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table of CONTENTS March/April 2017

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4 Editor + Publisher Letter

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Apropos of Nothing

863 Readers’ Art

Shopping and men don’t often jell. Kind of like a tapioca and radish on rye sandwich.

Kathy Stutzman’s art is divinely inspired while her medium is hot... literally.

By Jamie Beckett

By Andrea Cruz

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8 Canvas Creations

Volunteerism in Polk

The 5 A’s of Integrity

Finding your inner artist is easy. Just don’t confuse your drink with your used paint water.

No matter your age, there are opportunities galore to lend a helping hand in Polk County.

Mending broken agreements is a must for any kind of relationship. Learn how to restore integrity.

By Brenda Eggert Brader

By Elizabeth Morrisey

By Jai Maa

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Cover: Hollis Non-Profit Garden’s History Spotlight A botanical setting off of Lake Mirror in Lakeland, the garden’s design and plants tell a story of Florida’s history.

By Meredith Jean Morris

Talbot House Ministries in Lakeland.

22 863 Local FiArt Fest Don’t miss the 3rd Annual 863 Local FiArt Fest on April 15 in downtown Winter Haven.

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n opinion exists that the past is in the past and it should stay there; I couldn’t disagree more. The past has carried us to the present, made each of us who we are today, and should be celebrated and honored. Now, most of us don’t go around holding elaborate ceremonies to honor our past, but rather we repeat our family traditions, talk about memories, or plant a tree in memory of a person or event. The design of Hollis Garden in Lakeland honors Florida’s history. The garden was an idea that began in the 1920s but wasn’t finished until 2000. The crash of the stock market got in the way of plans to finish the newly-built promenade on Lake Mirror with a garden fit for a “Venetian” palace. Read more beginning page 12.

Painting a palace might be next on the list for Sheila Vertoli, a local who teaches group painting classes. She encourages her students to channel their inner artist, and everyone goes home with a finished painting that is exactly like their fellow students’ paintings—only different. The story on Canvas Creations begins on page 8. While some paint, others volunteer. Giving back to the community is a passion and actually a need for many who give their time and talents for free to local organizations. And plenty of opportunities exist in Polk if one is interested in giving back. Turn to page 9 for that story. The Non-profit Spotlight this issue is Talbot House Ministries, which serves the county’s poor and homeless with healthcare, shelter, job placement and other services. Happy springtime!

Editor + Publisher LETTER

863

Publisher | SERGIO CRUZ

Sergio@PolkMedia.com

Editor | ANDREA CRUZ

Andrea@PolkMedia.com

Cover Designer | DEBORAH COKER Art Director | ALEJANDRO F. CRUZ Ad Sales Rep | BOB EDMONDSON Bob@PolkMedia.com

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March / April 2017

Contributors JAMIE BECKETT BRENDA EGGERT BRADER ANDREA CRUZ SERGIO CRUZ JAI MAA ELIZABETH MORRISEY MEREDITH JEAN MORTON

Sergio Cruz, publisher Andrea Cruz, editor Sergio@The863Magazine.com Andrea@The863Magazine.com

Cover Photo One of the many ornamental fountains at Hollis Garden in Lakeland is a centerpiece of the botanic garden situated off of Lake Mirror near downtown. Story page 12. Photo by Sergio Cruz. The 863 Magazine is a product of Polk Media, Inc. For more info visit us online: PolkMedia.com or The863Magazine.com.


APROPOS of Nothing An Editorial by Jamie Beckett

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ately, I find myself feeling nostalgic for the days when shopping was a more straightforward affair. As a guy, I view shopping as a task to be accomplished, not an experience to be savored. I want to get in, get out, and get gone. From my perspective, anything that prolongs the process is an annoyance. My most recent foray into the retail environment led me to an office supply store for pens. Yep, just pens. No paper, no tape, not a pair of scissors, or a new computer. Just pens. All I needed, all I wanted, was a package of three pens. That’s it. The plan was simple enough. Drive to the store, walk inside, select the pens, pay for them, drive home, open the package, and deposit them in the coffee cup where I store my writing utensils. In all, that’s seven steps. Wrong again. There is an eighth step. A pointless, time-consuming, aggravation inducing additional hurdle to the shopping experience that is of absolutely no interest to me. But there it is, a mandatory nuisance inserted right there in between steps three and four. I refer of course to the Rewards Card Shuffle.

