilities, and new faces. It can be overwhelming at times! The good news is, there are resources you can use to help cope with any new back-to-school anxieties.

Need help? Give counseling a try!

TAKE HEART COUNSELING ,LLC Confidence in Self. Courage in Life.

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Nontraditional students face challenges that their peers may not. Many adult learners are parents. They may also hold full or part-time jobs. Both make juggling a school schedule more difficult. However, community colleges have options that can ease the time constraints nontraditional students face including online classes and courses with flexible start dates. As a single mom to an 8-year-old and a 10-yearold, Dodd took advantage of Valencia’s Flex Start courses, completing 12 credit hours in the fall of 2020 and 17 credit hours in the spring 2021 semester. As Vice President of Valencia College’s Student Affairs, Joe Richardson is aware of the struggles faced by nontraditional students. “Deciding to enroll in college as an adult learner is a huge decision, and represents a willingness to make an investment in yourself and in your future,” Richardson says. But he says the faculty and staff at the college are there to encourage and support all students. “You will not walk this journey alone,” Richardson says. Training Programs

For some Central Floridians, heading back into the classroom does not mean pursuing a degree, but rather picking up a new skill or retraining for a different occupation. The benefit of enrolling in training programs is these courses can be completed in a shorter amount of time compared to earning an associates or bachelor’s degree. Jobs with course-based certifications include medical assistant, carpenter, IT specialist, distribution operations technician and more. Valencia College offers short-term job training programs in manufacturing, construction, transportation, logistics, and healthcare. According to the college, enrollment for its job training programs nearly doubled for the 2020-to-2021 school year compared to the previous 2019-to-2020 academic term. The


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

2020-to-2021 job training courses saw a total of 797 new students, many who were unemployed or underemployed, begin their education Boot Camps, or short but intensive training courses in digital skills such as coding, have attracted students during the pandemic, too. Sean Armstrong, Executive Director of Continuing Education at the University of Central Florida, says UCF’s Boot Camps have seen an uptick in enrollment over the past 15 months. “Students come to UCF Boot Camps from all professional backgrounds and experience levels, from recent graduates to hospitality workers to business owners,” Armstrong says. “They all share a common desire to learn the technology skills that power today’s digital economy in order to build more rewarding lives and careers.” These classes prepare learners for careers in coding, data analytics, digital marketing, and user experience and design. About 42% of students in the training courses do not have a bachelor’s degree. Graduation

This past summer, Dodd graduated from Valencia College with an associate’s degree. She’s since transferred to UCF and is working toward her bachelor’s, although she ultimately hopes to achieve a master’s degree in clinical psychology. “Now I have my AA,” Dodd says. “That’s something that can never be taken from me.” As an adult learner, Dodd feels that she values her education in a way that she wouldn’t have when she was younger. But it’s not an easy process and she likens the experience to hitting the gym for a workout. “You really don’t want to do it at first, but then you start making yourself go,” Dodd says. “And then all of a sudden you start seeing this result and you’re motivated by it to keep going on.” Her advice to other adults considering going back to school: Just go for it. “The biggest thing is just taking that first step,” Dodd says.


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SATURDAY SEPT 25, 2021 Time: 8AM-11AM Admission:$29.95+tax

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+ TECH Trends


Apps for a Successful School Year

Set your student up for success in the classroom with apps that will keep them organized and ready to learn. By Alina Hoarau


here’s a good chance your child has spent plenty of time this summer on social media and entertainment apps. While Tik Tok and Hulu are fun during their free time, it’s time to adjust their focus back to the classroom. The following apps can help set your student up for success by keeping them organized, rested and ready to learn, no matter their grade level. Google Drive

This is an absolute musthave for students, because it provides access to all Google services, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. Students can conveniently store homework assignments and projects, as well as create slideshows for in-class presentations. All files can be conveniently organized in folders labeled for each subject. Available on iOS and Android devices, free for up to 15 MB of storage. Khan Academy

This educational app for grades K-12 offers lessons in grammar, science, history and more. In addition, it’s widely used by high school students to study for the SAT, ACT and


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

AP exams. Students can take practice quizzes and watch educational videos to further aid their understanding of the material. If your student is having trouble understanding a specific concept, this app breaks it down and provides another perspective to get them on track with the material. Available on iOS and Android devices, free. myHomework Student Planner

Students can avoid feeling overwhelmed during the school year by digitally keeping track of homework assignments, project deadlines and exam dates through the myHomework Student Planner app. Since it supports time, block and period-based schedules, it’s perfect for middle school, high school or college students. A premium account can sync across other platforms, receive homework reminders and automatically download class information, assignments, files and announcements from any teacher’s class. Available on iOS and Android devices, basic version (free) and premium version ($4.99).


The Quizlet app makes it easier to study with flashcards and online quizzes. Students can create their own flashcards, covering a variety of subjects, and play games within the app to help them learn the material. In addition, students can share flashcards with each other, making it a great collaborative app as well. Available on iOS and Android devices, free. Sleep Cycle

Sleep is one of the most important components of a successful school year. The Sleep Cycle app uses sound analysis to monitor an individual’s movements in bed through each sleep phase. This information allows it to wake you up gently during your lightest sleep phase, which makes you feel like you’re waking up naturally. When your student has a restful night of sleep and a soothing wake-up experience, they will feel prepared for a full day of learning. Available on iOS and Android devices, basic version (free) and premium subscription ($29.99) are available.

Back-to-School Health & Wellness Tips Your guide to keeping your kids healthy and well all school year long.

