Community Conversations

She’s taught more than 2,000 people how to swim in South Florida

Coach Josie Ball, at Miami-Dade County A.D. Barnes Park, says she has taught swimming to at least 2,000 children and adults. For her years of diligence, she was recently awarded the Rotary Club of Miami 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award for Community Impact.
Coach Josie Ball, at Miami-Dade County A.D. Barnes Park, says she has taught swimming to at least 2,000 children and adults. For her years of diligence, she was recently awarded the Rotary Club of Miami 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award for Community Impact. Rotary Club of Miami

Coach Josie Ball, at Miami-Dade County A.D. Barnes Park, says she has taught swimming to at least 2,000 children and adults. For her years of diligence, she was recently awarded the Rotary Club of Miami 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award for Community Impact.

She started teaching swimming when she was 10 years old, first as an aide to her mother Joanne Christensen at Coral Gables’ Venetian Pool and then as a Water Safety Instructor there.

Florida has lost more children to drowning than any other state, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. Tempting pools and lakes, and year-round swimming weather in Florida contribute to the high numbers of death by drowning especially in children ages 1-4. Research also shows 79 percent of children have little-to-no swimming ability in households with incomes of less than $50,000.

Ball has spent 50 years of her life teaching swimming to prevent accidental drowning deaths. She is also a Special Olympics coach and has trained triathletes who have placed in the national Olympic distance competition.

Currently, Ball is training a future Paralympic swimmer. She gave her $500 Rotary award to the Special Olympics of Florida. Ball is also the 2018 South Florida Recreational Swim League Swim Coach of the Year.

Now is the time to sign up for swimming lessons. Miami-Dade County offers lessons for as low as $10 and there are 15 Learn2Swim locations in the county. Scholarships are available. Learn more at https://bit.ly/2GswC1V.

Children receive swimming lessons at Central Broward Regional Park. Broward Sheriff's Office will use the majority of a $70,000 anonymous gift to provide 1,500 Broward children with free lessons during the summer. Jessica Bal/Miami Herald Staff

Day of Caring for breast cancer survivors

The 18th annual Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness is May 4 and will feature all-day educational sessions with the latest information on treatment, and seminars on maintaining a healthier lifestyle and empowerment.

Medical professionals will host seminars on survivor stress management, reconstructive surgery, preventive nutrition and alternative treatments, as well as a discussion on the psychological after-effects of breast cancer. There’s even a class with a vegan chef.

Arts and health advocate Carla Hill will be the keynote speaker. She was recognized by the Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Council as one of the County’s Women of Distinction.

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Carla Hill

“Her message is so meaningful. It will focus on her own health journey while emphasizing the importance of early cancer detection and organ donation awareness,” said co-chair Barbara Garcia of Hill, a breast cancer survivor.

Following lunch, the “Models of Hope Fashion Show” will feature amazing women who are breast cancer survivors. NBC 6’s Morning Anchor Roxanne Vargas will be emcee.

Registration and breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel Miami Airport & Convention Center. Events run until 3 p.m. Tickets are $70 per person. For more, visit www.dayofcaringsfl.org.

Buy this book to donate to Miami Beach Pride

Conceptual artist and designer Doug Meyer went to 79 funerals in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. He is now paying homage to the many victims in his book, “Heroes: A Tribute” published by Miami-based Tra Publishing.

Through April 30, Miami Beach Pride will receive 50 percent of the sales proceeds of this 220-page limited edition book. Meyer’s mission is to honor the many creative geniuses who died too soon and immortalize their work for future generations.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, Rudolph Nureyev, Freddie Mercury, Rock Hudson, John Duka, Tina Chow, Klaus Nomi, Halston and Angelo Donghia are some of the early victims of AIDS that Meyer honors.

“I find it so sad and horrifying that these 50 Heroes seem to have fallen out of contemporary cultural memory,” Meyer said. “My intent for both the Heroes Project and this book is to expose a younger generation to these Heroes whose contributions, talent and even existence have been forgotten or perhaps nearly lost in today’s digital world.”

Each book is crafted with collage elements and is stamped, signed and numbered. The book also includes a signed and numbered print by Meyer. The limited edition retails for $95 and may be purchased at www.trapublishing.com.

Under picture-perfect skies the 2017 Miami Beach Pride Parade took over Ocean Dr. on South Beach on Sunday, April, 9, 2017.

Eat at Joe’s and help kids

Everyone is invited to sign up, and enjoy stone crabs, to help support children who benefit from the after-school programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade.

The organization will host the eighth annual “Claws for Kids” fundraising brunch 11 a.m., May 5 at Joe’s Stone Crab, 11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.

“This event continues to grow each year,” said Judy Kramer, a retired Miami-Dade Schools executive, who has chaired the event since its inception. This year she is co-chairing with mother-daughter team Lisa Mendelson and Lindsey Mendelson.

Table sponsorships range from $2,500 to $10,000. Individual tickets are $250. For more, contact Rhia Hunter at 305-446-9910 ext. 30, or rhunter@bgcmia.org. Visit www.bgcmia.org.

MADD Walk

The Broward County Mothers Against Drunk Driving will host its ninth annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale 5K, April 28 at Huizenga Plaza in Fort Lauderdale.

Founder and Volunteer Chairperson Heather Geronemus established this event in 2011 after her father was struck and killed by a drunk driver in 2009.

Through this event, the group has raised over $1.75 million that stays in the community to save lives and support victims of drunk driving.

Learn more at www.walklikemadd.org and sign up at https://bit.ly/2VD1hPD. S

Sculpture in Everglades

If you take a day trip to Everglades National Park, be sure to stop and see the sculpture of Robert Chambers at the AIRIE Nest Gallery inside the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center through June 1. Deborah Mitchell is curator.

The new work combines elements such as biomimicry, 3D printing, and principles of evolutionary biology to “express the urgency of conserving the delicate relationships of natural phenomena and indigenous species that make up the Everglades.”

The work is inspired by Serenoa repens, the hardy plant known as the saw palmetto. Chambers designed and produced the sculptures in collaboration with the Florida International University Robotics and Digital Fabrication Laboratory, and the CARTA Innovation Lab at FIU’s Miami Beach Urban Studios.

The exhibition is made possible with the support of an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and AIRIE, Inc. The visitor center is located at the southeastern entrance to Everglades National Park, 10 miles southwest of Homestead.

For more about the exhibit, visit www.airie.org.

If you have news for this column, please send it to CHRISTINAMMAYO@GMAIL.COM.

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