Pages tagged "News"
December 31, 2019
By: Miami Today
The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation is making $600,000 in grants to benefit nonprofit groups that promote equitable education, address growing concerns of economic inequality and more. The grantees include 10 local and national organizations
“Supporting such worthy causes brings the entire family great joy,” said Jorge M. Pérez, founder of the Pérez Family Foundation and the Related Philanthropic Foundation, in a statement. “The Miami Foundation assisted with providing recommendations and then each group was hand-selected by the family based on their track-record, upcoming initiatives and, of course, their respective level of need.”
The grantees and their focus areas are:
■Catalyst Miami Inc. (education)
Catalyst Miami’s mission is to solve issues adversely affecting low-wealth communities throughout Miami-Dade County. Their grant will support the launch of “Future Bound Miami,” a local Children’s Saving Accounts (CSAs) program – a college savings model – by investing in the key first-year outreach and engagement of parents of kindergarteners in the City of Miami. ■Easter Seals South Florida (health and well-being/economic development)
Easter Seals’ grant will go towards expanding the reach and impact of its Life Skills Centers. The goals are to grow the Life/Job Skills program, currently serving about 100 individuals, from one to three sites (Miami, Miami Gardens and Kendall) and create an expansion plan for more off-site programs and real-world experiences.
■GableStage (arts and culture)
GableStage’s grant will support the world premiere of “Watson” by New York Times Bestselling author James Grippando, which will open the 2019-2020 season and be the second world premiere in the organization’s 21-year history.
■Grameen America Inc. (economic development)
The Miami branch of Grameen America provides low-income women with business capital in the form of micro-loans, financial training, and community support to help lift their families out of poverty and spearhead economic revitalization in their neighborhoods. Since opening in December 2017, it has become the organization’s fastest-growing branch in the nation.
■KIPP Miami (education)
Launched in 2018, KIPP Miami has enabled families to enroll their child in KIPP Miami’s high-performing schools. Their grant will support the growth of the KIPP Sunrise Academy elementary school in Liberty City as it adds more grade levels.
■Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (health and well-being/education)
This grant will support the organization’s Learning Center for Children. In addition to its pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes, the center will add classrooms for students moving to first and second grades. It will also expand on-campus workshops and seminars, and use digital technology to increase the ability to raise awareness of best practices and provide professional development.
■Miami Waterkeeper (environment)
Miami Waterkeeper’s grant will support its “1,000 Eyes on the Water” program and develop a mobile application for pollution reporting in conjunction with Google developers, create online learning materials, implement more Spanish language outreach and outreach to high-need areas.
■The Education Fund Inc. (health and well-being/education)
The Education Fund’s grant will expand its Food Forests for Schools initiative to more public schools in Miami-Dade. That first-in-the-nation effort aims to transform schoolyards into large-scale, outdoor eco-classrooms planted with superfoods that are used to improve science learning and nutritional habits, provide fresh foods for school meals and send food home to thousands of families.
■Together for Children (health and well-being/education
This grant will support ongoing grassroots family engagement and youth in the communities served by its six neighborhood coalitions. The countywide, multi-partner collaboration has created a referral and family case management system that reaches more than 10,000 high-risk youth. The neighborhood-based work will continue to reduce chronic school absenteeism, youth arrests, and increase the number of youth participating in out of school programs or internships
■Voices For Children Foundation Inc. (health and well-being)
This grant will aim to reduce the time children spend in foster care by adding a specialist focused exclusively on permanency. For children in foster care, the lack of permanency – a secure attachment to at least one adult – has significant implications for their health, educational, social needs, and prospects for success.
“The unimaginable inequality I saw during my youth in Cuba and Latin America left an irrevocable mark,” said Mr. Pérez. “Those early experiences not only fueled me during my early years as a city planner, but also led to my lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life in Miami and other cities around our country. This pledge has now been picked up by my children, letting me rest easy knowing the Pérez family will remain a steadfast community supporter long after I am gone.”
This story originally appeared on: Miami Today News
January 6, 2020
By Robert C. Jones Jr.
