Monday, December 26, 2011

Day At The Holocaust Memorial

"Developing the whole child, academically, socially, and emotionally are all targets of IHAD" are words written in a grant proposal and were exemplified on Monday, December 19 2011. This Monday marked the first weekday of the Winter Break, but the Dreamers still made the conscious decision to attend a field trip at the Holocaust Memorial.

The small group of Dreamers learned about the Holocaust (1933-1945): the persecution of Jews, gypsies, Methodists, and homosexuals by Hitler's regime who considered the previously mentioned groups to be inferior and responsible for the economic state of European Germany at the time. This history lesson and tour were facilitated by actual Holocaust survivors Mrs. Riva Rosenblat and Mr. Maurise Trojanowski. Mrs. Rosenblat actually shared how her family hid in forests at that time and how here grandmother died in a concentration camp after a few days.

The Dreamers really soaked up the information that were given this day. Not only were they alert to what was being shared by the survivors, but they asked great questions!! Through their questions, we learned many things: the term "ghetto" was coined during the Holocaust when Jews were restricted to certain parts of the city and underwent curfews and rationing of food; "Holocaust" means "sacrifice by fire"; twins were experimented on during the Holocaust; Jews were stripped of their names/identity and branded with a number as a new form of identification; and many members of Hitler's regime moved to Argentina after the Holocaust ended.

The Memorial has a mural illustrating the history of the Holocaust. At the center of the Memorial, is a large hand sculpture with people coiled around it. Mrs. Rosenblat asked the sculptor what's the meaning behind the structure and his response was, "What does it mean to you?" Mrs. Rosenblat's interpretation of it is: a hand reaching up to God.

The following pictures will give followers of this blog a glimpse of what the Dreamers experienced on this day. But, if given the chance, visit the Memorial on your is a great experience whether you are of Jewish descent or not. Again, a special THANK YOU to Mrs. Rosenblat and Mr. Trojanowski for sharing their stories!!

Dreamers gather around to hear the Survivors speak

The tour begins

Sign at the entrance of a labor camp. It means "work will set you free." Forced to make this sign, the Jews turned the "B" upside down...a subtle, yet brave act of resistance.

Jewish twins underwent very invasive experiments and were left to perish afterwards

Written on the walls of this tunnel were names of the many concentration camps

A torch with "XXIII Psalm" written below

A list (not a complete one) of families persecuted during the Holocaust...

Holocaust Survivors Mrs. Rosenblat and Mr. Trojanowski (center) & the Dreamers

Go Buccaneers!!!

To reward the Dreamers who are doing academically well and to welcome the Winter Break, Dreamers attended a men's basketball game at Barry University on Saturday, December 10 2011. The Dreamers have already traveled to Barry University for a college tour, so most were very familiar with the campus. Unlike a college tour, which is more academically driven, this field trip was more recreational. It allowed Dreamers to relax from the regular hustle and bustle of high school, as well as spend time with their mentors, who were kind enough to attend the game as well!

Although the Buccaneers suffered a lost against St. Thomas University (67-70), the game was very exciting, especially the last half. The half time performance was also great: competitive jump rope routines performed by elementary and middle school students. They were super talented!

It was a nice Saturday. Thank you to all the mentors who attended!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Enrichments With MDC Honor College Students

Miami-Dade College professor, Alex Salinas, has had a long standing relationship with the Dreamers. He has known them since they were in first grade and has always enlisted the help of his college students to work with the Dreamers on various engaging activities and the month of November was no different.

For three days in November, students from MDC's Honors College at Inter-American Campus decided to have a series of enrichments entitled "College Advice from ACTUAL College Students."

Professor Salinas addresses a group of 32 Dreamers

November 2 2011: Day One
The first day was great! It began with the icebreaker "Connect." One person begins the game by standing up and stating their name and sharing something about themselves, such as hobby or favorite food. People in the audience are then suppose to shout "connect," run up, and link arms with the person standing if they share something in common. It was a nice way to introduce everyone and share something unique. A short presentation was then given by student Leana Ramos about the college experience and the requirements for getting into college. Topics mentioned were: having a high GPA; using your interests and hobbies to help decide on a major; and study habits. Very important information! The first day ended with another icebreaker "Agree/Disagree", in which students moved to opposites ends of the room to show their approval or disapproval for certain issues/questions. Some questions asked were: will money solve all problems? is age a factor in wisdom? This icebreaker sparked great conversation among the Dreamers.
November 23 2011: Day Two

For the first activity, Dreamers divided into three groups. The task was to build a tower using note cards. The catch: Dreamers had to use ONE hand and NO talking was allowed. For 10 minutes the room was completely quiet while Dreamers worked on the task, which was very funny to watch! Dreamers Estrella, Precious, & Jaimesha said "creativity", "eye contact", and "team work" were necessary to complete the task. Well done ladies!!

The day ended with the Dreamers breaking up into small interest groups: arts, law enforcement, engineering, medical, psychology, and business. Each group was headed by one or two college students who were able to answer questions about those majors. Dreamers we very engaged. They were speaking to people who are actually majoring in the same thing they want to do in college.

The artistic group
Our future engineers :)

November 30 2011: Day Three

The MDC students welcomed Dreamers with Chinese food! For this day, Dreamers were asked to showcase a talent. As such, Myeisha, Emanuella, Jamee, and Jaimesha performed a dance for the entire group :) The day ended with a one of the college students showcasing his karate skills...he is a black belt!!

