Paying tribute, paying it forward

SEED students wear school uniforms.
SEED students wear school uniforms.

Different holiday, same sense of gratitude. On Labor Day, the Editorial Board paid tribute to individuals and organizations with whom Board members had met during the year and who are working tirelessly to make this community a better place to live. There are so many do-gooders that Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to continue the kudos.

They are working with passion and commitment on behalf of us all. We thank them.

Seed School

SEED is a college-prep boarding school. But its students aren’t the predictable, privileged crowd. Located on the campus of Florida Memorial University, the school has created a haven of books, learning and a family-like environment for smart, focused young people living in untenable circumstances and, perhaps, slipping through the cracks of the school system. They come from homes mired in poverty; a relative might be in prison or they might not live with a biological parent; perhaps, they’re on public assistance.

SEED sees them through from sixth grade to graduation, and provides more than classroom learning. Parents are invited to sit in on classes, attend workshops and interact with their child on a more-engaged level.

Here’s just a small sample of the good SEED is doing: Students sometimes enter three years below grade level academically. Within one year, they have caught up. Commend SEED for providing fertile ground in which these young minds can grow.

Atlantic Institute

As vitriol and misunderstanding swirl around calls to admit/not admit Syrian refugees into the United States, the Atlantic Institute’s work clearly isn’t done.

Thankfully, it is here to illuminate, to foster civil conversation, to highlight what we have in common, not what makes us different. The nonprofit organization is headquartered in Atlanta. It has a community-active branch based in Doral and is making the most of what it has to offer.

Earlier this year, the Atlantic Institute presented a lecture at Florida International University on an always-relevant topic, entitled Islam And Muslims In The Domestic And International Context: Moving Beyond Media Sound Bites. Another talk, held in February, pondered the social and economic impacts of U.S./Cuba normalization.

The organization provides comprehensive programming to draw in families, holding an art and essay contest, for instance, for kids.

The Atlantic Institute is doing valuable work in this community and is worthy of recognition and, as important, support.

Foster Care Review

Volunteers are vital to helping Florida Foster Care Review ensure that children and teens in the foster-care system are well cared for, safe and getting the services that they need. After all, for a child to end up in foster care likely means that they endured pretty dire circumstances before the state stepped in. And it means that they are particularly vulnerable.

It can be heartrending work — and so rewarding, as a look at FFCR’s success stories attests: an “ungovernable” teen who now walks a straighter path, drug free and making career plans to become an occupational therapist; an abandoned boy reunited with his once-troubled mother, who received services to provide him a stable home.

But it needs volunteers to help reap those rewards.

Wish Book

Now it’s your turn. The Miami Herald’s annual Wish Book campaign has begun, the perfect way to make a donation make a huge difference in someone’s life. It’s a fulfilling way to thank those who have aided your own journey — please, pay it forward.