compiled by Lauren Salinero
Big Orange Awards take place next month
West Orange Chamber of Commerce will hold its 2018 Big Orange Awards on Jan. 26, 2018, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The evening celebrates the accomplishments and triumphs of some of the chamber’s most admired and inspirational members. It will include handcrafted hors d’oeuvres, gourmet fare, fine beverages and fabulous silent auction items, and the evening will conclude with the announcement of the 2017 Big & Small Business Members of the Year.
For more information, visit wochamber.com/chamber_events/the_big_orange_awards.
From destruction to art
A fallen giant live oak tree serves a new purpose as a centerpiece for a future park near Oakland Park’s amenity center.
A giant live oak tree that fell during Hurricane Irma in Oakland Park, a residential community in Winter Garden, was moved to the community’s future amenity center as a piece of natural art. The tree was beyond saving after the hurricane. It will be left in its natural state and will be a centerpiece for the future park near the amenity center, which is under construction and will be completed in early 2018.
Special Olympics Champions’ Gala
Jim Payne and Meredith McDonough of WESH 2 News co-host the Special Olympics Florida Champions’ Gala.
Special Olympics Florida held its annual Champions’ Gala, presented by Publix Supermarkets, at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. Jim Payne and Meredith McDonough, award-winning news anchors for WESH 2 News, hosted the event, which celebrated the organization’s 45th anniversary. Elite guests included Rep. Val Demings, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Orlando Magic player Aaron Gordon, and others. The event also included recognition of Special Olympics Florida’s most incredible athletes, coaches, volunteers and community partners from across the state while raising awareness and funds for its programs, which serve more than 41,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Guests also had the opportunity to meet and learn more about athletes from Florida who will be competing in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle next year.
For more information, visit www.specialolympicsflorida.org.
GKTW goes Over The Edge
In February 2018, Give Kids The World will give supporters a chance to “walk the walk” — 428 feet straight down — to raise money for its village.
As part of the Over The Edge fundraiser, 76 people will rappel down the side of the Hyatt Regency Orlando on International Drive. GKTW has partnered with Over The Edge, a Nova Scotia-based company, to make its most extreme
fundraiser ever happen.
Over The Edge has hosted similar events across the country, raising more than $50 million for nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Over The Edge will handle all technical and safety issues, and GKTW is responsible for attracting participants. Rappellers must raise at least $1,000, and the total number of climbers is capped at 76.
For more information or to register, visit gktw.org/overtheedge.
Harbor House gets state funding for three attorneys
Harbor House of Central Florida, Orange County’s only state-certified domestic violence organization, received state funding through VOCA (the Victims of Crime Act) to participate in the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Civil Injunction for Protection Project. The project funds three Florida Bar-licensed attorneys to provide free legal advice relating to, and free legal representation in, civil IFP proceedings to individuals referred by Harbor House and other community agencies. The attorneys are available to speak with eligible individuals about how Florida laws provide for domestic, dating and sexual violence and stalking civil injunctions, which may protect them from being hurt or harassed.
For more information, visit www.harborhousefl.com.
Executives Sleep Out to stand with homeless youth
More than 100 executives spend a night sleeping outside for Sleep Out: Executive Edition.
Orlando City Soccer Club co-sponsored more than 100 executives for Sleep Out: Executive Edition, a one-night event, during which participants slept outside to experience the impact of homelessness and stand in solidarity with homeless youth. The annual event raised funds for the Covenant House Florida, a nonprofit organization that serves runaways, homeless and at-risk youth ages 18-21, including teen parents and their babies.
Sleep Out is a nationwide initiative that takes place across the U.S. and Canada at 19 Covenant House shelters. It also coincides with National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month.
For more information, visit orlando.thesleepout.org.
West Orange Chamber of Commerce members celebrate the opening of Best Cleaners.
West Orange Chamber of Commerce representatives held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Best Cleaners in Dr. Phillips. WOCC builds partnerships, strong businesses and commitment to the community by serving as the leading business advocate in Central Florida, facilitating opportunity to nearly 1,000 member businesses. For more information about WOCC, call 407-656-1304 or visit
Orange City Racing and Card Club, “Orlando’s Closest Poker Room,” now features all-new Texas hold’em tournaments.
The owners of Orange City Racing and Card Club, located at 822-4 Saxon Blvd. in Orange City, invite guests to join them this holiday season. The club is now featuring Vegas-style poker games and all-new Texas hold’em tournaments. The club will close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and reopen at 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 26. Regular hours are Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and 10 a.m. on Friday to 4 a.m. on Monday. The club is also offering special holiday cocktails, treats and craft beers. For more information, call 386-252-6484 or visit www.orangecitypoker.com.♥