Category Archives: Member Announcements


USF Poly Students Fed With Love

Displaying items collected for the USF Polytechnic Food Pantry are (from left) students Yuri Aguilar and Virginia Underwood, Conseling Specialist Emily Mahoney, student Erica Garza and Instructor Patricia Young. Photo by Tom Hagerty, USF Polytechnic

“Sometimes students have to make a decision to buy food for their family or stay in school, and we find that unacceptable,” says Virginia Underwood, a student at The University of South Florida Polytechnic. To address that problem, Underwood and classmates Yuri Aguilar and Erica Garza started Fed With Love to help stock the USF Poly Food Pantry. Together they collected more than 900 donated food items for students and their families.

“We worked to fill the needs of the USFP student food pantry, to spread the word around the community while seeking donations, and to raise awareness of the needs of college students who are facing tough economic times,” says Aguilar.

Fed With Love arose from the Human Relationship Skills class, which required students to plan and coordinate a community service project.

“The course requires that they find a need in their community and then find a way to meet that need,” says instructor Patricia Young.

Because each of the three students lives in a different community — Underwood in Lakeland, Aguilar in Frostproof and Garza in Hardee County — they decided the community they had in common was USF Polytechnic.  Recognizing a need on campus, they decided to support the Student Food Pantry, which was started in January 2010 by the faculty and staff of USFP in an effort to help students.

“We wanted to try to ease the burden for those individuals who are trying to better their education and still take care of a family or meet other needs and obligations,” says Garza.

She, Underwood and Aguilar say the Fed With Love project provided an excellent hands-on learning experience.

“We learned how to compromise, divide up work, respect one another and those who we collaborated with, and through the course of the project we began to develop citizenship, knowing we are helping our college community.   We also learned that there are other ways we can help the community and are excited to do so.”


Tobacco Free Partnership of Polk County Announces Flavored Tobacco Resolution

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Polk County (TFP) and the American Lung Association of Central Florida are pleased to announce a resolution was passed by the Board of County Commissioners that encourages retail outlets in Polk County to ban the sale and marketing of flavored tobacco products where youth would have access.

Jordan Bontrager, Students Working Against Tobacco member, led a presentation showing how flavored and alternative tobacco products are marketed to youth.  These marketing tactics continue to lead minors down a path that encourages usage and lifelong addiction. The resolution was passed unanimously with a 5-0 vote.

In 2009, the FDA banned the sale of flavored cigarettes, however; smokeless tobacco, cigars, cigarillos and other products are not regulated. Each and every day, our youth are drawn in by the allure of tobacco products and thanks to the addictive nature of nicotine, they likely become daily users. Almost 90% of adult smokers started before the age of 18, according to the American Lung Association.

“The use of tobacco products of any type has a severe negative economic impact on the lives of the citizens of our state and nation.  The American Medical Association has documented the health risks related to the use of tobacco products for many years”, said Commissioner Bob English.

The Tobacco-Free Partnership of Polk County and the Board of County Commissioners urges all local retailers who sell tobacco products where youth have access to their store or products to cease the sale and marketing of all flavored tobacco products, in order to reduce the exposure and use of tobacco products to Polk County youth.

About the Tobacco-Free Partnership of Polk County
The Tobacco-Free Partnership of Polk County, Florida is a community based coalition mobilized to impact policy and systems change, prevent initiation and reduce the use of tobacco products.

The Tobacco Free Partnership meets monthly on the last Thursday of the month at United Way in Highland City.  For more information or to become a partner on this project, please contact Colleen Mangan, Tobacco Program Coordinator at (863) 519-7900 x 11334 or via email at


You’re Invited… Red Cross Open House in Lakeland

The American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region is proud to announce the opening of the Red Cross Lakeland branch office in the heart of the downtown area. To celebrate the official grand opening, the American Red Cross Polk County Chapter will host a ribbon cutting event this week.

  • WHO: American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region, Lakeland community, members of the Chamber of Commerce and community leaders

  • WHAT: Ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating opening of Red Cross office in Lakeland, refreshments following ceremony

  • WHERE: New Lakeland office of the American Red Cross, 256 North Kentucky Avenue, Lakeland, FL

  • WHEN:  Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 10 a.m.

  • WHY: Lakeland sees more local disaster responses than any other city in Polk County

“Lakeland is an integral part of the Polk community and we have long wanted to open a location here,” said American Red Cross Polk County Chapter Executive Chad Magnuson. “This allows our volunteers who live in this community to have a ‘home base’ as they work one-on-one with clients after a disaster like a house fire and its lets everyone know that the Red Cross is here to help.”

The Polk County Chapter will remain open in Winter Haven with staff operating the office during regular business hours. The Lakeland office will open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers will also be able to access the building after hours to work on client cases.


