Mrs. Linda Watts resides in Leesburg, FL where she was a kindergarten/pre-school teacher for twenty years. She has been actively involved in youth programs for the past 30 years and attends youth workshops each year for updates. She is currently Director of the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Program, which awards ten thousand dollars each year to local students. Linda volunteers with the Leesburg Art Festival and is a member of the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Leesburg Partnership.She has been involved with the Florida youth programs of Seventeen Magazine, J.C. Penney's and Disney World's Dreamers and Doers Program. In 1986, she founded and organized Florida's Hometown U.S.A. Program, Inc. The program started out small in her hometown of Leesburg, FL but branched out upon realizing that she wanted to include students from all over the state.
Her goal was an educational endeavor to instill in the youth of Florida the importance of volunteer service. Her idea that the youth of Florida should learn more about their state is accomplished through this program. She feels that giving back to your community is important and makes a lasting impact on all the students involved.
In 2002, Linda was recognized by WESH-TV (NBC) as a Hometown Hero for her volunteer work with youth. In 2003, she received the Lake County Community Service Award for her work with the Leesburg Art Festival and the Leesburg Scholarship Program. She also received the Women Make Magic Award for community service, which was sponsored by the Orlando Sentinel and Magic 107.7 Radio. She was recognized by Lake Today Magazine as Volunteer of the Month.
Linda was nominated for the Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scout Council, selected as Woman of the Week by Radio Z88.3 and she was also recognized by the Helping Kids Shine Program of Walt Disney World. Most recently, Linda was honored by L’OREAL and the Women of Worth Program and she was selected by Dove as a Woman Over 50 who demonstrates true beauty inside and out.
In 2008, Linda received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congresswoman Corrine Brown. This recognition was for her outstanding and invaluable service to the community. Also, on April 16, 2008, Linda received a Congressional Recognition Plaque from Congressman Cliff Stearns that was presented on the House Floor of the U.S. Congress. This honor was for her 22 years of volunteer work with the youth of Florida.
July 10, 2008 - Governor Charlie Crist recognized Linda Watts as that week’s Point of Light for outstanding volunteerism. For 22 years, Linda has mentored hundreds of students by encouraging them to volunteer and take pride in their community.
June, 2009 - Chosen by People Magazine as an ALL-STARS AMONG US for the Florida Marlins and MLB. This was for individuals who have gone above and beyond to serve their community.
February 2, 2010 - Received a Daily Points of Light Award Honoree. This award honors individuals who are creating meaningful change in communities across America and those who are a shining point in the lives of others and whose example of generosity and compassion help make our communities stronger.
April 20, 2010 - Named a University of Phoenix Volunteer Leader Award Honoree, an award given by HandsOn Network and the University of Phoenix to 10 outstanding volunteer leaders in the nation. These leaders motivate others and are catalysts for change in their communities. The award celebrates the first anniversary of the landmark Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which authorized the largest expansion of national service in America in decades. Linda received ten thousand dollars to donate to the organization of her choice - Florida’s Hometown USA Program, Inc.
November 5, 2010 - Received the 2010 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Lake Community Action Agency in appreciation of her outstanding service and dedication while volunteering with Head Start and Early Head Start Programs.
March 17, 2011 - Selected as a national semi-finalist for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame Award. This award celebrates those who make a positive impact on the world with their determination, boundless energy and never quit spirit.
June, 2011 - Received the Making A Difference Award for her volunteer work - featured in Lake Magazine.
August 2011 - Honored at a Tribute Celebration for 25 years of working with youth of Florida and recognized by Local, State and National leaders.
September 29, 2011 - Selected as Citizen of the Year by the Leesburg Partnership
October 1, 2011 - Proclaimed "Linda Watts Day" by the City of Leesburg
October - Selected as an Extra Ordinary person in Lake & Sumter STYLE Magazine
December 3, 2011 - Grand Marshall in the Leesburg Christmas Parade as Citizen of the Year.
June, 2012 - Nominated for the Lady Godiva Program - Celebrating Inspirational Women Around the World.
July 2013 - Girl Scout Women of Distinction Nominee - a woman who has identified a local community need or issue and has initiated meaningful change, dedicating her personal time and resources to champion her cause and recognized as a source of strength and heart in her community.
December, 2013 - Inducted into the Lake County Women's Hall of Fame. Created by the Board of County Commissioners in 1995, the Women's Hall of Fame honors those who have made monumental accomplishments in Lake County.
June 2014 - Received the Citizen's Service Before Self Award by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation in Arlington, VA. One of 20 individuals recognized nationwide who clearly demonstrates a willingness to help others.
November 2014 - Top 5 State Director Finalist at Prestige Pageantry Awards in Miami
March 2015 - Women of Lake County History Month Recognition Ceremony - Lake Sumter State College
March 2015 - Community Leaders Dinner at the Governor's Mansion - recognized by First Lady Ann Scott
July 2016 - Recognized for L'OREAL Women of Worth National Award
October 2016 - Nominated for Florida's Women Hall of Fame in Tallahassee
She and her husband, Allen, have two children and four grandchildren.