Central Florida,
Subscribe »
Advertise »
  February Local Life  
  Community Happenings in and around Central Florida.  
Local Bank Raises Funds for Charity
Fifth Third Bank of North Florida recently collected the largest donation since the formation of its four-year partnership with the Camaraderie Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves local veterans and their families. The bank received $23,000 in donations and matched $10,000 of those funds through its annual Veterans Day campaign.
“Thanks to the caring people in our community, this is the largest donation we’ve achieved through matching gifts since beginning our partnership with the Camaraderie Foundation four years ago,” says Chip Smallwood, Central Florida market president for Fifth Third Bank. “We are honored to support the great work that the foundation does for local veterans all year long.”
The Camaraderie Foundation provides scholarships for private counseling, community support networks, and mentor leadership programs for local military veterans and their families. To date, more than 2,000 community members have been helped by the organization. “We are grateful to Fifth Third Bank and our supporters for their continued generosity,” says Marnie Waldrop, co-founder of the Camaraderie Foundation. “Thanks to this donation, we are able to provide more services to veterans and families who need our help.”

Nursing Program Ranked Among Top 25 in Nation
The University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Nursing’s online graduate programs were recently ranked among the best in the nation, according to the 2015 U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings released in January. 
UCF, ranked 25 out of 133, was the only Florida program to rank in the top 25.
“That makes two years in a row,” says Susan Chase, associate dean for graduate affairs in the College of Nursing. “We are especially proud that our online programs are the highest rated in the state of Florida.”
The college offers four graduate online nursing programs that are geared toward working professionals who want to enhance their skills and their leadership position in healthcare. U.S. News and World Report ranked universities’ online graduate programs in an array of fields including student engagement, faculty quality, and innovative use of technology. 
“Our programs were also highly rated for student engagement, which can be a challenge when classes are all online,” says Chase. “That’s why we offer online resources for things like clinical planning and have a mandatory onsite orientation so every student knows how to get the most of their courses right from the beginning.”

UCF Earns National Recognition
Last month, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded the University of Central Florida (UCF) with its “Community Engagement” classification. UCF is one of only 25 public universities that have earned this high designation. 
Students, faculty and staff helped UCF earn this top honor by doing everything they can to care for the community like offering free mental health counseling at a campus clinic, erecting 40-foot-tall wind turbines in a South African village to help locals with energy needs, and collecting holiday gifts for families in nearby Bithlo. “This prestigious designation is a reflection of our commitment to improving our community, not just through innovative academics, but also through programs that substantively affect the ways our students learn and how they relate to the world around them,” says President John C. Hitt.
One of UCF’s goals is to be the nation’s partnership university. That means finding ways to work with local, regional and national communities to enhance the lives of students and residents. More than 20,000 students participate annually in experiential learning through co-op, internships, and service learning courses, and the university has teamed up with community partners for some of its biggest successes, which includes the creation of UCF’s College of Medicine.
“The Carnegie Foundation’s recognition of our great work is just one example of how quickly UCF has risen in the past 50 years,” says Hitt. “I look forward to what UCF will accomplish in the next 50.”

Economic Growth on the horizon
At Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ 2015 Orange County Economic Summit the mayor and distinguished panelist were optimistic that the region’s economic ascent will continue in 2015.
The Summit, now in its third year, was held at the Orange County Convention Center and attended by more than 550 citizens.
Buoyed by rising property values, exceptional job growth and the region’s world-class hospitality and tourism sector, Orange County’s unemployment has dropped from 11.3 percent in November 2010 to the current 5.2 percent.
“Thanks to an incredible amount of hard work from our workforce, education, and public and private-sector partners, we’ve rebuilt. Not just figuratively, but literally. From our brand new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the newly reopened Citrus Bowl and new, under-construction MLS soccer stadium, we are the envy of the world,” Mayor Jacobs said.
Nationally recognized economist Sean Snaith, Ph.D., director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, provided his annual economic forecast at the Summit.
“It may not be morning in America as the U.S. economic recovery remains in a pre-dawn twilight, but the sun is shining on Florida's economy and it is shining even more brightly on Orange County,” Snaith said.

Habitat for Humanity Announces New President and CEO
Catherine Steck McManus was recently announced as the new president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando Area.
“To say I’m thrilled only expresses a fraction of my excitement in joining the Habitat Greater Orlando team,” said McManus. “Our affiliate has worked on some tremendous projects over the last several years – and with the Home Builders Blitz at Butler’s Preserve around the corner, I’m looking forward to keeping that momentum going.”
Having nearly two decades of experience in the non-profit field, McManus has had roles in development, communications, operations and administration. Most recently, she served as Chief Development Officer for Camp Boggy Creek, where she led the statewide philanthropy and marketing efforts for the organization.

