CBHS B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Visit the Post Office

CBHS B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Visit the Post Office

Every Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Cypress Bay High School B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class gets together for a new learning opportunity towards independent living. On Tuesdays, the students participate in an in-class activity that prepares them for their Community Based Instruction Trip on Thursdays. This week the class focused on their budgeting, resources, and independent functioning skills which represents the “B”, “R”, and “I” in B.R.I.D.G.E.S.

Last Tuesday, students were busy learning how to write a letter as HDS Foundation staff taught the students everything that needed to be included: a letter heading, body, and salutation. Then, each student wrote a letter to one of their classmates explaining why a certain DVD, CD, or video game is their favorite. After the letters were written, the students then reviewed and addressed each of their envelopes. The next step was to put their letter along with their CD, DVD, or video game cover inside. Lastly, the class discussed the questions they might be asked before mailing their package. These questions included, “Does your package contain any liquids, perishables or hazardous materials? How would you like to mail the package – Priority Express, Priority Mail, or First Class? Do you want to buy insurance?” etc.

Yesterday, the class took their CBI trip to the Weston Post Office. All students brought their packages with them and waited patiently in line. As each student approached the register, they answered all the questions, weighed their package, and paid for their shipping using their debit cards. One of the students, Anita, had a VCR cover inside her envelope; thus, having to pay a higher shipping cost. Facilitators Ms. Kathy Gormin-Gard and Ms. Donna Mansolillo explained to the students why her costs were different than others. If students did not want to wait in line to purchase stamps and/or mail a package, they were taught how to use the self-service machine! They thought it was very cool and efficient.

As the students were gathering up to go back to school, Ms. Donna Mansolillo had asked the students what the difference was between using a Post Office box versus your home mailbox. One of the students, Sam, explained that if people didn’t want to reveal their address, they could use a Post Office box instead. Overall, this was a very informative and resourceful CBI trip for the students which they enjoyed very much! To follow up with this CBI, the students will receive the packages and will bring them to class.  They will then open it up and read the letter from their fellow classmates 😊

What Are You Thankful For?

What Are You Thankful For?

GOBBLE GOBBLE! What are you thankful for? This week the Homestead Senior High B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Self Determination Class gathered at Olive Garden to give thanks and celebrate Thanksgiving. In lieu of the usual turkey and mashed potatoes, students opted for Italian where they enjoyed their meal with their teacher, Paola Papili, and the HDS Foundation staff. With happy faces and full bellies, this event was a wonderful start to the student’s holiday vacation.

Once the delicious food arrived, the students took a moment to give a toast explaining what each of them were thankful for. A few of the toasts included being thankful for each other, the comradery, and skills the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class has taught them thus far. It was touching to hear how each student felt and what they were all thankful for.

We, at the HDS Foundation, are thankful to have such a great group of students with dedicated teachers to work and make memories with. We are also grateful for the ability to grow with the students and see how their personalities and friendships evolve as the year goes on. We wish them and their families a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving this year!

HDS Companies Lights it Up

Light it up with HDS Companies this Saturday, November 30th from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the annual Miami Lakes Festival of Lights! For more than 36 years, Main Street has been the ultimate shopping, dining, and entertainment destination attracting generations of distinguished locals and travelers to its enchanting setting. This gathering not only celebrates the holidays, but also supports small businesses and all they do for the local communities while offering family fun for everyone. HDS Companies is excited to be sponsoring and attending this magical holiday themed event for the first time! We are thankful for this opportunity and thrilled to participate in all future community events.

This fun filled event will begin with the Lighting of Main Street! The HDS Marketing Department have been preparing specifically for this day and will be handing out candy cane themed glowsticks for the lighting ceremony. You don’t have to feel left out, so make sure to stop by our booth located in between Salsa Fiesta and 100 Montaditos to grab your own glowstick! After the lighting of the beautiful oak tree, the party will officially get started! Santa will be available for photos at the Santa House, there will be a live DJ, photo stations, performance by students from local schools, face painting, arts and crafts and MORE!

Bring your families and enjoy the twinkle of all lights. HDS hopes to see you there! 😊

Broward Partnership for Homeless, Inc.

Broward Partnership for Homeless, Inc.

Thanksgiving is the holiday that celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. At Housing and Development Services, Inc, Thanksgiving is a time to remember what we are thankful for and help others.. This year HDS employees were fortunate to volunteer at The Broward Partnership for Homeless. Inc. The BPHI is an organization that is committed to reducing homelessness by promoting independence through advocacy, housing and comprehensive services. 2019 marks their 20th year of service delivery to their community and to date 25,900 men, women, and children have embraced the Partnership’s commitment to them.