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You would think that walking up to a cash register manned by an employee wearing store branded attire would begin an entirely predictable chain of events. Placing your intended purchase on the counter while extending a handful of paper money printed by the good folks at the U. S. mint should inform that employee of your intent. But it doesn’t. Not anymore. Because somewhere in the bowels of that company’s corporate headquarters, a highly placed officer has decided they can make oodles of extra income off their customers by collecting a wealth of our personal information before we leave the store. That’s where the rewards card came from. And for many people, and by many people I mean women who love coupons, and specials, and discounts, and sales, the surrender of personal information in exchange for little to nothing of real value is fun. So they do it. They practically insist on it. These are the same people who make you wait behind them for ten minutes in the checkout line while they search a pocketbook the size of Montana to find a nickel and three pennies. Who knew exact change was such an important facet of these simple exchanges. “Can I have the phone number associated with your rewards account?” asked the girl at the register with all the enthusiasm of the guy who stocks embalming fluid at the local funeral home. “I don’t have a rewards account,” I replied, holding up a handful of cash to illustrate my intent.

“Would you like to open one? I can assist you with the process. It will only take a few minutes,” she countered. I suspect she was daydreaming about lunch, or how good a cigarette would be right then, or who The Bachelor might give a rose to next. “No, thank you,” I answered, shaking my collection of dollar bills for emphasis. “I have American money.” “Are you sure?” she parried. “Our rewards card provides blah, blah, blah...” I’d had about enough. My internal guy meter was buzzing an alarm. I’d been in the store too long. The exit was in sight, but without paying for my purchase I couldn’t legally leave the building with my new pens – and I really, really wanted to leave the store as quickly as possible. “Can I buy these pens?” I pleaded with the automaton on the other side of the counter. “I’ll give you money. Real money. American money. You can put it in your cash drawer and your boss will be happy to have it. I promise.” She shrugged and rang up my purchase. I remember a time, long ago, when the most popular expression in commerce was, ‘Cash is King!’ No more. I find that curious. In the future I will take to simply running past the register, holding my few selected items at arms length and throwing a handful of paper money in the general direction of the employee on duty. I would include in that wad of cash, a customer rewards card of my own, of course. It would read, “You’ve just sold part of your inventory to a satisfied customer. In appreciation for the quick and easy service you’ve provided, said customer has left a collection of coins scattered about your store that equals the fraction of a dollar owed on this purchase. Have a nice day.” Yeah, that ought to work. Jamie Beckett appears to be an average, everyday guy who just happens to hail from Arizona, Connecticut, New York City, and Central Florida. He wears many hats — pilot, mechanic, writer, politician, musician, stay-at-home dad — often an odd combination of all those things. Frankly, we don’t care. At The 863 Magazine we just keep him around because we think he’s funny. That’s that. www.JamieBeckett.com


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Send your art (poetry, photography, paintings, drawings, etc.) to Andrea@The863Magazine.com.

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oinciana resident Kathy Stutzman is a self-taught art adventurer. She took art in high school, however, life interrupted, she says, and it has only been in the last few years that she has returned to her creative roots. Through books, videos, informal online courses, and a large dose of trialand-error, Stutzman has tried her hand at several mixed mediums, and most recently has leaned toward that of sculpture and encaustic painting with hot wax. “I love the idea of recycling and upcycling and use dictionary pages, found objects, etc., in many of my art pieces,” Stutzman says, and adds she uses her creative abilities to inspire, affirm, and encourage others. “I call my art ‘inspiration art,’” she says. “My goal is to spread the the love of art and send a message of joy, encouragement, and inspiration.” “Following this desire, I participate in two groups, Art Abandonment and Salty Sidewalks,” Stutzman says. “In this day and age when money is tight, art abandonment is a way of helping folks to enjoy and discover art in their lives and homes.” “I periodically leave free art in various locations, a kind of ‘random acts of art’ for whoever finds it,” she says. “One piece

863 Readers’ ART: Kathy Stutzman By Andrea Cruz

ended up in California!”

The art of Kathy Stutzman is spritual in nature, and is largely of an encaustic medium, which uses hot wax to create images. All photos provided by Kathy Stutzman to The 863 Magazine.

