The Central Florida Urban League Today in 2018
Something positive is in the air in the Pine Hills community and residents should look no further than the Central Florida Urban League. Since taking the helm of the organization in November 2015, Glenton “Glen” Gilzean Jr. has turned the organization around, bringing with him an illumination of thought and a holy willingness to reach out to those that need support.
Behind the scenes, the organization is debt free and individuals as well as corporations are lining up to support their incredible empowerment programs. In the community, the staff is active and visible, reaching out to youth, young adults and seniors alike – ensuring that their problems are heard and needs are met.
Last week, I sat down with CFUL President and CEO Glenton Gilzean along with his program manager, Law Rolle to better understand how this organization’s new and exciting mission is executed every day.
Interview conducted by Roger Caldwell:
Mr. Glenton Gilzean- President/CEO & Mr. Law Rolle- Program Manager
Roger: Please tell our readers about the Central Florida Urban League:
Glen: The Central Florida Urban League has been active in the community for 41 years. We are part of the larger National Urban League Movement, one of roughly 100 affiliates across the country. Our organization covers the entirety of Central Florida, including: Polk, Osceola, Orange, Lake, Seminole, Volusia and Brevard counties. Our main focus for now is the Orlando metro area, but certain programs have already expanded throughout Central Florida. Our plan is to methodically expand to meet the needs of residents. It truly is a privilege and honor to serve these communities.
Law: Like Mr. Gilzean said, we have been present in the community for more than 40 years and have grown to be a central figure in the lives of many residents. The community relies on a number of our programs, such as our youth empowerment and safety initiatives. It so happens that my passion is public safety, not necessarily from the enforcement standpoint, but from a real community standpoint. As I am originally from this area, I am proud to be here and to serve my community. Our organization is in place to change people’s lives for the better.
Roger: Why Pine Hills?
Law: Being based in Pine Hills makes sense to us as this is the heart of our community. As Mr. Gilzean mentioned, our goal is to expand our programming to the surrounding communities, but everything begins right here.
Roger: What is the mission of CFUL? What is starting to happen in the community?
Law: The mission is to empower Floridians through economic and social equality. We are focused on helping our brothers and sisters with a hand up and not a hand out.
Glen: Our three priorities are: public safety, youth and education and empowerment programs.
Under those broad mandates are specific initiatives, where we engage with the community to do as Law said, provide a hand up and not a hand out.
One of those initiatives is the POWER Movement, which stands for Positive, Outreach, Wellness, and Enrichment Resources. The POWER Movement has a goal of reducing violence crimes in Pine Hills. We are working with the community in our outreach efforts; we share all updates about the program and we continuously solicit input to make our initiatives more effective. We hold a forum on the last Tuesday of every month to develop new ideas and share updates. We encourage the community to visit our website: www.cful.org for updates and to join us in the future.
Additionally, since we are a U.S. HUD approved housing and counseling agency, we also provide a monthly first time homebuyer seminar. It is open to individuals who are interested in purchasing their first home. If you attend this seminar, you are eligible to receive $15,000 from the City of Orlando if you live within the city, or $20,000 from Orange County in down payment assistance to help you purchase that first home.
That is true empowerment.
We also have a program called Seniors Exploring Technology. This program educates seniors on how to navigate the digital world. I have not seen a paper application in years: if you are applying for Medicaid or for a job and you do not have basic computer skills, you will be left behind. Seniors are the most vulnerable individuals in our society and it is critical that we provide a way to empower them as well.
Roger: Who are the Urban League Young Professionals and how can one join?
Glen: The CFUL Young Professionals is the premier African American professional network in Central Florida. Individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 are encouraged to join this network of future community & business leaders. We provide our members access to special events, business networking, and professional coaching. We hold our monthly meetings at Webster University and are constantly welcoming new members.
Roger: Which projects do you feel has the most potential to really impact and change the community?
Glen: The POWER Movement because of the way the program is structured. We understand how important it is to be out in the community. That is something that any successful program is going to have to do. Being out and visible in the community and with its residents is critical.
As we start to do our street outreach, and people begin to see what the Central Florida Urban League is doing through this program, we will be able to connect with people and gain more support that will really drive the success of the program.
For more information about the Central Florida Urban League, call 407-841-7654 or email Law Rolle at firstname.lastname@example.org.