Dan Marino Campus and Open House

Dan Marino Campus and Open House

This month, the Dan Marino Campus will be hosting two open houses. The Dan Marino Campus provides post-secondary education for young adults aged 18 to 28 with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are two campuses, both located in South Florida. The primary campus is in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and there is also a campus at FIU in Miami. The main focus of the Dan Marino Campus is to prepare young adults with disabilities for adult life, both professionally as well as socially and in terms of well-being.

At Dan Marino Campus, students take multiple classes a day, usually for around three days a week. Some of the classes students take help them with daily life, especially life on their own. Other classes teach them professional skills out of their chosen specialties, such as technology skills. They also have classes aimed to helping them in their desired future career. These classes generally tend to be their longest classes, and will award the students certification by the end of their time at the Dan Marino Campus.

A great resource available to students through the Dan Marino Campus is the Virtual Interactive Training Agent (ViTA). This is a simulated interactive interview that the students use to prepare for the interviews they will need to have to get internships and then join the work force in the future. ViTA simulates a variety of interview situations so students can truly be prepared.

Students also get invaluable professional experience, as they intern, generally in the two days they are not in class. Being able to have internships not only boost their resume with job experience, but for the most part they are working in their desired industry of choice, and learning skills they will be able to use in the future. These internships are with Dan Marino Campus’s business partners and are a required part of the certification.

Dan Marino Campus offers three areas of program concentration: hospitality, computer technology, and retailing. The curriculum is “designed to help students obtain recognized industry certifications and qualify for good jobs.” Students select one of these concentrations as their chosen field of study, and focus on the specialization until they receive certification in that field.

Student life is also an important part of the Dan Marino Campus. Students can participate in a variety of interest-based clubs, seminars, and special events. Students are also encouraged to start their own interest-based clubs if they have an idea for one that does not exist. The faculty is also very supportive of the students, and aims to make every student’s experience a great one.

If you are interested in visiting the Dan Marino Campus or learning more about what they have to offer, please consider attending one of their two open houses. The first is Saturday, February 11th at the Miami Campus from 1pm-3pm. The second will be held at the Fort Lauderdale Campus on Saturday, February 25th, also from 1pm-3pm. Dan Marino Campus is an incredible program for young adults with disabilities, and the open house is a great way to learn more!

More information can be found at this link: http://www.marinocampus.org/openhouse

BRIDGES visits City Hall

BRIDGES visits City Hall

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.

BRIDGES visits A Painting Fiesta

BRIDGES visits A Painting Fiesta

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.

BRIDGES Community Networking Event

BRIDGES Community Networking Event

The BRIDGES Program was created by The HDS Foundation as a community partnership for high school students with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, who are on a standard diploma track. The program addresses both mentoring, financial tools/education opportunities, high-school events, social, community and other activities, all designed to enrich the daily lives of these older teens navigating the complex road of high school and thereafter.

Many of this evening’s sponsors have collaborated with us to facilitate these activities, programs, and information critical to these families. We want to continue to create awareness about what these types of programs can provide, and the impact to this emerging population. It takes partnerships created through awareness to address this need, and a community to support it!

Please join us at the Midtown Athletic Club MCafe in Weston for a community fundraiser and networking event to benefit the BRIDGES Program. Also, take advantage of some great silent auction items available to purchase during the evening.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Date: January 26, 2017 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Location: Midtown Athletic Club’s M Café | 2300 Royal Palm Boulevard | Weston FL 33326

Tickets: $25 Per Person- Purchase through Eventbrite (Click on TICKETS button)


Team Cypress Bay Top Fundraiser at 2017 DMF Walkabout Autism

Team Cypress Bay Top Fundraiser at 2017 DMF Walkabout Autism

The Dan Marino Walkabout Autism fundraiser is one of the best activities that this community puts on. Not only are the participants exposed to the many community celebrities, and provided different fun family activities, music and food; they do so with the backdrop of the beautiful home of the Miami Dolphins. This annual event not only yields hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Dan Marino Foundation and its programs. It more importantly stays in the South Florida community, where there is much need.

Each year since inception, the HDS Foundation has been a part of this event. Originally fundraising as the coveted “HDS Hackers”, our attention shifted when we realized that our efforts could not only help the DMF Walk but also, the local high school’s ESE Program. It was then that the HDS Foundation partnered with Cypress Bay High School to create Team Cypress Bay, and collaborate on fundraising efforts.

The beauty of the DMF Walkabout is that it provides a direct opportunity for a K-12 School’s ESE Team to become the direct beneficiary of 25% of the funds they raise. This allows the school to utilize these funds to buy equipment, supplies, and utilize for activities that support the programs that benefit this population of students. Cypress Bay High School’s team has raised thousands of dollars for the past several years, and this year, we are so proud that they once again are the #1 fundraising team, with $8,300 raised! One of this year’s captain’s Jeffrey Schour led the way, and engaged many of his peers at the Bay top once again make this event a success. Team Cypress Bay received many donations, most notably to the team as a whole, and with high achieving fundraising performed by Jeffrey Schour, Samantha Burns, The HOPE Club (who showed up in large numbers to support their peers, Donna Mansolillo, and former Cypress Bay alum student Katherine Gilson-Miranda, who attended virtually via Facetime. Now that’s a first!!

The leadership this team showed was inspiring, as we know these students worked very hard to make this event a success. The collaboration of other CBHS students was especially touching, as this has been one of our goals. We were delighted to have many family members also join the walk, and participate in this year’s activities. Special shout out to teachers/facilitators Donna Mansolillo and Kathy Gorman-Gard, Dr. Sandy Rizzo Weiner, Carla Otiniano and Meagan Caruso.

Go #TeamCypressBay!

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