After Dr. Angel Perez passed away due to kidney cancer, his wife and children discovered a way to honor his memory. Sonia Perez and her daughters were hosting a recreational picnic for his former patients, many of whom were affected by congenital heart defects (CHD) or childhood acquired heart disease, when they realized that these patients and their families needed somewhere they could gather and receive non-medical financial, emotional, and social support outside the hospital. The Perez family founded Angel's Pediatric Heart House to fill this need. The organization provides free programs and services to South Florida children living with CHD such as financial support during a child’s hospital stay; family fun day social events, which provide opportunities for cardiac kids and their families to come together; monthly hospital outreach to three area children’s hospitals and a free infant items donation program through a partnership with a national baby store retailer. Its programs also function as a tool for group healing. Mommy and Me groups provide opportunities to gain support, the Miles and Millas program delivers care packages to kids undergoing heart surgery, and a national CHD awareness campaign spreads encouragement to families and distributes Heart Shadow Buddies to kids in hospitals.
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Since 1965, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County have upheld their mission of helping kids 6 to 18 years old build self-esteem and learn important life skills. They continue to provide places for youths to escape life's pressures, which can range from school stress and pent-up energy to more serious issues such as gangs and lack of attention at home. The friendly and dedicated staffers orient their programs toward education, recreational, and healthy living. Kids can join career exploration programs, enjoy nutritious snacks and suppers through the KISS Program. All the while, they’ll learn how to be caring, responsible citizens equipped to make a difference in their communities.
For half a century, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has worked to protect the planet's natural environment and promote eco-friendly living. WWF has set a goal to conserve 15 world's most ecologically-important regions by the year 2020. The organization aims to achieve these goals in part by focusing its work on priority places—such as the Amazon, Coral Triangle, and Himalayas—and species—such as tigers, rhinos, and marine turtles. Its projects are rooted in science and extensive research, and five million WWF members around the world help enact them for the benefit of both humanity and the planet.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.
SOS Children's Villages - Florida nurtures youth in foster care through a neighborhood built exclusively for them. The street's 12 houses buzz with the activity of the 75 resident boys and girls, who were removed from their homes due to abandonment, abuse, and neglect. They spend their childhood with foster families selected by a caseworker and have access to an array of social and mental-health services. Most children stay at the Village for about two years until they are found a permanent adoptive home or reunited with their biological families. The Village places a high priority on maintaining family connections among siblings, generally placing them in the same house.
SOS Children’s Villages sustains a connection with all its youth after they turn 18 through the After Care program, which helps them transition into adulthood and self-sufficiency. SOS boasts incredible success with this program: 83% of its alumni have graduated high school—33% higher than the national average for foster children—and 47% have gone on to pursue higher education.