Community Update

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United Nations Day Luncheon
Oct. 23, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Paramount Plaza Hotel

A luncheon keynote speaker Laura Giroux, the national UNA-USA membership director, will speak on “From Millennium Development Goals to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” More details available at 352-376-4833.

Family Halloween Party
Oct. 24, 6 to 9 p.m.
Putnam County Headquarters Library

The Putnam Library System and Parks and Recreation Department are partnering for a party featuring a costume contest, a photo booth, Halloween story time and trick-or-treating. The event will be at 601 College Road in Palatka. More info at 386-329-0126.

Share the Road Celebration of Cycling
Oct. 24-25

Bike Florida and the Florida Bicycle Association co-host the two-day event featuring information and public safety programs, a Friday night "cycling social," and a Saturday night annual banquet for cycling enthusiasts, public policy makers, business people and other who want to learn more about the utility, economics and fun of cycling. Registration and other information available at

Madness and Mayhem 3: Evil Residence
Oct. 24,25,31, 7:30 to 10 p.m.
120 NW 2nd Ave.
High Springs

This year’s theme is based on an evil residence being offered for sale by a local realtor, transforming the newly renovated old school house, next to the police station, into a realtor’s nightmare. After the sun goes down, “open houses” will be held where “realtor guides” will offer heart stopping tours of the residence to unsuspecting home buyers. The event is a benefit for the High Springs Historical Society, Irish Water Dogs Warrior Program, Our Santa Fe River and Plenty of Pitbulls. More details available at

Drool and Ghoul Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest and Pool Party
Oct. 25, noon to 2 p.m.
Westside Pool

The pool and splash pad will be open to dogs and there will be a costume contest, photos with your pet(s), vendors and dog baths. Admission is $5 or a 7 lb. + bad of dog food. All proceeds benefit local animal charities. For more information go to

10th Annual Bat Festival
Oct. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lubee Bat Conservancy
1309 NW 192nd Ave.

The Lubee Bat Conservancy will present the 10th Annual Florida Bat Festival on Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1309 NW 192nd Ave. in Gainesville. This fun, family festival will feature games, activities, live music, food, merchants and a chance to see more than 200 fruit bats. More information at or

Pride Festival
Oct. 25, 1 to 9 p.m.
Bo Diddley Community Plaza
Downtown Gainesville

The annual Pride Festival will feature dozens of musical acts and vendors on the plaza. A kids activity area will also be available. The event is free and open to the public and part of the week-long Pride Days 2014 from Oct. 17-26. More information available

Dining in the Dark with Dignity
Oct. 25, 5:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn & Conference Center

The Florida Center for the Blind will host a total darkness dining experience for guests to experience the everyday challenges faced by the blind and visually impaired. SWAT teams from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocala Police Department will serve meals using night vision goggles. More information availablat 352-873-4700 or

Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale
Oct. 25-29
430-B M. Main St.

More than 500,000 items in more than 60 catefories will be available for purchase including hardback, paperback and large print books. The collection includes a vast array of genres. Proceeds from the event help to purchase library materials, programs at library branches throughout the county for children and adults, scholarships for library staff and special land purchases and library remodeling projects. More information available at 352-375-1676 or

Bodacious Handbag Bingo
Oct. 30
Gainesville Woman’s Club

The Gainesville Woman’s Club is hosting this benefit event for Guardian Angels Medical Dogs located in Williston, Canine Companions and other local dog welfare programs. The event includes handbag prizes for bingo game winners donated from local merchants. There will be food and other activities. More information available at 352-376-3901.

Have A Heart Fundraiser
Nov. 15, 5 to 9 p.m.
La Hacienda Recreation Center
The Villages

The event includes performances by local musical groups, dancing and a pizza buffet. Proceeds benefit Have a Heart for Companion Animals. More information available at 352-687-1776.

Gainesville Area Rowing Wine Tasting Benefit
Nov. 15, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
The Perfect Gift in Haile Village Center

A benefit wine tasting will benefit Gainesville Area Rowing at 5202 SW 91st Terrace. More information available at 352-375-8000.

