Concern for Community
At Glades Electric Cooperative, we are proud of our ongoing commitment to the community as we abide by the principle of Concern for Community, one of the seven cooperative principles. We sponsor a variety of school athletic teams, community events, educational initiatives, and contribute to community organizations. We are proud to serve the people in our beautiful Florida Heartland not only by providing electricity to homes and businesses, but also through financial support of community endeavors. It’s just one more way we are proud to be Neighbors Working for Neighbors.
Glades Electric Employees Volunteer for the 2023 United Way Day of Caring
A team of 10 Glades Electric employees volunteered at Camp Sparta for the United Way of Central Florida’s Day of Caring on April 19, 2023 to help beautify the camp’s grounds ahead of the summer season. Glades Electric is pleased to join with many other businesses throughout Highlands County for this day of service for our community’s non-profits. Volunteering at this Day of Caring supports our Heartland residents and helps meet a wide variety of needs.
GEC employees added fresh mulch to the playground area at Camp Sparta, a 36-acre Christian camp on Lake Huckleberry, which offers boating, tubing, kayaking, beach volleyball, paintball, basketball, and other activities. They also mulched around buildings and trees to prepare for the busy summer filled with campers. In addition, they painted doors on cabins, pressure washed buildings and trimmed trees.
United Way’s Day of Caring is a single day of community outreach. This year, 19 organizations with 250 volunteers participated to complete 20 projects in Highlands County.
Glades Electric’s Operation Round Up Provides Food for Seniors in Need
Operation Round Up (ORU) spread Christmas cheer to local seniors in need. Through ORU, Glades Electric Cooperative (GEC) members granted $3,000 to support NU-HOPE Elder Care Services and their Heartland Holiday Baskets for Seniors project.
Members contribute to ORU by choosing to round up their electric bill to the nearest dollar. Funds are then distributed to local nonprofits and individuals in need.
NU-HOPE Executive Director Debbie Slade said, “We were able to help 50 local seniors in need. We always pick our lowest income seniors who are struggling and really need help for these holiday baskets filled with food.” Since NU-HOPE was able to work with grocery stores to get the lowest possible prices, each senior received about $100 to $150 worth of groceries.
The grocery items included every food group. “We were even able to get staples like ketchup, mustard, and mayo that people lost during the hurricane,” Debbie said.
Thank you to our generous members who fund the charitable trust through Operation Round Up! To learn more about ORU, visit www.gladeselectric.com/community/operation-round-up/.
Glades Electric’s Operation Round Up Provides Holiday Help
This holiday season Operation Round Up (ORU) is spreading cheer throughout the Heartland for all ages—from infants to seniors. Through Operation Round Up (ORU), Glades Electric Cooperative (GEC) members granted $5,500 to support Marine Toys for Tots and NU-HOPE Elder Care.
Members contribute to ORU by electing to round up their monthly electric bill to the nearest dollar. Funds are then distributed to local non-profits and individuals in need.
Marine Toys for Tots received $2,500 to purchase toys for children in Glades and Hendry counties. These funds will make Christmas brighter for approximately 250 children, from infants all the way to 18-year-olds.
NU-HOPE Elder Care Services received $3,000 to buy food for seniors in need. NU-HOPE staff and volunteers will fill at least 50 baskets with food from the grant.
To become a part of ORU, members can enroll through GEC’s SmartHub app or by calling 863-946-6200.
Glades Electric Charitable Trust Awards $9,500 to Back-To-School Programs
In July 2022, the Glades Electric Charitable Trust disbursed $9,500 of Operation Round Up funds to organizations sponsoring back-to-school programs in Glades, Hendry, Highlands and Okeechobee counties. Funds supported school supply drives, back-to-school events, and after school programs.
Funds are generously provided by Glades Electric members opting to round up their monthly electric bill to the nearest dollar to fund Operation Round Up.
“When each member gives just a little change back with their electric bill, we are able to make big impacts in our communities,” GECT Vice Chairman Dave McCadam said. “We can do things like provide backpacks for kids who need one. All that is made possible through members giving back with Operation Round Up.”
GEC Lineman Visits Career Week at Heartland Homeschool Learning Center
Journeyman Lineman Wyatt Larsen spent an afternoon in Sebring this June with the Heartland Homeschool Learning Center. GEC was invited to showcase electrical linework as part of the center’s Career Week. Wyatt brought a bucket truck, rubber gloves, hot stick, and harnesses for students to interact with. Between scholarships, educational programs and summer camps, supporting youth in our communities is essential to our role as your local electric cooperative.