How to Help Your Teen Build a Positive Body Image By Monica Guirguis, DO, Orlando Health


eenagers often feel self-conscious about the changes their bodies are going through, with social media playing a big role in forming unrealistic expectations of what they “should” look like. As a parent, you can help your teen navigate this challenging time and build a positive body image.

Why Don’t I Look Like That?

Children typically become aware of their body image between the ages of 9 and 11. However, today’s constant access to social media means children are paying attention to what their bodies look like even earlier. Many factors make children more aware of body image, including:

■ Exposure to media and advertising ■ Genetic predispositions to eating disorders ■ Overhearing adults talk about body image and weight issues.

You’re in a great position to help your child build strong self-esteem that lasts a lifetime. For example, focus on how eating healthy foods and working out make us strong and healthy instead of suggesting diet and exercise as a way to meet a certain beauty ideal.


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

It’s important to consider your own attitudes on body image, exercise and weight, and what messages you might be sending to your child when you talk about these topics. Pay attention to the example you’re setting and adjust as needed. Starting the Conversation

Addressing body image is a challenging conversation you might be tempted to avoid. But your children are bombarded with confusing – and often inaccurate and damaging -messaging about their bodies, so it’s important for you to talk honestly. Look for opportunities to discuss healthy bodies, varying body shapes and eating habits in age-appropriate and positive ways.

■ Boost their confidence. Talk less about your teen’s appearance and more about their strengths, abilities and achievements. ■ Discuss what they hear and see. Encourage your teen to be skeptical about what they see online and on television when it comes to the “perfect” body image. Help them understand that influencers, the beauty industry and celebrities often use everything from computer software to cosmetic surgery to adjust their appearance.

■ Educate your child about body changes, particularly those that take place during puberty and throughout the course of their lifetime. Discuss these changes in an accepting way. ■ Encourage healthy friendships. Accepting and supportive friends and family members can be a wonderful influence. ■ Listen to your teen. Ask your teen open-ended questions while you watch videos or television together to get an idea of what thoughts they have about the images they’re seeing and how it makes them feel. ■ Set a positive example. Start exercising together; eat healthy, nutritious foods as a family; and avoid saying negative things about your own body and the bodies of others.

What To Do When Your Teen Doesn’t Love Their Body

Even teens in supportive, loving families can have a negative body image. If your teen is struggling with body image issues that are affecting their eating habits, self-esteem or mood, consider talking to their pediatrician. Additional support can provide tools to help them feel good about their body and counter any negative messaging they’re hearing.

Spotting the Signs of a Mental Health Condition By Lyndsay Fogarty


ith thoughts of earning good grades, acing the big tests, balancing extracurricular activities, fitting in with classmates and getting into the college of their choice swirling around in their heads, it’s no wonder today’s youth is stressed out. For some, the pressure could lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and other disorders. Add in a breakup with a significant other or fight with a close friend, and it could begin to feel like things will never get better. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), one in five teens and young adults live with a mental health condition. Half of them develop the condition by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. The consequences of a lack of treatment are vast. NAMI lists suicide as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for individuals aged 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24.

The organization outlines these 10 common warning signs of a mental health condition: 1. Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks 2. Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so 3. Severe out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors 4. Sudden, overwhelming fear for no reason 5. Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain 6. Seeing, hearing or believing things that are not real 7. Repeatedly using drugs or alcohol 8. Drastic changes in mood, behaviors, personality or sleeping habits 9. Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still 10. Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities

For parents, being aware of these signs is the first step in getting their child the care they need. It’s important to vocalize that their feelings are legitimate and to create a safe space for them to share those feelings in a healthy way. With the support of those closest to them, as well as the help of a specialist if necessary, today’s youth can better handle the pressure they face.


What to Know About DIY Orthodontics By Jason Battle, Premiere Orthodontics


hile many things may come to mind when you think of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, orthodontics probably isn’t one of them. However, the trend of DIY clear aligners was brought to life years ago and is now sustained by a handful of companies. Smile Direct Club is currently the most well-known DIY clear aligner product. Consumers (who are technically not patients because a doctor-patient relationship has not been established) can visit one of the company’s scan centers to get started or have an impression kit sent to their home. There are two scan centers located in the Orlando area. In the past several years, other companies have begun to provide at-home clear aligners as well, including Byte, AlignerCo, Strayt, SnapCorrect, Candid and Align9. The pricing varies between $1,145 and $2,600, depending on the brand, compared to a traditional orthodontic experience, which can cost thousands more. However with reduced cost, from DIY orthodontics, comes reduced satisfaction of the final result. There are thousands of complaints that can be found online. DIY clear aligners can work in some situations, specifically if you have had previous orthodontic treatment and


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

your bite has been corrected. If your problem stems from failure to wear a retainer then DIY might work for you. However, a thorough orthodontic evaluation is needed to determine if the DIY experience will be successful. Remember that orthodontics is a process of many course corrections throughout treatment in order to get a quality final result. This is true whether your treatment plan includes braces or aligners. It’s also important to keep in mind that all teeth in all people do not move alike. Some movements and techniques work the first time, and sometimes you need a plan B, C, D, E or F. Since you aren’t being evaluated by a dentist/orthodontist in person, it can be difficult or nearly impossible for the technician treating your case from a computer monitor to make the necessary adjustments throughout treatment to be timely and achieve success. When it’s time to consider orthodontics for you or your child, make sure you know the details behind all of the options available. That way you can make the most informed decision based on your individual needs.


