Introducing the 2016 Mr. Central Florida!

On October 6th the Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center held its 4th annual Mr. Central Florida event at the Sun-N-Fun Florida Air Museum. This year, 25 Community Champions competed for the title by seeking votes and sponsors to raise money for the Center.
Mr. Ronnie Hedrick II, President of Bul-Hed, earned the title of 2016 Mr. Central Florida with over 30,000 votes! Ronnie is the President of Bul-Hed Corporation, a company that specializes in borrow pit operations, land clearing, heavy earthmoving, reclamation, effluent spray field construction, landfill construction, wetland restoration and mitigation. Ronnie learned about the Center last year, and was enlisted in this year’s competition through 2015 contestant, Troy Garcia from Allen & Company. Ronnie showed dedication and exemplary fundraising efforts.
Brian West, Media and Community Relations Manager of Publix Super Markets finished second, earning the Wingman Award. In third, earning the title of Mr. Overachiever, was Greg Smith the Manager of Belk at Lakeside Village. The Center is overwhelmed with gratefulness to the 25 men that helped to raise money for the Center. Thank you to everyone that participated and supported this event!
This was a record breaking year of not only reaching the goal of $75,000 but . . . exceeding it! Together the contestants raised over $140,000! The majority of the children treated at the Center are underinsured and 92% require subsidized funding. The money raised by these men will provide care for these children.


Mr. Central Florida 2020 is Crowned!


On October 29th, Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center held its 8th annual Mr. Central Florida, sponsored by The Ruthvens. It was the first livestreamed event, where guests could watch from the comfort of their home or their cars at the Silver Moon Drive In. This year, 21 men competed for the title by seeking votes to raise money for the Center. The competition was fierce, but all in good fun, raising more money than ever before.

The 2020 Mr. Central Florida winner was Lt. Jim Ostojic, representing the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Jim shattered past records and raised over $83,000. For most of the competition, he had two contestants that were neck in neck. In the end, Jim pulled from the pack and took the title home!

Tony Corrao, representing CPS Investment Advisors, also broke the top fundraising record, raising over $55,000. Although in 3rd place, Tom Lloyd, representing Bank of Central Florida, still raised an astonishing $34,000.

Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center and the patients we serve are thankful beyond words for every single contestant, the planning committee, the volunteers, and our community who opened their hearts to make sure that we can continue to provide the human connection – communication.

The money raised by these men will provide speech, language, and hearing care for children and adults in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands County.


EmpowerPolk Grant Awarded

The Center was awarded an EmpowerPolk Grant from the GiveWell Community Foundation for our POP (Patient Organization Productivity) program. This grant allows us to upgrade our existing patient management software and serve our patients more effectively. We will be able to schedule appointments quicker, generate important data, manage marketing efforts, communicate in different ways, and access information easier.

We are so grateful for the GiveWell Community Foundation and their support of this program!

Hear it to Say it Grant received!

Hear it to Say it Grant received!

We are thrilled to announce that we have received a $5,000 grant from the George W. Jenkins Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation for our Hear it to Say it project.

This project will help provide an OAE (otoacoustic emissions) device for our speech-language department. The OAE is unique in its ability to detect an ear response, without an action from the patient, delivering an ideal testing environment for children.

Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center is committed to treating a patient’s stated issues, as well as identifying underlying contributors. Speech-Language Pathologists provide superior care with a unique approach when beginning a new patient evaluation: a hearing screening to identify if hearing loss is present and a possible cause or contributor to a child’s speech-language issues. The results from this test determines the entire course of treatment for a patient.

We are thankful to the George W. Jenkins Fund and the GiveWell Community Foundation for the funding opportunity and ultimately the receipt of this grant! THANK YOU!!!



UPDATE 7/01/2020

Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center is slowly opening up to accommodate our patients’ needs. Currently, we are providing the following services:

  • In-Center Audiology services: hearing aid tests and hearing aids, as well as cleanings, troubleshooting, and supplies.
  • Curbside Audiology services: hearing aid cleanings, troubleshooting, and supplies.
  • Speech-Language services: Speech-Language Pathologists are now providing Teletherapy services.
  • Evaluations and some in-Center therapy services are being provided.
  • We are now accepting physician referrals for both departments.
  • FTRI (free phone program): distribution in-Center by appointment only.

All services require an appointment. Our current hours are:

Monday-Thursday: 8am-6pm

UPDATE 3/23/2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center is reducing business hours. Please call prior to coming in for services.

