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Volunteers make the race happen! We are in need of volunteers for the Carillon Classic 5k Run & Walk! Come join us and help support the FPRA and the George W. Harris, Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Shelter. We need 60 volunteers to ensure we have a safe and fun race. We will need volunteers in the following areas: registration, hospitality and food preparation, water stations, course support, and clean up. The first 60 volunteers to sign-up will be guaranteed a free shirt!

Who can volunteer for the Carillon Classic 5K? Parents, teachers, coaches, local college students, and junior or seniors in high school are all welcome to help. We also welcome any local businesses and organizations to come out and help too!

Your involvement will give you the opportunity to positively impact the community. If you or your organization would like to volunteer and help out with the Carillon Classic 5K, please contact John Kazaklis via email at or phone (863) 595-0220 x206.

When you contact John, include your full name, email address, phone number and t-shirt size. Also, please indicate if you can volunteer for:

- Set-up on Friday, May 24 at Bok Tower Gardens (volunteers needed from approximately noon until 6 p.m.)

- Race day! May 25 at Bok Tower Gardens (volunteers needed from approximately 6 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.)

- Or, both Friday and Saturday!

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Posted by emerge

Nonprofit Spotlight - February - February 15, 2013

Each month we are going to take a moment to highlight non-profits of interest in the Lakeland and the Polk County community. While EMERGE might not be participating in every event or not profit we post, our hope is for those interested to find new and fun ways to connect and give back. Count on us to keep you connected.

Creating Brighter Futures for Children with Special Needs

More than fifty years ago, the Achievement Academy (formerly UCP and later Child Development Center of Polk County, Inc.) was founded by a special group of parents. Today the Achievement Academy is a non-profit United Way agency and charter school. We serve children from birth through age six with various developmental delays and disabilities, including but not limited to, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and speech delays. The Achievement Academy offers small class sizes, dedicated staff, developmentally appropriate goals, individual speech, occupational and physical therapies and assistive technologies that allow our students to blossom.

We have three charter school locations that serve Polk County: Lakeland, Winter Haven and Bartow. Here we celebrate all abilities; there are none too big or small! Every child is entitled to a childhood of possibilities and we are here to make that happen.


Joshua... Somewhere between 12 –14 months old, something changed and the baby that would gaze into your eyes, smile and laugh, slipped away. He would soon be diagnosed with severe speech apraxia (difficulty transmitting the speech message from his brain to his mouth) full body apraxia, developmental delays and mild autistic tendencies.

At Achievement Academy, extraordinary teachers helped ensure that he would reach his goals. Joshua received one-on-one, specialized therapies and most importantly he was given love each day. Our son would not be where he is today if it were not for the school. Recently, Achievement Academy along with the Kiwanis Club gave Joshua the most precious gift… his own Augmentative Communication device. This truly has given him “a voice in life”. By Joshua's mom, Tracey

How can EMERGE members get involved?

7th Annual Pigeon Pull and Evening Round Up
February 23, 2013
S (bar) S Ranch, 4098 J.A. Fenton Rd Lakeland
Registration starts at 2:00pm
For more information click here.

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Posted by emerge

The Ledger: Newspapers in Education- Volunteers Needed - July 12, 2012

The Ledger is having their Annual Crape Myrtle Sale on Saturday, July 21st from 7AM-Noon (or until the plants are sold out) at The Ledger in Lakeland. It is their annual Newspapers in Education fundraiser and they are in need of some volunteers to assist with carting plants to customers vehicles and unloading along with various other tasks.

For more information, please contact:
Lindsey Wallace
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
The Ledger | News Chief | The Reporter
300. W. Lime Street, Lakeland, FL 33815
PHN - 863-802-7256
MBL - 863-412-7492

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Posted by emerge

YMCA Board Opportunity - July 9, 2012

YMCA Board Opportunity:
•The YMCA Board currently has 15 members and is looking for new people who can bring energy, and new ideas to the table.
•There is no deadline but would be willing to sit down and tell the ‘Y’ story to anyone who would have an interest.
•The YMCA is a great community partner that is much, much more than a fitness center as it serves the entire community. The YMCA will never turn anyone away for a lack of ability to pay. The Y ‘scholarships’ close to $600,000 in free and subsidized memberships and programming each year. The Y’s motto is Mind, Body & Spirit.
•The board meetings are held the 3rd Tues of each month at the Y on Cleveland Heights and meeting generally are one hour long.
•It is a 3 year term.
•It is a working board and the 2 main community events are the Barkley, Bean & Friends Golf Event at the First Tee on George Jenkins Blvd and the newest event with the Pouncey twins silent auction and program.

If you are interested, please contact:
Bill Dorman CPCU, CIC, AAI
Lanier Upshaw, Inc.
p:(863) 284-3109
f:(863) 682-6292

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Posted by emerge

Start Something for a child today. Donate or volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters! - February 16, 2012

ONE HOUR A MONTH... Just one hour a month can make a difference for a child in our community - can you spare it?
Click here for more information

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Business Leadership Network Board Position - August 9, 2011

“The Business Leadership Network (BLN), a non-profit organization, is seeking interests from an attorney in our Polk community who would like to board participate in bringing the BLN message of increasing the awareness of the value in employing persons with disabilities in our local businesses. The BLN Board’s community reach is to engage senior business executives in our Mission beliefs (below) and help them understand the tremendous value of employing persons with disabilities as well as the social and economic benefits to the business.

