Three events that build relationships, reduce crime and ensure the safety of residents

By District 2 Orange County Commissioner Rod Love

This past Sunday, I had the honor and pleasure of participating as a judge in the “Annual Scholarship Sunday” Oratorical contest at the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Apopka.

District 2 Orange County Commissioner Rod Love

The South Apopka Ministerial Alliance has an Annual Oratorical Contest, coined as “Scholarship Sunday”, as one of its targeted initiatives. This program grants a financial opportunity to participating speakers who receive a monetary award for researching the theme presented to them.

Several years ago, following the conclusion of “National Association of Colored People (NAACP) Program”, the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance Oratorical Contest was born. This event presents an excellent opportunity for young people of churches that are members of the Alliance to showcase their talents while improving on their public speaking skills, where they learn to step out of their comfort zones. Member churches select a student from their congregation to represent them and show their support by attending the event (a factor used in selecting a winner for the contest).

The theme for this year’s event was “How can I create a safe environment for our schools?” Participants for the program discussed ways to create a safer school environment, including, but not limited to through compassion; good role models; activities to strengthen trust between students and teachers; unity; ways to report suspicious activities that protect both the reporter and person being reported; and parental involvement. For the awarding of the Oratorical Contest Winners, Pastor Hezekiah Bradford, Rev. Richard E. King, and Shirley Sharpe-Terrell were joined this year by Monique Morris who presented the Annual Scholarships.  Attendees that came out for the event supported the speakers who benefitted both financially and educationally. The judges for the contest were no strangers to the District 2 community, which included: Ms. Joy Strivens, Attorney Greg Jackson and myself.

The speakers for this year’s event were Amiya Hunsinger (Discovery Life Church, Apopka, Pastor Kevyn Bryant), Sonia Maldonado (New Hope Baptist Church, Apopka, Rev. Dr. H. L. Dericho) and Destiny Taylor (St. Luke Full Gospel Church, Pastor Hezekiah Bradford, Jr.). Ms. Taylor was the winner for this year’s “Oratorical Contest.” For Scholarship Sunday. All three speakers did an excellent job of giving their presentations.

In light of this wonderful event and on a similar note, I would like to mention a few upcoming events that my office has and will be hosting in the next few weeks.

This week, my office hosted a District 2 Safe Neighborhood Community Meeting at the Silver Star Recreation Center. At this meeting, I, along with Safe Neighborhood leaders discussed how Orange County’s Safe Neighborhoods Program works, listened to each of the three Safe Neighborhoods’ spokesperson present a 7-minute presentation specific to their neighborhoods’ activities, goals, and accomplishments. The Safe Neighborhoods Program: Is a tool for revitalizing Orange County’s older and transitioning communities; assists residents and community stakeholders in reclaiming communities before crime and deterioration create blighted conditions; and partners citizens with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Government, the private sector, community stakeholders, and others to collaboratively preserve and stabilize neighborhoods. This was an excellent opportunity to work together to discuss ways to improve our communities. For more information about the Safe Neighborhoods Program, residents can contact Ms. Allison M. Rice at (407) 836-5621.

On August 8th, 2018, myself, along with City of Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson and City of Apopka Commissioner Alexander Smith will be hosting a Town Hall Forum which will focus on “Engaging Men, Advancing Women.” The forum will take place on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm at the Apopka Community Center/VFW, 519 S. Central Ave, Apopka, FL 32703. This event will have 2 keynote speakers, 6 panelists a moderator, and educator/community leader, who will discuss improving communities in regard to the effects that living without active mothers and fathers has on children. Research denotes that children who grow up in homes without active mothers and fathers most likely to be: Aggressive. This forum is free and open to the public. For more information, residents can refer to the event flyer for the event or contact Ms. Shirley Sharpe-Terrell from my office at (407) 836-5919.

My hope for this week’s events and for the upcoming events is to educate the community on how we can build relationships, reduce crime, and ensure the safety of residents.

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