A $50,000 grant from telecommunications giant AT&T will help a team of University of Miami researchers advance their work on how coastal communities respond on a local rather than regional level to one of the most damaging consequences of climate change—sea level rise.
“This external funding is fabulous and the kind of support we need to help continue our important work,” said Sam Purkis, professor and chair of marine geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, who is a team member on the project Hyper-Localism: Transforming the Paradigm for Climate Adaptation.
Also known as Hy-Lo, the multidisciplinary project is one of three that late last year received Phase II funding as part of the University of Miami Laboratory for Integrative Knowledge, or U-LINK, a key initiative of the University’s Roadmap to Our New Century.
With the additional support of the AT&T award, which is part of the telecom’s Climate Resiliency Community Challenge, the Hy-Lo team will be able to help coastal communities tailor effective climate action plans for their unique circumstances.
“Traditionally, when work like this is done, it’s done on a broad scale—big blocks of the city are considered and the behavior of people is viewed at a large scale,” Purkis said. “But with this project, we’ve realized that people make decisions at a very small scale. If there’s a hurricane coming, for instance, whether you choose to evacuate or not isn’t predicated only on what you’re listening to on the radio or watching on the news. It’s more likely that you’re making that decision based on talking to your friends, your neighbors and your family—to see what they’re doing. And that’s what drives your decision—whether or not, for example, you’re going to drive to Orlando to wait out the storm.
“We think the same thing will happen with climate change,” Purkis continued. “That the way people make decisions—whether they’re going to stay in the city, adapt or retreat—is also done at a very fine scale: talking to neighbors or whatever community they find themselves in.”
In a move to close the gap between top-down policies and neighborhood interests, the Hy-Lo team is developing an Integrated Climate Risk Assessment protocol with community partners, including the CLEO Institute, Catalyst Miami, and The Nature Conservancy.
“Our project will allow us to test the use of predictions of future climate extremes from state-of-the-art models in a community setting,” said team member Amy Clement, professor of atmospheric sciences at the Rosenstiel School. “I expect this will lead to an interesting discussion about what kinds of information on future climate is or isn’t most useful for decision-making at a hyper-local scale.”
Other Hy-Lo team members include Joanna Lombard, professor in the School of Architecture and Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine; Tyler Harrison, professor in the School of Communication; Gina Maranto, director of the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy; and Angela Clark-Hughes, director of the Rosenstiel School library.
Hy-Lo is not the only U-LINK team to be awarded external funding so early in the process. Although Phase II grants of $150,000, which could be renewed for a second year, were intended to advance the most promising U-LINK projects to the stage where they would attract external funding, four other teams, including two Phase I teams, have received a total of more than $6.25 million in external funding.
“Clearly, the teams are generating the kind of innovative ideas that result from meaningful interdisciplinary integration—and that funders are interested in,” said U-LINK co-director Susan Morgan, associate vice provost for research development and strategy. “We’re thrilled for them, and the communities and stakeholders they are working with.”
The grant comes on the heels of an agreement between the University of Miami and AT&T to bring 5G and Multi-access Edge Computing technology to the Coral Gables campus, making the University the first campus in the U.S. to offer the AT&T technology.
This story originally appeared on News@TheU.
November 19, 2019
By Jessica Bakeman
The community advocacy group Catalyst Miami is creating a collection of personal stories about the importance of oral health care. The group shot videos of people sharing their anecdotes during an oral health summit at Miami Dade College in Hialeah.
Some Florida dentists, hygienists, students and advocates are promoting a legislative proposal to create a new tier of providers who could offer routine procedures to people who lack access to oral health care.
A plan to create a new state license for dental therapists, mid-level practitioners comparable to physician’s assistants in medicine, was one solution offered at an oral health equity summit held Tuesday at Miami Dade College’s Hialeah campus. The practitioners perform procedures like filling cavities, placing temporary crowns and extracting loose or diseased teeth, under the supervision of a dentist.
Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg is sponsoring a bill, SB 152, that would regulate the education and licensure of dental therapists. Similar bills have received support in the state Senate but failed to pass the full Legislature in recent years.