“Children are, more often than not, told that to become something in this world, they have to grow up and go to college. While college is a great option, it is definitely not the only one. I invited Glades Electric to participate in our career week program because I wanted to share this rewarding career option with the kids in our community,” HHLC Director and Founder Nicole Clements said.
Glades Electric Employees Volunteer at Ridge Area ARC for United Way’s Annual Day of Caring
A team of five GEC employees volunteered at Ridge Area ARC to assist with their annual Wacky Olympics event. Ridge Area ARC is a non-profit in Highlands County dedicated to serving and advocating for individuals with developmental and other disabilities. The Wacky Olympics is a fun day of camaraderie and competition in which participants partake in a series of timed events. GEC volunteers hosted a ring toss, where they helped ARC participants toss a frisbee through a hula hoop.
Glades Electric Charitable Trust Donates to Moore Haven Senior Meal Program
In March, the Glades Electric Charitable Trust granted $3,000 to fund Moore Haven’s Hope Connections Senior Meal Program. The gift was made through the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades, in collaboration with the Moore Haven United Way House.
“United Way Houses normally provide special services for seniors in the Hendry and Glades County areas, including warm meals and socialization opportunities. Unfortunately, the pandemic has created obstacles for seniors to access these benefits at the houses. Nevertheless, meal services have not ceased. Meals and other essential provisions are now brought directly to seniors in their homes,” United Way’s Lisa Sands said.
Hope Connections anticipates serving 9,214 meals in 2022.
Glades Electric Charitable Trust Donates $4,000 to Who I Am Foundation
In January, $4,000 of Operation Round Up funds were granted to the Who I Am Foundation to provide 800 Patient Support Kits to hospitals and memory care centers in our area. Who I Am Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Highlands County, is dedicated to telling the patients’ stories, when they are unable to speak for themselves. The foundation provides kits for family and friends to fill with photos, letters and information about the individual. The materials are placed in a plastic case, specially-made to suit hospital standards, and displayed in the patient’s hospital room – telling their story, when they aren’t able to themselves.
On the flipside, the kits are also benefitting young, healthy high-schoolers at Avon Park High School. APHS’s Interact Club, a Rotary-sponsored service club, is preparing and packaging all the kits for distribution. The students earn community service hours for their efforts while taking part in a meaningful project.
“To think, we were going to help just 200 families, and now we will have provided kits for 3,000 families, just in Highlands County, by the end of March,” Tracy said.
GEC Employees Rally Around Member Families for Christmas
Glades Electric employees teamed up with The Salvation Army to make Christmas extra special for four GEC member families. Through the Angel Tree program, children (“angels”) in need are provided with new clothes and toys for Christmas. GEC’s employees adopted a total of ten angels in 2021, all of whom are served by Glades Electric – two families located in GEC’s North District and two in the South District.
The Angel Tree program is designed to provide ‘a wish and a need’ for each child. Angels received much needed clothing items, including shoes and coats. They were also gifted with requested items like puzzles, art supplies, baby dolls, books, building blocks and more.
“We are fortunate to be able to provide a nice Christmas for our kids every year. To me, giving back to our member families and doing the same for their kids is the perfect way to show gratitude for our co-op,” Member Service Representative Brittany Rowan said.
Glades Electric Donates $5,000 to The Miracle League for Highlands County
In September, GEC donated $5,000 to The Miracle League for Highlands County to assist with needed improvements to the specialized baseball field at the Lake June Ball Fields in Lake Placid.
Each year, 60-70 individuals with mental and physical disabilities in Highlands County participate in baseball games through the league. GEC was among the the league’s first supporters. In 2009, the Glades Electric Charitable Trust donated $50,000 of Operation Round Up funds for the construction of the field.
“Glades Electric has supported the Miracle League since our donation toward the construction of their field. We’re proud to continue our support in order for their athletes to play in a facility that meets their needs.” GEC Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Koukos said.
Glades Electric Charitable Trust Donates $10,700 for Student Programs
To support students going back to school in August, Glades Electric Charitable Trust donated $10,700 of Operation Round Up funds toward school supplies, book bags and peer support programs to help students and families in need in Glades, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee counties.
“Based on everything families and students have gone through in the past year and the struggles everyone has dealt with, help for kids going back to school right now is more important than ever. Any extra support we can provide, even getting kids supplies for school, I think will go a long way for families in our area,” GECT Secretary Dori Evans said.
Glades Electric Employees Volunteer at Balmoral Assisted Living for United Way’s Day of Caring
In April, a team of five GEC employees volunteered to build a garden box for residents of Balmoral Assisted Living. GEC’s team built the box on a second-floor outdoor balcony in the Memory Care Unit. Residents will play an active role in tending the garden. The garden’s open-air location provides a much-needed break for residents to get outside and engage in activities.
