Community Update

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.

All submissions will be included in this online listing and if time permits they will be featured in on-air announcements.

Walk Alachua County
Saturdays from Jan. 7 – March 11; 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Santa Fe College Track

THe UF Diabetes Institute is hosting the free program consisting of a 10 free wellness walks. Each one includes a Zumba warmup and a yoga cool down. Food and drinks will be provided. More information available at 352-273-8279.

Free Income Tax Preparation
Feb. 1 – April 18

Free income tax preparation provided by IRS-certified AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers from Feb. 1 through April 18 t local libraries, the Alachua County Senior Recreation Center and the Celebration United Methodist Church in Gainesville, for people with low to moderate income, especially those 50 or older. Schedule a visit online at

The Reconstruction Era
Feb. 24-25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dudley Farm

Reconstruction played out against an economy in ruin. The South was transformed from an elite minority of landed gentry slaveholders into a tenant farming agriculture system. This event is a living history recreation by re-enactors such as cow hunters, blacksmiths, cooper/barrel maker, store keeper, women of the house, northern school teacher, musicians. Take time to talk to those who have stepped back in time to bring this period of history alive. More information at

Have A Heart for Companion Animals Fundraiser
Feb. 24; 5 p.m.
American Legion Hall 699
Lake Lake

The Johnny Mello Show and Dance will benefit Have A Heart for Companion Animals, a non-profit animal concern information and referral service. More information at 352-687-1776

Art Bash 2017
Feb. 24, 5 – 9 p.m.
UF Fine Arts Complex
1370 Inner Road

The UF School of Art and Art History will host a behind the scenes tour. The studios will feature drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, design printmaking, photography, videography, art history, art education and museum studies. More information at or 352-392-0210.

Chimera Fest
Feb. 24-26
Downtown Gainesville

The festival features derby racing, music and family-friendly activities brought to you by Heartwood Soundstage, Menagerie in Motion, Future Music Makers and Active Streets Alliance. More information at 912-717-1044.

Alachua Audubon Backyard Birding Tour
Feb. 25, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Explore six of Gainesville’s premier backyard birding habitats on a self-guided tour and learn how to attract wildlife to your own garden. Be eligible for a raffle to win a set of Vortex 8×42 Diamondback Binoculars. Tickets are available at Wild Birds Unlimited, 4121 NW 16th Boulevard, next to The Flying Biscuit, or at any tour stop on the day of the event. Call Alan at 352-317-0089 for more information.

Splendor: Let the Good Times Roll
Feb. 26, 5 p.m.
Nadine McGuire Theatre & Dance Pavilion
UF Campus, Gainesville

Presented by the UF Friends of Theatre & Dance and the UF Friends of Music to support scholarships and other programs. Tickets and information available at

Potato Pancake Supper Benefit
Feb. 28, 4 – 7 p.m.

Peace Lutheran Church will host their 26th Annual Potato Pancake Supper featuring potato or buttermilk pancakes, ham, applesauce, dessert and beverage. The church is located for miles north of Dunnellon at 7201 US 41 South. More information available at

Love and Solidarity film screening with Q&A with Michael Honey
Feb. 28, 7 p.m.
Pugh Hall, UF

The file explores love and solidarity through the life of Reverend James Lawson, an African American Methodist minister who worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. to initiate civil rights struggles in the 1960s South. Michael Honey is an acclaimed labor and civil rights historian. The event is sponsored by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and the Black Graduate Student Organization. Parking is free.

Plowing Up the Past
March 3-4
Dudley Farm

This event will feature demonstrations on how fields are plowed for spring plantings. There will also be a display of antique tractors and farm equipment from the 1930s and 40s. More information available at

Great American Cleanup
March 4, 8 a.m. – Noon
Westside Park

The 2017 Great American Cleanup will be held at Albert “Ray” Massey (Westside) Park, 1001 NW 34th St., Gainesville, FL, 32605 from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 4. Volunteers are needed for litter pickup, planting and painting projects. Pre-register at or show up at 8 a.m. Supplies can be picked up in advance at 211 SW 4th Ave., Suite 1. Sponsored by Keep Alachua County Beautiful, event will include a tire roundup and free confidential paper recycling.

Benefit Dinner and Matinee Theater
March 4-5
Gainesville Woman’s Club

The event will benefit renovations for the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs park located at NE 31st Ave. More information is available at

ARTSPEAKS: Young Voices Teen Poetry Showcase
March 5, 5 p.m.
Thomas Center

Calling all students who are interested in poetry. To participate contact Nicole Harris at 352-792-9611 or by March 1.