Supporters argue dental therapists would make dental care more accessible to low-income families, especially children, as well as the elderly and residents of rural communities.
Kathlyn Leiviska is a dental therapist in Minnesota who has advocated in Florida and other states for laws that establish her position. She said while dentists can perform about 400 procedures, she can do 83, and she is paid about half as much.
“If it passes in your state, you don’t have to hire dental therapists. There’s nothing that mandates you to do that. But it’s a tool in your toolbox that you can use to help bring more providers to that population,” Leiviska said.
Susan Kass, who directs MDC’s dental hygiene program, wrote in a recent letter to the editor published in the Miami Herald that dental therapists would help more people receive care.
“Miami Dade College’s dental hygiene clinic serves thousands of patients each year, offering comprehensive care at a nominal cost,” Kass wrote in the op-ed. “When our students and licensed dentists find dental decay and the need for restorative care, we refer our patients to facilities throughout the county. What we see repeatedly, however, is that when many of these patients return, they have not had the restorative care.
“Expanding the array of dental providers to include therapists would allow Floridians access to oral health care they need and, frankly, deserve,” she wrote.
An attendee at Tuesday's summit raised a question about whether the addition of dental therapists could eliminate jobs for dentists and hygienists.
Jane Grover, a representative of the American Dental Association, argued it was better "to utilize and maximize the opportunities that are already on the ground right now," like placing more dentists in underserved areas and supporting advanced certifications for dental assistants.
Dental therapists are recognized in about a dozen states, and Florida is one of a handful of others currently considering creating new licensure requirements, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.
Another legislative fix that could increase the availability of dental health care would require state funding. Lawmakers approved a measure this spring offering loan repayment for dental students who agree to accept Medicaid or work in underserved areas, but the program wasn’t funded.
During the event, participants signed letters to Republican U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, who represent Florida, asking them to support legislation that would increase the coverage of oral health care under Medicare, a federal health insurance program for the elderly and disabled people.
Susan Galvis signed one of the letters. She’s a dental assistant at a children’s hospital and is studying public health at Florida International University. She said educating parents in oral hygiene is key to improving children’s oral health.
“We don’t do anything by brushing one day or flossing one day. We’re doing it there, on site [at the dentist’s office], but then, parents need to enforce it,” she said. “We need to teach the parents even more.”
Other suggestions offered during the summit include: Hiring dental hygienists to work in schools, putting toothbrushes and non-foaming toothpaste on students’ lunch trays, raising awareness about how oral ailments can develop into more serious health complications, and paying people to go to the dentist once a year.
University of Florida College of Dentistry professor Scott Tomar explained the detrimental impacts of the lack of access to oral health care.
He said emergency rooms aren’t always equipped to treat dental problems. When people report to hospitals with tooth abscesses or other dental problems, they’re often prescribed antibiotics and painkillers, including opioids, he said.
“When we can’t provide early preventative and treatment services, this is what the outcome is,” Tomar said.
This story originally appeared on WLRN.org
December 11, 2019
By: Lautaro Grinspan
In 2016, the most recent year for which Florida Department of Health data is available, only 59.8% of Hispanic adults had visited the dentist in the past 12 months. By comparison, 71.5% of the white, non-Hispanic adult population (and 67.8% of the black adult population) had gone to the dentist in that same stretch of time.
“Whether you are talking about oral health, or access to medical insurance, or even housing, you’re always going to find that the people who are at a disadvantage happen to be minorities,” said Camilo Mejia, Networks Director at Catalyst Miami, a local nonprofit that helped organize the recent oral health equity summit. “This is just a different dimension of how poverty manifests itself in the community.”
This story originally appeared on The Miami Herald.
November 12, 2019
This story originally appeared on CBS4 Miami
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Young students attending public elementary schools in the City of Miami will soon get an early financial boost thanks to their very own savings account.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, along with other county officials, announced Tuesday the launch of a first-of-its-kind children’s savings account program.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tells CBS4 the program known as Future Bound Miami was created to help children succeed and be prepared for higher education.
