News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
September 06, 2011

Media Contact:
Laura Phillips

Vanessa Virbitsky

Miami-Dade Parks' Miami Heat Wheels Team named finalist for Team USA Grant

Fan Voting through September 18 on Facebook to Determine Winners

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
The United States Olympic Committee announced Miami-Dade Parks Disability Services' Miami Heat Wheels wheelchair basketball team is a finalist for a $12,000 Team USA Grant.

One of five finalists in the "Excellence" category, fans can vote for the "Miami Heat Wheels FIRESITUP" video on the US Olympic Team's Facebook page at The contest runs through September 18.

To vote, you must first "like" the U.S. Olympic Team, and then you may vote once per category, per day. By 11:59:59 p.m. (ET) on September 18, the two videos in each category with the most votes will receive $12,000 grants.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for our Miami Heat Wheels team and we are thrilled to be selected as a finalist for the Team USA Grants," said Miami-Dade Parks Disability Services Manager Lucy Binhack. "We encourage our fans throughout the community to go to Facebook and vote for Miami Heat Wheels FIRESITUP every day during the contest," she added. "Tell your friends, tweet your followers and get the word out, because every single vote counts!"

The Miami Heat Wheels team seeks to improve physical fitness, on the court performance and adherence to sound nutritional guidelines for athletic competition through hiring a coach and certified personal trainer. A perennial top-10 national contender, the team hopes to win the Division III national tournament and to fund competition travel expenses.  The team developed from the wheelchair sports division of the Miami-Dade Parks Disability Services Program, providing sports, recreation and access for persons with disabilities, including intellectual, physical, visual, and hearing disabilities.  It is an example of the wide variety of diverse recreational programming and services provided by the Miami-Dade Park & Recreation Department.

As part of its Join Team USA initiative, which provides Americans with opportunities to support and join Team USA, the U.S. Olympic Committee created the Team USA Grants to assist organizations within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Family. The grants will be awarded to organizations that aim to improve sustained competitive excellence, instill the Olympic Values and grow sport participation in the U.S.

"The Team USA Grants are all about supporting the countless organizations across the country that work year-round to train future Olympians and Paralympians and share the values of Olympism with youth, while at the same time increasing the USOC's impact through the Join Team USA campaign," said USOC Chief Communications Officer Patrick Sandusky. "In this step of the contest, we're excited to share the creative programming and inspiring stories of our U.S. Olympic Family members with our Facebook community."

To enter, eligible organizations submitted a video clip describing their program, its need for funding and how it met the criteria of the selected Olympic Value category. The categories are excellence, friendship and respect. From this process, 10 finalists were selected from the excellence and friendship categories, five per category. The video clips from these finalists will be posted to the US Olympic Team Facebook page from September 7-18 for fans to determine two winners from each category.

For more information on Miami-Dade Parks Disability Services, its wheelchair sports division or the Miami Heat Wheels, visit or call 311. 

For more information on the Team USA Grant program, including the Official Contest Rules, please visit For the full USOC press release, please visit

About the Miami-Dade Park & Recreation Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor's Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 263 parks and more than 12,848 acres of land.  It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world.  Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more.  For information about Miami-Dade Parks call 3-1-1 or visit

To request material in accessible format, information on access for persons with disabilities, or sign language interpreter services (7 days in advance), call 305-365-6706.


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