Fourth Annual Women’s Leadership Council Holiday Fundraising Luncheon
Nov. 20, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Gainesville Country Club

Holiday merchandise will be available from local vendors and 20 percent of the proceeds will benefit United Way of North Central Florida. Luncheon attendees are requested to P bring a new or gently read book for children and help us fill the Book Nook shelves. More information available from Britt Pearson at

Written and Spoken Language Study
UF Aphasia and Bilingualism Lab

The Aphasia and Bilingualism lab is currently recruiting healthy adults age 50 to 80 for a study on written and spoken language. Participants should have English as a primary language and have normal or corrected vision and/or hearing. More information available at or 352-273-3715.

UF Environmental Horticulture Gardening Study

The University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department is seeking healthy women between the ages of 30-45 without gardening experience. Volunteers will undergo an MRI and participate in gardening session over an eight week period. For more information contact Christy at 352-273-4576.

AYA Needs Host Families for Students

The Academic Year in America program matches students from more than 40 countries with an American host family for a semester or academic year. Families can choose their student and must provide room and board. More information available at or 352-237-3966.

AARP Tax-Aide Volunteers Needed
Apply through November 2014

Volunteer as an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Technology Specialist. Want to do something meaningful and fun? AARP Foundation Tax-Aide needs a Technology Specialist to coordinate technology related issues in northern and central Florida counties. Visit to register online, or call Rebecca Bachman, State Coordinator at 352-212-7188.

Alachua County Wage Recovery Ordinance

The Alachua County Wage Recovery Ordinance began on January 1, 2014. The ordinance provides Alachua County employees a method for collecting unpaid or underpaid wages. For details on the ordinance or how to file a wage theft complaint call the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at (352) 374-5275.

Institute for Workforce Innovation

The Institute for Workforce Innovation (IWI) is dedicated to improving the communities’ quality of life through education, employment and advocacy. For more information or to volunteer call 352-225-3307 or online at

Savvy Caregiver Training
Elder Options
100 NW 75th St., Suite 30

Elder Options in conjunction with the State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs offers free six week training programs designed for family caregivers who assist persons with Alzheimer’s and or dementia. More information available at 352-378-6649.

Operation PetSnip

Spay and neuter pet services available for qualifying low-income Alachua County and surrounding rural county residents. The cost of surgery, pain medication and anesthesia for pets spayed or neutered is covered. More information available from No More Homeless Pets’ Operation Petsnip at

The Salvation Army Thrift Store

The Salvation Army thrift stores are funded by generous donations of material goods. The stores accept gently used merchandise to be refurbished and resold. The Gainesville store is located at 55 NW 23rd Ave. More information on hours of operation available at 352-373-7597 or

Children’s Home Society Adoption Program

There is a significant need to find adoptive homes for children in the foster care system. Currently there are many children wanting and wishing to find a home to call their own. More information available 352-334-0955.

Gone 4 Ever Shredding
The Arc of Alachua County is a local not for profit that provides employment services to adults with developmental disabilities through several small business it has created. One of its businesses, Gone 4 Ever shredding, offers a free paper shredding service to all residents of Alachua County every Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at its main location at 3303 NW 83rd Street. Gone 4 Ever shredding hold a AAA certification in document destruction so all paper is safely and securely destroyed. For more information please call 352-334-4060 ext. 132 or visit

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve- Supporting our Nation’s Service Members

Today, nearly half our nation’s fighting forces are members of the Guard and Reserve. When they are called is called to active duty, they leave behind a family, a community, and a job. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, honors and products the bond between service members and their civilian employers. Whether serving our country or supporting those who do, we all serve. To learning more about ESGR, call 1-800-336-4590, or

The Family Mealtime Project

This spring research at the University of Florida will conduct a research study to learn about families and their interactions during mealtimes. The Family Mealtime Project is available to two-parent families who live within 20 miles of Gainesville and have a child between the ages of 2 and 6. The study consists of three, 45 minute sessions in families’ home in which families will complete questionnaires and two video recordings of their mealtimes. Families will be compensated at the completion of the study. Families interested in participating or who have questions should call the Family Mealtime Project office toll free at 1-866-673-9623.

