Last week, the BRIDGES program collaborated with the Cypress Bay High School Best Buddies Club and National Honors Society for a fundraiser at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. The fundraiser had an amazing turnout and was very successful in raising money. Everyone had a blast and got to eat some delicious food, too!
The BRIDGES program, Best Buddies, and the Honor Society raised funds by having people state that they were at Anthony’s for the fundraiser, and for each bill, Anthony’s would give 20%. The BRIDGES students were able to collaborate with the other two clubs to come up with the event and plan it. The students also came up with fliers to pass out and post on social media so that they could advertise their fundraiser. This led to quite a nice turnout!
Some of the HDS Foundation’s staff went out to support them. Carla was able to bring her family to help fundraise, and Meagan and Anthony also helped fundraise by buying some great food. Dr. Sandy came by to interact with the BRIDGES students and their families. Past BRIDGES students also wanted to support their peers, and so a bunch of them went to Anthony’s and got some yummy pizza. They had a great time getting to see their old peers and had great conversations.
The fundraiser had lots of support from the school, HDS Foundation, and peers, making a great turnout! The students are so proud of the event and themselves for helping put it together. Thank you to everyone who came out to support, and thanks to Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza for your continuous support!
This month, the BRIDGES students had a fun-filled End of the Year Dinner. It was an enjoyable occasion where all of the students came in their best cocktail attire: cute dresses, and button down shirt and slacks. The venue was decorated with blue table cloths, colorful balloons, and fun wall decals. There was a musician who provided the entertainment for the night, and a photo booth, which was a favorite among the students.
During dinner, the students had great conversations and talked about how nice the venue was and how glad they were to get together for the end of the year. The teachers also put together a great slideshow for the students, showcasing all of their Social and Personal Skills Class Activities. The students loved the trip down memory lane and reminisced together on each of the activities as the pictures came up.
After dinner, there was a delicious cake that everyone fully enjoyed. Once the cake had been devoured, the students all donned funky hats, masks, glasses, boas, and leis to take fun pictures at the photo booth. Everyone wanted to take pictures with the fun props, and the photo booth was a hit.
This has been another very successful year partnering with Cypress Bay High School to continue the BRIDGES program, and we thank all of the teachers for coming up with exciting and beneficial Class Activities. We can’t wait for another great year of the BRIDGES program!
On Thursday, May 4th, the BRIDGES students went on a field trip to visit the Channel 10 newsroom. Everyone was very excited to visit the newsroom and learn all about working in journalism. The students had a great time and even got to try out some of the cool newsroom equipment.
When they first got to the newsroom, they spoke to a few newscasters and some of the behind the scenes workers to find out the things they do to make the news run. They learned all about what it takes to be a newscaster and even got to go into the filming room and stand behind the desks with the Channel 10 anchors. The group took pictures behind the desk and with the anchors, and they found it cool to be where the news was filmed.
One of the group’s favorite parts was getting to see and even try out the green screen. The students got to see how on the TV screen there was a backdrop, but in reality, there was just a green wall. The students got to see themselves on TV with the green screen backdrop, and even help green pieces of paper in front of themselves so that parts of them disappeared into the background. The filming crew taught them all about how the green screen worked, some “TV magic.”
The students also got to go into the room where the executives, producers, and directors work from behind the scenes to make sure that accurate news is put out in the best way possible. They also learned about the jobs of audio engineers and broadcast technicians, who make sure we can see and hear the news, as well as the news writers and editors who create the stories we hear and see.
The Channel 10 tour was both exciting and informative, and the students had loads of questions for all the Channel 10 workers. Thank you so much to Channel 10 for the amazing tour and the information about bringing news to the people, the BRIDGES students loved the experience!
April 2nd has been declared by the United Nations as World Autism Awareness Day, and April as World Autism Month. This year, the Foundation, the HDS Companies, and the employees dressed in blue to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Speaks created the Light It Up Blue campaign in which thousands of people around the world honor the individuals and families affected by Autism. Autism is an intellectual and developmental disorder that affects the ability to communicate and interact. One in 68 children in the United States are diagnosed with Autism, and more than 3.5 million individuals live with an Autism spectrum disorder.