We are seeking an attorney to our Board who understands the essence of our Mission and can lead us in developing and managing impact-effective ideas and decisions that align with employment and socially responsible initiatives. Anyone interested in becoming a member of a strong board interest, competence and commitment to support our Mission, please call Dick Pellegrini at 863-255-9034 or write”

The Polk County Business Leadership Network (BLN) Mission

§ Increase awareness of the skills and abilities of people with disabilities;

§ Promote awareness of local support agencies that are available to assist in locating qualified employees with disabilities;

§ Promote the employment of persons with disabilities;

§ Connecting companies and persons with disabilities

§ Expand business perceptions on the value of workplace diversity

§ Improve the lives of people with disabilities

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Trip to Israel with GSE - July 7, 2011

Group Study Exchange (GSE) is going to ISRAEL
WANTED! – Rotarians (any age and vocation) and non-Rotarians (ages 24 – 40) interested in participating in a Group Study Exchange (GSE) to Israel next May/June (2012). We will be sending 1 Team Leader (must be a Rotarian) and 4 Team Members (cannot be Rotarians or a direct relative) on a 30 day journey to exchange cultural and vocational ideas with Rotarians in Israel. See the sights; learn the customs; stay in Rotarian homes; help foster peace and goodwill between countries. But time is short – the deadline for Team Leader is 7/31/2011; the deadline for Team Members is 8/31/2011! Spread the word! Solicit possible candidates! Get names to Fred Oeters! As we strive to “Reach Within to Embrace Humanity”, let’s create the most dynamic GSE team we can.

Contact Fred Oeters, GSE Chairman, for more information.

District contact:

Fred Oeters, GSE Chairman

924 Wedgewood Lane

Lakeland, FL 33813

(863) 644-7466

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Meals On Wheels needs South Lakeland Drivers - May 26, 2011

Meals on Wheels of Polk County has been delivering meals for almost 2 years to the Auburndale and Lakeland areas, 35 years to Winter Haven, Haines City, and Davenport. They have approximately 200 recipients in Polk County. Their volunteer drivers tell them the blessing is theirs and they enjoy helping people. The reward is knowing you are helping to stop senior hunger.

Meals on Wheels of Polk County is desperately seeking volunteer drivers to deliver meals in South Lakeland. Their goal is to provide a hot nutritious meal, daily contact and a smiling face to the homebound of Polk county. Drivers typically drive 1 day a week and it usually takes them about 2 hours once they pick up the meals to be delivered. There are 4 routes in Lakeland with each route having 8-10 stops.

Meal Pickup Locations:

South Lakeland - 1st Presbyterian Church, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr.

North Lakeland - North Lakeland Presbyterian Church, 6725 North Socrum Loop Rd.

For more information please contact Susan Fitzgibbons 863-299-1616.

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Relay for Life – EMERGE Team - March 16, 2011

EMERGE is partnering with The American Cancer Society Relay For Life and everyone is invited to participate in this great event! There are many ways that you can help make this year’s walk a success.

1. Join our team by linking here

2. Volunteers are needed to staff the EMERGE Tent. You can sign up for times by emailing Christina Velazquez at The event begins at 2pm on Saturday April 16th and continues until approximately 8am Sunday morning. A representative must me at the tent at all times.

3. Sponsorships are available for businesses or individuals interested in making a donation. For $25.00 we will display your company name or individual name at our table. Contact Christina Velazquez at

4. Donate to our team by linking here

5. Purchase a Luminaria in memory of loved one lost to cancer and honor those who have won their battle. Visit for more information.

The EMERGE team will have many games and great prizes given away throughout the night, including a 50/50 raffle. Games and activities will also be available for our team including cornhole. Food and drinks will be provided to our volunteers at all hours.

Event Details

Event Date: April 16, 2011
Event Location: Lakeland High School
Event Schedule: Walk begins at 2:00 p.m.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to from 18 - 24 hours in length.

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Dr. King Day of Service - January 12, 2011

Camp Fire USA and VISTE, local non-profit agencies, are teaming up to celebrate the Dr. King Day of Service. January 17th, 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday that honors Dr. King’s legacy and his commitment to transforming our nation through service to others. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Americans to help realize King's dream of equality and opportunity for all, and to take action to solve problems in their communities.

Volunteers of all ages will come together to honor Dr. King’s memory by helping the seniors who live at The Manor at Washington Oaks do some early spring cleaning. Crafts, games, a gift of fresh produce, and a nutritious lunch are also planned for both volunteers and seniors. The day’s schedule is geared to give volunteers time to spend time with, and learn from those in our community that have wisdom to share.

If you or your family is interested in volunteering please contact Marybeth Soderstrom at

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Back To School Blast...Volunteers Needed - July 9, 2010

Every child deserves a chance to succeed and the annual Back To School Blast is our way of ensuring as many as possible have all the necessary supplies, screenings and information for the new school year.

If you and your friends, family, neighbors or business associates would like to participate, please contact Cauney Bamberg and she will forward you a copy of the Volunteer Job Responsibilities. Your participation and help in this annual program is critical as it is one of Polk County's largest outreach activities sponsored by Family Fundamentals.

