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By Chevon T. Baccus APR
Executive Editor 

Renovated Parsonage to House Homeless College Students

Rotary Clubs Join with Heart 4 Winter Haven for Sept. 28 Work Day


Last updated 9/29/2019 at 9:29am

Chevon Baccus

Rotary on the Ridge President Herb Gillis with Heart 4 Winter Haven's Brad Beatty preparing for Scholarship Housing Work Day

Rotary Clubs from throughout Polk County are partnering with Heart 4 Winter Haven to renovate a church parsonage to provide a home for homeless students attending Polk State College.

Club members and other volunteers will hold a work day starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at the home at 122 Ave. Q N.W. in Winter Haven to paint, repair fascia, install snap-in vinyl flooring, work on landscaping and possibly complete other work. Living Word of Faith Assembly will lease the house to Heart 4 Winter Haven, which will cover utilities and ongoing maintenance costs.

Polk State College will identify students who are living in their cars or have unstable housing, including some who move around and sleep on couches at the homes of friends or relatives, according to Brad Beatty, managing partner at Heart 4 Winter Haven. The first Scholarship House will become home to up to up to eight male college students and a couple who will serve as "house parents."

Heart 4 Winter Haven will work with 1st Priority Staffing of Lakeland to help find jobs for the students so they can contribute toward the household expenses.

"So many people from Rotary and Heart 4 Winter Haven have been working determinedly to move this awesome project forward," said Herb Gillis, president of Rotary on the Ridge, who is helping Beatty coordinate the project. "We have incredible support from so many local businesses and the City of Winter Haven."

High View Tree Service of Lakeland trimmed the surrounding trees and removed a stump from the front lawn today!

The home needs an estimated $46,000 in renovations, but donations of materials and professional services are reducing the cost. Lowe's of Winter Haven is donating interior and exterior paint. Jill and Kevin Kitto of Kitto Sheds in Dundee are repairing drywall on walls and ceiling. Kitto is a member of the Rotary Club of Winter Haven. Other in-kind donors include: Brock Industrial Electric, Gator Industries of Central Florida, Hartley Farms, MAC Plumbing, D.O.C. Electric, Paradise Lawn Care of Central Florida, High View Tree Service, Doors 2 Change and the Winter Haven Police Department.

Cash donations also are appreciated. The Rotary District 6890 Foundation has pledged $3,000 toward the project and Assistant Governor Linda Johnson, on behalf of Group 7 clubs, underwrote the $500 cost of a new water heater.

Tax-deductible donations designated for Scholarship Housing may be sent to Heart 4 Winter Haven, 228 Ave. C S.W., Winter Haven, FL 33880 or Rotary on the Ridge Foundation, 1013 Campbell Ave., Lake Wales, FL 33853. After renovations are complete, the sponsors will need additional support to fully furnish the house so students can start living there before the next college term in January.

In addition to Rotarians, more volunteers are welcome for the Sept. 28 work day or future work to complete the project. Volunteers are asked to bring work gloves, hats, safety masks and sunscreen along with ladders, extension cords, screwdrivers and other hand tools, paint brushes, scrapers, pans and rollers. Doughnuts, drinks and pizza will be provided. Should there be an overflow of volunteers, the Florence Villa Community Development Corporation nearby on Avenue R N.E. also can use help Saturday with a work day project.

For more information, contact Beatty at 863-291-6270.

Author Bio

Chevon T. Baccus APR, Contributing Writer

After working as a newspaper reporter and editor for eight years, Chevon moved on to a long career in public relations, marketing and business development. After 2 1/2 years as founding publisher of she's happy to still be an occasional contributor.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 8636511065


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