Stutzman explains that Salty Sidewalks combines art and the Gospel. In participating in Salty Sidewalks, she leave “salt leaks,” peppering local areas with the salt of God’s word and the encouragement of prayers, trusting God to have the “right” person pick it up. “They are small art pieces encouraging people to not give up and letting them know that they have not been forgotten,” she says, and adds that her hope is that the artworks she creates will uplift and feed souls. Stutzman is active in a local artisan guild that gives her the opportunity three times a year to exhibit her art, and has exhibited in Winter Garden Art Gallery and Ridge Art Gallery in Winter Haven. “A dream of mine would be to create enough meaningful art that speaks to people’s

hearts and gain enough exposure that would enable me to have an exhibit of my own in five years,” she says. “I would also like to see my pieces in stores, making them more accessible.”

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The Flying Colors of Canvas CREATIONS By Brenda Eggert Brader | Photos by Andrea Cruz

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veryone can be an artist if painting in the creative classes taught by Sheila Vertoli of Canvas Creations in Winter Haven. “It is like traditional painting but way more fun, with canvas and cocktails, that kind of thing,” says Vertoli who has been teaching wet on wet acrylic painting for party groups since April 2012. “It was in Louisiana that I started because a friend, who gives conferences for writers, wanted to do something fun as an activity so she asked me to do something like this because she knew I had wanted to draw and paint for years,” she says. Suggesting Vertoli drive to the conference site, the friend purchased all the supplies making a starter kit for Vertoli to begin her hobby and eventual path for income. Since then Vertoli gives classes at a couple local businesses and many a home party setting or retirement community

clubhouse. “I go into churches and personal homes that open up for parties,” Vertoli says. “So I travel and bring all the supplies to their site and set it up and break it down. I have regulars that I visit and many over the age of 55 retirement residences invite me to come for a party.” Because she wants all those attending to have a great experience, she keeps her class size to around 20 participants and prefers at least eight people minimum to do a party. The cost is $35 per person including the canvass 16 by 20 inches. “I will pick out something and get the party started asking the people what they are interested in,” Vertoli says. “Most of the time clients tell me what they want to paint and I get it ready for them ahead of time. I have to be sure to create it because it has to work to completion in two to three hours. If I can paint it in an hour, then classes can paint it in two or three.” The parties are fun and casual with

Sheila Vertoli, owner of Canvas Creations, teaches acylic painting classes where students follow along to create their own versions of an original image.

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participants bringing what they would like to snack on and drink. Acrylic paints are used because they dry faster. But sometimes the paint runs because people are getting used to how much paint to use. “People have never used paints before so they have to be told how much to use,” Vertoli adds. “We use blow dryers, if needed, on the canvas before they go home.” “People are having a great time being together,” Vertoli says. “That is my passion to draw people in so they have that great Continued on page 10


Volunteerism in POLK By Elizabeth Morrisey | Photos by Andrea Cruz

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ince 1992, Barb Norton has been volunteering her time to different organizations in Winter Haven. From the Chamber of Commerce to Theatre Winter Haven to the police department and Bok Tower, she’s a Jane of all trades when it comes to giving back.

“I have to be involved,” the 83-year-old says. “I can’t just sit around. I like to be out and know what’s going on.” Her parents instilled in her to work hard and be active in the community. Norton’s longest stint was volunteering at the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce for 16 years helping out at the front desk. “It’s important because you are giving back,” she explains. “You get acquainted with the community. The area needs lots of volunteers.” Those looking for ways to find Polk County volunteer opportunities can turn to Volunteer Polk, a county funded program designed to pair volunteers with non-profit partners. “We are the eHarmony of volunteerism,” says Janet Bartuska, manager of Volunteer Polk. “Our goal is to help improve the quality of life for those who live, work and play in Polk County.” Local residents young and old can log onto the website and scroll through close to 100 listings. Some

organizations include local schools, Meals on Wheels, Circle B Nature Preserve, the Red Cross, museums and food pantries. “It’s a one-stop-shop,” Bartuska says. “These groups are looking for someone who is passionate about their mission and willing to work as a team.” Bartuska says the listings change weekly and locals can call the office to inquire about something specific. There are benefits to having all of the listings in one spot. “When someone looks, they get lots of ideas,” she says. “There is a smorgasbord of opportunities.” Guardian Ad Litem is in desperate need of community volunteers, says the local Recruitment Coordinator Diane Schmelz. The Polk County area has 700 volunteers, but it’s not enough when there are 2,000 children needing assistance. Continued on page 14

Left: Barb Norton sits on the steps of the Pinewood Estate of Bok Tower Gardens, where she works as a volunteer docent on Wednesdays. Right: A tourist from North Carolina, left, listens to Norton explain details of the reception room at Bok Tower Gardens’ Pinewood Estate.