Thank you for considering your involvement.

Cauney B. Bamberg
Watson Clinic Foundation, Executive Director
100 S. Kentucky Ave., Ste. 255, Lkld., 33801
P: 863.802.6220
F: 863.688-3857

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Relay for Life is coming to Lakeland - March 22, 2010

The Relay for Life is coming to Lakeland very soon! This event will take place on April 9th and 10th at the Lakeland High School. Currently there are over 61 teams (at least 4 are Leadership Lakeland Class Teams), over 300 participants, and they're adding more every day! This will be their best year ever!

They are always looking for volunteers to help. A few activities that have been suggested to us are to purchase or help sell luminary bags for $10, sign up survivors to attend the event, help spread the word, whether through posters, brochures, etc., and they are really going to need some manpower for the event.

So come on all you passionate EMERGE members! Get out there and help make this event even more incredible! If you'd like more information, check out the event website at or, if you'd like to help, please contact Dave Molnar at

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

EMERGE Lakeland Volunteers Needed- Green Celebration Concert & Showcase - March 11, 2010

Click Here for More Information

EMERGE Lakeland
Volunteers Needed

HELP!!!! Volunteers are needed to participate in the Green Celebration Concert and Showcase. This eco-friendly event will take place on April 16th at Lakeland’s Lake Mirror Promenade to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
All EMERGE volunteers will receive a FREE event t-shirt! We’re proud to announce that the EMERGE logo will appear on all marketing materials and we will be recognized during the event in exchange for our volunteer efforts, so your participation is crucial. Various volunteer duties and shifts

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Give A Day. Get a Disney Day. - January 25, 2010

Give A Day. Get a Disney Day. Information
To sign up, go to

Explorations V
109 N Kentucky Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801
Contact: Sue Schluender, Education Director:

• Adults over 21 ONLY for this opportunity. NO CHILDREN.
• Complete volunteer application for each person (attached); bring to Museum day of event.
• Dress Code: safe, comfortable work clothes, closed toe shoes must have heel straps.
• PARKING is available in the parking garage directly behind the Museum, entrances on Main St. and Cedar St. There is no charge for parking on weekends.

Museum exhibit and office files/furniture removal
Saturday, February 6, 2010, Sunday, February 7, 2010
Volunteers needed 9 am – 3 pm (orientation 9-10 am, work 10 am – 3 pm)

Volunteers able to lift 25+ pounds. Not required, but if available bring work gloves, cordless drill, Phillips screwdriver, socket set, pliers. Tools must be labeled with your name-Explorations V is not responsible for replacement of lost tools.
Snacks, beverages, and lunch provided for volunteers.

Museum exhibit and office files/furniture replacement
Saturday, February 13, Sunday, February 14, 2010
Volunteers needed 9 am – 3 pm (orientation 9-10 am, work 10 am – 3 pm)

Volunteers able to lift 25+ pounds. Not required, but if available bring work gloves, cordless drill, Phillips screwdriver, socket set, pliers. Tools must be labeled with your name-Explorations V is not responsible for replacement of lost tools.
Snacks, beverages, and lunch provided for volunteers.

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

VOLUNTEER: Have fun & 10% goes to the Boys & Girls Club! - December 9, 2009

What: Work at the Lakeland Center on behalf of the kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland/Mulberry Concession work & banquet work available. Age restriction of 16 and Up.

Thank you for considering this volunteer opportunity.
Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009
Shift 1 7am-1pm(Wear jeans and shirt provided)
Shift 2 1pm-7pm (Wear jeans and shirt provided)
Shift 3 5pm-11pm (Black pants & white dress shirt)
Required: Ability to be on your feet for 6 hours at a time.

Address: 701 West Lime Street
Lakeland,FL 33815

Volunteers Requested 1 - 38

See Christina Smith at United Way for more information:

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Candidates Sought for the Civil Service Board - November 10, 2009

The City is looking for representation on the Civil Service Board. The Civil Service Board position that is open cannot be employed by the City and the person must reside within the Lakeland City limits.

Attached are the petition forms along with the Candidate Oath form. Nominations close at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 13th.

For more information please contact the City Clerk’s Office at ext. 46210.

Civil Service Board Website

Oath Form

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

VISTE presents the Bumble Bee Canned Tuna Wreath Contest - November 10, 2009

When: Friday, December 11, 2009

Time: Event starts at 6:00 p.m.
Drop-off/Set-up wreaths anytime between 5-6 pm at the stage area.

Where: Lake Mirror Promenade/ no rain date

Why: In order to raise awareness to the needs of the elderly, VISTE is making wreaths out of Bumble Bee Tuna cans, one of our most popular foods in our food distribution. The wreaths will be given to our clients.

Rules:• Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to participate. There will be categories for judging with prizes awarded in each category. Judges will be Bumble Bee officials.

Individuals/Your Group/Schools/Churches

Design rules and regulations
Decorate or build a wreath using whole unopened cans of Bumble Bee Tuna and other decorative items. All materials are provided by entrant (including wreaths, cans of tuna, etc.)
Teams need to decide how they want to display their wreath. VISTE can assist with finding easels, but will need prior notice if one needs to be provided. This information must be included in registration.
No cans of tuna can be punctured in any way.
All wreaths and cans of tuna will go to VISTE to be distributed to clients following the event.
Wreaths can contain organizational logos, names, trademark, etc.
Let your imagination go wild. All efforts and contributions will benefit VISTE and their clients.

