BRIDGES Takes a Trip to Channel 10

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!

Survivor: Visions Edition XXIV Conference

Survivor: Visions Edition XXIV Conference

This year marked the 24th VISIONS Conference and Transition Institute, held at the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center in St. Pete. Many organizations, instructors, schools, and leaders came together to learn and be informed about transitioning outside of high school, strategies, and programs to support students with disabilities. This conference aimed to give students what they need to “survive” and thrive in college, their career, and their community.

The first day consisted of the opening session, vendor displays, an inclusive postsecondary update and the President’s Reception luncheon. HDS Foundation was one of the many that showcased their organization. They had great giveaways such as cell phone pocket, privacy camera protectors. Many of the attendees stopped by and learned more about the foundation and their mission. The HDS Foundation staff also went around and met different vendors and networked. It was very nice for the staff to build a connection and relate the information learned with others in community. The rest of the weekend consisted of a variety of sessions and keynote speakers. Many of the key speakers shared their story and struggles with their disabilities and what helped them be successful. Their story was very inspirational and gave insight to the audience of what can be done. The founder Cristina Miranda Gilson’s daughter, Kate had the opportunity to speak on behalf of UNF in a panel about college housing, and share her experience with others. This was such a great opportunity for everyone to get a testimonial of the UNF programs.

The HDS Foundation had an incredible time at the conference, and learned so much from everyone who was in attendance. The staff were very excited to share the information with the rest of the of the foundation. Thank you to the Division on Career Development and Transition’s Council for Exceptional Children and the Florida Department of Education for such a fun and informational conference, and we hope to be back next year!

HDS Foundation on “Here’s Help” Radio Show

HDS Foundation on “Here’s Help” Radio Show

The HDS Foundation relies on different allies of communication and networking to inform people about our programs and our mission here in South Florida and beyond. We recently had the opportunity to reach out over the airwaves, on the Here’s Help Radio Show, an innovative public access radio talk show that focuses on relevant and pressing issues in the community, specifically Miami-Dade and Broward County. The radio show and its hosts, Rixys Alfonso, Community activist and CEO of CauseMo Marketing, and Ron Hersey, a radio veteran, welcomed the HDS Foundation’s Founder, Cristina Miranda Gilson, on their talk show to speak about the foundation.

Cristina shared the inspiration that led her to start the Foundation, as well her experience in the affordable housing and tech industry, and how that has resulted in the success of the Foundation in providing different opportunities and resources for career transition, gainful employment, and independent living. She also touches on the struggles that a parent with a child on the autism spectrum experiences and how they, and others, can help to assist these young adults in achieving their goals in their personal and professional lives.

Check out our very own and learn about what we’re doing in this informative and eye-opening interview below!

DCDT Visions XXIV Conference

DCDT Visions XXIV Conference

This year, the HDS Foundation and some of its Board Members are very excited to be traveling to sunny St. Petersburg, FL to attend the DCDT Visions XXIV Conference from May 3-May 5, at the Sirata Beach Resort and Convention Center. There, we will be attending informative sessions and connect with others to learn more about the different career and transition programs and opportunities that are available.

If you are also attending, please stop by our booth and say hi! We look forward to making new and lasting connections to be able to provide you, and those in our programs and community, with more information and resources. To learn more about the Visions XXIV Conference, and the Division on Career and Transition, please visit Visions Annual Conference.

BRIDGES goes to Bit-by-Bit

BRIDGES goes to Bit-by-Bit

This month, the BRIDGES students had the thrilling opportunity to visit the Bit-by-Bit Medical Therapeutic Riding Center.

Bit-by-Bit is a Therapeutic Horse Ranch that provides healing with the help of horses and promotes the independence of those in need of therapy or assistance, such as at-risk youth, the special needs population, and disabled veterans. They also mentor students as volunteers, and provide a center for community involvement. Their Hippo Therapy program consists of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology by using the horses to facilitate the various types of development.

The BRIDGES students had the opportunity to learn about these different therapies and how they used the horses to help others in each type of therapy. The students also got to take a tour of the facilities and were given the opportunity to interact with the horses and brushing them. They were so intrigued and had great questions about the ranch and horses, and the instructors were very pleased with their questions.

The students also learned about Bit-by-Bit’s recreational therapeutic horseback riding, which helps improve the well-being of individuals with special needs, especially in their quality of life. Physical, cognitive, emotional, and social improvements result from this type of therapeutic activity and those involved can compete, do it for fun, or find something in between. The students were also told about the volunteer service program in place for students. Most high school students need community service hours to graduate, and this is a great way to get hours and give back!

The best part of the day was getting to see the horses themselves. The students got to pet the horses, take pictures with them, and even brush their manes and tails. Everyone was so excited to be able to spend time with the horses, and the horses enjoyed all the love. The students and the HDS Foundation employees all had an amazing time. The day was made even more special since Carla, Dr. Sandy, and Meagan were able to attend this event.

Thank you so much to Bit-by-Bit Medical Therapeutic Riding Center for a great day and for showing us the amazing work you guys are doing! They are a great resource so be sure to check them out at: or on our website

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