The Man Behind the Smile Dr. Jason Battle of Premiere Orthodontics takes pride in boosting his patients’ confidence, but let’s take a look at what is behind his beautiful smile.


r. Jason Battle of Premiere Orthodontics specializes in two things – delivering beautiful smiles and grilling delicious barbeque. Dr. Battle was raised in Cincinnati and Atlanta, but he now calls Orlando home where he enjoys practicing orthodontics, cruising around on the lakes, dining at local restaurants, walking his two golden doodles, Dublin and Sydney, and spending quality time with his 20-month-old son, Jacob. “Jacob picks up on things so fast, now he's putting words together. He is an extremely happy and consistent kid. I'm really proud of that, happiness means the world,” says Dr. Battle. As an avid outdoorsman, Dr. Battle enjoys walking the neighborhood with his son and taking him to the beach, as well as participating in sports and grilling. “We live in too beautiful of a state to not enjoy it,” says Dr. Battle. “I love grilling ribs, brisket, anything really, and not just for the great food, but the great company. I love spending time with family and friends.” Dr. Battle also enjoys volunteering his time to provide dentistry to those in need through the Smiles Change Lives Foundation. He visits local schools, daycare centers, and camps to teach proper brushing and nutrition as well as reading to students at local elementary schools.

He also volunteers at Give Kids the World and with Kiwanis Club of Orlando. While Dr. Battle enjoys spending his off hours with his son and soaking up Central Florida’s sunshine, his patients are always top of mind. He gives each patient his cell phone number so they can reach him at any time, day or night, seven days a week. He makes a point to fit into his patients' busy lives - especially as families prepare for hectic school schedules. “As families get back into the school year routine, it’s important to not lose sight of good oral health and orthodontic treatment,” Battle says. With the rushed mornings, packed lunches, homework and extracurricular activities, keeping a healthy mouth and beautiful smile may not be a top priority, but it's a good time to reset your daily routine. A beautiful smile can help you feel more confident, and Dr. Battle loves helping boost the confidence of his patients through every stage of their lives. As milestones such as yearbook photos, prom and graduation are right around the corner, students inevitably want to look their best and that means putting forward a confident smile. But creating a beautiful smile isn’t just for teens. “Back-to-school can also mean backto-you. We don’t just specialize in smiles for children and teens. I think it’s impor-

tant for adults to know we’re here for them, too,” Dr. Battle says. At his practice, Dr. Battle customizes each treatment plan based on the patient’s individual needs to straighten their teeth quickly and affordably. What sets Premiere Orthodontics apart is no matter how patients want to correct their smile metal braces, clear braces, clear aligners or lingual braces - it costs the same. “Cost shouldn’t be the determining factor in getting the smile you want and deserve,” Dr. Battle says. “I don’t want my patients going home and having to decide between the treatment option they want and the treatment option they can afford. My goal is to is to deliver the smile they deserve and achieve happiness.”

Dr. Phillips Office 7009 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Ste. 200 Orlando, FL 32819 407.381.3376 Waterford Lakes Office 448 S. Alafaya Trail, Ste. 10 Orlando, FL 32828 407.381.3335



All Fun

and Games A child’s playroom doesn’t have to be a blank space that is cluttered with toys. It can be a space all their own that highlights their personality and interests. Designed by Francia Fusik, All in One Decorating Solutions Photographed by Cynthia Simonetta

ABCs and 123s

There is no room for boredom in a playroom, especially on the walls. Stripes are a great way to add multiple colors, and even more fun, to the space. Choosing yellow and green as accent colors helps keep the space gender neutral for families with boys and girls.

Imagination Station

A window seat lets the sunshine in. Perfect for becoming immersed in a favorite book or curling up for a nap, this space is a quiet reprieve in a room that is full of activity. The stripes theme from the wall is mimicked in the cushion pattern, and the red additions balance out the colors in the rest of the room.

Set the stage for fun by dedicating an area to an activity that your child loves. This could include setting up an easel for painting sessions or building a stage for singing, dancing or acting out a favorite story. No matter the activity, this adds an element to the room that allows your child to use their imagination and express their creativity.

Ready, Set, Create

In many playrooms, toys are scattered across the floor or it’s just an empty space. Avoid that by filling the middle of the room with a kid-sized table and chairs where your little ones can work out their creative energy. Here, the primary colors on the chairs complement the brightly colored walls, and since it’s a tiny table set, the kids will feel like it’s something that’s all their own.


Playful Patterns

Include a space for learning – whether it’s a comfortable corner to read books or a wall to discover letters and numbers – so your child can keep their brain active, too. Hanging a board with magnets serves a dual purpose, allowing children to play with numbers and form words but also to practice their handwriting on the chalkboard portion.

Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Seat Escape

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It’s Time for

Your Comeback Dr. Robert Masson of the Masson Spine Institute helps patients reclaim their life in the face of an injury.


r. Robert Masson, internationally recognized neurosurgeon specializing in minimally invasive spine surgery and sports spine medicine, is a passionate advocate for prevention, wellness, fitness and ultimately extreme recovery in the face of spinal injury. He founded the Masson Spine Institute where he coaches his patients on their journey to spine health. When properly prepared for their surgical intervention, patients come out on the other side ready to get back to an active, pain-free life.


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Advocating for Extreme Recovery

Dr. Masson focuses on three main areas of spine health: cervical and lumbar disc disorder, cervical disc arthroplasty (artificial disc) and grade 1 spondylolisthesis. His patients are highly active individuals. No matter their level of athleticism, from coaching their child’s Little League team to being a weekend warrior tennis player, they have busy, demanding lives and exceptional performance goals. “Our role in the spine surgery cycle is to get people back to their life,” Dr. Masson says. “My practice is where people go when they want to restore their ability to chase their

dreams and chase their sports.” With tens of thousands of microsurgical spine procedures under his belt, Dr. Masson has advocated for prevention, wellness, fitness and extreme recovery for his patients since 1988. Dr. Masson has treated a variety of amateur, recreational, professional athletes, and Olympians representing players from the NFL, NBA, MLB, Indycar, IMSA, ATP, PGA/LPGA tours, U.S. Soccer, UFC, U.S. Boxing, U.S. Ski team, U.S. Cycling and Wakeboarding teams, and is an expert consultant in spine health as it relates to sports and the fitness industry at large.

