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 to adjust to online classes and virtual learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week we are highlighting Catherine, an 11th grade student at Cypress Bay High School. Catherine has a unique story, she learned to read, write, and access Braille at an early age. This experience has been essential along her educational and life journey. Her favorite subjects in school are English and History. By participating in the Social Personal Skills (B.R.I.D.G.E.S) class, Catherine has made new friends. She interacts well with her peers in both an educational and social setting. She looks forward to the weekly Community Based Instruction (CBI) field trips the program offers. She feels that these experiences have helped her learn how to manage money, open a bank account, and improve her cooking skills.
Catherine has several goals she would like to accomplish; her biggest one is to attend Broward College and then transfer to Nova Southeastern University (NSU). She feels that transitioning to post-secondary is one of the biggest challenges she will have to overcome. Once Catherine transitions from high school to college, she plans on studying Environmental Policy at NSU.
On the weekends, Catherine enjoys reading books, watching movies, and learning how to make new recipes. She also likes to go swimming at the pool and enjoys working out at the gym. One of her favorite things to do is to travel to new destinations with her family. We are very proud of Catherine’s accomplishments throughout her junior year and look forward to having her in the Social Personal Skills (B.R.I.D.G.E.S) class during her senior year.
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