Ladies, you made Cristian Mena very happy!
Awesome karate skills...wished I videotaped it instead

Professor Salinas' lesson: "The words 'thank you' and 'thought' are cousins. To say 'thank you' means to 'have you in my thoughts'." Throughout the three days that the MDC students worked with the Dreamers, they always began each day by saying "thank you." Thanks to professor Salinas' lesson, those common words take on a new meaning.

A very special thank you to Professor Salinas, Professor Gonzalez, Dr. Feignbaum, Persaud Dharam, & ALL the Honor College students who came to spend time with the Dreamers. The Dreamers have been on numerous college tours, but through the November enrichments, you allowed them to view the college experience through a different lens. We will always have you in our thoughts too!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Baskets: Family Day at the JCC

Over the past few years, the Dreamers and their families have volunteered with the Thanksgiving Basket Fund at Dave & Mary Alper Jewish Community Center (JCC). Located in the heart of Kendell, JCC provides many opportunities for the Jewish community and South-Dade residents to enjoy recreational, educational, cultural, and social activities.

On November 20, 2011 a total of 31 Dreamers and their families took a trip to the JCC to participate in the Thanksgiving Basket Fund. For two hours, Dreamers made Thanksgiving greeting cards (for their families and other families in need) and over 100 Thanksgiving baskets!!! A special thank you to Mrs. Sheila Stieglitz, who does a great job of coordinating the Thanksgiving Basket Fund every year and to the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and brothers who decided to come and support their Dreamer!!

Choosing the right crayons is a very serious job :) Malik

Adrian: Keyelah's little sister...she made very pretty cards with feathers :)

Time to get creative!!

Ms. Davis & her grand-daughter (Myeisha) making a basket

Ms. Bryd, her daughter, and Ms. Spells

Ms. Harris and her sons :)

Mrs. Jackson

The finished product: over 100 baskets!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Biscayne Bay Aquatics Preserves at Pelican Harbor Marina

On November 5th 2011, the Dreamers took a field trip to one of Biscayne Bay's Aquatic Preserves sites, Pelican Harbor Marina. Located right off of 79th Street Causeway, Dreamers spent a a few hours doing water quality testing.

Upon arriving, the group was warmly welcomed by environmental specialists Susan Leser and Pamela Sweeney, along with other staff volunteers. The group then walked to the west end of the facility, which had an AMAZING view of the ocean. The Dreamers were then split into three groups, which they rotated throughout the day. Group One tested the bay by using a YSI Meter to measure dissolved oxygen; Group Two used refractometers to measure salt levels in ocean water compared to tap and distilled water; and Group Three used a Succi Disk to measure turbidity/visibility. The three groups came together at the end and played Spin the Wheel. But instead of money, the pointer fell on different marine life in Biscayne Bay; and the Dreamers discussed how oxygen levels, salt levels, and turbidity affect the marine life.

Most importantly, the field trip helped some of the Dreamers with science project ideas of their own. To end the day, we spent the last 20 minutes eating lunch at the Marina, taking pictures, and simply enjoying the scenery!

Many thanks to Susan Leser, Pamela Sweeney, and everyone at Pelican Harbor Marina! We really enjoyed it!

Environmental Specialists Susan Leser and Pamela Sweeney welcomes IHAD

A westward view from the Marina

The Dreamers are divided into three groups to do water quality testing

Milton Stubbs and few other Dreamers using a YSI Meter to measure dissolved oxygen in the bay

Dreamers using refractometers to measure salinity in different types of water


Smile :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hairspray: The Broadway Musical!

On October 23 2011, thirty three Dreamers went to see the musical Hairspray! The musical was showcased at the Actor's Playhouse in Coral Gables, but before heading to the theater, the group dined at California Pizza Kitchen. The restauarnt, located one block from the theater, was a nice treat to begin a Sunday afternoon. Dreamers had the choice of a cheese pizza dish or ceasar salad, both of which were delicious! A speacial thank you to the restaurant's manager, Blaze, and his kind staff.

After our lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, the group then headed over to the theater. Many of the Dreamers may have been apprehensive about seeing the play, probably thought it was going to be "boring", but many seemed to enjoyed it. Aside from the funny potrayal of teenage life, the Dreamers, for the most part, got the message the musical was trying to convey: music and dance is a good tool to unite people of different races...integration not segregation!!

Program for the show

Some of the female Dreamers looking extra pretty for the day's event :)

Mr. Lewis in a suit!! Setting a WONDERFUL example for the male Dreamers

Dining at California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables

The stage in the theater

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BankUnited Tour

On Thursday September 29, 2011, IHAD-Overtown, Inc. toured the BankUnited branch in Miami Lakes.  Our collaboration with BankUnited began last school year when SVP-Mtge. Division- Eric D. and his staff provided our Dreamers and Families with Money Matters workshops. Today, we were invited to get an up close/behind the scenes look at how one of Florida's largest bank branches (employing over 580) operates on a daily basis. Our trip  began with all of our Dreamers being greeted by smiling staff members and receiving ID badges, the group was then escorted to one of "many" conference rooms, where they were treated to a continental breakfast.  The Dreamers were given tips on "First Impressions" by Eric D. and Mary H., who both gave us insight to the "do's and don'ts" of the corporate world of work.  The remainder of the day consisted of learning about: Mortgage Services, Human Resources, Accounting & Finance, Enterprise Risk Management, and a first hand look at the Call Center.  At the conclusion of our day, the Dreamers were treated with all the Papa John's pizza and soda they could stomach, gift bags, but most of all, a real life understanding of how the banking world works.  Special Thanks to our tour guides (bank employees): Rennie R., Omar R., Michael D., Suzanne R., Jackie R., and Danny S.