City of Pensacola - The Upside of Florida

Pensacola Welcomes Volunteer Florida Commission

Volunteer Florida Visits Pensacola
Pictured: Mayor Ashton Hayward with the Volunteer Florida Foundation Board

On Tuesday, January 24th, Mayor Ashton Hayward welcomed the Volunteer Florida Commission to Pensacola. The Volunteer Florida Commission is the lead agency for volunteerism and national service in Florida. The Commission gives $31.7 million in federal, state, and local funding for national service and volunteer programs across the state.

Volunteer Florida is guided by a bipartisan board of Commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate, and is responsible for national service programs like AmeriCorps. Volunteer Florida’s grantees include schools, educational foundations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and other community organizations. The agency also leads initiatives throughout Florida that use volunteerism as a strategy to meet needs.

During their visit, the group toured Manna Food Pantries here in Pensacola, alongside our Mayor, to see how Pensacola prepares for community needs and emergencies. Mayor Hayward posted on his Facebook page, "Thank you to Manna Director Dede Flounlacker for giving us the behind the scenes tour. Manna is a local grassroots non profit dedicated to providing emergency food assistance and engaging the community in the fight against hunger."

"BIGS with Badges" Begins in Pensacola

BIGS with Badges
Pictured (from left to right): Mayor Ashton Hayward, Fire Chief David Allen, Police Chief David Alexander III, and Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ nationwide initiative to recruit police officers as mentors for young people has officially established itself in Pensacola. At the national level, the program is known as “BIGS in Blue”. This new program is a well-timed response to increasing tensions between law enforcement and the public.

Here in Northwest Florida, the program will be called “BIGS with Badges”, and will include fire, EMS, corrections, state and federal departments, along with police departments. Pensacola PolicePensacola Fire Department, and the Escambia County Sheriff's Office are currently a part of the program.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida has been the area’s leader in one-on-one mentoring for 28 years by serving children ages 6 to 18. Their mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, one-on-one relationships that change their lives for the better. 

Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida served 650 children in the northwest part of the state. Of the children served last year who were matched with a big brother or sister for 6 months or longer, 85% maintained or improved in math, 90% maintained or improved in reading, 84% maintained or improved in science, 89% maintained or improved in school attendance, and 99% have remained crime free.

Pensacola Fire Department Awarded for their Contribution to the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Pensacola Fire Department Thanked for their Donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Lisa Heil, Executive Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, presented certificates on January 26th to Fire Chief David Allen and the members of the Pensacola Fire Department.

The certificates were given as a thank you for their efforts during the 2016 "Fill the Boot" fund drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The certificates certified their membership in the $15,000 plus donation club. These funds help support MDA research. 
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration was able to formally approve a new drug, called Spinraza, for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy.  

The MDA hopes that the success of new treatments like this one will encourage more partners to move into the neuromuscular disease space, inspire research innovation, and drive the development of new treatments and cures for all muscle diseases.
For more details on the story, visit the Pensacola Fire Department Facebook page. 
Winter Restaurants Week

Great Southern Restaurants Present: Winter Restaurant Week

The Fish House, Jackson’s Steakhouse, Atlas Oyster House, and Five Sisters Blues Café will once again team up to present "Winter Restaurant Week", January 24th through 28th, 2017. Restaurant Week is a culinary celebration that offers residents and visitors alike world-class dining at a great value. 

Chefs from each restaurant will prepare a three-course, fixed-price dinner menu utilizing the best in local and seasonal ingredients, showcasing their culinary expertise.

The cost is $33 per person, per restaurant. Menus will be available at each restaurant Tuesday, January 24, through Saturday, January 28, beginning at 5:00PM along with their standard dinner menus. For more details, please click here, or find each special menu here

Ocean Hour Florida

Project Greenshores and Bartram Park Cleanup

Come join Ocean Hour, this Saturday, January 28th, for their clean up at Project Greenshores, also known as Wayside Park West. 

Buckets, grabbers, gloves, and trash bags will be supplied. Sign in is at 8:45AM, and the clean up is from 9AM to 10AM. Ocean Hour advises that you please dress for the weather and bring water, bug spray, and sunscreen as needed. 

Project Greenshores is located at 745 Bayfront Parkway (beside the Three Mile Bridge), and Bartram Park is located at 211 Bayfront Parkway (behind the Fish House). Please contact or call (850) 450-1112 with any questions.

UWF Archaeology

Experience UWF - Downtown Reception and Lecture

On February 1st, at the Museum of Commerce (201 E. Zaragoza St.), UWF archaeologists will present “Archaeology of the Luna Expedition in Pensacola”.

The presentation will highlight the significance of the Luna expedition in Pensacola’s cultural history and North American colonization. The panel will include various doctors, faculty, and members from the UWF Division of anthropology and archaeology.

The event is free and open to the public, with a reception at 5:30PM and the lecture at 6PM. For the full series schedule and more information, visit
20th Annual Pensacola Double Bridge Run

20th Annual Pensacola Double Bridge Run

Mark your calendars, because February 4th, 2017 is the 20th Pensacola Double Bridge Run. The run, presented by Publix and Pensacola Sports, offers two races: a 5K and a 15K.

The 15K carries runners over two bridges, across Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. It will run through Downtown Pensacola with a tour that includes the historic district, picturesque Bayfront Parkway, a run through Gulf Breeze, and onto Pensacola Beach.

The 5K invites both runners and walkers to travel from Gulf Breeze to beautiful Pensacola Beach on Santa Rosa Island and the Gulf Islands Seashore.
The starting line for the 15K race is at the Community Maritime Park (301 W. Main St.), and the starting line for the 5K race is in Gulf Breeze (10 Daniel St.). 

Race registration is going on now, and more details, as well as detailed routes for the run, can be found on the official race website

Instagram: Photo of the Week

Instagram Photo of the Week

Share your photo with us on Instagram! Tag us with #upsideofflorida or @cityofpensacola. Your image could be featured in the next UPwords newsletter. We'd love to see your image! Photo credit: @brew_ha_ha_pensacola

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