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The Comeback Team

Getting in the Right Mindset

Dr. Masson’s extreme recovery is due in part to one of MSI’s core values: pre-habilitation. Through adaptive fitness and improvement in nutrition, choices, and rest and recovery cycles, patients build habits that provide structure. Their bodies are then able to maintain that preparation before, during and after the therapeutic intervention. “It’s basically preparing yourself for future trauma,” Dr. Masson says, noting that most individuals don’t understand the value of pre-habilitation until they’re already in crisis. The purpose of this concept is to strengthen the patient’s mind, body and soul in a way that prepares them for recovery. “If you show up for the surgery strong, your recovery will be quick; if you show up for surgery in a deep, dark hole, your recovery will be long,” Dr. Masson says. “How you prepare for surgery is as important as if you should have it.” At MSI, all surgery patients are treated like patient athletes in the sense that the more prepared they are for the trauma of surgery, the faster their recovery will be, the stronger their recovery will be and the less complications they’re going to have to worry about. Whether it’s for the practice’s most targeted procedure, cervical artificial disc surgery, or one of its other specialties, patients trust MSI to coach them toward recovery. “This is your life,” Dr. Masson says. “You have to take ownership of it.”

It is no secret Dr. Masson strives to improve the health and wellbeing of those who have suffered spinal and orthopedic injuries well beyond the surgery room. That is why he started The Comeback Team, along with certified strength and conditioning specialist Trevor Anderson and biomechanist and functional anatomy specialist Chuck Wolf. The team aims to inspire people recovering from serious injuries by producing video and audio podcasts, increasing awareness and creating a community where people facing similar circumstances can connect. “We are three coaches with one goal; to change lives and help people in the health and wellness industry,” Dr. Masson says. With the expertise of these coaches, listeners of the Comeback Podcast can learn different methods to improve their weaknesses and reinforce their strengths. Podcast episodes include recent examples of patients the coaches have treated, as well as advice from the coaches themselves and learning from their expertise on how someone can comeback from an injury, as well as learn how to help prevent injury. For the video podcast, the team travels to different destinations pertinent to the sport health and wellness industry. The latest podcast was produced at the IMG Academy, the world’s largest and most advanced sport training and educational institution, located in Bradenton, Fla. The coaches have created social media pages where people can share their experiences and aspirations, as well as encourage and motivate each other. The Comeback Team has long understood how important it is to feel supported, educated, and understood in the performance journey. Through connections with like-minded others around the world, people can build confidence, power, performance, and courage to reach their relentless pursuit for excellence. The Comeback concept was created to inspire people from all walks of life to transform their life and start a journey of becoming their best self. “Comebacks look different to us all, and this community that we’ve created is about supporting everyone’s individual comeback process, no matter what that looks like,” Dr. Masson says. To learn more and to listen to the Comeback Podcast visit

2706 Rew Circle | Orlando, FL 34761 407.649.8585 | Dr. Robert Masson is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon who specializes in micro-reconstructive spine surgery and sports spine surgery. He also serves as director of the Orlando Health Health Central Hospital JCAHO accredited Spine Center of Excellence.


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Protect Your Roof During Hurricane Season

Learn about policy provisions in your homeowners insurance policies to make sure you’re adequately prepared for storm damage.

By Michael B. Brehne, Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A


ith hurricane season rapidly approaching, tens of thousands of Florida residents face damage to their homes due to wind, hail, rain and severe storms. Although we can’t predict if your home will face damage, we can prepare you now and save you the frustration of handling insurance claims later. The first step is to understand what your homeowners insurance policy covers. Many Florida insurance policies have conditions that can greatly reduce the amount given to you to repair your home. If your policy has a “right to repair” provision, you have given up the right to select your own roofer or contractor to repair your home and have authorized the insurance company to select and oversee any contractor of their choice. If your insurance policy has this type of provision, I strongly encourage you to discuss with your agent how to remove it from your policy, even if it increases your premium. The next policy provision that you must be aware of relates to alternative dispute resolution processes contained within the policy. Almost all Florida homeowners insurance policies have an appraisal clause. Once an insurance company requests appraisal after a dispute of the claim arises, the homeowner is precluded from litigating the matter in court and presenting the case to a jury. Rather, the value of your claim is determined by an insurance company representative, your representative (whether an attorney or

public adjuster), and an umpire selected by the two representatives. Once the umpire renders a decision, called an award, that amount is fixed and final – there is no appeal. Although some insurance companies may state that this results in quicker payment to the homeowner, it can actually deny homeowners access to the courts as well as the ability to investigate the claim. Florida recently enacted a new law for homeowners insurance claims that impacts roofing contractors and attorneys more than homeowners, but it’s still important to note. Under the new law, homeowners are protected by some provisions that prevent dishonest contractors from soliciting insurance claims by making payments, giving gifts or otherwise enticing homeown-

ers to employ them for their claim. The new law requires contractors to inform the homeowner of the dishonest business practices listed in the statute and to have the homeowner acknowledge that none of those activities occurred prior to signing the contract for repairs. The law also contains provisions for giving insurance companies second chances to review the claim before a lawsuit is filed and has detailed requirements for insurance companies to explain to the Department of Insurance the reason they initially denied a claim and eventually made payment. If your home suffers damage as a result of a storm, call the Storm Claim Attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, PA for an explanation of your rights during the claim process.

