“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea,” said author Karen Blixen.
That is certainly true for the heroes behind Project SAIL, the program that makes it possible for kids with disabilities to experience Biscayne Bay through therapeutic sailing, environmental lessons, swimming and kayaking.
The program was created by the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities in a partnership with Shake-A-Leg Miami. It is made possible through funds raised at the annual UM-NSU CARD Tropical Nights.
Each year, a new school partner is given the opportunity, and for 2016 Coral Gables’ Crystal Academy was chosen. For six weeks more than a dozen children with autism and other developmental delays participated in a three-hour class, once a week, at Biscayne Bay Marina.
“We all love Project SAIL because, not only because of the smiles, but because we get to focus on the kids’ abilities, rather than their disabilities,” said David R. Pike, founder and CEO at Crystal Academy Premium Therapy Center in a release. “Our students have the opportunity to develop a new set of skills guided by professionals who understand the importance of life changing experiences. It is an effective supplementary therapy.”
Crystal Academy founder Mary Palacio-Pike said she was impressed with the interaction between the students and Harry Horgan, Shake-A-Leg CEO and co-founder.
“One of our boys was engaged, showing empathy, providing support and care to someone he thought needed it. This is the type of ‘intervention’ that programs like this allow,” she said. “It was a wonderful experience for the kids. They got to jump off a board to the ocean, kayak, sail, use fishnets, explore the private island and even visit a Coast Guard emergency boat.”
UM-NSU CARD provides families with individualized client and family support, family and professional training and public education and awareness and community outreach.
“Our relationship with Shake-A-Leg has continued to grow, and so has our commitment to provide our students with an awesome experience,” Sara Dajer, manager of education and family support services at UM-NSU CARD, said in a release.
To learn about support for children, teens and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), dual sensory impairments, sensory impairments with other disabling conditions, and related disabilities, visit http://www.umcard.org/home/.
The nonprofit Shake-A-Leg Miami provides enrichment opportunities for children and adults with physical, developmental and economic challenges. By “using the natural environment of Biscayne Bay as a giant organic classroom, participants learn by doing.” Check it out at http://www.shakealegmiami.org/.
For more about Crystal Academy Premium Therapy Center and School, contact Katherine Cao at 305-567-5881 to arrange a walk-through of the facility or to make a donation. You can also visit http://www.crystalacademycg.com/.
CLUB CELEBRATES 125 YEARS
Congratulations to the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove for continuing the work of Miami’s pioneer women who started the club 125 years ago. Members unanimously elected Kathy Kesler as their 125th club member at the December membership meeting.
“We are so pleased to welcome Kathy as our 125th member during this memorable 125th anniversary year,” said president Marlene Erven. “The club has also reached what is thought to be its highest number of members in its history, with 127 members.”
Kesler, a resident of Coconut Grove, also serves on the board of directors for the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce and is the public relations director of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove. She is the founder and president of Interspace Design Group.
The Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove was established in 1891, five years before Miami became a city. Homesteader and teacher Flora McFarlane and other pioneer women originally called their group the Housekeeper’s Club. They met each week for two hours for discussions, projects and study. By working together, their spirit helped build a community.
The club is the oldest community service organization in South Florida and its clubhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-216-0626.
The winners of the 30th annual Merrick Festival Caroling Competition were announced after five nights of free performances at the 550 Biltmore Way Building in Coral Gables, which hosts the showcase.
The Merrick Festival awarded $13,000 in cash prizes to 20 South Florida middle and senior high schools in addition to each school receiving $225 for transportation costs.
The Grand Prize winners were: New World School of the Arts, Doral Academy Prep, Ronald Reagan/Doral Senior High, Florida Christian School, Hialeah Senior High, South Miami Middle School, Florida Christian Middle School and Good Shepherd School. Ten other schools won Runner Up and Honorable Mention prizes.
Robert Morgan Senior High won the Rotary Music Award with “Pueri Concinite” by Johann Herbeck with performing soloist Alysia Velez, a senior at the school. She won the Miami Music Festival Scholarship of $3,200 and will participate in the June festival at Barry University.
The judges for the 2016 competition were Tony Arroyo, Yvonne Barclay, Rafael de Guzman, Kevin Rutledge, Giselle Elgarresta Rios, Charles Vitale and Teresita Wessels. To hear videos and see more about the competition visit https://www.facebook.com/Caroling-Competition-223745097684960/.
If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at email@example.com.