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Canvas CREATIONS, continued from pg. 8

Painting instructor experience. Most people claim Sheila Vertoli assists drinking wine helps them and one of her painting students during a they can get relaxed.” Canvas Creations The artist recalls a class at painting class held at St. Matthews Catholic Church the High Seas Lounge in Winter Haven. for a group of people held once a month. A lady in a wheelchair attended and later told Vertoli that she had put her paints down for years and years. After the class she went to Michael’s to buy paint and supplies and in a month’s time she had painted four pieces. “She was so thrilled I had put that out to her,” Vertoli says. “Her family was happy that we had brought back part of their mother. That is what inspires me because people have so much fun.” Vertoli shares that perhaps only about 10 percent of the class participants have an art background but are so encouraged when they leave that they can do something of their own. Many of the same people continue to return to the monthly gatherings she teaches at area businesses in Winter Haven that she has been holding over the course of two years. “I have seen how much they have improved

Continued on page 15

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Break THROUGH Your Threshold “The 5 A’s of Restoring Integrity” By Jai Maa

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magine a time when you made an agreement and kept it. How did it feel? Now imagine a time when you made an agreement and did not follow through. How did that feel? How does it feel when others follow through on their agreements with you? How does it feel when they do not? There is an automatic reward for keeping agreements. Our self esteem goes up, our trust in ourselves and others deepens, and we develop the courage to give our word for bigger, more important things in life. Similarly, there is an automatic price we pay for breaking agreements. Our trust for ourselves goes down, the trust and respect others had for us begins to weaken, our self esteem begins to erode, and we begin to take ourselves less seriously. The simple definition of integrity is to mean what you say. If you have broken an agreement, clean it up immediately. Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough, and can be used

as a way to maintain your image while continuing the same behavior. Having a story to excuse why you have broken your agreement does not necessarily restore the trust that may be affected. Sure, there are times when a traffic jam made you late, or an emergency required your attention and was more important than your agreement. Rarely this is the case, and more often than not a story is used as an attempt to save face and avoid responsibility for the broken agreement. Try restoring your integrity with the 5 A’s instead: 1. Acknowledge 2. Accept Responsibility 3. Account 4. Apologize 5. Amend Acknowledge – Acknowledge that you have a broken agreement. For example, “I said I would meet you at 5pm, and it’s 5:15.” You may also want to acknowledge the impact your broken agreement may have on the other person such as, “I can imagine your trust for me has been affected.” Accept Responsibility – Accepting responsibility can be as simple as saying, “I’m responsible” and can also be demonstrated by how you are communicating. Are you communicating sincerely, or is there a twinge of victim-like neediness in your voice? Also, avoid saying “I take responsibility,” since there is nothing for you to take. You are responsible for your word, period. Account – Now share what happened. Keep the story honest

and short. Perhaps the story is, “I stopped on the side of the road and saved someone’s life.” Often, the story is less attractive like, “I was watching the game on T.V. and lost track of time.” Apologize – Now apologize. You have created the space for an apology to be sincerely felt and received. Amend – State what you plan to correct within yourself. It could be something like, “Next time, I’ll set an alarm so I don’t lose track of time.” If it feels appropriate, you can engage the other person like, “Is there something I can do to make it up to you?” To prevent breaking your agreements, make sure you are only agreeing to what truly feels right for you. If you find yourself saying “yes” to others to make them like or approve of you, STOP. If you need to say, “let me think about it and get back to you” to give yourself time to decide whether you want to give your word, then do so. Mastering integrity opens doors to bigger opportunities, so play with it. Your word is powerful. The more you mean what you say, the more power you have to offer the world. Enlightenment Invitation: Try the 5 A’s right now with the last agreement you broke with someone. Try the 5 A’s in the mirror with the last agreement you broke with yourself. Magically, Jai Maa

Jai Maa is a touring author and enlightenment facilitator who inspires others to create their visions with no compromise. An interfaith minister and native of Polk County, she travels with her cat companions teaching others how to co-create with God and live their own version of Heaven on Earth. Jai Maa is a regular instructor at THE SELF Center in Winter Haven. For more info visit BreakThroughYourThreshold.com.

