Published Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

With each new year comes goals, challenges, and successes. The last few years have been more challenging than ever, but we have persevered through the difficulties while managing consistent change, organizational and community illness and with devastation from Mother Nature along the way.

As we plunge into 2023, I am confident this will be a less eventful year — fingers crossed, of course. Either way, the Osceola Council on Aging (OCOA) will always overcome any given difficulties while reveling in our successes to continue to do what we do best: support seniors, disabled individuals, and families living in poverty in Osceola County.

With the New Year passing, I wanted to share a few upcoming events to support our ever-growing, and ever-changing, social service organization. So, make sure to ‘save the dates.’ First, and as a reminder, we look forward to seeing everyone (Finally!) at our 50th Gala Anniversary on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the BEV (officially known as the Barney E. Veal Center), at 700 Generation Point in Kissimmee. The highly anticipated event, rescheduled due to pandemic related concerns in early 2021 and Hurricane Ian last fall, will host more than 300 of Osceola County leaders and supporters for an evening of food, fun, and auctions.

A cocktail party will kick off the evening with a program presenting our amazing 50-year history; a dinner will follow with both live and silent auctions. We would like to again thank our presenting sponsors, IBEK, Goosehead Insurance and Toho Water Authority for their support.

Additional fundraising activities planned for early 2023 are the annual March for Meals Run/ Walk 5k, and our 2023 Golf Tournament, ‘Swing for All Generations.’

The 18th annual March for Meals run/walk event is scheduled for Saturday, March 11, at Kissimmee Lakefront Park, starting at 7:30 a.m. For sponsorship information, contact Wilda Belisle at 407-847-2144, or belislew@osceola-coa. com. Registration is open at https://runsignup.com/ Race/ FL/ Kissimmee/ March forMealsStPatricks 5kRunWalkpresented byKUA. Proceeds will help add more seniors (on waiting lists) to our Meals on Wheels program.

Unfortunately, the last ‘Swing for All Generations’ golf tournament we were able to hold was in 2019, as 2020 and 2021 tournaments were both cancelled due to the pandemic. Celebration Golf Club in Kissimmee will again host the 2023 event on Friday, April 28. With more than 30 teams competing in 2019, we expect an exponential increase in golfers this year, so ‘save the date’ for that second week in April and get your golf game ready. For more information on this event, contact Belinda Olivera, at oliverab@osceola-coa.com, or call 407-933-9534.

Every challenge builds mental and psychological resilience. I believe the resilience we have all shown over the past couple of years has made us mentally stronger, more sympathetic, and overall, more philanthropic. I believe we are humanely inclined to support one another, and those acts of kindness have been highly demonstrated by the Osceola community during the highs and lows of the past few years.

So, please mark your calendars for these exciting OCOA events, and let us all keep strength, resilience, momentous determination, and dedication at the forefront as we enter 2023, to make this the best year ever.

To see more guest columns by Wendy, go to https://osceolagenerations.org/councils-corner/