“Every single student born in the City of Miami has an opportunity to be successful. That’s my pledge to our residents and that’s part of our pathway to prosperity and having a Miami that’s not just here forever but that’s here for everyone.”
On Tuesday morning Carvalho tweeted that “This is just the beginning!”
He mentioned, “Future Bound Miami is starting in 30 schools in the City of Miami, thanks to the city’s financial commitment to this program. If it’s good for some, then it’s good for all. This program will eventually expand to all zip codes across the Miami-Dade Schools District.”
Education official stress universal savings accounts for children put postsecondary education within reach by allowing students and families to accumulate savings and increase educational expectations.
They are all going to college...with help from @futureboundMIA, a children’s savings account program made possible by dedicated community partners who understand the value of investing in our students. #FutureBoundMiami #AcceleratingExcellence2020 pic.twitter.com/FhJcOw2sSN
— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) November 12, 2019
Officials said the initiative will be the first of its kind in the state and may eventually become the largest CSA program in the country.
The program will be implemented in phases throughout the School District, officials said.
Officials say parents or guardians of kindergarten students, who attend a Miami-Dade elementary school located within the City of Miami, will be able to activate their child’s account through December 6.
November 12, 2019
This story originally appeared on 7 News WSVN
MIAMI (WSVN) - Some South Florida students will be getting a lesson that counts.
More than 2,000 kindergartners in Miami’s 30 elementary schools will be eligible for savings accounts.
“This is the right idea, at the right time for absolutely the right students,” said Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
The City of Miami is investing in the future, and the future is kids.
“So many individuals actually believing that empowering kindergartner students with a savings account to build revenues towards college tuition could be possible,” said Carvalho, “and that’s exactly what we’ve launched.”
Kindergartners attending public schools in the City of Miami can now get a savings account with a deposit of up to $50.
“Here’s an approach that will benefit 30 elementary schools in the City of Miami, feeding five high schools, eventually spreading to the entire county to provide savings accounts for college for every single kindergartner student in Miami-Dade,” said Carvalho.
Kindergartners from 30 public elementary schools throughout Miami will be given their own free savings account starting Dec. 6.
The new initiative, in partnership with Future Bound Miami, aims to help more students access higher education.
“I just think that it’s a perfect opportunity for me to plan for my child and also try to teach her some financial responsibility,” said Jo-Lyn Dixon, a parent.
Depending on their financial need, $25 or $50 funds will be dispersed to students.
“If we make a small investment in children, that investment will pay off in terms that we could never imagine,” said M-DCPS Board Member Martin Karp.
“Over the next couple of years, we will grow to the entire county, touching all zip codes,” said Carvalho.
According to research, students with even small savings accounts are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate.
Parents of eligible children will have a month to activate the free accounts. There are no fees, no minimum deposits, and the students will not be able to access the funding until they are 18.
November 12, 2019
By: Jessica Bakeman
This story originally appeared on WLRN.org
JoLyn Dixon registers her daughter Arianna Dorvil, 5, for a new savings account during an event at Santa Clara Elementary in Allapattah. Credit: Jessica Bakeman
Kindergartners attending public elementary schools in the city of Miami will soon get an early financial boost: a savings account with a deposit of up to $50.
Starting this school year, about 2,300 kindergartners in Miami's 30 elementary schools will be eligible for the accounts thanks to Future Bound Miami, a new program launched by a coalition of local nonprofits. Students in charter schools do not qualify.
Within five years, the nonprofit leaders hope to expand the program to include all kindergartners in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
The new initiative aims to help more Miami students attain higher education. Students with even small savings accounts are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate, according to research from the University of Kansas.
"It's a modest investment up front," Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho said during a launch event at Santa Clara Elementary School in Allapattah. "With time and intentionality, it will grow into an opportunity towards equity and access of young children who are often shut out of college and universities."
In the initial phase, the city of Miami will be contributing the funds for the seed deposits, which will be $25 or $50, depending on students’ financial need. The funding is for kindergartners who attend elementary schools that feed into the city's five high schools: Booker T. Washington Senior High, Edison Senior High, Jackson Senior High, Northwestern Senior High and Miami Senior High.