Michael Brehne has dedicated his 24-year career to representing injured people in motorcycle and car accidents, and represents people when their insurance claims have been denied. He has earned a reputation as a tenacious and skilled trial lawyer when representing his clients against large corporate defendants and insurance companies. He is also the author of “Watching Out for Florida Motorcyclists: Legal Rights of Injured Bikers.”


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021


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+ HOME You Can Help

Outreach in the Age of COVID

Volunteers and staff members of Matthew’s Hope Ministries navitagte how to best help connect guests with various resources and services of need during a pandemic. By Marlena Morton


atthew’s Hope Ministries, based in Winter Garden, is a homeless outreach ministry organization exclusively serving West Orange County. There is a core group of volunteers who have managed the onsite Matthew’s Hope Outreach activity every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the COVID pandemic. Outreach days are those where Matthew’s Hope delivers services either at the main operations facility or via a mobile unit. Guests arrive on foot, by bus, bicycle and some are picked up by the Matthew’s Hope van. They receive services to include medical support, breakfast, showers, hygiene items (razors, anti-itch cream, shampoo and shaving cream) and clothing amongst others. Prior to COVID, guests were allowed in the facility to get their coffee and a hot breakfast. COVID protocols now require that these services be delivered outside of the brick-andmortar facility under a tent. After registering guests, these wonderful volunteers deliver a hot breakfast sandwich,


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

juice and coffee along with a warm greeting. “We’re all outside now,” says volunteer Pam De Priest. “We all wear masks and we sit outside, be it hot, cold, rain or shine.” Guests may only enter the building to shower. This activity is carefully managed so that a full sanitization can be performed after each shower is used and that COVID precautions are maintained. The volunteer team also supports the mobile outreach unit that provides services to the homeless camps. “We prepare hot sandwiches and bags of food for the teams to take on the road and position the mobile team to depart on time with the supplies needed on the route,” says De Priest. Volunteers continue to do laundry for the guests as well. Clothes are collected and laundered on Tuesday and returned clean to guests on Thursday. The laundry team ensures that everything from blankets to underwear to jackets are cleaned and folded for return to the guests. This team usu-

ally does over 30 loads of laundry each week. Guests still receive items from the food pantry, but now instead of selecting the items themselves, pantry items are pre-selected and bagged by volunteers. There is even attention to guests that require special nutritional considerations such as low-salt and low-sugar items. “The volunteers speak with each guest and bring the correct bag to them based on their dietary needs,” says volunteer Caroline Bucher. The services these volunteers continue to provide is very similar to those provided in the pre-COVID days. It’s just that the delivery is a little different. “We still charge cell phones, offer food stamp assistance, and they still can see the nurse,” says De Priest Outreach in the age of COVID has been a great example of how a focused team can successfully pivot, retain a terrific attitude and impact someone’s life with each engagement. Well done team!


Behavioral Support Program

Offering Hope for Youth with Autism When Mental Health Challenges Escalate

How You Can Get Involved with Devereux’s Mission Devereux Behavioral Health Florida unlocks and nurtures human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral or cognitive differences. Community support has been the key to providing life-changing services for individuals and families facing challenges from these diagnoses. There are several ways you can get involved. Refer: If your family is experiencing any of the challenges mentioned in this article, you don’t have to face it alone. Devereux is recognized nationally for its expert level of care for families just like yours. For immediate help for your family or a family you know, reach out directly to Gain Support: Do you need help with understanding your child’s diagnosis and managing their behaviors? Devereux can provide the tools your family needs. Sign up for training announcements or receive more information by emailing Learn: Interested in learning more about the services Devereux provides for individuals and families in crisis? For more information about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida, visit Donate: A contribution of $25 provides a virtual consultation session to a family in need. Text “DevereuxFlorida” to 41444 to make a monetary gift.


W H A T ’ S


MetroWest Public Safety Offers Back-to-School Tips to Protect Our Children By Nancy Glasgow


s Orange County schools begin classes August 10, MetroWest Public Safety urges everyone to follow these tips for safely sharing the roads with our children, whether they are walking, riding the bus, or riding their bikes to school.

When sharing the roads with young pedestrians: • Don't block the crosswalk when

stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you and potentially putting them in the path of traffic • When flashers are blinking in a school zone, stop and yield to crossing pedestrians • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones and near playgrounds and parks • Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

When sharing the roads with school buses: • If you're driving behind a bus, allow a

greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car to give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you're on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop • The area 10-feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough away to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus • Be alert; children can be unpredictable, and they may ignore hazards and take risks

When sharing the roadways with kids riding bikes: • Bikes can be hard to see and children riding bikes create special challenges for drivers because they often aren’t able to accurately determine traffic conditions

• When passing a bicyclist, proceed in

the same direction slowly, and leave three feet between your car and the cyclist • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass • If you're turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars • Check side mirrors before opening your door


MetroWest Food Truck Connection Hosts Orlando’s Best Food Trucks By Nancy Glasgow







tional dish of black beans stewed with Brazilian dried beef, smoked sausage and smoked pork ribs, served with rice, farofa, and collard greens; Chicken Rose; beef empanadas and shrimp empanadas, and homemade tamales. ( • Paula’s Jamaican Cuisine – Serving jerk chicken and pork, curry chicken, oxtail, beef patties, and a variety of side dishes including mac and cheese, rice and beans, and fried plantains. ( • Jour de Crepe – Serving sweet and savory crepes, including their famous strawberry or banana with Nutella crepe, pizza crepes, and the best-selling lobster tail crepe, among many others. ( • Up In Smoke BBQ – Serving small batch traditional Memphis-style barbeque using homemade rubs and a delicate blend of woods. ( • Rubio’s Baja Grill – Serving Baja skirt steak and shrimp tacos, fish tacos, steak tacos and chicken tacos. (facebook. com/rubios.grill) • Jeremiah’s Italian Ice – Serving over 40 flavors of Italian ice, as well as soft ice cream, and The Gelati, the perfect layering of Italian ice and soft ice cream. ( jeremiahsice)