GEC Donates $1,000 to Hendry Public Schools Foundation
In December, Glades Electric Cooperative donated $1,000 to LaBelle High School’s Triquestra program, a new mentoring group focused on improving outcomes for at-risk male students. Triquestra seeks to provide rising ninth and tenth grade students with academic, behavioral and emotional support.
GEC Employees Provide Gifts for Area Families
Glades Electric employees sponsored two area families in need for Christmas through the Salvation Army of Sebring. Clothes, diapers, shoes, toys, blankets, books and gift cards were among the many items collected.
Glades Electric Donates 200 Pairs of Socks to Local Nursing Homes
Glades Electric donated 200 cozy, non-skid socks to the Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County for their Socks 4 Seniors program. Socks were donated to nursing home residents throughout the community.
Glades Electric Charitable Trust, Inc. Supports Big Brothers Big Sisters
In November, Glades Electric Charitable Trust donated $3,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, which serves Highlands and Hardee counties.
With this donation, GECT will fund the organization’s new Reading Bigs program. The program is designed to assist children who are below grade level in reading.
Children participating in the program will receive a tote bag each month containing two books, two lesson plans and an art project. Mentors work through the materials with their students, and the students may keep the books to begin building personal libraries at home.
LaBelle Middle School AG Day
Glades Electric Cooperative participated in LaBelle Middle School’s AG Day on November 20, 2020. At the event, students visited with professionals representing various industries to learn about potential career opportunities.
The Glades Electric booth included a bucket truck, lineworker safety gear, educational information and GEC’s Safety City display. Safety City is a miniature model of a city that utilizes electricity to demonstrate electrical hazards and electrical safety practices.
GEC Employees Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Moore Haven
On Friday, September 18, four GEC employees worked with Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte County, which covers Moore Haven, to build a new home on Meyerchick Drive in Moore Haven. The team worked for six hours, and most of their time was spent framing.
“It was a day of hard work, laughter, and giving back. It was a great opportunity to serve one of our communities and to build camaraderie within our team,” Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Koukos said.
Glades Electric Charitable Trust, Inc. Supports Moore Haven Church of God of Prophecy
In June, Glades Electric Charitable Trust donated $1,500 to support MHCGP’s food pantry. The majority of food for the pantry is provided by the Harry Chapin Food Bank, but there are many items essential to the food pantry that must come from elsewhere. GECT’s donation was beneficial in helping to fill some of those gaps.
“The donation from Glades was a huge blessing. We used it for things like to order more shelves to hold the food because the shelves that we had weren’t enough to meet the increased demand of people we were serving,” MHCGP Pastor Charity Martinez said. “Then there are some things that you don’t get from the food bank that you have to order, like protein shakes for the elderly, so I’ve ordered those that we’ve had to pay for.”
Glades Electric Easter Ham Giveaway
On Good Friday, Glades Electric employees gave 100 hams away at a first-come, first-served drive-thru pickup at our Moore Haven headquarters. We know many of our neighbors are facing challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic and might not have been able to celebrate the Easter holiday as they usually would. We were thankful to be able to help so many in need.
Okeechobee Educational Foundation Awards Mini-Grants to District Teachers
For the tenth year in a row, Glades Electric sponsored the OEF mini-grant program. At the foundation’s annual award ceremony this year, $22,100 was awarded to nineteen Okeechobee County School District teachers for classroom mini-grants.This was GEC’s tenth year supporting the mini-grant program. GEC’s gift funded five $400 mini-grants this year.
Glades Electric Charitable Trust, Inc. Supports Peace River Center
GECT awarded $2,000 to The Peace River Center to support the work of their Victim Services program in Highlands County. One of PRC’s most important services is their shelter in Highlands County, which serves as a safe home for victims escaping environments of domestic and sexual violence. With GECT’s gift, PRC’s team was able to provide 50 baskets of essential items to clients moving out of the shelter to start their own households again.
2020 Heartland Regional Science and Engineering Fair
We were pleased to have the opportunity to have two of our employees assist with judging the Heartland Regional Science and Engineering Fair held in February at South Florida State College. The fair is a terrific opportunity for students throughout Florida’s Heartland.
Leadership Highlands Career Day
Glades Electric participated in the Leadership Highlands Career day in January. It was great to connect with high school students to promote careers at the co-op including lineworkers, accountants, information technology specialists, engineers, human resource professionals, communications, and more.
We want to be sure local students know we have great jobs to offer right here in the Heartland!