Happy New Year from the Osceola Council on Aging! As we look forward to a prosperous, healthy and if lucky, COVIDdecreased 2022 (though unlikely with the omicron uptick), I am beyond grateful to be at the helm of one of the best social service organizations in the state of Florida. As L ance Robertson, former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging, and Administrator for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) said, the OCOA is “one of the best agencies in the State of Florida,” and noted, after a tour of our Kissimmee facility, he was “deeply impressed with the work we do on a daily basis for our service recipients.” That’s an accolade from the former Secretary in which I wholeheartedly agree.

Though as most individuals in leadership roles will often say, the leader is only as good as the team working beside them. Accordingly, I, along with my team, have the wherewithal to exponentially excel due to the many members of our community who work alongside our organization; county and city leaders, elected officials, local businesses and volunteers working countless hours to make sure our seniors, the disabled, and disadvantaged families of our community receive the essential services they need.

As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” an African proverb which means an entire community of people must interact with children to grow in a safe and healthy environment. This statement holds true for the OCOA. The Council could not succeed with such precision without our community partners and the wonderful ‘village’ in which we work and reside. As we venture into 2022, we want to better communicate those successes to our community residents, members, and partners, while also communicating when additional community support is needed to meet our mission.

To stay in touch with the Osceola community, we are now offering a Generations ‘Monthly News & Updates’ Newsletter for better outreach on current events and happenings. Newsletter information will include articles from health and safety strategies to diet and medical tips, substantive columns covering OCOA assistance programs and social initiatives, as well as needed contributions and critical donations. The goal is to keep everyone informed as to what the Council is doing and what the community can do in supporting our efforts. As an example, we are in a constant need for volunteers to help support programs as well as drivers for Meals on Wheels and transportation services. The Council is also looking to hire both full and part-time positions including home health aides, certified nursing assistants and bus drivers for senior transport.

Our Generation Newsletter will also provide sponsorship opportunities for businesses wanting to promote and/or advertise their services. To learn more, contact Belinda Olivera at 407-933-9534, or oliverab@osceola-coa.com. For those simply wanting to sign up to receive the newsletter, go to https://osceolagenerations.org/newsletter-sign-up/.

To wrap up to this first column of 2022, I want close by saying a sincere thank-you to the Osceola News-Gazette for their support of the OCOA’s mission in spreading our work through this monthly guest column; another community partner we are thrilled to have. I also want to add that I am personally fortunate to not only be a part of this organization, but to witness the blessings and often unnoticed miracles which occur daily, both within the walls of the Council and across the Osceola community. Without those miraculous blessings and the philanthropic work of the myriad of individuals of Osceola County, the Council could not have attained the success we have achieved.

Consistently, countless community members and businesses reach out asking how they can help ensure our neighbors are cared for. Those requests are immeasurable blessings within themselves. I thank everyone for your efforts of 2021 and thank-you in advance for your future deeds of 2022.

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

Published Wednesday,  January 5, 2022