Lead. Impact. Network. Change.
That’s exactly what the United Way LINC members do every time they volunteer to help others.
The latest project taken on by the young people, all 22 to 30 years old, was to renovate a beach volleyball court and build benches July 14 for youth who attend the programs at AMIkids Miami-Dade South in Key Biscayne.
“The volunteer project was awesome,” said Stephanie Seriane-Consuegra, United Way manager of events & public relations/external affairs, in an email.
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“Almost 30 LINC volunteers dedicated their Saturday to building a beach volleyball court and brand new benches for the youth who attend AMIkids South, a nonprofit organization that facilitates healthy and responsible development for young people who have been referred through the juvenile system,” said Seriane-Consuegra, who is also a a “LINCer.”
“These millennials volunteer with a passion for serving our community,” she said.
For the court, they set a new foundation, added the large amounts of sand and a new net, and then they built six benches in the surrounding area.
The AMIkids program started almost 50 years ago with a vision of “Separating a troubled past from a bright future.” AMIkids programs are often a last resort for troubled youth.
It was founded in 1969 by Frank Orlando, who at the time was chief juvenile court judge in Fort Lauderdale. He advanced his mission by teaming with Bob Rosof, who directed a research program for Florida Atlantic University called the Florida Atlantic Ocean Science Institute (FAOSI).
Instead of being incarcerated, young offenders were put to work on a research vessel with staff who served as role models. As of 2017, according to the AMIkids website, 125,000 young men and women have been helped through programs that now include after-school courses, centers for academic discipline, and vocational training with job placement. To learn more, visit amikids.org.
You can learn more about United Way’s LINC and other ways to help in our community at unitedwaymiami.org.
Millennials interested in getting involved in volunteering, networking, and impact projects can call 305-646-7013 or write to LINC@unitedwaymiami.org. LINCers pay $20 a month to be a part of the group “Where Millennials come together to touch lives, make connections and have a good time.”
ZAC Camp save lives
Karen and Brian Cohn established The ZAC Foundation in 2008 after their 6-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, drowned when his arm became entrapped in the drain of their backyard swimming pool.
Since then, through the foundation’s advocacy and education efforts, more than 14,000 children and their families have learned the importance of water safety. It is estimated that millions more have been reached through social media and the news.
The ZAC Foundation joins with local organizations in cities all across the country to sponsor the camps for local 5- to 9-year-olds.
The latest effort was a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and first responders in a four-day water safety camp July 10-13 at the group’s South Beach Club in Miami Beach.
“Each year, it is tremendously gratifying to see our son Zachary’s legacy live on in the faces and laughter of kids across the country who participate in ZAC Camps,” Karen Cohn said in a release. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our kids, and it brings us all great joy to provide kids and their parents with the tools to enjoy the water more safely.”
The campers and their families learned water safety skills through a combination of classroom instruction, swimming lessons, and tools from the first responders.
The parents also learned how to understand avoidable risks. The classroom curriculum was based on “The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim,” a children’s book co-authored by Zachary’s parents.
“We are grateful to The ZAC Foundation for continuing their partnership to bring ZAC Camp to our community,” said Alex Rodriguez-Roig, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade in a release.
“ZAC Camp gives our campers vital safety information to keep them safe in and around any body of water, which goes hand-in-hand with Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s mission to provide our members with important skills to help with their growth and development.”