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Lakeland’s HOLLIS Garden’s History By Meredith Jean Morris | Photos by Sergio Cruz

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early 90 years ago, the promenade and seawall around Lakeland’s Lake Mirror were completed. Known as the “Civic Center” in the time of its construction, it was featured in the January 1930 issue of National Geographic magazine. A photo caption of the newly constructed promenade described it “like the ornate entrance to some vast Venetian palace… rising on Mirror Lake like a fairy city on an iridescent sea.” However, at the time of its completion

in 1928, there was a key piece missing in that “Venetian palace” – the gardens. “There was supposed to be a garden included in the original design,” says Stacy Smith, the foreman of Hollis Garden. “They never went farther to finish it due to the [stock market] crash.” The promenade’s designer, Charles Wellford Leavitt, was a student of Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed landscape architect responsible for New York City’s Central Park and Golden State Park in San Francisco. “He included a tennis court, a new city hall, an auditorium, shuffle board, lawn

bowling and carpet golf,” Smith says. But, the gardens weren’t completed until Dec. 8, 2000. In 1998, Publix president Mark Hollis and his wife, Lynn, donated $1 million for the construction of gardens at Lake Mirror, Smith says. “They had traveled from garden to garden around the world, and the gardens here are based on a garden they saw in New Zealand,” he says. “They wanted to give the garden piece back to Lake Mirror.” The garden’s design and plants tell a story of Florida’s history, with Florida limestone represented in the grotto,


baroque era.” Florida’s exclusive Another marvel in the garden is the ancient history and rare, Trees of America section featuring cuttings represented by native and used as of trees with historic ties. plants, and the agrarian bartering in the The Susan B. Anthony sycamore is a age represented by vegetables Middle East.” cutting from the tree at her grave, and Elvis and herbs. Smith says people come Presley’s weeping willow is a cutting from a “The white room, yellow room and to the garden to enjoy nature and weeping willow at Graceland. red room represent the age of refinement,” learn about the plants. Last year 30,000 “There was a nursery in the early 2000s Smith says of sections of the garden filled pamphlets were distributed to visitors. that specialized in those trees,” Smith says. with modern plants in designated colors. “They wander through, maybe not “All the trees came with papers. We are Beyond the plants, water connects it all knowing we’re here,” he says. “Or, they come together as Lake Mirror completes the story fortunate to have that collection.” to look at plants. Last year, caching was While the garden’s design is completed, flowing back to the Civic Center. popular. We do have Pokemon monsters Smith says the collection is still growing. Spread across 1.2 acres, there is a lot of here.” “We’ve done our best to collect the meaning packed into this tiny little garden, Additionally, the gardens are a popular most unique plants, like the Balm of Gilead, Smith says. site for weddings and special events, with that we’re purchasing in May,” he says. In addition to telling Florida’s history, approximately 50 to 70 held each year. “We’re adding it to our incense trees. It’s the garden’s plants have stories to tell, too. Continued on page 16 “There are a lot of rare species that we have here,” Smith says. One of those is the extremely rare frankincense tree. “Everyone who comes here is surprised by some of the unique plants we have,” Smith says. The strange fruit collection includes the peanut butter fruit and the blackberry jam fruit. “Some people appreciate the classical music we play in the garden,” Smith says. “Because of the neoclassical architecture, we only play music Opposite page: A trellis tops the perimeter of the rotunda in Lakeland’s Hollis Garden, flanked by flower beds below. This page: A wrought from the late iron gate greets garden visitors; and right, The late afternoon sunlight hits one of the many pieces of art installed in Hollis Gardens.

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Volunteerism in POLK, continued from pg. 9

Guardian Ad Litem provides volunteer advocates to help become a voice for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. The local office provides training each month. “It’s really not as overwhelming as people may think,” says Schmelz. “The average case requires seven to eight hours per month. These kids need someone to care.” Gabby Biernat, a senior at Southeastern University in Lakeland, began volunteering with Guardian Ad Litem as a freshman when she needed field experience for a class. “I have a huge desire to serve people and understand people who are different from me and love them,” she says. “It’s a desire, not an obligation.” As a double major in criminal justice and legal studies, she found it interesting that Guardian Ad Litem worked with the court system. The trained volunteers are appointed by judges to be advocates for the children. She feels a lot of Southeastern students are seeing how important it is to give back to the community. Volunteers come from all walks of life, and are young and old. Bartuska says Volunteer Polk is a great resource for middle and high school students