Deadline for Registration: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.
Contact for Registration: Tom Stull, Advisory Board Member
625 E. Orange St.
Lakeland, Fl. 33801

All wreaths will be donated to clients. Any special props are the responsibility of the entrant. If you bring your own stand you are responsible for picking it up at the end of the event.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a business, school, or church may do so by contacting the organization directly. The organization designing/building the wreath should register as indicated above.

Judging Categories:
People’s Choice
Best of Show

Tuna Flyer

Registration Form

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

City of Lakeland Boards and Committees: - October 5, 2009

The City of Lakeland is always looking for exciting young professionals who are interested in getting involved in the Lakeland community. Two Advisory Boards which we are actively recruiting members for are the Dixieland Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Board and the Mid Town Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Board. Each of these Advisory Boards is made up of property or business owners, or representatives of property or business owners within these redevelopment districts. Eligible applicants must also live within the Lakeland City limits. If you are interested, please fill out an application and return it to the City of Lakeland’s Communications Department, or

To learn more about the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency and the role of the Advisory Boards, please visit,

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

2009 Polk Start! Heart Walk - September 3, 2009

Date: Saturday, Sept 19, 2009
Where: 2250 S Floral Ave, Bartow

Time: Fun starts at 8:00 am

A 3-mile walk benefiting the American Heart Association (a one mile route is also available). Cost is free, donations are welcome. For more information and to register:
Volunteers also needed to help out the morning of: please contact Melissa Innella at 863-801-4293 or

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

The Blueprint Project: Help Middle School Student in Our Community - August 5, 2009

Dear Community Partners,

My name is Rashene Smith and I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA working with Polk County Board Of County Commissioners Leisure Services Division. We have written a Mentoring Program to provide Middle School students with experience and information that will allow them to reach their potential. The Blueprint Project will run from September 2nd, 2009, through May 25, 2010. The Program consist of five( 3) three week sessions. This program will be FREE for all selected Middle School students. Our goal is to improve the lives of our youth and communities by promoting personal stability, character development, and citizenship.

These sessions include health, financial education, education tutoring, culture and community service. The program will be taking place at (3) three locations; Wilfred Smith Resource Center(Florence Villa in Northeast Winter Haven), Eloise Resource Center(Eloise in Southwest Winter Haven) and Medulla Resource Center(in South Lakeland).

My session of the program is community service. The goal of my session is to install a sense of pride for the students communities and develop the desire to work within the community for its betterment. As a community activist and A VERY WELL KNOWN YOUTH LEADER MYSELF, I know what it feels like to have a mentor and to learn. I am asking for partners such as yourself to mentor these Kids about the importance of giving back to the community by learning to serve the community as we all were taught.

If you would like to Participate and become apart of this developing Educational Needed Program please Contact Me as soon as possible. PLEASE CONTACT ME BEFORE SEPTEMBER 2, 2009 SO THAT WE MAY GET TOGETHER AND DISCUSS THE CURRICULUM My contact information is below.


PS-I am also looking for sponsorship for my part of the program


Rashene Smith

Americorps VISTA

BoCC/ Leisure Services Division

Wilfred Smith Resource Center

135 Ave Y NE

Winter Haven,FL 33881





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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Looking to make a positive impact in a child's life? Junior Achievement needs your help. - March 12, 2009

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hand's on programs. The program is driven by its dedicated volunteers who believe in it's mission to bring economics training to elementary through high school students. Volunteers teach the students about the free enterprise system, how to create a budget, and the value of staying in school.

How you can help: As a Junior Achievement volunteer, you can help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to make money, how to create jobs and how to think like an entrepreneur in the workplace. With the JA curriculum, you’ll transform classroom lessons into a message that inspires and empowers students to believe in themselves, showing them they can make a difference in the world!

Everything you will need is provided for you and the lessons are very easy to follow! Junior Achievement will train you on the materials. The elementary curriculum consists of 5 lessons that will take between 30-40 minutes each visit. The 6 middle school lessons last 45 minutes each. Most JA volunteers prefer to visit their class weekly but the schedule is up to JA volunteer and their teacher. Many schools prefer to begin JA after March 15 (once FCAT is over) so the time to volunteer and sign up for your training is now.

If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Marci Miller, JA Education Manager at (863) 603-0254 or

Volunteers are currently needed at the following schools:
Churchwell Elementary
Crystal Lake Elementary
Dixieland Elementary
Jesse Keen Elementary
North Lakeland Elementary
Oscar J. Pope Elementary
Purcell Elementary
Lake Gibson Middle
Sleepy Hill Middle
Southwest Middle

If you need more information on each individual program offered, you may visit their website,

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

EVANS FIGHT- Walk to Cure supporting The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - March 11, 2009

When: March 28th, 2009
Where: Lake Hollingsworth
Registration Start Time: 8:00 AM at the sump across from Florida Southern College
Walk Start Time: 9:00 AM

As many as 3 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, a disease most often diagnosed in childhood that strikes suddenly, lasts a lifetime, and carries the constant threat of deadly complications, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Thanks to dramatic research progress, a cure is now within our reach.