Every year the HDS Companies and employees Light It Up Blue to support the Autism Speaks’ campaign. The Foundation also promotes Autism awareness on social media with #LightItUpBlue and the profile pictures that are updated to reflect support for the campaign. Employees take signs home to place in their front yards and/or purchase blue light bulbs which not only light up their homes in blue, but is an automatic donation to Autism Speaks. This campaign’s message is to “Shine a Light on Autism,” and HDS truly shines the light every year. The Light It Up Blue event was a success as we raised awareness and shared in spreading the message.
At HDS, we are committed to helping raise awareness for Autism and related disorders. Our founder, Cristina Miranda Gilson created the HDS Foundation inspired by the need she experienced first-hand raising a child with Autism. HDS Foundation was established to serve as the catalyst to bring resources to families with Autism and related disorders. We also partner with high schools like Cypress Bay Senior High School to create social skills classes, preparing high school students for post-secondary education. The Foundation and its program seek to identify the peripheral needs of students with ASD-related disabilities, who are looking for a college degree and to live an independent college life, furthering the Foundation’s mission aim at mentoring, achieving and living. Check out our photos below! How do you #LightItUpBlue?
This month, the BRIDGES students got the opportunity to visit City Hall, specifically the City of Weston Emergency Operations Center, or EOC. The EOC building was just recently completed, and houses the EOC, IT Department, Fire Marshal, Police, and other safety departments. This new building is located next to the existing City Hall, as it is part of the same domain.
At City Hall, the BRIDGES students were able to learn all about what the EOC does for the City of Weston, and how they do it. The EOC’s main focus is to keep the City of Weston safe in any emergency situations. One of the ways that they do this is by providing training to the city departments, especially the fire and police department. The BRIDGES students had the opportunity go into the training facilities and learn more about how different departments work with the EOC to keep Weston safe. They also learned about traffic and disaster management, and how the EOC prepares for dangerous situations.
The EOC also helps with storm readiness, such as hurricane preparedness, and the BRIDGES students were able to learn about important safety tips and what the EOC does to prepare. They also learned about the EOC housing provided on the third floor. This housing gives the people that serve during these disasters, especially first responders, a safe place to live.
The BRIDGES students also got to see the Information Technology Department where information is filed and stored so that it can be accessed at any time. This is the way the EOC keeps the people of Weston safe during any emergency situations, especially during disasters.
The BRIDGES students learned a lot and had lots of fun at the EOC. They got an inside view into preparing for emergency situations, from training first responders to storing data for later use. The students loved being able to have a first-hand experience in City Hall, and were excited by all the ways the EOC protects the people of the City of Weston. Thanks to City Hall and the EOC for giving the BRIDGES program this incredible opportunity.
This month, the BRIDGES class took a trip to A Painting Fiesta Art Studio for a social skills opportunity and fun outing. This trip allowed the students to explore their creativity through specific guidelines set forth by the studio. The social skills they used were those of receptive and visual communication that were then represented in their paintings. The students interacted and shared this experience together, which developed their group skills even further.
At A Painting Fiesta Art Studio, they had a sensory filled painting experience. It was a very hands-on way to employ their visual and auditory communication skills, following the spoken and visual guidelines provided by the instructor of the painting class. They also had the opportunity to explore their creative nature, as there was some freedom despite the guidelines. Even though they had the same instruction, the student’s art pieces looked different based on their own personal touch.
This was also great instruction on how to cope with stress. Observing and creating art is a very calming experience, and a great way to relieve stress. This teaches the students an activity that they can then use later on if they encounter a stressful situation, and they get a nice decoration out of it!
In addition, this was a community building experience. Any experience that a group of people go through together brings them closer as they have shared it, and can then talk about what they did and how they felt. The students all talked about the experience and their artwork after the class, and enjoyed looking at their own and others’ artwork.
The students had such a fun time at A Painting Fiesta Art Studio, and they all had incredible results! These BRIDGES students are great artists, check out their art in the pictures below. Thank you to A Painting Fiesta Art Studio for hosting this event and helping the BRIDGES students create their masterpieces.