“The Broward Partnership for the Homeless is an organization that we have supported for many years. I have such admiration for the staff, especially Donna Lee, and their leadership who tirelessly work to provide dignity and help to those who are without a home at the moment” – Cristina Gilson, CEO

As in previous years, HDS joined forces with BPHI to help them prepare for their upcoming holiday festivities. This year was extra special as we volunteered at both the Fort Lauderdale and Pompano locations and all HDS Contenders were able to participate.

The HDS Contenders got to work at each location wearing Thanksgiving themed ‘GIVE THANKS’ aprons that specially created in house by our Marketing team for this event.

The HDS Contenders were divided into groups and assisted in the kitchen with the preparation of the dinner service, set up the cookie and cupcake decoration station for the children and adults, re-stocked pantries, and got the holiday spirit going by hanging up the holiday decorations around the facility. After dinner, each patron was provided with a gift of an HDS Foundation drawstring bag that included a water bottle and a heartfelt note from the HDS Contenders.

Here are what some of the HDS Contenders had to say about their experience. Stay tuned to our social media channels as we continue to post pictures and quotes from our helping hands.

“I am very grateful to have the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at The Broward Partnership. It was a wonderful experience giving to those in need and definitely a rewarding feeling” – Debora Stevenson, Director of Administration & Finance

“Yesterday I was provided with the privilege of providing meals, time and service to those that are in need. It was far beyond one of the most a humbling and gratifying experiences to have.” – Erin Batista, Office Administration Manager

“I was impacted by how much gratitude both the staff of BPHI and many of their clients showed for HDS’ participation. There so many people truly in need and most are genuinely grateful for any help they receive.” – Don Wright, Senior Project Manager

Housing is the industry we serve and one we value with highest regard. This was a wonderful opportunity to give back and encourage our neighbors in their journey to independent living. We look forward to donating more time and services in the future. If you would like to help the Broward Partnership, you can donate on their web page at www.bphi.org or you can donate items from their wish list. These wish list items, such as unexpired canned and dry foods, personal hygiene products, and clothing, can be dropped off at 920 NW 7th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Call the Broward Partnership at 954.779.3990 or email info@bphi.org for more information on how you can assist this wonderful group.

Can You Keep a Secret?

Can You Keep a Secret?

The game that keeps the mystery, thrill, and surprise ALIVE! One of the biggest traditional Christmas games – Secret Elf. The rules to this game are simple. Each member of the group randomly picks another member’s name to become his or her secret elf. Wish lists are then given to each member so one can know and shop for what their secret elf hopes to receive. After shopping for your secret elf, gifts are wrapped, and the secret elves are revealed at your holiday gathering.

The CBHS B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class is already preparing for the Christmas holiday. Teachers Ms. Donna Mansolilo and Ms. Kathy Gormin-Gard began their secret elf process with the class. They gave each student their secret elf, pictures of gifts, and a budget in order to plan ahead before their trip to AC Moore.

On November 20th, the class headed on over to AC Moore on their quest to shop for their secret elf. This Community Based Instruction (CBI) trip allowed each student to put their budgeting, independent, and social skills to the test. Once they arrived, the students dispersed and secretly shopped for their secret elf. Students used their calculators to make sure they were under their budget, while also trying to get as close to $10 as they could. This was a piece of cake for them now. They also learned independent skills by keeping their secret elf a secret while also shopping on their own.

This event really emphasized the giving and keeping others in mind aspect. It was heartwarming to see how each of the students thoughtfully chose their secret elf’s gift. One of the students, Stephanie, shared that she had to decide whether to spend more money on one gift or purchase several cheaper items for her secret elf. Students also had to decide which gift their secret elf would enjoy more based upon their budget. Problem solving was an important aspect for the students to independently shop. It was a great experience for the class as they walked around AC Moore with their individual shopping carts, gift lists, and calculators.

The second part of the secret elf consists of taking class time to secretly wrap their gifts and will then exchange their gifts at the holiday party. We are looking forward to seeing the excitement on each of the student’s faces as they receive their gifts and find out who their secret elf was this year!

Cypress Bay BRIDGES Visit Lucille’s American Café

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ASDY-Tech Team: Marco

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ASDY-Tech Team: Gabriel

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