VISTE Inducts New Officers, Board Members

Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) is excited to announce new Officers, Board of Directors, and Advisory Board members.VISTE’s board also amended the bylaws to recognize the new titles of its officers: Alice C. O’Reilly, President, Jack T. Stephens, Chairman, Jay Mulaney, M.D., Vice Chairman, Steve Madden, Secretary, Darlene D. Eanett, Treasurer, Lee Jackson, Campaign Chairman, and Barney Barnett, Advisory Board Chairman.

New Board members are Michael Barnes, Center for Retina and Macular Disease, Bradford Copley, State of Florida State Attorney’s Office, Rooster Curry, Curry Controls, Michael R. LaPan, The Lakeland Center, David Robinson, DSM Lakeland, and Natalie R. Wilson, Natalie R. Wilson Attorney.

In addition, six new members join VISTE’s Advisory Board. They are Andy Bean, Professional Golfer, Gow Fields, Mayor of Lakeland, Celeste Torres Henkleman, Henkleman Construction, Mimi Jenko, Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Frank Kendrick, NuJak Construction, and Sherrie Nickell, Polk County School Board. Their terms will begin on January 1, 2011.


VISTE’s mission is to enable the frail elderly to continue living independently in their own homes. VISTE was founded in 1983 and serves over 3,400 seniors in Polk County. For further information, contact Ashley Metts Miller at 863-284-0828.


Bright House Networks Brings C-SPAN Digital Bus to Lakeland

The C-SPAN Digital Bus will visit the Tampa area on its national tour with two stops in the Auburndale and Lakeland, FL.  During the stops, students and teachers will have the opportunity to tour the Digital Bus and learn about C-SPAN’s public affairs programming.

Launched in June 2010, Digital Bus visitors are experiencing C-SPAN’s unique public affairs content, encouraging customers to follow “Washington, your way.”  Hands on demonstrations feature the C-SPAN Video Library and the network’s social media offerings.  At each location we will also discuss C-SPAN’s 2011 StudentCam documentary film competition as well as all of our educational resources.

StudentCam is an annual documentary competition that encourages students to create a short film about issues affecting their communities and nation.   This year’s theme asks middle and high school students to address: “Washington, DC – Through My Lens” Tell us about an issue, event, or topic that helped you better understand the role of the federal government in your life or community.

A total of $50,000 will be awarded in cash prizes, which includes 75 student awards and 11 teacher awards. The deadline for this year’s competition is January 20th.  Additional details can be found at

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Museum of Science and Industry – MOSI                 1:30pm-3:30pm

4801 E. Fowler Avenue – Tampa, Florida 33617

Monday, December 6, 2010

Auburndale High School                                            7:10am – 9:48am

1 Bloodhound Trail, Auburndale, FL 33823

Lawton Chiles Middle School                                    11am – 2:46pm

400 N Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801

The C-SPAN Digital Bus was launched in June of 2010, however, this year also marks the bus program’s seventeenth year on the road.  The C-SPAN Digital Bus and crew travel the country, producing programs, and promoting civic engagement through education.

On Bright House Networks in Auburndale and Lakeland C-SPAN can be seen on channel 14, C-SPAN2 on channel 7 and C-SPAN3 on channel 129.

About C-SPAN

C-SPAN was created by America’s cable companies in 1979 as a public service and programs three public affairs television networks (C-SPAN, C-SPAN2 and C-SPAN3); C-SPAN Radio, a Washington, D.C. public affairs radio station distributed by XM Satellite Radio; and a video-rich website which hosts the C-SPAN Video Library. Visit

About the C-SPAN Digital Bus

In June 2010 the C-SPAN Digital Bus was launched to showcase cutting edge technologies and update C-SPAN’s community outreach within the seventeen year Bus program.  In 1993, C-SPAN launched its Bus program as a way to bring the world of public affairs into schools and communities nationwide. Working with cable television partners across the nation, C-SPAN’s bus program has visited students, teachers, and citizens in all 50 states to discuss public affairs, C-SPAN’s programming and free educational resources.  In May 2010, after traveling more than a million miles, the two original C-SPAN buses were retired from service, and the C-SPAN Digital Bus was launched.

Visit for scheduling and other information on the C-SPAN Digital Bus.

About Bright House Networks

Bright House Networks is the sixth largest owner and operator of cable systems in the U.S. and the second largest in Florida with technologically advanced systems located in five states including Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and California.

Bright House Networks serves more than 2.4 million customers who subscribe to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services.  The company also offers a full suite of phone, Internet, Ethernet and cable television services to businesses of all sizes. Bright House Media Strategies, the advertising arm of Bright House Networks, offers businesses advanced targeted advertising solutions.  Bright House Networks also owns and operates exclusive local news and sports channels in its Florida markets.

For more information about Bright House Networks or our products and services, visit