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.
Spearheaded by "The Gridiron Griller" himself, former Miami Dolphins player John Offerdahl, the Gridiron Grill-Off congregates chefs from the top restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, and culinary-inclined celebrities as they prepare grilled grub for a tasting competition benefiting several local charities. Twenty teams comprised of Miami Dolphins legends including Dan Marino, and top Broward County food maestros concoct 20 delectable dishes that fans can sample, pair with wine or beer, vote on, and assemble into an indoor snowman. While nibbling on grilled bites, visitors also compete in a beanbag tailgate tournament with celebs and chefs joining top-ranked teams in the final rounds. Proceeds from the Gridiron Grill-Off support 4Kids of South Florida, Here's Help Culinary Program, and the Miami Dolphins Foundation.
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.
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 its founding in 1967, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) has sought the cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The National Institutes of Health commended the CCFA for its work "uniting the research community and strengthening IBD research." The CCFA established the precedent for research in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by forming its own scientific journal and educational symposiums and funding cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions. It has helped discover chromosomal regions with IBD-related genes and NOD2, the first gene for Crohn’s disease.
In addition to medical research, the CCFA runs a wide range of educational programs and support services to improve the quality of life for people affected by IBD. With awareness campaigns, webcasts, and periodicals, such as Take Charge and Under the Microscope, the organization reaches out to more than one million patients and caregivers. Nationwide chapters further this work by conducting more than 300 support groups for patients and summer camps for children every year.