LGBTQ South Florida

Unity Coalition brings positivity to South Florida this Sunday

Guests painting at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens during the 2015 ELEVATE workshop.
Guests painting at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens during the 2015 ELEVATE workshop. Unity Coalition/Coalición Unida

If there’s one thing everyone can agree upon in South Florida, it’s that sometimes people are awfully disagreeable. Between traffic on the Palmetto and the humidity, it’s difficult to be a nice person all the time.

To combat this, and prove that Miami can become more positive, the Unity Coalition/Coalición Unida — an organization for the Latino and Hispanic LGBTQ community — will host its second annual ELEVATE program from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr.

There will be more than 14 workshops and activities to foster positivity, from healthy eating, to life coaching, to painting in the garden, to yoga and meditation. The program will also offer six continuing education credits. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Some workshops cover adult topics, such as the Spirituality, Sexuality and Religious Tolerance panel, but the program is open to youths 12 to 17, with parental consent.

Guests are encouraged to attend whether or not they are LGBT.

“ELEVATE is a way of being nicer, a way of being nicer to yourself, nicer to your body, to your spirit, to the world around you. It’s a way to get all of us to elevate ourselves through workshops, tools and our imagination,” said Herb Sosa, director of Unity Coalition/Coalición Unida.

Part of being positive includes being creative. David Kessler, a life coach and psychotherapist who also taught at last year’s workshop, will teach an “Energize Your Creativity” workshop. He will share ways to energize creativity and channel creative energy in a healthy way.

“It’s a chance for the community to get together and engage in activities that are fun and really spend the day bonding with each other in the beautiful Miami Beach Botanical Gardens,” Kessler said.

Charlotte Libov, author of Cancer Survivor Book and writer for News Max Health, will present a workshop on fighting the fear associated with a cancer diagnosis. Libov said that it’s important to remain calm after learning you have cancer because of the decisions that need to be made.

“This is just a day where people can relax and focus on the positive,” Libov said. “Day to day, we focus on the negative. Even in a topic like mine, there’s ways to look at things differently that I hope will be helpful.”

She also attended last year’s workshop and loved the positive environment. She looks forward to attending as many workshops as she can at this year’s event.

“[ELEVATE] is a very relaxed setting. We like to think of it like an adult summer camp where you can have that flexibility and decide which topics you want to be involved in,” Sosa said. “It’s always a good time.”

Last year, about 150 guests participated. Classes will be capped at 20 guests on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are available at Tickets are $30 for adults, $50 for couples and $20 for youths 12 to 17.

“I think what’s most impacting is being able to stop for a day to really reflect on yourself and how you treat others,” Sosa said. “I don’t think any of us are above learning and above making small adjustments in our life to make ourselves better people.”