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CIVICS: Community events to keep you engaged and informed 

click to enlarge Orlando Veterans Day Parade, Downtown Orlando
  • Orlando Veterans Day Parade, Downtown Orlando

Just because it may lack the hyper-political acceleration of last autumn, the absence of an imminent election this year doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to stay intellectually engaged as the temperatures fall through November. Politics don’t go away when the polling booths close. At worst, they fester into meaningless armchair punditry. At best, though, they spark ideological growth that can proactively move the conversation toward a better tomorrow.

This year, politics and real life commingle as the Affordable Care Act starts rolling out in October, and there are several events geared toward helping you figure out where you stand in that transition. And if you find yourself with some down time that doesn’t come in shades of red and blue (and purple!), sometimes the best thing to do is to funnel your well-meaning energies into the greater good of philanthropy. Below, we’ve gathered some of the season’s best civic-minded engagements worthy of your attention. Learn a little while you live a little.

Sept. 25
Develop You: Interview Skills in Action Workforce Central Florida workshop. 1 pm Wednesday; JobVantage West Orange, 609 N. Powers Drive; free; 407-531-1223;

Develop You: Navigating Your Health Insurance Options Workforce Central Florida workshop. 10:30 am Wednesday; JobVantage West Orange, 609 N. Powers Drive; free; 407-531-1223;

Healthcare Reform & You Even considering the intended benevolence of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, passed back in 2010, navigating the changing face of the health insurance industry will likely prove to be difficult, especially for those who were previously uninsured. The state of Florida, which last year sued to block the implementation of “Obamacare,” hasn’t made the spread of information any easier. Sunsure Insurance, a local affiliate of Florida Blue (one of the main providers who will be selling plans on the health care exchange marketplace), is offering this free tutorial to ease the process. Attendees will learn about the federal subsidies available to help purchase insurance and the beneficial aspects of health care reform that have already been implemented. Knowledge, especially in this case, is power. 7 pm Wednesday; Southeast Library, 5575 S. Semoran Blvd.; free; 407-282-2011;

Sept. 26
Taking a Stand Against Bullying Learn about the myths of bullying and how to help. 6:30 pm Thursday; Herndon Library, 4324 E. Colonial Drive; free;

Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 28
Orange County Republican Executive Committee Monthly Meeting 7 pm Thursday; Marks Street Senior Recreation Complex, 99 E. Marks St.; free;

Sept. 28
11th Annual McLane Foodservice Charity Golf Tournament To benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. 8 am Saturday; Falcon’s Fire Golf Club, 3200 Seralago Blvd., Kissimmee; $150; 305-505-3006;

7th Annual Shampooch! Dog-washing fundraiser. 9 am-4 pm Saturday; Lambs Eat Ivy Salon, 804 E. Washington St.; donations accepted;

National Public Lands Day 2013 Explore the nature park with an animal farm, a tree-climbing demo and more. 9 am-3 pm Saturday; Bill Frederick Park, 3401 S. Hiawassee Road; free; 407-246-4486;

Unleashed. Uncorked. Unframed. Cocktail party with wine tasting, gourmet food and art displays to benefit the SPCA of Central Florida. 7 pm Saturday; Quantum Leap Winery, 1312 Wilfred Drive; $100; 407-248-1743;

Sept. 29
ReThink Games Fundraising event for the Play 15 organization, with guests playing Life, Scrabble, Risk and other games. Noon-3 pm Sunday; Urban ReThink, 625 E. Central Blvd.; $5; 407-704-6895;

Super Joy Riders: Do-Gooder Bike Ride Wear a superhero costume and hop on bicycles with the group for a community-minded bike ride. 10 am Sunday; Lake Eola Park, East Central Boulevard and North Eola Drive; free; 407-704-6895;

Sept. 30
Urban Forestry Management Plan Public Meeting Learn how the forest is a renewable resource for citizens. 6-8 pm Monday; Winter Park Community Center, 721 New England Ave., Winter Park; free;

Oct. 3, Nov. 7
West Orange Republican Women Federated Join in a meeting with the group. 12:15 pm Thursday; West Orange Country Club, 3300 W. Orange Country Club Drive, Winter Garden; free; 407-656-4882.

