Miami Lighthouse Celebrated White Cane Day on October 15th
Friday, Oct. 15th was White Cane Day in Miami and across the nation. The blind and visually impaired community of Miami-Dade County assembled at Miami Lighthouse to commemorate this historic day celebrating the independence of the blind and visually impaired community.
More than 150 participants of all ages walked from the Miami Lighthouse, across 8th Street and down to 7th Avenue and then continued the celebration with food and music. The keynote speaker for this year was Sandra Hix, President of the Local Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. The event was sponsored by Standard Chartered Private Bank and Amerigroup Community Care. According to board director John Harriman, Senior Director of Standard Chartered and Grand Marshall of the White Cane Day walk, “It is fitting that our bank sponsored this important event as our motto is ‘Seeing is Believing’ and today our bank is celebrating World Sight Day.” Steven Roca from Amerigroup Community Care accepted a plaque honoring Amerigroup’s continued dedication to supporting White Cane Day over the years.
The walk included program participants from the Miami Lighthouse, many representatives from the community, especially members from the local Coral Way Colombian Lions Club who provided the breakfast, American Legion Honor Guard and other community leaders. Lunch was provided through the generosity of Burger King Store 12778. Standard Chartered provided the White Cane Day tee shirts for all participants.
For the Miami-Dade and Monroe County individuals who are
blind or have significant vision impairment, White Cane Day is considered
to be “Independence Day,” symbolized by the white cane and dog guide that
assist many people for safe travel and mobility. The long white cane and
guide dog also represent the ability to live independently and contribute
to the community.
White Cane Day Pre-Event
Celebration at My Destiny Banquet Hall
Over 175 Miami Lighthouse clients, staff members and guests attended the Miami Lighthouse White Cane Day Pre-Event Celebration on Friday, September 24 at My Destiny Banquet Hall. Guests enjoyed a night of music, delicious food and dancing, as well as numerous prizes raffled off to guests. Raffle prizes included a 60-Minute Swedish Massage Session donated by Magda Bibiana Peralta L.M.T, an Avon basket donated by Lourdes Rodriguez, an O’Mara’s Irish Cream gift set and Sony CD AM/FM Cassette Recorder donated by Hugo Meneses, a Goya gift basket donated by Goya Foods of Florida, Inc., a still life painted and donated by Zara Mekertin and a Fitness Evaluation and Personal Training session donated by The Personal Touch Fitness.
Special thanks to pre-event sponsors: City National Bank and Union de Ciegos Hispanos en Estados Unidos Inc., as well as those that attended. All White Cane Day event proceeds will benefit the Social Group Activities (SGA) Program. SGA offers leisure activities for adults at the Miami Lighthouse that aid in perfecting dexterity necessary for Braille. Field trips to local parks, museums and other areas of interest, group discussions and language classes are also available.
White Cane Day festivities will take place on October 15 at the Miami
Lighthouse for the Blind beginning at 8:30 am. All are encouraged to
attend and take part in the walk for White Cane Safety. For more
information click on the Upcoming Events, White Cane Day at the top left
section of this web page.
Blind Babies Program children
Since 2003 Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Little Lighthouse program and the Miami-Dade Public Library System have teamed up for the Make-a-Bookmark Contest. The contest encourages participating children and their families to read books. All children in the Miami Lighthouse Blind Babies program who take part in the contest are recognized as winners for their participation and creativity.
Click here to see bookmarks created by Miami Lighthouse Blind Babies program participants.
Click here to see bookmarks created by
Miami Lighthouse Blind Babies program participants featured on the
Miami-Dade Public Library System Facebook page.
“The Pillar of Hope” STAR Summer Camp Art Project
This ceramic column was created by students participating in the Miami
Lighthouse 2009 Summer Camp Program with the help of visiting artists
Carlos Alves, Jane Carroll, and staff artist Nelba Gonzales. During the
2010 summer camp, children will again create individual ceramic pieces
which the artists will use to create a second column. These projects are
underwritten by Scott Miller and the Opa Locka Hialeah Flea Market.
Miami Lighthouse to Expand
Music Inclusion Program
Miami Lighthouse Transition
Program students swim
with dolphins at Miami Seaquarium
|Miami Lighthouse Transition Program students swim with dolphins at Miami Seaquarium|
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Transition students, ages 14 to 22, spent the afternoon playing with dolphins at Miami Seaquarium Dolphin Harbor. On July 29, 20 students fed, played with, pet, hugged and posed with bottlenose dolphins. Every student, whether blind or visually impaired, was able to see the dolphins through touch and interaction. The students saw the dolphins through feeling their textured skin, kissing their beaks and playing catch with them. The Miami Lighthouse is grateful for this wonderful experience provided by Andrew and Arthur Hertz.