"We want to make sure we have a Miami that's not just here forever but that it's here for everyone, and the way to do that is to invest in our children," Miami mayor Francis Suarez said during the news conference. "We're doing that today with dollars."
Jo-Lyn Dixon registered her 5-year-old daughter Arianna Dorvil, a Santa Clara kindergartner, for an account. Dixon said it will help her teach her daughter about financial responsibility.
"I love how easy it is to deposit the money whenever you feel like it," Dixon said. "And I like the idea that as she gets older, she might be able to put money in on her own account."
Parents of eligible kindergartners have a month to activate the free accounts. There are no fees and no minimum deposits or balances. Students cannot access the funding until they are 18.
Find more information here.
Mercedes Estrada registers her daughter Joe Nunez, a kindergartner at Santa Clara Elementary School, for a new savings account. Joe stands behind her with her dad, Ezequiel Nunez. Credit: Jessica Bakeman
October 31, 2019
By: Alejandra Martinez
To listen to the full interview with Santra click here: WLRN.org
A new program by Catalyst Miami, a nonprofit social services organization, is offering people applying for citizenship zero-interest loans to cover the costs of the application process.
Recent rules by the Trump administration have made it more costly to apply for citizenship. "Sometimes it's due to money and other times it's because of fear," says Elina Santana, a local immigration attorney, when explaining the reasons why some residents will hesitate to apply for citizenship. The Citizenship Lending Circle program works with immigrants to assuage those fears and make the path to citizenship for South Floridians more affordable.
After assessing if the person is eligible to participate, the program makes a direct check of $725 to the Department of Homeland Security to pay for their citizenship application fee. Then, the applicant is required to pay back the loan in small installments with zero-interests and zero-fees.
Santra Denis, the chief program officer for Catalyst Miami and immigration attorney Elina Santana joined Sundial to breakdown the naturalization process and explain how the Citizenship Lending Circle works.
The following transcript was lightly edited for clarity.
WLRN: Do you find in your experience that people come in with a lot of questions and fear?
SANTANA: Fear is the biggest thing right now. They are absolutely terrified. I always joke with my clients [to] not to stress over the whole process, that they've hired me so that I can stress for them. I ask them to relax and I say, 'until I worry, then you can worry.' I feel like I'm a therapist. Sometimes I have conversations where they watch the news or they hear something new and they call in an absolute panic. 'Does this affect me? Is it going to affect me? What's going to happen?' And a lot of them are applying for status for the first time. They're terrified to come out of the woodwork and even apply even if they qualify. So they wait years and years, sometimes due to money and other times because of fear.
Does applying for fee waivers affect the process of naturalization?
DENIS: 'Public charge' creates a lot of fear. They think it will impact their ability to be a citizen because that is in their record. These are fee waivers that come from, let's say specifically snap food stamps, you can apply and perhaps qualify for a fee waiver. Then you don't pay $725 for the citizenship application. But there is a concern now that if you are applying for these fee waivers, that that could impact your ability.
SANTANA: So under the law, whether or not you've paid the fee has no bearing on your application for citizenship. It's a non-issue. However, the fact that you're not paying a fee could open the door for the officer to ask more questions regarding your income, benefits, and thus looking for fraud. 'Did you lie on some of those applications? Did you disclose everything you were supposed to disclose and things like that?' So that's, I think, more of where our fear is as an immigration attorney.
October 21, 2019
This story orginally appeared on Univision.
'Catalyst Miami' is a non-profit organization that makes the payment of immigration fees available to people who need to complete this process and cannot afford it. However, to access this benefit you must meet some requirements first.
El programa que beneficia a inmigrantes de bajos recursos que buscan la ciudadanía en el sur de Florida
'Catalyst Miami' es una organización sin fines de lucro que pone a disposición el pago de los aranceles de inmigración para las personas que necesiten realizar este trámite y no pueden costearlo. Sin embargo, para acceder a este beneficio se deben cumplir con unos requisitos primero.