Healthy West Orange launches new program

Community Connections will provide an opportunity to educate and connect residents to organizations and resources that can help them eat well, stay active and enjoy life.

Healthy West Orange
Healthy West Orange
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Healthy West Orange is continuing its mission to inspire West Orange County to become the healthiest community in the nation with the launch of its new program — Community Connections.

Community Connections will provide an opportunity to educate and connect residents to organizations and resources that can help them eat well, stay active and enjoy life. 

“Whether it’s through local events, group activities or social media challenges, the focus always comes back to the overall health and well-being of residents,” HWO representatives shared. 

HWO will partner with local experts to host fun, interactive workshops that will provide education on various health and wellness topics, including cooking, mental health and even financial planning.

“We’re thrilled to be launching a program that will inspire and educate our friends and neighbors on ways they can elevate their health,” Foundation for a Healthier West Orange COO Lesa Boettcher said. “Community Connections really is about ensuring that our community is equipped with the tools they need to be the healthiest versions of themselves.”


Although the new program is open to all residents in West Orange, the lunch-and-learn style events are limited to 20 people. There is no fee to participate, but advanced registration is required. 

The program’s first event will be held Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Healthy West Orange building at 1200 E. Plant St., Winter Garden. 

The first session, Building Your Memory Muscles: A Mini-Course to Learn Powerful Memory Tools, will be a one-hour workshop designed to empower residents by providing important memory tools and activities to enhance brain health. 

The session will be led by Michael Dottino, chief development officer of USA Memory Championship. 

The USAMC is the longest-running memory competition in the United States, and its mission is to raise awareness about the potential of every person’s memory while also offering training to maximize its potential.

Dottino is excited to partner with the local organization and its residents. 

“We’re looking forward to partnering with Healthy West Orange on bringing awareness to the importance of cognitive health for people of all ages,” Dottino said. “A common misconception is that memory is fixed. But just like a muscle, there are ways to enhance your brain’s fitness. And for 23 years at the USA Memory Championship, we have had people of all ages provide evidence to this point.”

There will be three events held for the new program this fall. The events will take place in September, October and November. 

HWO officials said a healthy community goes well beyond individual behaviors. It requires access to quality health care, strong education and employment opportunities, adequate housing and transportation, safety and support services, and good air and water quality. 

Officials said HWO hopes to continue to drive awareness and encourage local leaders to keep their communities’ health and wellness a top priority.

HWO currently is prepping for its annual Healthy Selfie Campaign. 

The campaign includes a photo competition this September and a Healthy Selfie 5K, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 10, at Dr. Phillips Community Park.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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