We are a diverse group of individuals who have come together to form a small blended community of seniors and individuals with disabilities. While the founding members are based in Central Florida, we have received interest from other cities and states.
Gail Bagley, Founding Neighbor
I have lived in Florida since 1970, before Disney World opened! My interest in co-living has been percolating for decades, but my real commitment to cohousing came when discovered the “Senior Cohousing Handbook”.
Since then I have visited 20+ cohousing communities, attended numerous regional and national conferences and workshops, and currently serve on the SAGE Senior Cohousing Advocates board, along with Chuck Durrett, the co-founder of cohousing in the U.S.
I look forward to a long, happy and healthy life among supportive friends and neighbors here in Lakeland, FL.
Susan and Alan Harding, Founding Neighbors
We moved to Florida from England in 1999 with our two sons – Daniel, a personal trainer and nutritionist, and Adam, a young man with intellectual disability. Daughters Pam and Catherine live in London, England and Florence, Italy.
Recently retired, we ran a tax and accounting firm for 20 years. We have served on several nonprofit boards and been involved in fundraising and membership for various organizations including American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Circle of Friends and Noah’s Ark of Central Florida. We are strong advocates for inclusive life opportunities for families and individuals who experience disability.
Susan loves cooking, reading, walking, cycling, travel and gatherings with friends and family. Alan’s passions include music (a drummer in a previous life), cricket, eating Susan’s cooking, cricket and football (soccer). Adam loves music, volunteering with SPCA, hanging out with friends, and riding his yellow tricycle.
David and Linda Wood, Founding Neighbors
We are originally from Ohio, but have followed David’s career to Indiana, Colorado and now Florida. We are retired educators who have dedicated our lives and careers to improving opportunities for individuals with disabilities, including our oldest daughter, Joann. Our younger daughter, Sara, is a licensed school psychologist. She and her husband Michael also reside in Lakeland.
We are committed to developing and living in a blended cohousing community in Lakeland, where Joann can occupy her own home under our watchful eye. Joann has typically related more easily to adults without disabilities with whom she can engage in endless conversations while enjoying her sense of humor.
We hope to leave a legacy in which we are integral to something larger than ourselves.
Kristen Carlson- I was raised in a military family. I was born in Newfoundland in 1954 and we lived in CO, VT, AL, Spain, CA, FL and I graduated from high school on Okinawa. My mother settled in Tampa for my father’s last tour of duty in Vietnam, so I went to the University of Florida to be close by. I am a lawyer, practicing primarily in the citrus industry with a Tampa law firm. I am divorced with two grown sons and one English Cocker Spaniel, named Hadley. I enjoy cycling and these days I bike with Hadley in tow. My 101 year old mother resides at Florida Presbyterian Homes and she is very much a participant with me and my sisters, Kim, who also lives in Lakeland.
I have called Lakeland my home since 1982 and have been involved in a range of civic activities over time, including being a long member of the Polk Museum of Art (past board member and President). Currently I enjoy membership in Kiwanis, League of Women Voters and an assortment of other affiliations. I love movies, lectures, traveling, swimming, crafting and painting. Southgate is my neighborhood so downsizing to Harwood Village would keep me close to old friends and haunts, while giving me a new community of friends to enjoy and share interests with.
I’m originally from New Haven, Connecticut, and a graduate of the University of New Haven.
I worked in management at AT&T in New York and Connecticut until its divestiture; then took a sabbatical to live in Sweden, Jamaica, Barbados and Mexico. I have also worked in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry as Executive Assistant for Stevie Wonder, Bill Duke, Marla Gibbs, Judge Mathis and Suzanne de Passe. Additionally, I served as Operations Manager for the NAACP Hollywood Bureau/Image Awards.
I moved to Florida in 2010 to spend time with my Dad whose health was on the decline. I decided to stay in Florida after my Dad’s transition to reacquaint with family.
I enjoy sharing and caring, love trivia, movies, dancing, singing. I have tutored special needs students and volunteered at the Women and Children’s shelter at the Salvation Army in Winter Haven. My passion has been to empower and teach those who are vulnerable and less fortunate. I raised funds and visited a 6-year old orphan in South African, Nomsa, and continue to support Sparrow’s Ministries.
I am currently Director of Cross County Programs for More Too Life, a non-profit with a mission to assist in the healing of human trafficking victims and a tutorial/mentor program for socio-economically challenged youth in Florida.
Our community members have a wide range of interests including:
- Paddle boarding
- Cooking & baking cookies
- Volunteering with SPCA
- Going to the theater and sports events
The community we are building respects and embraces the variety of interests within the group. While some of our members are still working, many are retired from professions that include:
- Industrial Operations Management
- School Administration
- College Teaching
- Social Work
- International Tax & Accounting