The Town of Cutler Bay was presented the 2015 Quality Senior Living Award for service to seniors in a ceremony on Aug. 11 during the 2015 Florida Conference on Aging in Orlando.
The Quality Senior Living Awards (QSLA) is an annual Florida Power and Light (FPL) sponsored awards program recognizing “professionals and volunteers who significantly impact the lives of Florida seniors.” The program is celebrating its 34th year.
Cutler Bay grant writer Lakeesha Morris submitted the information about the town’s program to the awards committee.
Recipients of this award represent organizations that do not hold service to older adults as their primary focus. The Town of Cutler Bay is the newest municipality in Miami-Dade County with an estimated population of 45,000. The town joined the Florida’s Communities for a Lifetime (CFAL) Initiative in 2009 and formed a volunteer board that consists of five community members and one Town of Cutler Bay councilmember, Sue Ellen Loyzelle.
“I am proud to be the liaison to this CFAL committee and I am extremely proud of our members, Heather Fraser, Jose Rodriguez, Gilda Chang, Marilyn Rams and Craig Emanualson, who volunteer to make sure our seniors are at the forefront,” Loyzelle said.
“This recent award shows how we value seniors and how our committee members, town staff and my fellow elected officials make sure our seniors are taken care of. I am happy to live in Cutler Bay and I am looking forward to developing additional programs to meet the growing needs of this very special population,” she added.
Mayor Peggy R. Bell explained the importance of the work and the recognition for it.
“Seniors are a rapidly growing segment of our town,” Bell said. “We value them. We want them to have every opportunity to fully enjoy living in Cutler Bay and to remain safe and healthy. We were honored to be recognized for what we do for our seniors by receiving this prestigious award from the Florida Council On Aging and FPL.”
Dave Lynn, Special Consumer Services manager for FPL, presented the award. Praised were the facts that the town invested some $15,000 to conduct a Senior Needs Assessment in 2013, held eight public workshops in both English and Spanish to develop the 2014-19 Strategic Master Plan, and are working to meet senior’s requests for more activities and services. The town’s Circulator Bus currently provides rides for more than 3,000 seniors monthly.
Town manager Rafael G. Casals said he appreciated the award and what it represented.
“I’m proud of the way our town and the volunteers have worked together to improve the lives of our seniors,” Casals said. “It’s great that our efforts have been commended by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs for our work with the CFAL Mini-Grants and are now being looked at as a possible model for CFAL community best practices.”