Speech-Language Therapy will be conducted via tele-health and your speech-language pathologist will be calling you.

UPDATE 3/16/2020

Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center is open, but the health and safety of our patients and employees is of utmost importance. True to our mission, we are working hard to make sure that we continue to serve our patients and community in the safest way possible.

Here are some notable announcements:

  • If you or your child are receiving speech-language services, your therapist will be contacting you.
  • Audiology patients will be seen. We are taking all necessary safety precautions.
  • For audiology walk-in clinic, please call prior to coming in as we may be able to help you remotely. We will be available via phone (during the hours of 10:00- 11:30AM, 2:00-3:00 PM) to assist you and save a trip to the office.
  • All outside meetings held in the Ruthven Family Community Room are suspended until further notice.
  • FTRI outreach events are cancelled but appointments to come into the Center can be made.

Please remember, if you or your child are sick, please call our office (863-686-3189) to reschedule your appointment.


Resources for kids at home

Due to the COVID-19 virus, schools around the nation are closed and some parents are keeping their children home from speech-language therapy. Our Speech-Language Pathologists have put together a list of resources that can be used at home. Many of these links include free opportunities for practicing and learning at home!

To help explain the Coronavirus to your children, check out the following:

Links for “on-screen” activities

Libby (app)

Provides access to thousands of books from our public libraries (you will need a public library card for access) 

Into the

Play games that practice reading strategies. 

Suessville – 

Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss and his friends


Read, play games, and conduct cool science experiments

Help Kidz

Resources available for parents to use at home during this period and beyond

Lakeshore Learning Resources

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development | Reading Rockets

Things to do “off-screen”

Start a Nature Diary

Look out the window or venture outside – keep notes of what you hear, smell, and see: birds, flowers, changes in the weather, what else?

Make a puppet (think-old socks) 

Create a puppet show and perform it for your family.

Make Lists

Things that make you happy, people in your family, things you love to eat, activities you like to do, etc. (verbally or written)

“Letter of the Day”

Each day pick a letter.  Go around your house and find items that begin with that letter.  Older Kids – Practice spelling them and using the word in a sentence.   Play ‘I Spy’ – works on vocabulary, wh questions, adjectives, etc

Play ‘I Spy’

Works on vocabulary, wh questions, adjectives, etc.


Thank you, Kiwanis!

The Kiwanis Club of Lakeland has selected the Center to receive a grant for iPads in our Speech-Language Pathology Department. Our seven speech-language pathologists use iPads regularly in our speech-language therapy sessions for a number of reasons. The children of today are growing up as “digital natives” as technology has been a part of their lives from day one. For them, the iPad is familiar technology so they take to it naturally. In some cases, we are able to present new/different information to patients and in other cases, we are presenting the same materials we have previously used but are able to present them in a new way that keeps our patients engaged and motivated.

Senior Speech-Language Pathologist, Amy Tyner accepts a grant from The Lakeland Kiwanis Club on behalf of the Center.

Thank you, Kiwanis for your amazing support of the Center and our patients!


Congratulations, 2019 Mr. Central Florida!

We are thrilled to announce the 2019 Mr. Central Florida winner, Jim Sidou of Saddle Creek Logistics Services! Jim raised over $38,000 for the Center, well exceeding the $5,000 goal set for the contestants. Runners up for the titles were Don Bosko of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and Trey Chapman of Lakeland Volkswagen. Both also raised over $30,000. 8 additional contestants raised over $5,000 each. This year’s event was yet another record breaking year!

Jim Sidou, 2019 Mr. Central Florida
Trey Chapman with campaign manager Jared Diveley of Lakeland VW.
Don Bosko wowed the crowd with his performance as the King of Rock and Roll.

CFSHC awarded Florida Blue Grant

Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center has been awarded the 2019 Innovation in the Health Care System grant from Florida Blue Foundation. The 3-year grant supports the Center’s C.A.R.E. program, an extension of the existing Audiology for Seniors program.

C.A.R.E. (Communication Access for Restricted Elders) provides seniors in our community, not only with audiology care, but with transportation and the opportunity to interact with others. The program implements a Vocational Rehabilitation course, which provides patients with both information and socialization. The program will begin in January and will feature partnerships with neighboring organizations such as VISTE, LVIM, Independent Living Organizations, and Senior Resource Centers.