1st Visit to Artserve

The HDS Foundation Team did a presentation on software testing for dozens of STEPS Program Participants.  Our staff  presented plans for a summer internship program which was currently in the works with the Dan Marino Foundation STEPS Program staff. We had the opportunity to meet many young men and women, talk about the company, what software can do, and why there is a need for software testing. The kids of the Dan Marino Foundation STEPs Program visit the Artserve facility after school in Fort Lauderdale, where they participate in many activities to prepare them for the workplace. There were several individuals who expressed an interest in continuing their education and specifically into technology. The HDS Foundation, along with Housing and Development Software is looking to start a Summer Program similar to its year-round School Mentoring Program. Our 3 year old partnership with the Cypress Bay High School ESE Department and Facilitators has been a successful program, but is only run during the school year.  The STEPS Program is funded by the Children’s Council of Florida.


Dan Marino WalkAbout Autism Walk at Sunlife Stadium

HDS joined Team Cypress Bay for the annual WalkAbout event at Sunlife Stadium. The actual event is held on the football field and the experience is like no other. This annual event raises more than $500,000 every year and all that money stays here in South Florida through the help of the Dan Marino Foundation. The best part is that 25% of the money Cypress raised goes right back to the school to help support the special needs programming and services. All the kids had a wonderful time and through the combination of great students, parents, teachers, and volunteers it was a very successful day! Go Lightning.

CBHS Program to Resume


The Cypress Bay High School Mentoring Program is resuming on October 9th, 2012 for the 2012-2013 Academic School Year.  This year, the participants will be focused principally on utilizing Microsoft Office Software Applications in the workplace, and for personal organization as a life skill.  The class syllabus will start with general Windows-related items, and immediately turn to Microsoft Outlook.  Students will learn how to incorporate the Calendar and Task features to every day work-related tasks, and explore the various options in Exchange (Outlook) that most companies use.  Midyear we will continue with Microsoft Excel and Word, utilizing many direct work-related scenarios to teach strong strategies for the use of these applications.  The students will continue to participate in side-projects, including working on a website, and other planned projects.  This year, we have a new addition for the Foundation Team:  Meagan Bouscher will be joining as an instructor and mentor, and will be working directly with the students on many of these projects.  WELCOME BACK!

Program Completion Lunch: Cypress Bay High School 2011-2012

Program Completion Staff & Program Participant Lunch

“On Tuesday, May 15, 2012 the students in the HDS Mentorship Program were invited to Chili’s restaurant to celebrate all of the hard work we have done for the past few months. We began the day by writing cover letters for our resumes, which we worked on at HDS so we can get a job during the summer. We also did a sample cover letter for Cristina. Then some of the HDS Staff, including: Brielle, Leonard, Cristina, Amy, Nick, Teresa, and Dr. Sugerman. They took us to Chili’s for the end of the term lunch. I talked to Leonard about the Heat while we were eating and how the Heat are doing. The other students also got to spend time with the HDS Staff and got to know them better. Chili’s is an awesome place to hang out with friends. Chili’s has good food to eat and its very delicious.”

– Danielle Nunez,
Cypress Bay High School Student
HDS Foundation Program Participant.


FB-Smaller-GroupThe HDS Foundation recently had the opportunity to work with a local high school student in putting together a collaborative event between the school’s varsity cheerleaders and a group of special needs girls who also attend the high school.  As a junior coach for the Weston Warriors cheerleaders, Alexia Alter had the opportunity to coach a child with special needs and the smile that never left her face inspired her to put a program together at her high school. With amazing motivation for a sixteen year old, the varsity cheerleader at Cypress Bay High School set out to research what it would take to create a mentoring program for cheerleaders at her school.

She opted for a one week mini-camp, where she would bring together interested girls with varsity cheerleaders.  She choreographed a routine for them to learn for halftime, and together with the other cheerleaders taught the girls some of their routine sideline cheers.  The cheerleaders worked one on one with the students, teaching them basic motions, cheers, jumps and the dance, which was set to Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’.

At the Cypress Bay Lightning Varsity Basketball game, the “buddies” performed to many cheers from the crowd.  They were so happy and excited to be cheering and dancing alongside of their peers, and the Cypress Bay community responded with great enthusiasm.  One of the buddies said that she really enjoyed interacting with Alexia and the other cheerleaders in a special way.  She stated that Alexia was a good coach and that the girls always “got high fives” and a great deal of encouragement.  Moreover, the impact this event had on their self-esteem and confidence was exemplified by the congratulations and recognition of their school peers.

Creating a mentorship program is a wonderful thing, particularly at the high school level.  Socialization for special needs teens is difficult, and by providing a vehicle for peer to peer and positive role models, this teen population can have a positive high school experience, and learn in a setting that typically they would not be in.  By providing a little guidance and some financial support for the uniforms, the HDS Foundation was able to be part of a great community activity.

We are encouraged that this young student has the values to drive her to work on such a project and hope she will continue to work as a student peer to bring more awareness and acceptance in our schools.

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.