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who need volunteer hours and academic credit. “Shopping online (for volunteer opportunities) is so convenient. You don’t have to go and make 60 phone calls.” And Polk definitely likes to give back. In fact, the county has almost 2,500 volunteers in a variety of programs. Those volunteers contributed 50,086 hours throughout the past year and their work was valued at more than $1.1 million, says Bartuska. “Where volunteerism Barb Norton, left, and Judy McCoombs, volunteers with the Citizen Volunteer Unit for the Winter Haven Police Department, take a break while on patrol at a local festival. Photo by Sergio Cruz of The 863 Magazine,

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Volunteer Search Websites

Polk-county.net/volunteerpolk CreateTheGood.org VolunteerMatch.org UnitedWay.org AllForGood.org

is strong, you find strong communities,” Bartuska says. “We see it every day. Volunteers impact every phase of life in Polk County. We are all coming to together to help each other. It is the fundamentals our country is based on.”


Canvas CREATIONS, continued from pg. 10

Right: Susan Rivera, and I know I can 10, and her mother challenge them Rebecca work on a painting together. This a little bit more was Susan’s first painting because they get class, while her mother it,” Vertoli adds. has taken three similar painting classes. Below: “They will bring Painting instructor Sheila others from time Vertoli, left, and her to time who get daughter, Olivia, 16. Olivia assists her mother inspired by their with the classes. friend’s paintings.” “I have taken her painting classes and wet paint together on the side,” says Vanessa O’Neill who has a graphics business. “I was an artist when younger and did a lot of paintings myself. I was skeptical about painting something in one to three hours. I was amazed and it unleashed all the creative time. You come to the class full of energy. You know what you are going to paint and what I have done I have hung up in my house telling people I did it in two and a half hours.” Others are just as enthusiastic. “I am not an artist,” Stephanie Hines says. “I met Sheila through our children being homeschooled together and our children were in the same choir and I found out she was an artist. She taught art for the cooperative and my daughter loves art and artwork, and I found out Sheila did bookings for parties. I

have had her come to my home. We needed a fundraiser done for the choir group and she did a fundraiser and she did a lot of the proceeds toward the fundraisers. She is so easy to work with.” “She is flexible about location and whatever works for you and is convenient with room for the event,” Hines says. “She has hired my daughter, who is really into art, and her daughter helps with the parties. You have people that can give you help for one-on-one attention and so it is really neat to have that kind of attention.” Hines played host to a house wine and cheese painting party for six to eight people. “She is really good working with various groups or a church or in the home. She is one of those people who everyone she meets is a friend so it is easy to have her host a party,” Hines says. “It was a wonderful way to get together with other people to come and do something in the evening and to get together and have the camaraderie of other people and enjoyment. Sheila has the way of bringing that out in you.”

The artist also can modify the artwork she has planned if her audience of participants would like to make changes in what they paint. “She can modify or incorporate what people wanted to paint in the one she has planned,” O’Neill says. “For fall you do a pumpkin or holidays do theme paintings. She changes it up and you do know subject matter before the class and it is a lot of fun.” “Sometimes with a group it is hard to please everyone,” Hines says. “At couples’ parties, a spouse paints one picture and one does another so they face each other (when hung on a wall). She does a variety of things.” Knowing her for a few years, O’Neill has a respect for her friend. “She is very personable and wants to connect with people deeply and not superficially. She takes pride in connecting with people at a deeper level so she can provide a service and that really shows,” O’Neill says. Because Vertoli wants all those attending to have a great experience, she keeps her class size to around 20 participants and prefers at least eight people to do a home party. The cost is $35 per person including the canvass 16 by 20 inches. For more information on Canvas Creations call 863-409-4594 or visit CanvascreationswithSheila.com.

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HOLLIS Garden, continued from pg. 13

Winter Haven’s Becky Scholten was married in the garden 15 years ago on Nov 23, 2001. “Bryan proposed to me the year before (Dec 24, 2000) on Lake Mirror,” she says.

“It was a special area to us for that reason, and therefore that was a major factor in choosing the gardens. It was and still is such a gorgeous place. The flowers, fountains, ponds and the lake in the background was very picturesque. We even recently did our 15-year anniversary photos and family photos at the gardens again and recreated some pictures.” Left: Two swans are part of the Hollis Garden boundary, which flanks Lake Mirror near downtown Lakeland. The swan is the official mascot for the City of Lakeland. Opposite page: An ornamental fountain in Hollis Gardens stretches for several feet.