Oct. 4, Nov. 1
Orlando Republican Women’s Network Join in a luncheon and hear from a guest speaker. 11:30 am Friday; Sheraton Orlando Downtown, 400 W. Livingston St.; $20-$25, RSVP to; 407-654-4694.

Oct. 5
Orlando Walk for Farm Animals Join Farm Sanctuary for a fundraising walk in support of compassionate treatment for farm animals. 10 am Saturday; Langford Park, 1808 E. Central Blvd.; $15-$25;

Stroll ’N’ Roll Wheelchair-friendly fundraising walk to benefit the Center for Independent Living. 8 am-1 pm Saturday; Harbor Park, 4990 New Broad St.; $10; 407-623-1070.

Therigy Brighten the Day 5K Run/Walk For the Oncology Care Fund to help cancer patients. 7:30 am Saturday; Bill Frederick Park, 3401 S. Hiawassee Road; $25-$30;

Oct. 6
With Songs In Our Hearts Narrated recital by the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. 6 pm Sunday; Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 412 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville; free;

Oct. 7
Hispanic Heritage Month: Hispanic Women’s Success Panel discussion featuring local successful Hispanic women. 5-9 pm Monday; UCF Student Union, University of Central Florida; free; 239-628-5235;

Oct. 8, Nov. 12
Orange County Young Republicans Meeting Join the group for cocktails followed by a meeting and guest speakers. 6:30 pm Tuesday; GrayRobinson, 301 E. Pine St.; free.

Oct. 9
Solutions to Florida’s Water Crisis Presentation by Chuck O’Neal of the Florida League of Women Voters. 10 am Wednesday; Winter Park Garden Club, 1385 S. Denning Drive, Winter Park; free; 407-644-5770.

Growth in Transition: Sustainable Development – Fiction or Challenge? Most of us already feel that listless anxiety about disparate (and huge) issues conflating into a giant mess of a future, but few are equipped to offer much more than small solutions or oversized rhetoric. Alexander Likhotal, a former adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev, attacks the issue of sustainability in a growing global culture with a unique, seemingly clinical perspective. Likhotal addresses the interconnectivity of our financial, ecological and social challenges, attempting to force a holistic solution that needs to come sooner than later. 10:30-11:30 am Wednesday; UCF Student Union, University of Central Florida; free;

Oct. 9, Nov. 13
Green Drinks Meet others looking to make Orlando a more sustainable city. 7 pm Wednesday; Dandelion Communitea Café, 618 N. Thornton Ave.; free; 407-362-1864;

Oct. 12
13th Annual Wiggle Waggle Walk SPCA of Central Florida fundraising pet-and-owner walk around the lake, complete with games, costume contests and family entertainment. 9 am-noon Saturday; Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; donations accepted; 407-248-1743;

Domestic Violence Task Force Awareness Event The Orlando Police Department hosts a walk in support of domestic violence victims. 9-11 am Saturday; Harbor Park, 4990 New Broad St.; free; 407-246-2923;

Oct. 13
Domestic Violence Awareness Walk IAmGladysCabrera Foundation fundraising walk with guest speakers and more. 9 am Sunday; Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; donations accepted; 407-598-0589;

Sons of the American Legion Annual Golf Tournament With proceeds benefiting Children’s Miracle Network. 9 am Sunday; Lake Orlando Golf Club, 4224 Club House Road; $40; 407-293-9515;

Oct. 14
Healthcare for Veterans Orlando VA Medical Center presents an informative discussion on veterans’ health care. 6 pm Monday; Alafaya Library, 9318 E. Colonial Drive; free; 407-277-0021.

Hispanic Heritage Month Entrepreneurship and Immigration Reform Featuring guest speakers Jose Mallea and Ramon Ojeda. 6-10 pm Monday; UCF Student Union, Pegasus Ballroom, University of Central Florida; free; 239-628-5235;

Oct. 17
Coffeetalk With Commissioner Carolyn Cooper Talk about community-focused issues with the commissioner. 8 am Thursday; Winter Park Welcome Center and Chamber of Commerce, 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-599-3428;

Interfaith Forum UCF Global Perspectives presents Zainab Al-Suwaij. 10:30 am-1:30 pm Thursday; UCF Student Union, Pegasus Ballroom, University of Central Florida; free, registration required; 407-823-0688;

