Category Archives: Community Info & Events


Local Bands Featured at Free Music on the Promenade

The August 19, 2011 Music on the Promenade will feature three up and coming Lakeland bands as part of a local music showcase.  This FREE event is from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Lake Mirror Promenade.

The Brian Sutherland Trio will open the show with their eclectic blend of musical styling.  Sutherland is a singer, songwriter who will easily switch from cello to guitar as he plays his own version of folk, pop, acoustic rock.  He is joined by band mates Zach Rogers and singer Adrienne Kneebone.  This group of Florida Southern students makes up a sound that audiences have struggled to categorize.  Their blend of styles and freedom to improvise places them in more than one genre.  Covering the great artists like Nat King Cole and George Gershwin, all the way to modern day crooners Jason Mraz and Michael Buble.  They are crowd pleasers wherever they play.

Walking Catfish, another local Lakeland band, will take the stage with music that blends the attitude of early classic 70’s punk, the spirit of early 60’s surf music, the mathematical tendencies of krautrock and some curious electronic noises that intertwine melody and harmony into a unique homespun sound. Walking Catfish are a band that makes music on their own terms. The culmination of the eclectic crew and years of experience inspire a blue collar approach to indie rock.

What started in a garage as three to four friends collaboratively writing and rehearsing simple acoustic folk songs has evolved into a band known as the California Baseball Band.  While the songs written by the band are not necessarily themed around California or even baseball for that matter, they have built upon the quaint acoustic folk set with more volume and more instruments.  The California Baseball Band has managed to keep the banjo and mandolin in the forefront of many of their songs; maintaining the simple folk vibe that a wide demographic can enjoy.  The band is literally 6-7 friends having fun doing what they love. Their set will contain most of the songs of their newly completed EP ‘Deep Creek’ which can be heard by logging onto

The music series takes place at the Lake Mirror amphitheater which is between Hollis Garden and the Lake Mirror Center. The event is FREE to the public and families are encouraged to attend. There will be food and drink vendors on site so bring a blanket and enjoy the lake setting with music under the stars.

Music on the Promenade is proudly sponsored by the City of Lakeland.  Parking is available at the Lake Mirror Center’s parking lot and in the Iowa Avenue parking garage.  No glass bottles within the park please.  For more information regarding the series, contact Kevin Cook at(863) 834-6264.


Verizon Foundation Seeks Applications for Domestic Violence Grants

The Verizon Foundation today invited Florida nonprofit organizations to apply for $100,000 in grants to support the organizations’ efforts to raise awareness and prevent domestic violence, especially among teenagers.

The organizations can apply by responding to a request for proposal that will support numerous groups with grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

Initiatives may include, but are not limited to:

  • Public education regarding various forms of domestic abuse.
  • Raising awareness among men about what constitutes domestic violence and the importance of teaching young boys to respect women.
  • Educating teens about dating violence.
  • Helping survivors gain independence and avoid returning to an abuser.

“We are proud to support Florida nonprofits that are working valiantly to stop the cycle of violence and to help domestic abuse survivors,” said Pam Tope, Florida region president, Verizon Wireless. “Domestic violence impacts more than just the victims and their families; it affects society as a whole, at all educational and socio-economic levels.  And we believe it is especially important to reach and engage teenagers with this message as they begin to date and learn more about relationships.”

To be eligible, a grant applicant must be a nonprofit 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization in Florida. All grant applications must be submitted through the Verizon Foundation’s website,, using invitation code FloridaDV.  Additional information regarding grant guidelines and frequently asked questions can be found at the foundation’s website. The deadline for submitting proposals is August 19, 2011.

Verizon is a corporate leader in the effort against domestic violence and in the support of abuse survivors. Verizon’s HopeLine® program is one example of the company’s efforts. Through Hopeline bins located inside every Verizon Wireless store, the company collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories that are refurbished or recycled for cash. Verizon Wireless then provides the refurbished phones, airtime and recycling proceeds to local domestic violence shelters and other organizations.

Since its inception, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million phones and provided $10 million in grants.

In addition to HopeLine, the Verizon Foundation has awarded more than $21 million in the past four years to nonprofit organizations that assist domestic violence survivors.

For grant requests and other information, visit

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit


Polk Works Plans Veteran & Community Employment Fair – Seeking Employers

Additional information for attendees will be available closer to the event. Current registration is open only to employers.

On Thursday, October 13, Polk Works will host a Veteran & Community Employment Fair on the Winter Haven campus of Polk State College. Employer set up will begin at 9 a.m., with each employer receiving one 6′ table & 2 chairs. Veterans will be allowed entrance at 10 a.m., and the general public at 11 a.m. The event runs until 3 p.m.

To register as an employer, please visit the Polk Works Web site. For additional information, please contact (863) 508-1600, Ext. 1102.


YMCA’s Partners in Health Program Aims to Help Businesses Control Healthcare Costs

The YMCA of West Central Florida is partnering with Polk County businesses to help lessen employee healthcare costs through the Partners in Health Corporate Health & Wellness Program. The primary goal of this program is to increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week and decrease weight to acceptable body mass standards.

The Y is partnering with local companies to develop a strategy best suited for each individual business. Services include onsite health risk assessments and screenings, educational seminars, individual or group health coaching, team entry into the Y’s LiveStrong Corporate race and much more.

Simple behavior changes can decrease an individual’s likelihood of adding to personal healthcare costs dramatically. Changing unhealthy employee behaviors will have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line; lifestyles may contribute to up to 75 percent of healthcare costs.

Studies indicate healthy employees have reduced injuries, improved productivity, less absenteeism, better morale and reduced medical visits and costs.

If you would like further information on how to improve the health of your business, please contact Sandy Bates at (863) 644-3528 or


EMERGE Lakeland Gears Up to Introduce Young Professionals to the Community

In 2004, the Chamber and the United Way of Central Florida partnered together to provide a meaningful outlet for young professionals to build relationships, find professional development opportunities and ultimately engage in the Lakeland community. Seven years later, EMERGE is nearly 200 members strong and is the recognizable expert on young professional life in Lakeland.

One of the most beneficial programs that the Steering Committee has sanctioned is P2P. With three years of success behind them, EMERGE is looking for “Class 4″ to take them into the future. P2P is Peer2Peer networking, relationship building & a whole bunch of Lakeland information jam-packed into 10 months.

The biggest win of the P2P program is that young professionals meet other young professionals. Mentors are EMERGE Lakeland members who are engaged & committed to the Lakeland community. They serve on boards, lead EMERGE activities, are active in civic groups and business organizations, and most of all they love Lakeland.

P2P is looking for young professionals that are new to Lakeland or have recently returned to Lakeland. This outstanding opportunity will introduce participants to the social, professional, political and philanthropic activities in Lakeland, and will provide more than one way to get involved.

The program begins in August, so be sure to complete your application today! Visit for more information or to download the application.