Over the last two years Lakeland, along with the support of Southern Lady, Inc. has raised over $50,000 which has gone toward promising new research projects funded by JDRF. The Walk draws people together in a healthy activity for a worthy cause, raising money to help find a cure for diabetes. It's fun for families and builds camaraderie among company employees. Above all, it's an event you will feel good about being a part of.

As usual t-shirts will be available for all walkers. All donations no matter how big or small should be made out to JDRF. As always donations are tax-deductible and most importantly Southern Lady, Inc. has graciously agreed to match your donations once again!

For more information contact Melissa Hughey at 727-344-2873 or visit

Letter from Evans Family


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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

American Cancer Society Relay for Life - March 11, 2009

One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people across the country each year to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that takes too much.
This year marks the beginning of their nationwide celebration of 25 years of Relay For Life. In Florida, more than 20,000 cancer survivors and over 100,000 participants raised $21 million last year!

When: 6pm on April 17th to 12 noon on April 18th
Where: Lakeland High School
Teams consist of at least 8 people and require a minimum of $100 plus any additional donations. Each team will also have a captain. The first team meeting will occur on Tuesday, March 17th, 2009; 6-7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on Lake Hollingsworth.

For more information please visit:

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Mud Volleyball Tournament benefitting Noah's Ark of Central Florida - March 3, 2009

When: Saturday, May 2, 2009
Where: Noah's Landing (From I-4, Exit 33 and follow the signs)
What: Get ready to get down and dirty for a good cause. Join others at the Mud Volleyball Tournament benefitting Noah's Ark of Central Florida. Team players can earn free food, free beverages, and prizes.
Cost: $300 Per Team (maximum 10 players- have to be at least 16 years old)

To register or for more information, please call 863.687.0804 or visit

More Information

Team Sign Up

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Calling all Males: Volunteer applications being accepted for Camp Brave Heart - February 25, 2009

What: Volunteers are Needed for the 2009 Bethany Center of Good Shepherd Hospice's Camp Brave Heart. Camp Brave Heart is an annual grief camp for children ages 6-16. It includes horseback riding, swimming,canoeing, and camp fires.

Who: Male volunteers over the age of 18 who have an interest in working with children and like the outdoors! They need cabin volunteers and workers behind the scenes for the weekend; one day volunteers for Friday and Saturday; and smiling faces to greet the buses on Sunday at the Auburndale and Sebring offices. If you want to help we have a spot for you! You can help make a difference in a child's life!

When: March 20-22nd

Where: Circle F Dude Ranch in Lake Wales

Each participant will need to go through a background check and
training, so time is of the essence. Please call Phil Wegman at
688-1211 if you have additional questions.

Download file

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

The Watson Clinic Foundation and Arts in Medicine need your help. - February 21, 2009

When: April 3, 2009
Where: Downtown Lakeland First Friday event (Kentucky Avenue from Main Street to Lemon)

What: The Watson Clinic Foundation hosts a program called Arts in Medicine. This program is housed in the Center for Cancer Care & Research and is a tremendous outreach to patients and their families as they undergo treatments in their battle against this dreaded disease. The program has many forms: craft projects, music therapy, painting programs and bead projects, to name just a few. They will be showcasing their art at the Downtown Lakeland First Friday Event on April 3rd and they are looking for volunteers to help man creative areas for approximately 4 hours. If interested, please contact Julie Boon at or 863-603-4718 for more information.

"We're eager to help our community learn more about this wonderful program and last year our First Friday event was the talk of the Downtown! (Note: you need no special skill to volunteer....we'll help you with everything!)"

For more information on Arts In Medicine, please visit

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Volunteer Opportunity - Toys for Tots - December 17, 2008

Toys for Tots is looking for volunteers to work at the warehouse today, Weds and Thursday. The warehouse is open from 8am until 10pm each day. It's the last push to get the toys picked out and separated to be send out to the schools before Christmas break. All the toys will be delivered on Friday to each school for the parents to pick and bring home. This is why Thursday is the last day to volunteer.

Toys for Tots Warehouse Address: 602 Page St, Auburndale FL On Hwy 92 go to Recker Hwy and turn--then proceed to McKean St turn north and proceed to Page Street, the warehouse #602 is at the end of the street on the left side.

For more information please call George Overstreet at 863-670-5889 or Monti Sommer at 863-412-0039.

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Big Brothers Big Sisters - August 21, 2007

There is a lot of pride and sense of community in Polk County, with generations of families living and working here. But Polk County also has another distinction, with the third highest population in the state of children who have parents behind bars. Statistics show those children are 70% more likely to end up following in their parents footsteps. Big Brothers Big Sisters was fortunate to receive a $100,000 federal grant to reach those children in need, but time is running out. The grant deadline is September, and we’re still in search of adults who could mentor a child just a few hours a month. Not only are they making a difference in the life of a child, it is also a life-changing experience for the volunteer, too. And without those volunteers, Polk County will lose out on $100,000 of federal funds.

