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!