Free Summer Resources & Activities

July 2, 2015

Free-Summer-Education-Resources-and-Activities

Summer is officially here. With school over, you may no longer deal with scrambling for last minute school supplies or homework assignments. Instead, you may face the dreaded, “Mom, I’m bored!”

Don’t panic! With some planning and creativity, you can come up with fun ideas your kids can do (and you can participate too!) to keep them interested and happy.

At-home Activities

  • Host a read-in party: Invite your child’s friends over for a book reading. Set out cushions, some snacks and encourage the kids to read their favorite books and talk with each other about why they like them.
  • Have your kids produce their own movie: Kids today are amazingly tech savvy and with free apps like Action Movie FX and Stop Motion Studio, your own cell phone can become a professional film camera. Let them take video running outside, playing with the dog or chronicle daily life in your household. Let them edit and add sound effects, then have a screening party for the family.
  • Have a box challenge: Pick up boxes from a grocery store or big-box retailer. Challenge your kids to come up with the most original creation. You’ll be amazed how much your kids will be entertained designing cars, houses and forts!
  • Prep the next generation of chefs: Encourage your child to pick an easy recipe that sounds appealing. Go the grocery store to pick out ingredients and then prepare it together.
  • Coach your mad scientist: Heart of Florida United Way’s Pinterest is full of great ideas for at-home science experiments for kids. From creating a lava lamp to watching butterflies, there are tons of ideas to keep your child entertained (and trick her into learning!)

Free Community Activities

  • Library: The library is a great resource not only for free books, movies and music, but also for great year-round activities. Area libraries often host author visits, sing-alongs, art classes and more! Check out the Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties library pages.
  • Parks: Check out local parks for playgrounds, events, hiking trails and splash pads for free fun.
  • Outdoor movies: Central Florida is full of free outdoor movies. Check out the listings for upcoming showings near you.

The Best Blogs for Activities and Ideas

There a vast amount of blogs out there that have fantastic ideas. Here are some of our favorites:

Heart of Florida United Way believes education, both in and out of the classroom, is a lifelong experience and the most influential factor in ensuring a child will grow up to succeed.  For more information about how Heart of Florida United Way invests in education, visit www.hfuw.org.

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United Way at Work: Osceola Council on Aging

May 19, 2015

Osecola Council on AgingThere’s a stunning portrait in the office of Bev Houghland, CEO of the Osceola Council on Aging. It is a wedding portrait of a lovely couple, stored in an old-fashioned frame and displayed in a place of prominence. When asked about it, Bev smiles. That portrait is a personal reminder to Bev of how important the work of the Council is.

During Bev’s first week of work at the organization as a new case manager, she received a call from the police. A woman had been found who had no idea how to get home. The woman, whose name was Opal, had advancing Alzheimer’s. When she met Bev, she burst into tears and begged Bev not to send her to a home. She had grown up in an orphanage and was terribly afraid of losing a home again.

Bev went to great efforts to care for Opal and keep her in her own home; for fourteen years until Opal’s death, Bev succeeded. She made sure Opal had groceries and regular check-ins and left notes throughout Opal’s home to remind her that she had someone to call if she needed help. When Opal was lucid, she worried to Bev what would happen to her wedding portrait when she died; Bev promised her she would take it and treasure it. It has been in Bev’s office ever since, a constant reminder of the people Bev and the rest of the staff at Osceola Council on Aging serve each and every day.

Originating as a home delivery meal service, the Osceola Council on Aging served 25 Osceola County elders with the goal of helping them stay in their own homes. Today, over 77,000 meals are delivered to homebound elderly and disabled adults. They also collected over 900,000 pounds of food in 2014 to be distributed to local food pantries. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to staff the United Way-funded food bank and Meals on Wheels programs, delivering food year round.

The Council’s Dining Club is a meal service that provides hot meals to seniors and disabled adults at community centers. While proper nutrition is a huge help, social and entertainment activities are also offered for the attendees’ enrichment. The Council also has an award-winning Meals on Wheels program, providing low income elders and disabled adults with nutritious food and daily visits to check their well-being and report back to the Council.

The holidays are especially important for the Council and its volunteers. So many of the elderly are alone on the holidays, so the Council makes sure they feel noticed and appreciated on these special days. For Mother’s Day, Council volunteers went out to deliver not just good food, but flowers and gifts as well. The Council is always in need of volunteers to join this initiative and they encourage whole families to come out to serve.

For more information about the Osceola Council Aging or how to volunteer, visit www.OsceolaGenerations.org.


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