There are two main ways in which you can get involved:
o Community-based/Traditional Program – The volunteer meets with their Little Brother or Little Sister to share activities you both enjoy, on your own schedule. The best activities are low-cost or no-cost activities such as riding bikes, playing board games, baking cookies, walking, hiking, or going to a local ball game. We ask volunteers to meet with their Little at least three times a month.
o Bigs In Schools Program- The volunteer meets with their Little Brother or Little Sister weekly during the school day, on school grounds or at an after school center. You might hang out and shoot hoops, eat lunch in the cafeteria, read books in the media center, or review homework while sitting at picnic tables outside.
Enrolling is easy! Visit our secure website at and you can fill out an application, or feel free to mail the attached application to Big Brothers Big Sisters, 1231 E. Orange Street, Lakeland, FL 33801. Once that’s complete we’ll call you for an interview and complete your background check. During the interview, we’ll find out more about you, and you can let us know what age of child you would feel comfortable with, what activities you enjoy, etc. Then you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Big! If you have any questions or would like to schedule an information session for those who may be interested, please call Carol Zoffinger, 863.682.5191 ext. 109;

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Posted by Kristin Carlson

Back to School Bash - May 25, 2007

Community Impact Plan

Event /Project: Back To School Bash
Date: Saturday, July 28, 2007
Location: The Lakeland Center
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Family Fundamentals Contact: Shawna Butler
Success By 6 Contact: Jodi Tucker

Program Objective:
• 5,000 family members will participate in activities planned to stimulate school readiness skills including early literacy (pre-reading skills), fine motor (small muscle/pre-writing) and gross motor (large muscle) skills, math, science and creative arts.

• Approximately 1500 parents will observe and participate in school readiness activities that can be duplicated at home.

• Approximately 1500 parents will receive information regarding resources including but not limited to health and safety, parent education, consumer counseling, and family counseling.

• Approximately 3500 children will participate in activities that help them to enter school ready to succeed.

• Provide 3000 children with a backpack full of school supplies and a new pair of shoes, along with health care screenings (physicals, vision, speech, hearing and body mass index), and haircuts.

• 2000 family members will participate in activities planned to stimulate school readiness skills including early literacy (pre-reading skills), fine motor (small muscle/pre-writing) and gross motor (large muscle) skills, math, science and creative arts.

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Posted by Kristin Carlson

Volunteers needed for the Girl Scout Cookie Rally! - November 16, 2006

Get involved with the Girls Scouts Heart of Florida annual cookie
rally, being held Saturday, January 6, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. * 2:00 p.m.
at Without Walls Central Church (formerly Carpenters Home). This
theme of "Step It Up!" focuses on health and fitness. Girl Scouts
ranging in age from Brownies through high school will rotate through
workshops, spending 15-20 minutes at each station. Volunteers are
needed to lead 15 minute workshops on dance aerobics, healthy food
choice and nutrition information, outdoor games, and arts and crafts.
Want to help but aren't ready to lead a workshop? Volunteers are
to guide each group from workshop to workshop - and the guides get to
dress up as Girl Scout Cookies! To volunteer or for more information,
contact Toni Jones at 863.688.7648 x. 121.

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Posted by Kristin Carlson

VISTE Thanksgiving Meal Delivery - November 13, 2006

Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) will be delivering Thanksgiving meals to those in need on Wednesday, November 22. If you are interested in helping, please go to The Lakeland Center entrance #2 (NW side of building) at 1:00 p.m. to help pack the meals or at 3:00 p.m. if they would like to deliver. Volunteers may request a specific zip code to deliver and VISTE will accommodate as best as possible. If you have any questions please contact Alice O’Reilly at


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Posted by Kristin Carlson

Volunteers Needed for Polk Museum of Art Family Day Activities - August 22, 2006

Wheely Amazing Art is seeking volunteers for the Polk Museum of Art Family Day on September 16th. There are 2 sessions available for volunteers, 9am-12pm and 12pm-4pm. Wheely Amazing Art helps individuals with mental and physical disabilities to create art. Volunteers will be helping children at Family Day make art projects with the special equipment. For more information or to volunteer contact:
Rachelle Parady, Wheely Amazing Art Coordinator, Sunrise Community of Polk County, Inc
680-2817 ext. 33

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Posted by Kristin Carlson

Join EMERGE for Light the Night Walk - August 16, 2005

A message from Jenn Lyons of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:

Light The Night Walk is a beautiful community event The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society holds each year during Leukemia, Lymphoma & Myeloma Awareness Month. Light the Night Walk will be held Tuesday, September 27th at Munn Park in downtown Lakeland.

This event combines the fun of an outdoor festival in the park with food, live bands, a rock climbing wall and much more, and an opportunity to honor those in Central Florida that have been touched by blood cancer. It also is an opportunity for us to raise much needed funding for research and patient service programs.

Did you know that leukemia is still the leading cause of disease related death in children under the age of 20? And every 5 minutes another person is diagnosed with leukemia, Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma or myeloma. In this day and age, even with all the advances we have made in the last 20 years, those numbers are simply unacceptable!

The evening ends with a walk (less than 2 miles) in which everyone carries an illuminated balloon. Participants carry red balloons while patients carry a white balloon. It is truly a moving event that brings awareness to the community and makes a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.

We are looking for local organizations, business' and people who live in the community to come together and form teams that will commit to supporting our mission. We already have commitment from business' like Center for Cancer Care and Research, Webster University, YMCA of West Central Florida, and Geico to help us raise funds for a cure. Persons interested in more information or wanting to register for the Walk can contact Jenn Lyons at our office at 407-898-0733/1-800-785-0733 or by email at Or visit our website at With your help, for one night, hope won't just flicker, it will float!