8th Annual Run Amuck with the Duck 5K Run/Walk
March 4, 8 a.m.
North Florida Regional Hospital Medical Center Duck Pond

This family and pet friendly event will benefit the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. Register on-line at

Spring Festival and Vendor Fair
March 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sidney Lanier Center School
312 NW 16th Ave.

This is a free, fun and informational event for children with disabilities and their families will feature information from numerous community groups and businesses.There will be music, snacks, arts and crafts, face painting, door prizes and more. Information at 352-322-0441.

St. Johns Chapter of the Catholic Writers Guild Monthly Meeting
March 11, 10 a.m.
The Father Feliz Varela Center

The monthly meeting is open to aspiring writers, poets, composers, musicians and other artists. The Center is located at 5110 Lourcey Road.

Run for Haven 5K
March 11, 4:30 p.m.
Tioga Town Center

The eighth annual 5K will benefit Haven Hospice unreimbursed programs and services in Gainesville. More information available at 352-271-4665 or

Suwannee Valley Quilt Festival
March 18, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The eleventh annual Suwannee Valley Quilt Festival, Florida’s only outdoor quilt show and sale, will be will be festooned with quilts flying from shops, businesses and government buildings up and down Main Street and beyond. Trenton is located 20 miles west of Gainesville. More information available on Facebook, online at, or the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe, (352) 463-3842.

WiSE Girlz Camp
March 20-24
University of Florida

The Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) group at UF hosting it’s third annual spring break camp for girls in grades 6 and 7. During the week-long camp, participants will have the opportunity to learn about current research and science at UF, participate in hands-on experiments lead by experts and meet and work with women and girls with a passion for exploring and understanding the world around us. More information at

Environmental Horticulture Graduate Student Association Spring Plant Sale
March 25-26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
UF Greenhouses

The plant sale will feature coleus and other plants donated by Florida nurseries. Proceeds benefit student programs. Google “UF Greenhouses” for exact location.

9th Annual Newberry Spring Festival
March 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Downtown Newberry along Seaboard Drive

The annual festival will feature food, arts, crafts, plants and kids activities. More information available at 352-472-2112.

Making the Blind Visible Awareness Event
March 25, 10 a.m .to 3 p.m.
Citizen’s Circle
Downtown Ocala

Guests will enjoy interactive and simulation activities to gain insight and understanding for the challenges faced by individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Attendees will wear blindfolds or simulation goggles while participating in the bounce house obstacle course, traditional carnival games, sensory wall, hands-on activities and more. The free community event will be at 110 SE Watula Ave. More information available at 352-873-4700 or online at

352Creates Pop-Up Art Event
March 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Depot Park

Depot Park will be the site for a celebration of art, health and community. More information available at 352Creates on Facebook or at

The Year of Cross Creek: Talking About Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ Life and Writings
March 29, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Alachua Headquarters Library

Valerie Rivers, Park Manager at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, will lead a discussion about Rawlings’ writings. The event is located at 401 E. University Ave. More information available at 352-334-3900.

Book Drive for People Helping People (PHP)
Through March 31
Unitarian Universalist Church
Weeki Wachee

Donations of regular and reference books will be given to PHP constituents who are learning business communication and computer software skills. More information available at 352-600-9555.

3rd Annual A Taste for Music
April 1, 6 to 10 p.m.
Best Western Gateway Grand

The Buchholz High School Band Program will be the beneficiary of this dinner, dance and silent auction. More information available at

2nd Annual Run the Good Race 5K Walk/Run and 10K Run
April 8, 8 a.m.
North Florida Regional Medical Center Cancer Center

The chip-timed race to generate awareness and support for the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis starts and finishes at the Cancer Center. The event is hosted by Dr. Peter and Dr. Kathy Sarantos and WorldHelp. More information is available at

Super Scout Science Saturday
April 8, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Cade Museum of for Creativity + Invention

Explore the Cade Creativity and Fab Labs in collaboration with the UF Women in Electrical and Computer Information. There will be 16 hands-on projects including lasers, virtual reality, 3D printing and more. The Museum is located at 904 South Main Street. To register call 352-371-8001.

Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence

The Uf Center studies pain and aging, chronic pain risk factors, pain and the brain, musculoskeletal pain, pain and exercise and non-medical treatment of pain. More information available at 352-273-5967 or

Borgen Project Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

Over the past 20-years, the number of people who are malnourished has been reduced by 50 percent… And more children are in school today than at any time period in history. Global poverty can seem daunting, but success in alleviating suffering is occurring across the globe. To learn how you can volunteer at The Borgen Project and take action locally to help our global community, visit

Free Yoga at Healthstreet
Monday, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
2401 SW Archer Road

Free stress relieving classes will be taught by Janke. More information available on this and other programs at 352-294-4880.

