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HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR GROWING YOUR COMMUNITY IN LAKELAND

• WRITE A LETTER TO SOMEONE WHO HAS IMPACTED YOUR LIFE. TELL THEM HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU. • INVITE A FRIEND TO TAKE IN AN ART EXHIBIT AT THE POLK MUSEUM OF ART. DISCUSS IT. • CONVINCE A FRIEND TO JOIN THE YMCA WITH YOU. • TAKE A FRIEND OUT FOR COFFEE. ASK THEM ABOUT THEIR PASSIONS. • TAKE A GROUP OF PEOPLE SWIMMING AT KELLY RECREATION CENTER. • GET INVOLVED WITH A LOCAL CHURCH. • SET ASIDE A TIME EACH WEEK TO CONNECT WITH A FRIEND, EITHER ON THE PHONE OR FACE-TOFACE. • WALK LAKE HOLLINGSWORTH WITH A FRIEND. • READ THE LAKELANDER TO STAY UP-TO-DATE ON WHAT’S GOING ON IN LAKELAND! • HOST A NEIGHBORHOOD COOKOUT. • INVITE A NEIGHBOR OVER FOR DINNER. • GO TO FIRST FRIDAY OR LAST FRIDAY. • TAKE A CAMPING TRIP WITH YOUR FAMILY OR “FRAMILY.” • SHOP LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY. • GET INVOLVED WITH LOCAL POLITICS. VOTE. • START A BOOK-DISCUSSION GROUP. MEET REGULARLY. • EAT DINNER IN A HOME, AT A TABLE, WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE ON A REGULAR BASIS. • INVITE NEW FRIENDS OVER FOR A GAME NIGHT. • FIND AN ORGANIZATION DOING WORK THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT. VOLUNTEER WITH THEM. • JOIN A SPORTS LEAGUE.

Lakeland inspires in me the very definition of community: “A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” (Oxford Dictionary.) When I play tennis at Edgewood Park or stop by the Polk Museum of Art, I feel community. When I watch the fireworks at Lake Mirror, or when I run Lake Hollingsworth, I become part of this city. When I am at Catapult with like-minded entrepreneurs, or when I walk my dog, Maggie Roo, downtown during First Friday, Lakeland is my city. When I go to a Lakeland High School football game, step on campus at Southeastern University or Florida Southern College, when I spend time at Oasis Community Church with people who have become my “framily” (friends who have become family), the community that is Lakeland permeates throughout. I’ve thought long and hard about what makes Lakeland so special and have arrived at several conclusions. Our motto, “Close to everything… away from it all,” nails it. We have the sense of a small-town life and access to big-city amenities. In Lakeland, it’s tough to go somewhere and not run into someone you know. Lakeland is home to many people who have invested fully in building community, including Mr. George Jenkins. His impact is everywhere. His spirit and legacy abound in all corners of Lakeland. Mr. George’s philosophy led him to create a culture at his company where employees were too valuable to be called just employees; they were always associates. His values of “Investing in Others” and “Respecting the Dignity of the Individual” were guiding principles that turned the workplace into a vibrant community. The George Effect, Mr. George’s lasting legacy of appreciation and care for others, has in many ways shaped the Lakeland we know and love today. He invested fully in his company, his family, friends, and surrounding community. Lakelanders feel the effects of his legacy while shopping at Publix, spending time at Barnett Park, or enjoying many of the buildings and amenities at Florida Southern College.

The Lakelander - THE GEORGE EFFECT | September - October 2014  

THE GRATITUDE EFFECT / LEGACY OF GIVING / MR. GEORGE'S FAVORITE MEAL / FOSTERING INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE / LAKELAND NEON