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Neighborhood Associations and Volunteers Build a Sense of Community

Hillsborough County, Fla. (May 23, 2018) - Fifteen groups and individuals across Hillsborough County have taken top honors in Hillsborough County's annual Neighborhood Recognition Awardsprogram, recognizing those whose efforts go above and beyond to make a difference.

The 2018 countywide awards program highlighted individuals, groups, and organizations that have enriched the quality of life in neighborhoods through outreach, improvement projects, volunteer work, safety programs, art, partnerships, and board leadership.

Nominations were received in 10 categories. The winners were announced at a luncheon during the 15th annual Hillsborough County Neighborhoods Conference on May 12.

Want inspiration for your own neighborhood improvement project? To see videos of the winners and their efforts, go to HCFLGov.net/Neighborhoods, and click on the Neighborhood Recognition Awards button.

This year's winners are:

Neighborhood Arts Award
  • The South Seminole Heights Civic Association, also the winner in this category last year, hosted the first-ever Heights Unites Music & Arts Festival, designating 50 percent of the profits toward community improvement projects and a scholarship.
Neighborhood Improvement Award
  • The new board of directors for the Lakewood Ridge Estates Homeowners Association reinvigorated this Brandon neighborhood by initiating projects that repaired signage and repainted fencing, among other improvements. They also partnered with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to tackle crime and vandalism.
  • The Carrollwood Village Homeowners Association spearheaded improvements to street lighting and gateway signs, as well as other neighborhood amenities.
Neighborhood Communications Award
  • The St. Andrews Estates Homeowners Association in Sun City Center gets the word out about neighborhood happenings via newspaper advertisements, social media, a website, and the sign board at the front entrance.
  • The Hampton Terrace Community Association in Old Seminole Heights stepped up its engagement and communications with neighbors, delivering welcome baskets to new residents, launching a newsletter that quickly grew from 8 to 16 pages, and regularly communicating via email and Facebook.
Neighborhood & Community Partnership Award
  • The Bloomingdale Homeowners Association partnered with a local business to collect more than 600 pounds of food for Wholesome Ministries in Wimauma. They also coordinated with volunteers from Bloomingdale High School and Foundation Christian Academy, along with businesses that posted fliers to promote the event, attracting more than 300 people.
Make It Happen Award
  • The South Fork Neighborhood Watch in Riverview conducted a community service program for the Bay Pines and James A. Haley VA hospitals, and the Fisher House of Bay Pines and Tampa Bay, collecting donations of reading materials for family members whose loved ones are receiving treatments at the facilities.
Neighborhood Unsung Hero Award
  • Oakdale Reserves resident Mary Fenner volunteers as the Valrico neighborhood's treasurer. She not only makes sure the community has the funds to maintain the neighborhood, but also provides incentives to encourage residents to help better the community.
  • Alison Bernstein heads up the Social Committee for Parkside Village in the FishHawk area, encouraging neighbors to interact to build a sense of community. She's spearheaded sign-ups for the holiday lights contest, encouraged young people to participate in Christmas luminary lighting, and planned cookouts, playdates, fire pit gatherings, and movie nights.
Neighborhood Youth Volunteer Award
  • Fridays are festive thanks to a weekly event organized by the Wimauma Community Development Corporation's Youth Council. Held in partnership with Enterprising Latinas and the Wimauma Community Development Corp., the free events promote community togetherness and relationship-building, and offer time with friends and family. The program was inspired by the group's Youth Listening Project, where they spoke to more than 100 Wimauma youth about community needs.
In addition, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County presented a $2,500 check to the Youth Council as seed money for future projects.

Most Effective Board
  • The Lake St. Charles Board of Supervisors successfully transitioned operations to a debt-free community that progressively plans and implements its vision for a sustainable, vibrant, and desirable neighborhood in the Riverview area.
Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award
  • Dave Naymick introduced the social media communication platform NextDoor to his West Hampton neighborhood, and utilized his marketing background to grow it into one of the strongest online communities in the nation.
  • While law enforcement searched for a serial killer in fall 2017, Stan Lasater worked with police to make sure residents in his Southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood knew all the facts and other information. He met with victims' families, and coordinated vigils, walks, and rallies. He also planned and hosted events to show appreciation for first responders.
Neighborhood Watch and CERT Award
  • The Jackson Heights Civic Association built a community support system that links Jackson Heights and its bordering communities in the City of Tampa with law enforcement.
  • The South Fork Neighborhood Watch group in Riverview uses a Web page and multiple social media platforms to communicate with residents and its 206 members.

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