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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2019 5 months ago

Windermere teen planning volunteerism committee

Grace Foglia is working with Windermere officials to establish a group of volunteers who will focus on service projects in the town.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

Grace Foglia has volunteered at town of Windermere events many times in her youth — elders luncheons, the annual Treebute and the St. Patrick’s Day festival — and now she hopes to coordinate her own town committee for students.

Foglia, a high-school senior with Florida Virtual School, has presented her idea to the Windermere Parks & Recreation Committee, as well as Town Manager Robert Smith. The Windermere Town Council is expected to vote on the matter at the Oct. 8 meeting.

The Windermere’s Active Youth Committee, if approved, would mainly focus on volunteerism.

As part of its mission statement, WAY committee members would “work together to set and accomplishment service projects, as well as bridge the generational gap between residents.”

Each member will present his or her own project and collaborate with the town to see it through to completion.

“We will work to help protect the local environment by encouraging residents to take more efforts in helping the community become more environmentally friendly,” reads the mission statement. “Our committee will show other residents that the youth of the town also care about our community and want to help protect what we have.”

So far, Foglia, who most likely will serve as committee chair, has received 10 applications from residents wanting to serve with her. Although the group will put an emphasis on environmental issues, she said she wants to see what the new members are passionate about and how those passions can be turned into service projects in the town.

If the committee plan is approved, Foglia will begin forming a group of teenagers to serve. In addition to Smith, she has been working with Bill Martini, C.T. Allen and Hannah Ammar to iron out the details and create a design for the committee logo.

Foglia’s interest in the Town Council began when she noticed the council members and town staff were using plastic cups at the council meetings — so she designed Yeti cups for all of them.

After graduation, she intends to attend a small college and study philanthropy, philosophy or social work.

“One thing I’m trying to do is bridge the generational gap, get the youth involved in the Town Council meetings and see how we can get them to feel like they have a voice in the community and to show the other generations that the youth can be interested and involved,” she said.


Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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