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The gardens are an asset to the city of Lakeland, as close to a botanical garden as one can get without employing scientists, Smith says. “As an asset to the city, the garden is an educational tool to introduce different plant species to the community,” says Pam Page, the deputy director of parks and recreation for the City of Lakeland. “It gives people ideas and color juxtaposition and different ways of doing things. They might say, ‘I don’t think I can grow orchids at home,’ and then come here and see how we have them in the trees and realize they can do it.” Page is pleased with the legacy the Hollis family has given the city of Lakeland. In addition to the initial $1 million, the Hollises also put $500,000 of Publix stock into a perpetual care fund for the garden, and the fund has nearly reached selfsustainability on interest. “The city would have never had the funds to do this,” she says. “It was a wonderful gift.”


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Non-Profit SPOTLIGHT

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albot House Ministries offers a variety of services aimed to help people get back on their feet, and break the bondage of poverty. We work with our brothers and sisters who are homeless to empower them to take their lives back by overcoming addiction, as well as barriers to education and employment. We serve the county’s poor and uninsured through our Good Samaritan Clinic, providing medical, dental and mental health services to people who might otherwise have no access to health care, and we feed the hungry in our area through our pantry program and congregate dining services. Our focus is on working with each individual to strengthen the mind, body and spirit so that they can not only see a different future for themselves, but work

towards that new future. The Renewal Program through Talbot House offers Polk County’s homeless population a chance to make lifelong changes to improve their well-being, become stabilized, and remain independent in society. Renewal Program participants are given the chance to get their life back on track through the help of our qualified staff. We offer classes and groups that help to encourage goals, motivate change, understand addiction/mental illness, as well as provide tools such as budgeting, money management, education opportunities, job skills development, and therapy services to help lead program participants back on the path to being independent members of society. Our Solutions Program is our job training, placement and mentoring program offered to Talbot House clients and clients from the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Clients learn how to develop resumes, interview for jobs, work as a team, and master basic job skills such as timeliness. In addition, once placed in a job, mentoring and coaching services are provided to ensure success on the job. Stable employment is a vital component of maintaining stable housing, and our program offers intensive skills training to ensure good outcomes. The Good Samaritan Free Clinic provides health and dental service to the uninsured in Polk County. The clinic is operated by a clinic director and a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, including: physicians, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurse, registered nurses, certified health educator and

administrative specialists. The Good Samaritan Free Clinic is an ongoing program of Talbot House Ministries providing vital medical services to people in need regardless of their religious, social or economic background. Services include: · Physicals/Check ups · Disease management · Diabetic Clinic · Dental Care · School Physicals for children · Well woman exams/STD Testing · Medication assistance with on-site pharmacy Through our Food Services program, we serve almost 500 meals each day, seven days each week, to the hungry or homeless in our community, while administering food boxes to families in our community every Friday. The goal of our program is to ensure that no one who comes to our door leaves hungry. Talbot House is located at 814 N. Kentucky Ave. in Lakeland. For more info call 863-687-8475 or visit TalbotHouse.org.  

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March / April 2017


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The Third Annual

863 Local FiArt Fest April 15 — 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Downtown Winter Haven Sponsored by Alfa Romeo Fiat of Winter Haven

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ave the date for 3rd Annual 863 Local FiArt Fest on April 15, 2017! This is a FREE arts event for the everyone to enjoy. The family- and petfriendly event will feature an art area for kids, food trucks, live music, plenty of art, and lots more! All one of a kind art will include paintings, ceramics/ pottery, jewelry, fused glass, mixed media, photography, blown glass, wood crafts, sculptures, pet accesories, cottage food items, and more! Meet and support more than 80 vendors from Central Florida only. In addition to selling their work, the artisans

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January / February 2017

will be competing for prizes. There will be a FREE kids arts workshop area. And come check out Alfa Romeo Fiat of Winter Haven’s latest models. It is sure to be a fun day!

For more info see the back cover, find the ‘863 Local FiArt Fest’ page and event page on Facebook (indicate you’re ‘going’), and also visit CentralFloridaEventVendors. com.


The 863 Magazine - March & April 2017  

Hollis Garden's History; Volunteerism in Polk; Canvas Creations; The 5 A's for Restoring Integrity; Non-Profit Spotlight: Talbot House. The...