• Brazilian Express – Serving Feijoada de Ogum, Brazil’s na-




he MetroWest Food Truck Connection is held every fourth Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the MetroWest Golf Club. Each MetroWest Food Truck Connection features a variety of food trucks serving delicious and innovative dishes created by some of Central Florida’s most inventive chefs. The June 24 event showcased tasty fare from these outstanding food trucks:






AY •


M 9:00 P M •



Social distancing guidelines will be observed. MetroWest Food Truck Connection is organized by Food Truck Crazy. MetroWest Golf Club is located at 2100 S. Hiawassee Rd.


W H A T ’ S


Simplify and Save Money on

Back-to-School Shopping By Nancy Glasgow


ack-to-school shopping can put a bit of a dent in parents’ bank accounts depending on how many school-age children they have, not to mention the stress of spending hours looking for the best deals. Read on for some back-to-school shopping advice that can save parents money, time and frustration.

• Shop online: It’s easier to stick to a

shopping list and compare for best prices and you’ll save yourself the time and aggravation that can come from going from store-to-store in search of specific items or sales. • Look beyond traditional big box stores: Give resale shops a try, especially if your older kids are enamored of trendy labels. Even the most label-conscious teen can enjoy shopping at resale stores because they can buy more designer/brand names for less.


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

• Take advantage of sales tax holi-

days: Get moving on this! Florida’s back-to-school tax holiday ends Aug. 9. During this sales tax holiday period, qualifying items will be exempt from tax including: most school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item; and the first $1,000 of the sales price of computers and certain accessories, when purchased for noncommercial or personal use. • Don’t do it all at once: If possible, spread out your shopping over time. If you try to do it all in just a few days, you’ll be exhausted and frazzled. • Keep your shopping list on your phone: Have your list handy so that you’re always ready to grab a good deal. • Hit the sales racks first: Especially when it comes to clothes, check

out the clearance section first before looking at the regularly priced items. • Compare prices on e-books: For classes with reading lists, perhaps buying the electronic version of a book would be less expensive than purchasing a physical copy. • Use coupons and watch ads: Use coupons (digital or print) and keep an eye on back-to-school ads for deals on must-have items. • Ask your friends: Do you have friends with children a bit older than your kids? If so, see if they have any gently-used school supplies that they’d be willing to part with. For instance, in Florida an item like a winter coat might not get much wear before it’s outgrown and your friends might want to clear out their kids’ closets in anticipation of new back-to-school clothes.




MetroWest National Night Out Returns Oct. 5 By Nancy Glasgow


fter a hiatus in 2020, National Night Out returns to MetroWest Oct. 5 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at MetroWest Golf Club. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes strong police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, enhancing the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of connection.

To celebrate National Night Out, neighborhoods across the nation host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth

events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much more. National Night Out is celebrated by more than 38 million neighbors across 16,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide. MetroWest’s National Night Out will feature vendors and exhibits, food trucks, kids’ events, crime prevention and safety demonstrations, and seminars. As admission to National Night Out is free, families can enjoy and plan for an evening of fun dedicated to strengthening our community bonds.


+ SPORTS & Recreation

Fall Sports for Dummies Learn the rules of the game for some of the less common fall sports so you can cheer on your high school student athlete with confidence.

By Marc Sznapstajler and Lyndsay Fogarty


ports allow children to learn timeless values like working as a team, developing a solid work ethic, and winning and losing with grace. As a spectator, many sports are easy to follow because their popularity leads to a common knowledge of the game. Others are trickier though. Luckily, the Florida High School Athletic Association shares the rules for all high school sports in its yearly manuals, which are easily accessible online. Here is the breakdown of three fall sports. Cross Country

Varsity-level cross country teams include five to seven runners while teams at the junior varsity level or below can have an unlimited number of runners unless a meet director puts specific restrictions in place. During the regular season, meet directors can allow up to 10 runners, but only the first seven runners to complete the 3.1-mile course will be scored. Boys and girls are required to run the course separately.


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Each runner receives points based on the place in which they finish the race. For example, the first place finisher receives one point, the second place finisher gets two points and so on. The points of the first five finishers for each team are added up for a combined team score. The 6th and 7th place finishers can displace scorers on opposing teams, pushing them to higher scores. Just like golf, the team with the lowest combined score wins. Soccer

In soccer, games are broken into two 45-minute halves that contain stoppage play before the half ends. The game clock doesn’t pause, even when the players aren’t active, so the referee determines how many extra minutes should be played. Players must remain onside and will be called offside if the referee notices an offensive player closer to the goalie than the nearest defensive player before a pass. Free kicks occur when a player is fouled, and yellow and red cards are distributed if the referee

determines that a hit or kick was illegal. Corner kicks are awarded to the offensive team when a defensive player pushes the ball over their goal line and out of bounds. A goal is scored when the entire soccer ball passes over the goal line. Volleyball

In volleyball, teams consist of six players who rotate on the court. Games are played to 25 points and teams must win by two points. Matches can be best of three or five. A point is started when one side serves the ball over the net. If the ball is not touched after a serve, it’s called an ace. Players can only hit the ball on their own side three times before returning it, and a player may not hit the ball twice in a row. There are boundary lines that the ball must remain in to be considered a point, and players cannot carry, palm or throw the volleyball.


