Seven-year-old Miami Springs resident Abigail Diaz had an extraordinary birthday wish: to do something special to help others. With support from her mom and her dance teacher, Abigail’s birthday wish has been transformed to a very big mission. They’re now calling on the community to make her wish come true to accomplish a mission of hope.
This Saturday, June 27, thanks to the efforts of Abigail's mother, Lisa Parra, and Holly Bain, director of the Starlight Dance Studio, 181 Westward Dr., the studio will serve as Ground Zero for a fundraiser in which people are being asked to drop off donations of bar soap, shampoo, deodorant, combs, brushes, toothbrushes, new socks, razors and toothpaste. Volunteers will join an assembly line to help fill 100 purple bags of hope for the homeless.
Abigail is a very bright girl entering the second grade. She loves dance, animals and her family, friends say. Before her seventh birthday, Abigail came up with an idea. “I wanted to start a business to help people,” she said.
One Saturday morning while practicing her solo routine at the Starlight studio, Abigail shared her thoughts with studio owner and dance instructor Bain. She immediately came on board to help turn Abigail’s dream into a reality and pledged her support to the young dancer.
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“Then the wheels started turning,” Parra said. “I did my research and decided that the Miami Rescue Mission was in line with our beliefs and desires to help the homeless people in South Florida. The Miami Rescue Mission is a faith-based organization that has been helping our communities since 1922. The idea of collecting hygiene items, the basics of what we need, was easier than collecting monetary donations. It also helped Abbey understand that these simple things should not be taken for granted. Abigail is a very loving, caring child.
“I believe nurturing her early to care about others, and encouraging her make the world a better place will help her future development as an adult. It’s not easy to explain these harsh realities to children but I find that she has been very receptive and looks forward to helping others and making a change. When I introduced her to Miami Rescue Mission’s ‘Mission Hope’ and told her all about the collection of hygiene items, she knew that's what she wanted to do.”
The kickoff for Mission Hope took place at Abigail’s seventh birthday party. Guests were encouraged to donate personal hygiene items in lieu of gifts. Of course, participation was completely optional but the birthday girl’s family and friends seemed to love the idea. Children at the party were able to contribute and make the connection to her mission. “The party was a great success,” Parra said. “We collected so many items for the mission, which in turn was the best part.”
“When Abbey came to me about this idea I was taken back,” Bain said. “I thought it was an amazing idea to help and give to people that need it. I felt it was important for me to help in some way. Being a mentor in her life, I couldn't just sit there and not help her, so I offered the dance studio as a place to hold her great idea in collecting hygiene products for the homeless. I believe that children have all kinds of ideas like this and I was happy that Abbey opened up to me. I was able to listen and offer help.
“I think it's important when children think above and beyond, for us adults to help any way we can. Children are capable of anything if we help them. Abbey’s goal is to fill about 100 bags of products, but I think what's most important is a child came up with an idea to give back with a humble and beautiful heart.”
The event this Saturday will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and there will be light refreshments, crafts for the children, and two free 30-minute Zumba sessions beginning at 10:30 and 11:30 for those who contribute. Feel free to contact Bain at 786-202-8314 if you have any questions.