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Meet some of the lives you helped change through United Way of Miami-Dade. For more testimonials, visit the United Way of Miami-Dade website.
Studies show that many youth get into trouble between 3 - 6 pm, known by educators as the "danger zone" hours, when one in four teens are unsupervised. Studies also show that when youth engage in positive activities, they are more likely to avoid gangs, become self-sufficient, develop employment skills and finish school. At Boys & Girls Club, thousands of young adults are encouraged to stay away from risky behavior by engaging them in positive after-school, mentoring and extracurricular activities providing them the opportunities to remain and excel in school. During the summer of eight-grade, Kevin's mother passed away. He was left alone, with his sister and father, who worked to put food on the table.
It was through school that Kevin learned of the Boys & Girls Club, but when he first arrived he was nervous. He was shy and withdrawn and had no friends. All that changed. He made his first friend when he stepped into the basketball court and from there, Kevin said everything was easy – "like a growing tree." His mentor, Ronny, helped him come out of his shell and became a huge part of Kevin’s life, as a role-model, a friend and a big brother. Kevin began coaching kids in the after-school program, helping them with homework, playing sports, and whatever else the kids needed. "Boys & Girls Club is like a second home that basically made me drift away from everything," said Kevin.
"It’s been a life-changing experience. Without it, I don’t believe I would be half the person I am now." United Way has a community plan, focused on education, financial stability and health — the building blocks for a good life. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place. We invest in quality programs, advocate for better policies, engage people in the community and generate resources. It takes all of us working together to create a more educated, prosperous and healthy Miami-Dade, and you are essential to realizing that vision for our community.
Join us and LIVE UNITED.
Living a healthy life means having access to health care at every stage of life. United Way of Miami-Dade funds programs across our community to help meet the health needs of our neighbors. One of those programs at the Hearing & Speech Center of Florida provides speech-language and occupational therapy to individuals with speech and hearing problems. Naomi did not know what was wrong with her young daughter, Hannah – she had no words and all she did was scream and yell. After taking her to numerous doctors believing she was suffering from loss of hearing, Hannah was diagnosed with a rare speech disorder and doctors told Naomi that her baby girl would never speak.
We all have a stake in making sure today's children grow up to be productive citizens who give back to the community. Today, nearly one-third of students will not graduate on time, which has a significant social and economic consequence for all of us. United Way of Miami-Dade funds programs across our community to help our children to be successful in school and in life. One of those programs, Coconut Grove Cares, also known as The Barnyard, is an after-school and summer program that provides at-risk children with educational, recreational and cultural activities year-round.
We all have a stake in making sure today’s children grow up to be productive citizens who give back to the community. A good education is the foundation for a child’s success in work and life — and a good education starts early. Research tells us 85 percent of our core brain structure is formed in the first three years of life and that reading at grade level by the end of third grade can predict high school graduation. Today, nearly one-third of students will not graduate on time, which has significant social and economic consequences for all of us. United Way of Miami-Dade funds programs across our community to help our children to be successful in school and in life. One of those programs, at the Overtown Youth Center, teaches children to become good students and good citizens.
Research tells us that reading at grade level by the end of third grade can predict high school graduation. United Way of Miami-Dade invests in programs across our community to help our children to be successful in school and in life. One of those programs, at Centro Mater, helps children to improve their English language skills, making academic success more attainable. When she arrived at Centro Mater, Lissandra was scared people would laugh at her because she could not speak any English; she was having difficulty with her schoolwork and falling behind in her classes. Since enrolling in Centro Mater, Lissandra has improved her English through literacy activities, receives help with her classwork, and dreams about her future.
In the past few years, we have all seen how interconnected we are. When people are unemployed and more families are financially unstable, the impact is felt throughout the community. Since its opening in October 2009, our neighbors can access financial education and coaching at the United Way Center for Financial Stability to help them pave a path to financial independence. Claudia, a single mother of seven, found herself unexpectedly unemployed and unable to afford her mortgage. With the help of her financial coach, Claudia received assistance in budgeting and credit repair, successfully negotiated a reduction in her mortgage payment and is now pursuing her dream of opening a child care center.
United Way of Miami-Dade invests in programs across our community to help our children to be successful in school and in life. One of those programs, at ASPIRA of Florida, helps children to improve their math and science skills while they pursue other interests, such as art, making academic success more attainable. In spite of his creativity and passion for art, when David arrived at ASPIRA, he was not eligible for art class because of poor academic performance in math. The after-school program has helped David improve his grades and pursue his love of art.
A good education is the foundation for a child’s success in work and life -- and a good education starts early. In 2007, the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education opened with the vision of providing all children with access to the highest quality care and education, so they can have the best possible start in school and in life. When Luca began his journey with the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education at 15 months old, his first teacher observed that Luca might have some developmental challenges ahead. After diagnosing Luca’s eyesight problem and providing him with the proper therapy, Luca’s ability to learn and socialize with other children began to improve immediately.
In the past few years, we have all seen how interconnected we are. When people are unemployed and more families are financially unstable, the impact is felt throughout the community. One misfortune – a lost job, a health problem – and a family can go from living on the edge to living on the streets. United Way of Miami-Dade invests in programs across our community to help our individuals and families pave a path to financial independence. At New Life Family Shelter, homeless families, such as Cliff’s was, are provided with opportunities to get back on their feet, to gain the skills and the confidence to become financially stable and independent again.
Geovanna and Stephanie
Studies show that many youth get into trouble between 3 - 6 pm, known by educators as the “danger zone” hours, when one in four teens are unsupervised. United Way of Miami-Dade funds programs that last year, provided more than 30,000 boys and girls with after-school activities, mentoring, and social and life skills workshops. One of these programs, at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, match caring adult volunteers -- who serve as mentors – with at-risk youth, to provide the invaluable gift of friendship and guidance. Confident and looking forward to a future full of promise, Geovanna and Stephanie graduated high school and are off to Florida State on a scholarship. They have come full circle and are now Big Sisters in their own right.
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