+ YOUR Local

Education Never Ends! Through various programs and partnerships, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce provides its members with continuing education tools that allow businesses to grow and employees to thrive. By Stina D’Uva, West Orange Chamber of Commerce


usiness, professional, and workforce development the three Ds, as we refer to them at the West Orange Chamber, are important for all businesses, large and small. Over the years, through our own programs and partners, we have been able to deliver instructional resources to employers and employees on a host of topics by various means. The programming includes ways for businesses to grow their businesses, to train their employees with specific job-related skills, peer learning, as well as providing learning opportunities for employers and employees on the latest technologies and best practices. Our partnership with the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida allows us to bring one-on-one consulting with a certified business consultant directly to businesses without having to drive downtown. Our “Revive and Thrive” program, every fourth Tuesday of the month at our office, brings personalized counseling to businesses. Whether a business needs help with a business plan, finding funding sources, developing a marketing plan, or any business-related issue, help is available. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit Another great resource available to businesses are the programs provided by our partner, CareerSource Central Florida. This organization not only helps employees find jobs, it provides training to current employees and new hires of businesses so that they have the skills to meet


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

the business demands. This program, Incumbent Worker Training (IWT), is just one of the ways CareerSource helps businesses develop their employees to ultimately better their businesses and achieve their business goals. It also provides on-the-job training programs, youth summer programs and internships to assist businesses and provide valuable experience to emerging leaders. For more information, visit In addition to these partners that provide assistance and learning opportunities for our businesses, the Chamber facilitates virtual and in-person programs. The topics are determined by our members and provided virtually or through Lunch and Learns. Chamber members tell us what they need to know and we find the resources to satisfy their needs. This year, the chamber is providing Tech Talks by author Beth Z in a virtual format. The final two of the sixpart series will take place in September and December. This series is a fun, informational conversation on the myriad of apps, technology, social media and new trends to help businesses and people. Our networking groups also provide members with weekly and bi-weekly presentations by fellow members. These 10-15 minute presentations are valuable in sharing information on the various industries represented in these groups. To see upcoming presentations, visit wochamber. com/Events/ChamberGroups.

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+ DID YOU Know

Kickstart the College Application Process Submitting college applications doesn’t have to cause a headache. Check out these free resources and tools to help set your teen up for college admission success. Casey Near, Executive Director of Counseling for Collegewise


ubmitting college applications can feel overwhelming, especially after a pandemic. This past year, resume boosters like extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities were cancelled, teens couldn’t find jobs to show career experience, some high schools moved to a pass/fail grading system, causing concerns for the impact it would have on GPAs, and some colleges and universities waived standardized test requirements for applicants, but there is still one constant requirement - the admission essay. Without all of these traditional ways to show a student’s admission potential, students are left wondering how they write a successful admissions essay. Beyond lists of achievements and activities, the essays allow admissions officers to get to know a student and view further into the type of person they are and want to become by pursuing a higher education degree. Many students write their essays and submit applications during the summer months when they have more free time; however, not every teen is motivated, knowledgeable, and confident about the application process and may need extra help with planning and applying. Here are a few ways teens can kickstart their college application processes: 46

Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Review the Common App website

Over 900 schools now accept Common App and it can help streamline the application process. It’s also a robust search engine. You can search colleges by location, size, setting, or even by requirements (like ones that don’t require essays or standardized testing). There are also free resources and advice about applying to college, financial aid, and scholarships. And pro tip: while the essay prompts are available, we don’t recommend writing an essay specifically to fit those prompts (unless one prompt really does inspire you!). Why? There’s always a catch-all prompt as the last option (“share an essay on any topic of your choice.”). Instead, start with your best story, then see which prompt works best. If none does, just check that last one.

Demonstrate Interest in Top Choice Schools

Showing authentic interest in top choice schools is one of the most important things teens can do. Beyond signing up for mailing lists, participating in virtual webinars and information sessions, or taking virtual tours, teens should engage with admissions offices, ask questions, and get to know more about the school, campus life and opportunities. Remember not to

hound the admission counselor every day with a question just because. Be purposeful. If you have a question, ask it. Otherwise, remember your job is to show up, show interest, and demonstrate that interest through a thoughtful application. If the interest is genuine, demonstrating it shouldn’t be hard. Use Free Guidance Tools

Created by former college admissions officers and essay readers, the Collegewise Runway program offers underclassmen and seniors a variety of tools that can help with the journey leading up to college. From how to create a school list to a guide to completing the Common Application, testing strategies and information on filing FAFSA, Runway covers all the basics. Learn more and sign up to access these resources for free at Finally, this tip is for parents. Remember that you cannot manage and control your teen’s college application process. Provide guidance and advice when you can, but pressuring a teen to follow a certain plan, timeline or checklist will only amplify the stress of applications.



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Meet the winners in the October Issue! The top 100 toddlers will advance to the voting round and the top 3 toddlers will win a CASH PRIZE, a photo shoot and will be featured in the magazine.


+ CALENDAR of Events ALL MONTH LONG August 1-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 Electric Ocean

SeaWorld Orlando 7007 Sea World Dr. Orlando, FL 32821 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. Included in regular theme park admission 407.545.5550 Explore your favorite attractions at night and immerse yourself in the exotic worlds of light and music.

August 7-8 Awe-Summer: Heroes Weekend

LEGOLAND Florida Resort One LEGOLAND Way Winter Haven, FL 33834 Included in regular theme park admission 863.318.5400 Presented by the National Fire Protection Association, this event teaches kids about safety with a variety of fun activities in the theme park.