To view a video taken by the Miami Herald, please click here
To view a video taken by NBC 6, please
click here (The video begins after a commercial.).
STAR Summer Campers Enjoy a Carnival Day
STAR summer campers enjoying the bounce house
Dario Gomez being presented with an
Elsa Dela Cruz, Miami Lighthouse President and CEO Virginia
On July 9, campers in the Summer Training and Recreation (STAR) program had a fun-filled Carnival Day complete with a bounce house, train, slides and golf cart rides. The carnival was generously provided by Harvey and Ellen Amster, Elsa Dela Cruz, Dario Gomez and family, and Jack and Patricia Tierney. The summer campers, ages 5 to 13, enjoyed getting their faces painted by a clown and eating unlimited snow cones, cotton candy and popcorn. Miami Lighthouse music program students performed a concert in the sensory garden for all those in attendance followed by a pizza feast.
The STAR program is a six-week summer camp providing services to blind or
visually impaired children ages 5- 13. The program offers fun, engaging,
and enriching activities including Braille literacy, physical fitness,
social skills development, art and music. In addition to the STAR program
summer campers, Transition students also enjoyed the day’s carnival
activities. The Transition program provides students ages 14 to 22 with
the experience needed to live independent, successful and fulfilling
lives, while teaching students how to succeed together and build
meaningful relationships with their peers. The Transition program offers
students work experience that suits their individual interests, personal
and home management, assistive technology training, orientation and
mobility, field trips, and community integration.
22nd Annual In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony
Miami Lighthouse Board Member State Representative
Yolly Roberson (center) with her daughter,
Karamie Brutus, and CEO Virginia Jacko at the In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony
Congratulations to Board Director State Representative Yolly Roberson who
is the recipient of the Miami-Dade County In the Company of Women Award
in the category of Outstanding Woman in Government and Law. These awards
recognize local women from various disciplines for their outstanding
achievements and contributions to the citizens of Miami-Dade County. The
award was presented at the 22nd Annual In the Company of Women Awards
Ceremony on March 18th.
Miami Lighthouse Honors Board
Director Ray Casas and
Client/Volunteer Hugo Meneses
at Leave A Legacy/Donor Next Door Recognition Luncheon
Board Director Ramón Casas, CEO Virginia
Jessica Cerda-Antomarchi, CEO
At the Leave A legacy/Donor Next Door Luncheon Miami Lighthouse honored Board Director Ray Casas and Miami Lighthouse client and volunteer Hugo Meneses.
Board Director Casas was recognized for his 18 years of service to the Miami Lighthouse in key leadership positions on the Board of Directors since 1992, including 10 years on the Executive Committee and his current position as Chairman of the External Relations Committee as well as for the pro bono services provided by his public relations firm. Wragg and Casas’ services include drafting and distribution of news releases, media relations and counsel on communications issues. Ray has provided important communications services and counsel throughout the years as a volunteer.
Hugo Meneses, a Miami Lighthouse client since 2003, received recognition
as an extraordinary advocate for the blind and visually impaired. He has
collaborated actively in raising funds for the Miami Lighthouse’s “White
Cane Day” event, and in 2008 he was the individual who obtained the
largest number of pledges. Each year he also solicits donations from the
community in support of the event. Hugo is a member of the “UCHEU” (Union
de Ciegos Hispanos en los Estados Unidos), a non-profit that organizes
recreational activities for the blind such as picnics, parties and field
trips. Because of his many relationships in the community, Miami
Lighthouse clients have meals that are more nutritious.
Miami Lighthouse Music Mentor
Henry Stone Featured
At Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
Legendary music producer and former Miami Lighthouse client Henry Stone was featured at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. in the Rock Hall's Foster Theater in Cleveland, Ohio.
Mr. Stone was participating in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's monthly program, "From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind the Hits".
"Henry Stone's expertise as a producer and executive is a continuing inspiration to the students of our ground-breaking music program here at Miami Lighthouse," said Virginia A. Jacko, CEO of Miami Lighthouse, where Mr. Stone received vision rehabilitation several years ago. "His mentorship and involvement have awakened our students to the possibilities of careers in music performance and production," CEO Jacko said.
