In a blink of an eye, four years go by and students are ready to graduate, while many parents find themselves planning what their child’s future will look like after high school. This time can be very stressful for both the student and the parents. With that being said, HDS Foundation Program Manager Liz Falk, coordinated a parent meeting with Project 10 Transition Education Network and Cypress Bay B.R..I.D.G.E.S facilitators where parents learned about the many options and resources available for their child to help ease the transition process.
The theme of this meeting was: What’s Out there? A Look at Transition-Related Resources in Florida and Beyond (Resources Related to Post-School Options and Activities). Project 10’s Regional Transition Representative, Lisa Friedman-Chavez, went into detail about the different resources for individuals with disabilities. The resources discussed were related to postsecondary education and training, employment and benefits planning, understanding the transfer of rights and resources related to guardianship and decision–making alternatives, and many educational opportunities and community resources to support secondary transition. As Lisa provided a wealth of information on each resource, parents started to ask questions. Lisa was able to guide the parents and offered to speak to them in more detail after the meeting.
Towards the end of the meeting, Christian Giraldo from Florida Network on Disabilities Youth Advocate for Parent Education Network joined in and discussed his role and emphasized the importance on educating and empowering students and their families to become self-advocates.
As we wrapped up the meeting, parents expressed their gratitude to be able to be a part of this meeting. At first, they felt very overwhelmed with the amount of information they had just learned about, but they were also very glad to know that there were so many resources and options available for their children.
The HDS Foundation would like to thank Lisa Friedman-Chavez and Christian Giraldo for taking the time to meet with the parents and help guide them in making the best decisions for their children!
Yesterday was a day filled with lots of “good-byes” and “air hugs” as the Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students met at Library Park for their final CBI trip of the school year. Students enjoyed a brief social gathering while wearing masks and following social distancing policies with their parents, friends, and facilitators. This was the first since quarantine where students were able to catch up in person. They first started talking about how their experience has been during quarantine. They also discussed what they have planned for summer and how they will be spending it. This roused up a lot of questions due to the current circumstances.
The biggest question that students started asking one another was how the school year would look like next year? Although, no answers could be given about what’s to come in the future, the students were still excited and looking forward to coming back to participate in the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. program with their friends.
Before students left, the HDS Foundation and Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. facilitators presented each student with their own basket filled with goodies as an end of the year gift. We would like to wish all of the students and their families a healthy, safe, and happy summer.
We are excited to announce that as of yesterday, June 1st, we are officially moved into our new headquarters in Miami Lakes, FL. Please make sure you UPDATE our new address as noted below, and distribute as needed to your departments. Our telephone numbers and email addresses will remain the same.
This has been a milestone in the making over the past year. COVID-19 restrictions and our own Risk Management and Mitigation Plans have changed our plans for celebration, so we will save it for a later date when we can share this with our Employees, Our Clients and Partners.
We will continue to support you as we have done without interruption, and are available if you need assistance through our normal channels. For more information please contact Natalie Stevenson at 954-217-9597 x204 or at Natalie.Stevenson@hdsoftware.com.
The HDS Companies Operations continue at100% remote since we deployed our Business Continuity Plan in the face of the COVID-19 risk, in March, 2020. Our staff will continue to work on this platform until further notice.
Last Thursday, students from Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. program participated in their LAST online class of the 2020 school year. However, this ZOOM meeting wasn’t like the others. It was a very special one where the facilitators presented a recap of the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. school year.
This year, the students were able to participate in 3-4 Community Based Instruction (CBI) trips a month. Some of their trips included going to the local post office, banks, restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and more. These CBI’s provided the students with opportunities to socialize with their peers while learning lifelong skills that will help them as they transition from high school to their post -secondary journey.
The students were pleasantly surprised when facilitators, Ms. Kathy Gorman-Gard and Ms. Donna Mansolillo shared a slide show with pictures of the activities they participated in throughout the year. Many of them commented about what great times they had together.
We are so proud of all the students in the class and the social growth they have made this year. Five of the students will be graduating from Cypress Bay and will continue onto their post- secondary journey. Some of the students will be participating in local programs, while other students will be attending a University in the fall.
Ms. Donna Mansolillo shared her thoughts about her students’ accomplishments this year: “I am so proud of how these young men and women were able to adapt to our new way of learning. Each of them has shown such incredible social growth. Many of them have made friends outside of the classroom and hopefully are better prepared to problem solve unexpected situations. I am so grateful to the BRIDGES program and staff for affording us this unique opportunity. It is because of your support that our program is so successful.”
The HDS Foundation is excited to meet next year’s students and make more memories!
Set your IPhone’s, Androids, and laptops for June 8th – 12th to tune in to this summer’s I’m Determined Summit hosted online! This youth and parent summit is an annual event sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Partnership for People with Disabilities. Normally, youth with disabilities from across the commonwealth come to this summit to network and discuss issues of importance to youth and young adults (13 – 21 years old) with disabilities. Due to current circumstances, COVID-19, the 2020 Youth and Parent Summit will be going VIRTUAL.
This year’s theme will focus on five essential skills to help improve self-determination:
- Goal Setting and Attainment
- Decision Making
- Problem Solving
Sessions will be readily available beyond the week of the event to allow those who could not attend to still access the information. This event is open to all who wish to participate at NO COST.
As we continue to share student stories and testimonials throughout the next few weeks, we hope everyone enjoys learning all about the fascinating young adults in the HDS B.R.I.D.G.E.S Social Personal Skills Program. We are very proud of our students and their efforts...
Throughout the next few weeks, the HDS Foundation will be highlighting several students from the Cypress Bay High School and Homestead Senior High School B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Social Personal Skills Program. We are proud of each student and their accomplishments throughout...
On April 30th, HDS Foundation President Cristina Miranda Gilson, along with Board Members, Meagan Bouscher and Kate Gilson Miranda, Program Manager, Liz Falk, PR Consultant, Rixys Alfonso, Cypress Bay BRIDGES Facilitator, Kathy Gorman-Gard and Dr. Tara Rowe, Director...
On Thursday, May 7th, the Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class had a special guest speaker attend one of their Zoom meetings. Kate Gilson Miranda, a former Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. student, joined the Zoom meeting to share her experience transitioning from high school to...
The time that you all have been waiting for has finally arrived!!! During the last few weeks, the HDS Foundation has been putting in hard work, day and night, to make sure we have a new and improved Resource Page for YOU! The Foundation’s primary mission is to...
As Autism Awareness Month comes to a close, we continue to shine a light on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the possibilities that they create through their differing abilities. Throughout the month, HDS Foundation has shared community resources,...
A New World of Challenges and Opportunities Lies Ahead for Autistic Youths Transitioning to Adulthood
In 2018, HDS Companies (HDS) spearheaded an autism-focused employment initiative, ASDY-Tech (Autism Spectrum Disorder Youth-Tech). Inspired by our CEO, Cristina Miranda Gilson, who has an autistic daughter, the program focuses on work abilities, team-building...
The HDS Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Organization founded to provide mentoring services and opportunities to teens and young adults who have Autism-related disabilities—launched in 2008 by Founder and Chairman, Cristina Gilson-Miranda, the organization funds...
Cristina Miranda Gilson is the Founder and CEO of HDS Companies. A passionate Philanthropist, Cristina has been an active supporter of numerous charitable initiatives throughout her life. Inspired through her journey raising her daughters, she has been an avid...