Aug. 8 Car & Truck Show

11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Promenade at Sunset Walk 3251 Margaritaville Blvd


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Kissimmee, FL 34747 Free admission 407.338.4811 View hundreds of classic to modern cars and trucks from all eras, makes and models.

August 10 Disney After Hours BOO BASH

9 p.m.- 12 a.m. Magic Kingdom Park Separately ticketed event 407.939.5277 This special after-hours event will feature Halloween-themed cavalcades, character appearances, and many treats. Runs through Oct. 31.

Aug. 29 Southeast Exotic Bird Fair Osceola County

Fairgrounds 1911 Kissimmee Valley Ln Kissimmee Fl 347449 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission: Adults $5 children 12 & under Free. We will have great deals as we will be sponsored by Lin Enterprises Inc. and Independent’s Choice Feed. For more information, contact vlinenterprises@尗

AROUND THE CORNER September 3-5 Disney on Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party Friday: 7:30 p.m. Saturday: 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m., 5 p.m. Amway Center 400 W. Church St. Orlando, FL 32801 Ticket prices vary 800.298.4200 Embark on a quest with Mickey Mouse and pals

Aug. 27-29, Sept. 2-5, 9-12, 6-19 Man of La Mancha

2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Garden Theatre 160 W. Plant St. Winter Garden, FL 34787 $15-$30 407.877.4736 A story of imagination, adventure and chivalry rises from the darkness of a prison cell, carried aloft by some of the American theatre’s most familiar and beloved songs.

August 27-29 Orlando Boat Show

Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Orange County Convention Center 9400 Universal Blvd. Orlando, FL 32819 $9 adults, kids under 12 free 386.943.8383 Discover over 500 boats, fishing seminars, boating tips and more. Kids activities will be available as well.

August 28 Run Nona 5k & Nemours Kids’ Run

5 p.m. Lake Nona Town Center 6941 Lake Nona Blvd. Orlando, FL 32827 407.896.1160 This signature block party features a family fun water festival featuring cold treats, live entertainment, splash pads, water slides and more.

as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map for clues to find Tinker Bell after he attempts to capture her magic. On your adventure, you will discover the mystical Land of the Dead in Disney•Pixar’s Coco’s celebration or family, sail away with Moana on her journey across the ocean, and so much more. This show brings the magic to guests through dynamic moments that take place on the ice and in the air.

e t a t s E l a e R n i d n e i r F t s e B r u o Y

Alicia Spears

BSBA-Real Estate, Lic. Real Estate Broker, Realtor® GRI, ABR


+ SOMEONE You Should Know

Spotlight On: Robert Agrusa Get to know the new President and CEO of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association and how he plans to get the local travel and tourism industry back on track following a year of pandemic woes. By Alina Hoarau


n February, Robert Agrusa became the President and CEO of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association after Richard Maladecki, who served as CFHLA’s President and CEO for nearly a quarter century, retired. Agrusa, a Florida native, plans to bring CFHLA and the Central Florida region back on a positive track following the pandemic. “I saw this as an incredible opportunity to lead this association and the hospitality community out of this pandemic and into this new era of travel and tourism in Central Florida,” Agrusa says. “I thought it was an amazing opportunity to help serve and support our community when it was really needed.” CFHLA is one of Central Florida’s largest and most influential trade groups. It represents close to 80% of the more than 125,500 hotel rooms in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, and nearly 500 organizations that participate in the hospitality and tourism industries. “The Board of Directors and all members of CFHLA are extremely excited to have Robert onboard leading us into the bright future of Central Florida Tourism,” says Jesse Martinez, CFHLA Chairman of the Board and General Manager of The Alfond Inn at


Central Florida Lifestyle | August 2021

Rollins. “He brings a strategic vision to our association, which will be critical to our ability to come out of the pandemic successfully. We know his collaborative nature and business experience will only help strengthen CFHLA’s presence within our community and governmental offices.” Agrusa emphasizes the need to lead Central Florida in a consistent direction that is sustainable for the demand tourism brings. “In Florida, tourism is one of our top three economic drivers,” Agrusa says. “It is vastly important not just to us in Central Florida but to the rest of the state that we maintain a strong economic and political climate that supports the industry.” The biggest challenge that the tourism and hospitality industries are currently facing is the workforce, Agrusa says. Moving forward, CFHLA will also focus on affordable workforce housing, increasing access to transportation options, and child care accessibility. In addition to addressing these immediate concerns, Agrusa wants to focus on leading the next generation to succeed in the industry. “We have to do a better job working with our schools,” Agrusa says. “I’m building mentorships, internships, and partnerships to help give

these students a better perspective about future careers in the tourism and the hospitality community.” Agrusa brings 15 years of political and business experience to CFHLA. Prior to his current role, he served as the President and CEO of Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce in 2017. In addition, he worked with the Orlando Economic Partnership where he oversaw the business force, the political action arm of the organization including government affairs, advocacy and candidate endorsements. Agrusa also worked in the Florida legislature and across the state working on political campaigns. He most notably worked for former Senate Presidents, Andy Gardner and Jeff Atwater. To Agrusa, this position is more than sitting behind a desk and he is enjoying getting out in the community to better understand the needs of local hospitality and tourism groups. “For me, it was really about going all in and understanding all the components of the tourism and hospitality community, how they intertwine, and really learning from not just general managers but from their employees,” Agrusa says. You can learn more about the CFHLA and how to become a member at







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Profile for Central Florida Lifestyle

Central Florida Lifestyle MetroWest August 2021  


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