ABOVE: Crissy Stile, Mount Dora City Councilmember and small business owner. (Photo courtesy of Crissy Stile)
Schools have been closed for weeks and many parents, busy with their own daily work schedules, have found themselves thrown into a different kind of frontline: education. Now a Mount Dora City Councilwoman has jumped in to provide a short reprieve to exhausted parents. Crissy Stile has created a free, Virtual Physical Education (PE) Class for kids of all ages that she will host on Zoom beginning April 27. To join in the virtual class, participants need to firstname.lastname@example.org advance so they can be sent the required Zoom link. Stile, who works out regularly, will conduct the fun class from the deck at Donnelly Park in the heart of downtown Mount Dora. The 45-minute class will begin at 3 p.m. Up to nine socially-distanced kids can join Stile in the park while others can join in via Zoom. The outdoor exercise falls under essential activities identified by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis. Guardians of the kids at the park are also required to remain a minimum of six feet from others. Stile isn’t just an elected official in this small Central Florida town, she’s also a hard-hit small business owner with a book store located in Mount Dora’s quaint historic district. Since Florida’s shutdown, Stile’s store, Barrel of Books & Games, has been forced to rely on remote orders and delivery. Stile will continue the class every other day at 3 p.m. until she can resume her full-time job at the bookstore. Imagining what present-day life is like for parents is what inspired Stile to help out in a way she’s all too familiar with. As the “fun” aunt, she is very active in her nine nieces’ and nephews’ lives and is quite happy entertaining other people’s kids to give parents a respite. “If I can virtually occupy your kids for 45 minutes every other day, so you can catch your breath and recharge your own mind and emotions and keep your family together, happily, then I will have accomplished exactly what I set out to do,” said Stile. To participate at home, kids just need some floor space in front of their computer, tablet or smartphone and a blanket or mat for floor exercises. Kids are encouraged to take a break whenever they need and to have drinking water nearby. Participants can exit the class sessions at any time. Stile stressed that social distancing is of the utmost importance, so kids and their parents should respect the guidelines set forth by the CDC and remain safe.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, this month, click here. Also download the area's free mobile app.
As most of the community stays home to abide by the social distancing guidelines, others are serving tirelessly to fight against COVID-19. On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at 4:15 p.m., local churches, businesses, and the public are asked to show their appreciation for these individuals by ringing bells of thanks. The City of Eustis originally had the idea and then partnered with other Central Florida municipalities like Mount Dora, Tavares, Leesburg, DeLand and Orange City to spread the word. The areas' Chambers of Commerce have also gotten involved. People are asked to share their support on social media using the hashtag #BellsofThanks.
After a resident gave her the idea, Eustis City Commissioner Karen LeHeup-Smith suggested the supportive effort at a recent City Commission meeting. “This is a small way for each of us to say thank you to the front-line essential workers. From medical professionals to first responders, government employees, retail workers, farmers, and so many more …thank you,” said LeHeup-Smith.
The City of Eustis is encouraging residents to show additional appreciation by continuing to practice social distancing, follow CDC guidelines, and abide by all executive orders issued by the State of Florida that will help slow the spread of COVID-19.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, this month, click here. Discover the area's online entertainment calendar here. Also download the area's free mobile app.