Disney Makes Wishes Come True
Disney surprised Community Based Care (CBC) of Central Florida with $18,000 that was scooped up from wishing wells and fountains around the parks and resorts to help thousands of children in foster care. CBC provides foster care, adoption, mentoring and independent living to more than 3,000 kids every day. This year, cast members chose to support the organizations over-18 support program, which helps youngsters obtain their driver’s licenses, find jobs, secure housing and apply for other health and human services.
“This gift from Disney guests will help us create new opportunities for foster care children as they transition into adulthood,” says Karla Radka, vice president of community impact and leadership development for CBC.
For more than 30 years, Walt Disney World has donated the money from the wishing wells and fountains to children’s charities in Central Florida. “Every coin collected represents a precious wish,” says Nancy Gidusko, director of corporate citizenship for Walt Disney World Resort. “Equally inspiring is that every wish will help fulfill the dreams of young people in the foster care system – and let them know that we care, that they are an important part of this community, and that they are not alone.”

Holiday Heroes Toy Drive Exceeds Goal
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ fourth annual Holiday Heroes Toy Drive exceeded its goal expectations by collecting 4,655 toys.
The toys were sorted and donated to Orange County Neighborhood Centers for Families, Orange County Public Schools, Wraparound Orange, the Community Food and Outreach Center, Toys for Tots and the American Red Cross. 
The mayor wrapped up the toy drive by shopping with local families to select toys at the West Orange Neighborhood Center for Families in Winter Garden. “My heart is so touched by those who have collected so many toys for our neighbors in need,” says Mayor Jacobs. “Working together, the generous hearts of our employees, citizens and community are truly making Orange County the best place in the world to live, learn, work and raise a family.”

The Orlando Eye Installs First Capsules
The first of 30 passenger capsules was recently installed on The Orlando Eye observation wheel. Due to open this spring, the Orlando Eye is expected to become a top tourist attraction for Orlando. 
Located at the I-Drive 360 entertainment and dining complex, the Orlando Eye will show 360-degree views of Central Florida. This include downtown Orlando, Kennedy Space Center and nearby theme parks and attractions. Guests can enjoy the 20-minute journey day or night to get the chance to see the busy life of the City Beautiful from above.
Up to 15 guests can ride in each capsule. All of the capsules will be air-conditioned, have bench seating available, lighting and audio effects and interactive tables to give guests information on the 360-view of Central Florida. The 400-foot Orlando Eye is the tallest observation wheel on the U.S. east coast. 
“Now that the outer wheel is complete, and the first capsules are being installed, we can truly see the Orlando Eye taking shape and dramatically changing the Orlando skyline,” says Orlando Eye General Manager Robin Goodchild. “We are looking forward to seeing guests take that first flight on the Eye at our grand opening this spring.”

New Masterbrewer at Crooked Can Brewery
There’s a new brewer on board at the Crooked Can Brewery in Winter Garden. Kent Waugh, an award-winning brewmaster, recently joined the Crooked Can Brewery from Disney Boardwalk’s Big River Grille. 
The Great American Beer Festival and Florida Brewers Guild have recognized Waugh for his brewing skills, making for some impressive credentials. Brewing beer is a hobby that turned into a profession when he moved up quickly in the Boulder Beer Company in Boulder, Colorado. He attended Siebal Institute of Technology in Chicago, a premier brewing institution. 
His formal education and experience led Waugh to become the head brewmaster at the Big River Grille and Brewing Works on the Disney Boardwalk. Waugh jumped at the opportunity to join Crooked Can Brewery when they first approached him. “This position gives me creative freedom to turn out classic favorites, as well as the tasty taproom experiments that become local favorites,” Waugh says.
Look out for Waugh’s newest creative brews made with barley, water, yeast and hops. 

Print this article Send to a friend
Rate this article   Rating
  Other Sections  
Love Your Heart
Heart disease is often called the silent killer. Two Central... More �
Vow to Be Stylish
Whether you decide to be the trendy bride with statement pie... More �
Keys to Love - Southwest
Online dating provided a successful happily ever after for t... More �
Keys to Love - Central/East
This East Orlando couple hit the relationship jackpot by giv... More �

 B_323.jpg B_319.jpg
  Quick Poll  
  What is your favorite family-friendly outdoor activity?  
Playing at the park
Spending a day at the beach
Taking a walk on a nature trail
Going for a bike ride
Advertise   Subscribe   Contact Us   About Us   Privacy Policy
Copyright � 2015 Central Florida Lifestyle Publications. All rights reserved.
Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy.
Site Credits: WBpro