George E. Ellis has over thirty years of dedicated involvement with youth, civic and social issues within Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida. His experience and expertise has allowed him to serve as a member of several state and local Boards and provided Miami’s River of Life with the unique opportunity of being chosen by Miami-Dade County government to provide Home Detention and Juvenile Probationary Supervision in 2001 when the state budget fell short of the community’s needs. As a provider of residential and shelter services to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and other state agencies, Mr. Ellis has unequivocally demonstrated his knowledge of the issues and needs of our state and local communities. He truly believes that many of the behavior problems exhibited by our youth today is due to “a broken spirit caused by a lack of love,” He is committed to serving the youth and families of our communities, whose situation in life looks hopeless, through Miami’s River of Life programs and assistance.
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The Key Clubhouse of South Florida has psychosocial rehabilitation services designed to assist individuals whose lives have been disrupted by severe and persistent mental illness. These individuals recover meaningful and productive lives through reintegration into the community and the workplace. The program provides a work-ordered day in a structured therapy environment providing opportunities to combat social isolation and establish workplace expectation through habits and skills. Board President, Amy McClellan and Assistant Public Defender in the Miami Public Defender’s Office, Kathy Strobach talk about mental health, advocating for more support and funding.
Through their six core programs, Agape brings assistance to literally hundreds of underserved individuals caught in the expensive and non-rehabilitating hospitals, jails, and institutions. Agape’s success stems from a one-of-a-kind integration of services to meet clients’ Psychological, Social, Physical and Spiritual needs. Claudio Perez, President and CEO of AGAPE Network, talks about the importance of having healthy women in our community and how that translates into our society.
NATIONAL SOCIAL WORK MONTH: National Association of Social Workers introduced National Professional Social Work Month for the first time in March 1963. The original purpose was to encourage public support and interest in social work as a profession. Social workers are the backbone of our work and are the first line of defense in being able to service families in crisis. For more information about this profession, visit: http://
Patricia “Shannen” Davis, MSW CAP (Certified Addictions Professional) CWP (Child Welfare Professional) is the current Program Director for Gulf Coasts’ Intensive Family Preservation Program in Miami-Dade County. She was previously employed as the Family Intervention Services Program Manager. She started as a Court Dependency Case Manager (CDS) and Family Intervention Specialist funded by TANF.
Housing Discrimination affects more than the direct victims; it impacts the whole community and society at large. Education is one of the most important keys to eliminating housing discrimination. HOPE, Inc. is increasing its outreach campaigns to educate more housing providers across the County. In 2013, HOPE, Inc. delivered fair housing training to nearly 200 housing providers in Broward County. “Housing providers” could refer to private realtors, homeowner associations, condo boards, co-op governing boards, mortgage lenders, banks, landlords, etc.
The amended federal Fair Housing Act prohibits nationally, any discrimination in the sale, rental, lending, insurance, or advertising of housing on the basis of: race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. Rob Collins joins me to talk about what to do when encountering housing discrimination.
Adoption is the legal transfer of the parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to the adoptive parents. But adoption is not the only way to help children in crisis, you may be interested in becoming a foster parent or a Guardian Ad Litem. Two foster parents, Trudy and Lisa, discuss the various challenges in the foster care system. For a prospective adoptive parent, fostering to adopt makes the adoption process easier to navigate. For Trudy and Lisa, parenting through adopting can be one of the most life-changing and yet rewarding experiences, but it is important to understand the adoption process and the different adoption opportunities available. Our Kids of Miami-Dade and Monroe can provide you with additional information and referral services, support groups, adoption-related libraries, case management and training.
ZooRush is a collaboration between the School of Communication and the School of Public Health at the University of Miami. Everyone involved is a student or faculty member of our school. Clay Ewing, the game designer of ZooRush and Assistant Professor, and Nancy, the head of PR for the project, talk about the game the development of the game. The game is part of a larger project at the School of Public Health. The larger project, lead by Dr. Lanetta Jordan, is a patient registry for sickle cell disease. The purpose of the game is twofold: create awareness about sickle cell disease as well as reduce the stigma associated with the disease amongst teenagers that have it.
Kadie Black and Issa Hosein explain in broad terms the foster care system and how Our Kids, as the administrative agency, plays into the scheme of things. Among the topics discussed during the show are the misconceptions surrounding foster care/adoption and the children in the system, who are the children in the foster care system and most importantly, how the community can get involved. The Florida Department of Children and Families has awarded Our Kids a Community Based Care (CBC) Lead Agency Status. It is through dedicated and devoted workers that Our Kids is able to oversee and lead a coordinated system of care delivering excellence to abused, abandoned and neglected children and their families in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
On January 23, the Homeless Trust, in partnership with the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, has engaged in a census of unaccompanied, homeless youth aged 13 through 24. This effort, known as iCount, focuses in areas where homeless youth are more likely to be found. These “Point-In-Time” counts are designed to assist the US Housing and Urban Development (USHUD) and The Homeless Trust in achieving their goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2015. Bobbie Ibarra, Executive Director of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, and Constance Collins, who runs the well-respected and acclaimed Lotus House, spoke about the iCount initiative and the misconceptions surrounding homelessness. While the Homeless Trust has been conducting these counts bi-annually for more than a dozen years, all communities across the country are required by US Housing and Urban Development to count their homeless on one day during the last ten days of January.
If you are interested in volunteering or contributing to this cause visit the website: http://www.icountmiami.com/volunteer
Alice Billman, Executive Director of Heroes Unite, speaks about the struggles of low-income families and deficiencies of the public school system where their children attend. In defiance of the state cuts on arts funds, she has set up an after-school program that teaches kids, 2nd grade to 5th grade, Chinese Martial Arts. The function of Chinese Martial Arts is to teach assertiveness not aggression. Funding support for the arts has decreased dramatically in recent years. Alice has devoted herself to promoting the revival of the arts through the nurturing of new and established artists and actors in the South Florida region. Apart from the after-school program, Heroes Unite provides the community with the Heroines Choir and the Mobile Micro Theater.
For more information visit www.heroesunite.org.