Oct. 19
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Non-competitive fundraising walk to benefit the American Cancer Society. 7:30 am Saturday; Lake Eola Park, East Central Boulevard and North Eola Drive; donations accepted; 407-843-8680;

Oct. 21
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Join a 5K run/walk to raise money for the breast cancer charity. 8 am Monday; Bright House Networks Stadium, University of Central Florida; donations accepted; 407-645-5429;

Oct. 21, Nov. 18
Orange County Democratic Executive Committee Meeting All registered Democrats in Orange County are welcome to attend. 7-9 pm Monday; IBEW Union Hall, 820 Virginia Ave.; free; 407-896-7271;

Oct. 24
Crises and Transformations in the Middle East and the Muslim World UCF Global Perspectives presents an open forum discussion. 7-9 pm Thursday; Bush Auditorium, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-646-2000;

Oct. 25
Orange You Happy Join the Mental Health Association of Central Florida’s campaign to promote anti-depression awareness. 1-2 pm Friday; Cobb Plaza Cinema Café, 155 S. Orange Ave.; free; 407-898-0110;

Oct. 26
FWEA Florida Water Festival Learn about methods of conservation, water quality, use and supply, with promo giveaways and educational vendors. 10 am-3 pm Saturday; Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; free; 407-571-8863;

Oct. 29
The Square: Egypt’s Ongoing Struggles for Democracy
UCF Global Perspectives presents an open forum discussion with Jehane Noujaim. 3-4:30 pm Tuesday; UCF Student Union, Pegasus Ballroom, University of Central Florida; free;

Nov. 3
Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes For the American Diabetes Association. 7 am-noon Sunday; Harbor Park, 4990 New Broad St.; donations accepted; 407-660-1926;

Nov. 7
Global Issues Conference: What Is Global Is Local UCF Global Perspectives presents a panel discussion. 8:30 am-2 pm Thursday; UCF Student Union; free, registration required; 407-823-0688;

Nov. 8
Winter Park’s Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration 9:30 am Friday; Winter Park Community Center, 721 New England Ave., Winter Park; free;

Nov. 9
Amvets 5K To support for our local veterans. 7:30 am Saturday; Hankins Park, 130 Lake Park Court; free-$25; 407-294-0838.

Orlando Veterans Day Parade Active military and veteran’s organizations march around downtown Orlando in honor of the holiday. 11 am-1 pm Saturday; Downtown Orlando, Orange Avenue and Central Boulevard; free; 407-246-3720;

Orlando Walk Now for Autism Speaks 9 am-1 pm Saturday; Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; donations accepted; 407-571-8863;

Nov. 16
The 2nd Annual Mayor’s Sole Challenge Competitive fun walk between the residents of Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park. 7 am Saturday; Central Park, North Park Avenue and West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park; free, registration requested; 407-644-2300;

Fight for Air Climb Across the nation, the American Lung Association sponsors so-called “vertical road races” in local towers of architecture (with stairs, lazy!) to both fundraise and to raise awareness for various lung diseases. It’s a clever twist on the old trope of the “run” or “walk” around a scenic lake or park as a means of raising money, because in this case, you will likely be out of breath and know just a little bit of what it feels like to suffer from a debilitating respiratory disease. Also, your legs will hurt more. Still, 25 flights of stairs at 7 a.m. is bound to boost morale and likely to help your physique. Bonus! 7 am Saturday; Bank of America Center, 390 N. Orange Ave.; $15-$35; 407-425-5864.

Nov. 17
The Race to End Homelessness To benefit A Grateful Mind. 8 am Sunday; Moss Park, 12901 Moss Park Road; $25; 407-900-5558;

Nov. 19
The Journey Home Breakfast Learn more about the Coalition for the Homeless. 7:30 am Tuesday; Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive; free, donations accepted; 407-426-1265;

Nov. 21
Coffeetalk With Commissioner Tom McMacken 8 am Thursday; Winter Park Welcome Center and Chamber of Commerce, 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-599-3428;

Nov. 23
Light Up UCF Knight Run To benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and Second Harvest Food Bank. 6 pm Saturday; CFE Arena, UCF; $23; 407-823-6006;


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