Category Archives: Contributions



Florida Presbyterian Homes today announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Nursing Care Center Accreditation and Post-Acute Care Certification by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient and resident care.

Florida Presbyterian Homes underwent a rigorous on-site survey from November 28-30, 2017. During the review, Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with nursing care center standards related to several areas, including assistance with activities of daily living, coordination of care, and staff education and training. Surveyors also conducted on-site observations and interviews with leaders and staff of the organization.

“Joint Commission accreditation and certification provides nursing homes with a framework for the processes needed to improve the care patients and residents receive,” said Gina Zimmermann, MS, executive director, Nursing Care Center Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend Florida Presbyterian Homes for its efforts to become a quality improvement organization.”

“Florida Presbyterian Homes is pleased to receive accreditation and certification from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Alexis Bautz, Quality Coordinator, Florida Presbyterian Homes. “Staff from across the organization continue to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for our patients and residents.”

Established in 1966, The Joint Commission’s Nursing Care Center Accreditation Program accredits more than 1,000 organizations that offer nursing home and other long-term care services.

The Post-Acute Care Certification award was launched in 2013 by The Joint Commission to recognize nursing homes that demonstrate advanced competencies in the provision of post-acute care to patients and residents recently hospitalized. The accreditation and certification programs are awarded for a three-year period.

Florida Presbyterian Homes is a Continuing Care Retirement Community located on a 48-acre lakeside campus at 16 Lake Hunter Drive in Lakeland, Fla. Our 68-bed award-winning Nursing and Rehab Center serves all older adults following hospital stays. The campus has 113 single-family homes and 60 apartments for independent living residents, and there are 42 assisted living residences for people who need personal assistance in daily activities.


Tobacco Free Polk: Lakeland Chamber of Commerce Annual Event and LRH Recognition

The Lakeland Chamber’s Annual Meeting brought together hundreds of business professionals for a night of networking, arts, and recognition.

For networking, the Chamber provided over an hour before the opening ceremonies for the guests to mingle, enjoy the cash bar, and make connections. Old friends reunited and new connections were made. There is no doubt, this was an important component of the night.

For arts, students from the Harrison School for the Arts performed an original musical production entitled “When You Dream:  A Legacy of Giving.” This fantastic musical pays tribute to Mr. George Jenkins and the philanthropic legacy he inspired in Lakeland. A roaring applause filled the room when the musical concluded. The Publix founder holds a special place in the heart of many Lakeland residents.

For recognition, the Chamber identified businesses in the community that are making a difference. There were small business awards and the American Cancer Society’s Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance’s Gold Level Worksite Wellness Award. This award was given to Lakeland Regional Health for having a strong tobacco policy that includes E-cigarettes, and for providing all available tobacco cessation options to their employees through their Health Insurance Benefits. They are the first to receive the Gold Award in Polk County and the 12th in all of Florida!


This award recognizes LRH commitment to a smoke-free culture. Of course, there is a moral benefit to helping employees quit. There is also a significant cost savings when your staff is smoke-free. However, an additional benefit to this award is the publicity it creates. LRH was recognized at an event with hundreds of attendees. They were posted on the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce site and Lakeland Regional Health can send it out on their own social media and website. Not to mention the media potential this creates. And now you are reading this, weeks after the event. This is a recruitment tool, public relations, recognition, and a symbol of commitment to their employees and patients. Well done Lakeland Regional Health, Lakeland is very proud of what you are doing for our community.

To see a full list of local businesses committing to a smoke-free culture, check out the previous blog post at:

Do you currently have a strong policy, or would like to move in that direction? Fill out our assessment so we can know exactly how to help. If your business would like to fill out the form in 2018, please contact Juli Davis at or (863) 578-2157. All Chamber businesses that complete the assessment, whether they qualify for the award or not, will receive two free tickets to an upcoming Lakeland Chamber Business After Hours event.


Polk State College Offers In-State Tuition to Students Displaced from Puerto Rico

Polk State College continues to provide support for students displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria and is again offering in-state tuition to those individuals.
Gov. Rick Scott asked Florida state colleges and universities this week to extend in-state tuition to those students through the 2018-2019 academic year. Scott’s initial call to action in September offered in-state tuition to those who enrolled through December.

Since then, Polk State has assisted more than 60 individuals who fled Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria and has enrolled a dozen as students.

“We hope to assist even more students by extending in-state tuition to those displaced by Hurricane Maria,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “The College will continue to welcome students from Puerto Rico with open arms and provide them with the assistance they need to return to their higher education pursuits as they continue to recover from the storm.”