The Henry & Inez Stone Music and Sound Production Studio, the result of a gift from the Mr. and Mrs. Stone's great friend, philanthropist Gloria Martin, is a state-of-the-art music production facility at Miami Lighthouse and home to a one-of-a-kind music program for blind and visually impaired teens to learn the skills they need for mainstream employment in the music professions. The legendary Henry Stone produced for Miami Lighthouse its first two albums Instrumental Magic and Vocal Magic, which are available from the Solutions Store, (305) 856-9100.
Mr. Stone settled in Miami in 1948, established his own independent publishing companies and launched more than a dozen Miami-based record labels, including the famed T.K. label, shaping the disco era of the 1970s and creating what was dubbed "The Miami Sound". The 12” T.K. Disco series earned Stone 23 gold and platinum records in the '70s. KC and the Sunshine Band, on the T.K. label, had six number one pop singles, four number one R&B singles, and gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums.
In 2008 "The Twist", first produced and recorded by Henry Stone, was named the Billboard Hot 100 Era Number 1 Song of All Time.
information, please visit
2010 Music Under the Stars… Bon Appétit Miami
Our third annual fundraiser in support of the Miami Lighthouse Heiken Children’s Vision program Music Under the Stars… Bon Appétit Miami took place on Wednesday evening, April 28.
We extend appreciation to our generous sponsors: Baptist Health South Florida, Morrison Brown Argiz & Farra, LLP, SMF Energy Corporation, Essilor of America, Essilor Laboratories of America, Brown and Brown Insurance, Transitions Optical, Sir Speedy Printing and Marketing Services, New Image Productions, Magnifying Center, and Florida Reading & Vision Technology.
We also thank our participating restaurants and beverage providers Gulf Spirits & Wine Merchants, Gordon Biersch, Casa Larios, Zucchero Ristorante Bistro, C.A. & Company Catering, Starbucks, Chocolate Fashion, Archie’s Gourmet, and crepe station courtesy of Dr. Barry Burak.\
Click here for pictures from the 2010 Music Under the Stars… Bon Appétit Miami.
|Steve Marcus, President & CEO, Health Foundation of South Florida, Mrs. Ruth Marcus, Virginia Jacko, President & CEO, and William Roy, Past Chairman.|
|Deborah A. Montilla, District Director Division of Student Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools receives award from Dr. Alan Levitt, Heiken Committee Member.|
|Guests Dan and Trish Bell, Board Director Pamela Garrison, and Kirk Landon.|
|Platinum Sponsor Baptist Health South Florida, George Foyo, Executive Vice President & CAO with Mrs. Foyo, Virginia Jacko, President & CEO, Mrs. & Mr. Wendell Beard.|
2010 McCrea Volunteer Recognition Luncheon
On April 8th, Miami Lighthouse honored the Board of Directors and its many volunteers for their support and dedication to the organization, giving special recognition to the McCrea Family Foundation for their legacy of volunteerism and generosity. Every year the McCrea Family generously underwrites the annual volunteer recognition event so that those who dedicate themselves to crucial services to the blind may receive their due praise. This year’s Volunteer of the Year Award recipient was Gert Stein. A native of New York, Mr. Stein was first introduced to the Miami Lighthouse by his mother, a former vision rehabilitation client. In January 2009, Mr. Stein followed his mother’s footsteps and became a client at the Miami Lighthouse. He graduated from the program five months later and became a dedicated volunteer primarily in Arts and Crafts and the Solutions Store. He then became an active member of the White Cane Day Committee for which he raised many donations. Our deep appreciation goes to all volunteers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, especially to the McCrea family.
|David McCrea, Luncheon Sponsor.|
|Gert Stein is presented Volunteer of the Year Award by Chairman Owen Freed.|
Miami Lighthouse Presents Third
Annual Dog Walk
To Raise Awareness of Guide Dogs
President and CEO Virginia Jacko with
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Search and
On Sunday, March 14, 2010, hundreds of patrons participated in the Third Annual Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Dog Walk at the Shops at Midtown Miami. Through the event, nearly $20,000 was raised for the Miami Lighthouse Orientation & Mobility program.
The Miami Lighthouse Orientation & Mobility program prepares visually impaired clients who wish to use a guide dog. Successful completion of training is a prerequisite for attending guide dog school.
We are grateful to sponsors PetSmart, Shops at Midtown Miami, The Standard Chartered Private Bank, Dunkin Donuts, Turner & Associates LLP, Frances T. King Insurance Agency, artist Romero Britto, Susan Conroy Design, PCA Printing, Banfield Pet Hospital, Starbucks, OXXO, Humana, Mac Parking, Azul Optics and New York Life.
Click here for pictures from the 2010 Dog Walk.