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Posted by Josh Hallett

Emerge Member Becomes a Big Brother - July 20, 2005

After seeing the blog entry on May 26 about Big Brothers/ Big Sisters Emerge Member Kevin Terrell of SunTrust Banks was motivated to make a difference and become a Big Brother. Following is Kevin's experience as a big brother.

Thanks for printing the May 26 BLOG article asking for Big Brother/Big Sister volunteers. The article made me realize that I could be responsible for enriching someone else's life by giving up just a few hours of my time each week. I volunteered and within about a month, I met my little brother. Ty is an active 8 1/2 year old boy in need of a friend to do things with. Last weekend we attended a Big Brothers / Big Sisters picnic together and now we are making plans for this Saturday. Going into this, I knew that I would be giving my time, but I never dreamed of the joy and satisfaction that I would be receiving in return.

This really demonstrates how Emerge is making a difference in Lakeland. If you have an interest in making an impact in the life of a children in Polk County by volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, please contact Rebecca Gross Tieder at 863-682-5191 or via email at

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Posted by Michael Wiener

YMCA Par 3 - Home of The First Tee of Lakeland - July 6, 2005

As many of you are aware, there has been a tremendous transformation happen right before our eyes on George Jenkins Boulevard. You may have seen, or played at, the Par 3 golf course that was formerly located there. Though it sat vacant for a short period, it is now the YMCA Par 3 - Home of The First Tee of Lakeland, which celebrated their grand opening back in March 2005. This is a Lakeland community partnership that is bringing the game of golf to the youth of Lakeland with all backgrounds to teach honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. Many businesses and individuals in Lakeland made the project possible.

The facility consists of a newly renovated, nine-hole, par-3 golf course, a driving range and a clubhouse. The First Tee program offers "progressive levels of instruction," which include golf lessons and life skills for youth ages 6 to 18. Players participate in classes that last 6 weeks. Also available, are open practice sessions with instructors, classes that teach the fundamentals of golf at various levels, and nine-hole developmental tournaments (to learn rules and etiquette of tournament play in a relaxed environment). The greens fees, range fees, and golf club rentals are all offered at very reasonable rates. They also offer teen fun nights and individual youth lessons. Annual memberships are available that allow youth to participate in The First Tee golf instruction and Life Skills Clinics.

If you get the chance, stop by the YMCA Par 3 or take a child there to enjoy a round of golf. I think the Mission Statement of the First tee Program says it all: "To impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life enhancing values through the game of golf."

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Posted by Brian Altman

Guest Blogger: Terry Worthington - June 13, 2005

Next up in our 'Guest Blogger' series is Terry Worthington, President of the United Way of Central Florida.

Where have all the leaders gone?

The yellowed pages of the scrapbooks revealed many of the same faces that sit at the heads of the boardroom tables around Polk County a quarter of a century later. They were the faces of the people that chaired the Girls Cub wreath sale, Big Brother Big Sisters Gourmet Dinner or the Rotary Auction. They were young, and frankly, most were not as good looking in 1980 as they became in their forties, fifties and sixties.

Even the group of "senior" community leaders that created the United Way of Central Florida from the independent United Ways of Greater Lakeland, Greater Bartow and the Lake Region were mostly familiar faces. While the first chair of this newly formed organization, John McKnight, passed away several years ago, he was central to the recent creation of Lakeland Volunteers In Medicine. Bob Madden, another founding Board member serves on the Salvation Army Advisory Board and is a frequent advisor to the United Way. The American Cancer Society and United Way consider Jack Pines, who celebrates his 80th birthday this month, an individual uniquely capable of pulling together disparate county interests.

Just weeks ago the Publisher of the Winter Haven News Chief, Wayne Ezell, announced his acceptance of a position with a newspaper in Jacksonville. Wayne currently serves as Co-Chair of Polk Vision and was scheduled to be the United Way Campaign Chair in 2007. He serves on the Boards of The Polk Museum of Art, Winter Haven Chamber, United Way, Winter Haven Vision and in various other volunteer capacities, including key fundraising roles with Polk Community College. Who will assume Wayne's volunteer responsibilities?

Community Leadership requires no special talent. The prerequisites include caring about the quality of life for those who follow us.

Over 2000 nonprofit organizations have tax exempt status in Polk County. All require volunteer leadership in order to serve the community. Opportunities to lead are plentiful.

Might we find you in the "2005 scrapbook" as we prepare for anniversaries in 2030?

About Terry Worthington
Terry Worthington has served as President of the United Way of Central Florida since April of 1996. After working as a case manager with the Epilepsy Foundation, he began his United Way career in 1987 as a Campaign Associate with this United Way. In 1991, he moved to the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula as Associate Executive Director and then to the United Way of Middle Tennessee (Nashville) where he was Vice President of Resource Development. Terry graduated from Ohio University with both a Bachelors degree in Communications and a Masters degree in Education.

Terry currently serves as a board member of Polk Works and chairs the Resources Committee. He is also a board member of Polk Citizens for World Class Schools, the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland, United Way of Florida and chairs the Board Development Committee for the Polk Community College Corporate College. He has also served as a Commissioner with Volunteer Florida, the Governor's Commission on Community Service, since 1999.