Falconetti appointed Director of Student Enrollment Services and Registrar Kathy Bucklew as the point of contact for those students.

Bucklew has continued to work with them closely and confidentially to help them obtain necessary documentation and transcripts, as well as to identify which exemptions and waivers they may be eligible for to assist them financially.
Some students have publicly shared their stories, such as Josue Salgado, who was prepared to start classes at the University of Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria moved through his family’s town of Carolina.

“It could be years before Puerto Rico is back to normal,” Salgado said. “My original plan was to study for two years in Puerto Rico then come to the U.S., so this became an opportunity for me to jump start that process… and I feel very fortunate to have the ability to attend Polk State College.”

Prospective students should contact Bucklew by email at, phone at 863.298.6820, or in her office, WAD 116 in the Administration Building on the Winter Haven Campus at 999 Ave. H N.E.

About Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools. Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.



Seth and Nirva Ready’s home in Lakeland might be hard to miss. Parked in their driveway is a tour bus – something familiar to musicians. The Readys are a vocal duo whose music is a blend of pop, gospel and R&B influences. As residents of Lakeland, the couple spends a majority of their time traveling in the bus across the nation or flying overseas to perform concerts. In the next few weeks, they are looking forward to being able to perform at home in Lakeland.

On Tuesday, January 23, the Readys will be performing the post-game concert following the Lakeland Magic game as a part of Faith and Family Night. The Magic will be taking on the Greensboro Swarm at 7 p.m. in the Jenkins Arena in the RP Funding Center. The concert will be free of charge to everyone with a ticket to the game. “We’re excited for a public setting to do ministry,” said Seth, an alumnus of Southeastern University.

Born and raised in Polk County, Seth decided to attend Southeastern after hearing about it from one of his youth pastors. “Southeastern was a fun and lively campus with a spiritual focus,” he said.

A 2004 graduate of Southeastern, Seth recalls being the only Math major to walk across the graduation platform. While earning his degree, Seth started to pursue a career in the music industry. In his junior year, he was hired as a backup vocalist for Grammy award-winning artist Kirk Franklin. He took a break for a year from school to travel with Franklin and then returned to finish his degree. Following graduation, he continued to flourish as a background vocalist singing for a variety of Christian artists including Chris Tomlin, Donnie McClurkin and Cece Winans.

Nirva followed a similar career path. Raised in Chicago, she joined Grammy award-winning TobyMac’s Diverse City band after graduating from Fisk University. While singing with Toby at a Billy Graham Crusade, she and Seth met backstage for the first time. Soon afterwards, a friendship developed eventually leading to marriage three years later.

In 2012, they transitioned to serve as young adult pastors at The Crossing Church in Tampa. At that time, Seth and Nirva also started to record songs on the side and released an EP, “I Need You.” They were soon contacted by Integrity Music, who offered them a recording contract. Their first album, “Never Alone,” with Integrity was released in 2016.

One of their songs, “Brother,” – a song they almost didn’t record – quickly made it to the radio. “When we first heard it, we were hesitant to record it. We wondered if we could sing these lyrics with a hundred percent honesty,” said Nirva. “Could we really say that we see a brother when we look in the face of our enemy? This question was haunting and convicting.”

“With all that was going on in our nation though, we felt that this message was needed. And, even if we might not be there quite yet, it could serve as a vision caster for the kind of people we wanted to become,” said Nirva. “‘Brother’ is a reminder that everyone is created in the image of God. It’s good to forgive and not to harbor bitterness. We have to choose to love even when it is hard and difficult,” said Nirva. This is one of the songs they will perform at the Faith and Family Night.

In July of 2017, Nirva stepped down from the TobyMac Diverse Band to pursue music full time with Seth. “It is fulfilling to do ministry as a couple,” said Seth. Since then, the two released a new song at the beginning of 2018 called “We Won’t Back Down.”

To learn more about Seth and Nirva Ready, visit their website at To purchase tickets for Faith and Family Night, visit or call 863.825.3258.


Supervisor of Elections to Host Recruitment Event in Lakeland

Polk County residents are invited to apply to become election workers during an informational meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 18th.  “These are paid positions working at polling places on Election Day,” explained Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards.

The meeting will be held at 11 am at the Lake Mirror Center Auditorium, 121 S Lake Avenue, Lakeland and no reservation is required.

Voters who have served as election workers in Polk County in recent years are welcome, but do not need to attend.

For more information contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 863-534-5888, or visit