Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

GFWC Valrico Service League Harvest Dinner & Auction

Let’s make a difference is the goal of the GFWC Valrico Service League, Inc. (VSL) group of ladies. The group’s main fundraiser for the year is the Harvest Dinner & Auction to be held Sunday, November 5 at Center Place, located at 650 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon.

The last several years, VSL has partnered with the Campo YMCA by funding swimming lessons for children whose families cannot afford lessons.  

“We think it’s important that if you life in Florida, you should know how to swim” said President Karen Boraiko.  

Hands on activities of the group include educational activities at area Title I elementary schools and providing clothing and shoes for needy children, Bunco and bingo at area retirement homes and participating in Cards for the Troops.  

Tickets for the dinner and auction are $30 and may be purchased at Center Place through October 28.  The event, sponsored by Terry Fink State Farm Insurance, starts at 5:30 p.m. with a catered dinner at 6 p.m. and live auction at 7 p.m.

Last year’s auction helped VSL support ECHO, Brandon Outreach Clinic, Center Place, Family Promise of Brandon, A Kid’s Place, LifePath Hospice, and Canine Companions among others. 

For more information, call Claudia Yake at 685-7998 or Sue Hadden at 685-6160.

Living With Alzheimer’s Educational Series At The Bridges

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or related dementia lead to many questions for the person with the diagnosis and their family. This three-part series, which will take place on Tuesday, October 31, and November 7 and Friday, November 17 from 10 a.m.-12 Noon, is geared for people with early stage Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia and their care partner. Kim Schaub, Program Specialist with the Alzheimer’s Association, will lead a discussion on what you need to know, what you need to plan and what you can do to navigate this chapter of your life.

 During this program topics covered with include: Understanding Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss; Partnering with your medical team; Effective communication and telling others about the diagnosis; Coping with changes and making decisions; Daily strategies and safety issues; Opportunities for supporting research; and Resources for people with early-stage dementia.

The Living with Alzheimer’s Educational Series will be held at The Bridges Retirement Community, located at the Clubhouse at The Bridges, 11350 Bloomingdale Ave. in Riverview.

To register, please call 413-8900. Seating is limited.

Xi Theta Xi Begins New Sorority Year

The members of Xi Theta Xi chapter of Beta Sigma Phi kicked off the beginning of the new sorority year with a dinner hosted by the president, Janet Molen. A delicious variety of meats, side dishes and desserts were provided for all to enjoy. In addition to Molen, the new officers are Flo Ryan; Vice President, Linda Hiltz; Recording Secretary, Peggy Frantz; Corresponding Secretary and Ines Hertz; Treasurer. For more information about the sorority, contact Diane Wray at

Hawthorne Hosts Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center hosts a monthly support group for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and caregivers on the third Thursday of every month.

A variety of speakers will provide information on topics relating to swallowing, balance, walking, speaking, mobility, exercise, self-care, cognition, and memory, all of which can be impacted by Parkinson’s Disease.

The Parkinson’s Disease support group is free of charge and open to those who have been diagnosed with the disease, family members, caregivers and anyone with an interest in learning more about Parkinson’s.

Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center, located at 851 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon, is a skilled nursing facility with inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs including speech, physical and occupational therapies. Hawthorne also hosts a dementia support group in the assisted living facility, as well as past meetings for those dealing with strokes, diabetes, low vision and other diseases.

For more information or to register, call 661-8998 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.