Terry and his wife Marilyn are the parents of 21-year-old triplets, Chelsea and Katie are recent graduates from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and Ryan attends the University of Florida in Gainesville.

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Posted by Josh Hallett

Interested in Volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters? - May 26, 2005

Hundreds of children who would otherwise have a void in their lives are building meaningful relationships through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Think about those people who invested in you as a child. Maybe it was a neighbor, cousin or family friend. It was someone who listened to your dreams and encouraged you to reach for the stars! Big Brothers Big Sisters offers that to so many children, by seeking mentors for children who are simply in need of a friend. Someone who believes in their potential and can help lead them toward a bright future. It's not rocket science behind their principals, just a hundred years of success.

Justin Hollis is a Big Brother, and wanted to make a difference in the life of a child. At first, he thought he was too busy establishing himself professionally, but Big Brothers Big Sisters offers a simple program where he spends one hour a week with his Little Brother. They also have a need for office volunteers, or people to serve on event committees. If you have an interest in making an impact in the life of a children in Polk County by volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, please contact Rebecca Gross Tieder at 863-682-5191 or via email at

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Posted by Kim McKeel

ReCap of May Event- The Salvation Army - May 18, 2005

Last night, we had a nice group visit the Salvation Army Center of Hope facility. A tour of the facility was given and then EMERGE members participated in serving the clients of the Salvation Army dinner. There was great discussion and questions asked by our group and we learned some of the needs of the Salvation Army.

They include volunteers, the adoption of an aparment in their transitional living facility, and the donation of playground equipment that meets their safety requirements. With the adoption of a transitional living apartment, you would basically furnish it with linens, towels, kitchen utensils, pretty things to make it feel like home, and cooking “stuff” for the new families who come in. The families can live there for 2 years, and are able take everything with them when they leave to help them get set up on their own.

One of the highlights of the evening came when we had a personal testimony from one of our EMERGE members who has a cousin who is living in the Salvation Army’s transitional living center, and how the experience had really been a blessing. It was great to hear a firsthand account of the impact that the Salvation Army has had on our community.

I know the Salvation Army was very appreciative of our coming to learn more about their organization and interacting with their clients. Thanks to everyone who attended the event!

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Posted by Angie Register

Volunteers Needed for a L.I.F.T. - May 17, 2005

The Girl Scouts Heart of Florida Council are in need of volunteers for their L.I.F.T (Lifestyle Investments for Tomorrow) program. The program teaches life skills. Along with sessions from banking, finance, shopping, etc.

Program coordinator Monica Campbell is focusing on Health and Wellness. She is in need of personal trainers, dieticians, nutritionist, fitness gurus, etc. that can give a little time in the summer and again in the fall. Probably no more than 3 times a month and about 45min - 1 hour.

If you are interested you may contact her at (863) 688-7648 ext 104 or

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Posted by Josh Hallett

Mayfaire Volunteer Opportunity - April 26, 2005

Want to make a difference in your community? You have a unique opportunity to volunteer at Mayfaire by-the-Lake on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8, 2005.

On Mother's Day weekend, the Polk Museum of Art and VSA Arts combine our efforts to provide a variety of hands-on art activities which physically and emotionally challenged children and other elementary age children complete side-by-side.

Your 2 hour volunteer commitment is well worth the rich reward of providing these children with exciting creative experiences. To become a volunteer, call the PMOA education department at 688-7743, ext. 227 or 688-5423 before Friday, April 29.

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Posted by Josh Hallett

Polk Museum Event Today 5:30 p.m. - April 14, 2005

We are looking forward to seeing you tonight at the Polk Museum event. We are very excited about this one in terms of location, activities, and the music and food. It will be a great time, so please join us even if you have not RSVP'd!

Our next event, Cocktails with the Commodore, at the Lakeland Yacht and Country Club is free for members to attend, so we hope you can come to this one, too, on Tuesday April 26th at 5:30 p.m.

If you have any questions about any of our events, please e-mail anyone on the steering committee or post a comment. Thanks!

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Posted by Angie Register

Philanthropic Opportunities - April 6, 2005

As part of our Emerge mission, we hope that our members will become philanthropically active in organizations within our community. Many of you already sit on Boards of various agencies or volunteer with different groups.

If your group has an event or is in need of help, this is the place to post your information and requests. We encourage everyone to check the site for updates and to stay plugged in.

If we can be of assistance in any way with helping you learn more about various agencies and organizations, please post a comment or contact Cauney Boydston, our United Way staff member, who is part of our steering committee. She is one of our blog contributors and has access to a variety of organizations and events through her work with United Way.

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Posted by Angie Register

Welcome to the Emerge Website - April 5, 2005

As the Co-Chairs of Emerge, we would like to welcome you to the Emerge website. We are very excited to have the website officially up and running. The creation of a website was a key area of concern for us when we initially formed Emerge. We wanted our members and guests to have quick access to information concerning Emerge as well as a forum to communicate online with other Emerge members and guests.

We encourage you to visit the site frequently and participate and post your comments in the blog. And, please send the URL address to your friends and spread the word about Emerge Lakeland!

Angie and Kim

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Posted by Angie Register

*All blog posts and comments are the opinions of the blog author or comment poster and do not necessarily represent the views of EMERGE Lakeland.

P 863/688-8551 ext. 228