Volunteers Needed for AARP Foundation Tax-Aide in Alachua County
Volunteer through Dec.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide seeks Alachua County volunteers who want to help others in our community from Feb. 1 through April 18, 2017. A service of the AARP Foundation in conjunction with the IRS, Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax help and e-filing resource. Tax-Aide serves low to moderate income taxpayers. Training is provided. More information available at 352-665-0607.

Cowling on Cancer:
Patients and Families share their stories

On his blog Here’s a Story Just for You at, Florida author and actor Jerry Cowling has posted his experiences and feelings during his late wife Janet’s battle against breast cancer. He also tells of his journey through his grief process after her death. Now Cowling has opened his Cancer Chronicles to contributions from cancer patients and family members to share their own stories. Each contribution should be no more than three or four paragraphs. He encourages multiple submissions on the various aspects of the cancer experience. Send submissions to Cancer Chronicles posts are made on Wednesdays.

Chronic Pain Association

Chronic pain is a pain that never goes away. If you have it, you know that often doctors and medicine can’t full help. The American Chronic Pain Association can teach you how through small group meetings. Learn to deal with your pain in a positive way. Call the Alachua County Chapter of the American Chronic Pain Association at 352/213-1600.

Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory Needs Participants

The Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory at UF is conducting a research study on blood vessel health in individuals with type 2 diabetes and the effects of supervised exercise training. It is currently seeking study participants ages 30 to 79 with type 2 diabetes as well as healthy participants who do not exercise regularly.

Alachua County Library District’s Adult Literacy Program Needs Volunteers

Many adults struggle with reading. These individuals have keen compensation strategies, amazing memory skills and are highly intelligent. The program is seeking volunteers to work with these adults. There are various levels of time and service commitments. For more information, visit

Tourism Institute Study Needs Participants

The UF Eric Friedhelm Tourism Institute is looking for volunteers for a study measuring the impacts of online advertising on viewer’s attention, emotion, and memory using a mobile eye-tracker and an arousal sensor. To qualify you mus be between the ages of 18-60 years old and have normal vision or be able to wear contact lenses (no glasses). Participant will receive an Amazon gift card after completing the test. For more information contact Lauren at

Ronald McDonald House Needs Volunteers

The Ronald McDonald House in Gainesville serves 31 families, keeping them close to their sick children receiving critical medical care. The House is always full, and it’s single maintenance manager could use a little help. If you are handy and can spare two hours each week to help with routine maintenance tasks please contact Dorie Faulkner at 352-374-4404, extension 224.

Mentors needed for Take Stock in Children Program
The Education Foundation of Alachua County

Take Stock in Children pairs good students who have the odds stacked against them with mentors who provide support, encouragement, and the guidance they need to succeed in school. Mentors will meet with their student once a week at a convenient time such as their lunch hour. More information available at or call 352-955-7242.

Indoor Gardening Sessions for Cancer Patients
Ongoing Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
UF Wilmot Gardens Greenhouse

The Gainesville Chapter of the Climb for Cancer Foundation is sponsoring weekly indoor gardening sessions for community members who have been or are being treated for any form of cancer. Free parking is available and individuals are welcome to bring a friend or caregiver. More information is available from Deborah at 352-294-5992.

Hernando Youth Orchestra Rehearsals
Ongoing Sundays from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Heather Community Center
Weeki Wachee

Children ages 5 to 21 can learn to play an instrument, and learn music theory and site reading. Sessions will be held at The Heather Community Center, 9100 Nakoma Way in Weeki Wachee. The event is free and open to the public. More information available at

Citizens for an Engaged Electorate Meetings
First Thursday of each month, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Citizens for an Engaged Electorate is a group of progressive individuals dedicated to building a functioning democratic republic. The meetings are open to the public and are held at Melanie’s Restaurant, 124 E. Noble Street in Williston. More information is available from Barbara Byran at 352-465-8461.

Cooking Oil Recycling
Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection

The Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection Program will recycle used peanut, corn, canola or olive oil into biodiesel fuel. The biodiesel is combined with standard diesel and used to power County fleet vehicles and a biofuel electrical generator. Oil should be cool, and placed in a metal or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. The oil cannot mix will other fluids such as water, petroleum products or soaps. The collection center is located at 5125 NE 63rd Ave. in Gainesville. More information on hours or operation and other rural collection centers at 352-334-0440.

Free English Classes
Millhopper Branch Library

Free adult English classes are available to newcomers to Alachua County. More information available 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.

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.