“Kidney Smart” Education Program

The “Kidney Smart” program educates and partners with people to take control of their health and helps them develop a plan to live a healthy life. The program features medication, diet and nutrition information, stresses the importance of choosing a heath care team, provides continuing education and treatment options. More information available at

Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc. Hosts Meal Site
Open every Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc. hosts a meal site at the Bronson Community Church located on Hathaway Ave. in Bronson, FL. The meal site serves seniors age 60 or older. Meals are served at noon. There is no cost, but donations are welcomed. For more information, call 352-490-7055 x1.

Ronald McDonald House Charities NCF Seeks Long-Term Volunteers

Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, a non-profit organization in Gainesville that assists families with children being treated at local medical facilities, is looking for long-term volunteers to serve as hosts for its two core programs: Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room at Shands Hospital for Children. For more information, visit or call Dorie Faulkner, Volunteer Coordinator at 352-374-4404 ext. 224.

Visiting Chef Program, Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, a non-profit organization in Gainesville that assists families with children being treated at local medical facilities, seeks volunteer groups or families to provide a full-course dinner or weekend-breakfast for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Gainesville. Chefs may come equipped with ingredients to serve approximately 50 people and cook in a spacious, well-stocked kitchen or they may cater a meal from a local restaurant. Meals are served 7 days a week, including holidays. For more information, contact Judy Bates at or call 352-374-4404 ext. 299.

The Kindness Cookie Company

In partnership with The Arc of Alachua County, the Kindness Cookie Company bakes homemade cookies with our messages of kindness, gratitude and inspiration inside. In the spirit of these messages, Kindness for Cookies also seeks to raise awareness of the unique gifts of individuals with developmental disabilities and how they can teach us to live with greater compassion, acceptance and presence. The Kindness Cookie Company can bake for any event, or custom orders and gifts. For more information, contact Susan Thiele, founder, at 352-256-8084 or email at, you can also visit the website at

In the U.S., 19 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant—most of them for kidneys. has become the most successful nonprofit organization improving those odds by finding living altruistic donors for patients who desperately need transplants. Visit and meet some extraordinary people.

Help a Kid Start a Lemonade Stand

The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., is urging parents to teach their children lessons about entrepreneurship and responsibility by helping them start a lemonade stand. They provide free classroom curriculum and other resources to enable students to learn first-hand about the risks and rewards of operating a small business. This curriculum can be found at To learn more about the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation, visit

Red Carpet Customer Service Training Program

This program, launched by FloridaWorks in partnership with Santa Fe College, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Gainesville, has a goal of training 3,000 people in customer service. Each participant earns a certificate from Santa Fe College after completing the 3-hour course. To register, contact Santa Fe CIED at 352-395-5053. To become a community sponsor, contact the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce at 352-334-7100.

Adoption from Foster Care

There are currently more than 107,000 children available for adoption in the U.S. Foster Care System. The Adoption from Foster Care campaign encourages potential parents to adopt and aims to increase the number of potential families inquiring about adoption. You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.

Veterans Outreach Program, Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation wants to help men and women who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries or TBIs, which are a common form of injury that can lead to seizures and epilepsy in some cases. Symptoms can include confusion, momentary black-outs and uncontrollable shaking or twitching. For more information about the foundation’s Veterans Outreach Program and other services, visit or call 1-800-332-1000.

Three Rivers Legal Services

Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. is a local, non-profit corporation that provides free, quality civil legal services to low-income, eligible clients in seventeen counties throughout North Florida. Three Rivers is now providing representation to eligible clients who live in Alachua, Levy, Gilchrist, Bradford or Union County for family law cases, regardless of domestic violence. For more information, call the Legal Helpline at 866-256-8091.

To have your event included on Community Update, please send all relevant information to:
Sue Wagner
Community Update
P.O. Box 118405
Gainesville, FL 32611-8405
The e-mail address is, with the words “Community Update” in the subject line.
The Community Update fax number is 352-392-5741. All submissions must be made on organization letterhead at least two weeks prior to the event.

Please include only the basic facts:
who, what, where, when and why and a phone number or website address for more information.

Please note that not all submissions will be on-air due to time limitations.
All submissions will be included in this online listing.

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