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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida • Page 1699
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida • Page 1699

The Miami Heraldi
Miami, Florida
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MiamiHeraldcomlssuesldeas THE MIAMI HERALD FROM THE FRONT PAGE 2L SUNDAY OCTOBER 14 2007 David Lawrence Jr: How can you help We live in a community where a newcomer has a special opportunity to do almost anything good or not so good So many other places one will wait a decade or more before beginning to make great contributions of time and talent and treasure Here most of us came from someplace else and all of us now live in a place that underscores the pluralism and opportunity yP' A I of the United States We are on the very cutting edge of America: 60 percent Hispanic 21 percent African American or black (not interchangeable as they would be most places in this country) 19 percent non-Hispanic white (but just 15 percent of the 32000 babies who are bom each year here) Miami-Dade is a community larger than 16 states in LAWRENCE JgMW'fl6 ROBERTO K0LTUNEL NUEV0 HERALD LIGHTHEARTED: Rachel and Michelle 5-year-old twins at the Miami Children's Museum in April cavort at an event organized by the Human Services Coalition A silver lining: Info about services helps improve life the Union More than half of us were born in another country the highest such percentage in urban America Ours is the fourth-largest school system in the country And yet for all our challenges of bigness and poverty and language and culture the people of Greater Miami have found a way to rally around children all children Now to do well and good here you must have an adventurous spirit (There are two kinds of people in Miami I would tell you: One those people who reach out in wonder and excitement at the opportunities here who are not offended by being around so many people who are different and indeed welcome that and welcome them and two those who live in seemingly daily sufferance about all the change here Only the former really ought to live here because life is so short and community so important) Only a century ago it's worth remembering Miami was not much more than a fishing village and trading post And only in the 1990s did The Miami Herald run the obituary of the very first child born in Miami in the summer of 1896 That is how young we are still Progress is most always the province of optimists and mine is an optimistic soul about people and the place where we live We have the good fortune and sometimes the pain of being part of a community that serves as a testing ground for just about every social challenge and opportunity facing the country There is no limit to what can be done in this community and has been done in this community one good example being Miami's becoming a national model of what can be accomplished in building a "school readiness" movement That means high-quality education care and development But good deeds happen only when people realize the power within themselves to make a difference The greatest stories in human history are of individuals who realized what they had within themselves to make a difference What's really prized here who's really prized here is the person who speaks up to say: "How can I help?" It's up to each of us There is no shortage of opportunities The writer the former publisher of The Miami Herald is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and chairman of the board for The Children's Trust of Miami-Dade Corinna Moebius: Imagine Miami a better place Look hard and listen Underneath the overpass of 1-395 one of the highways that split Overtown in half is a garden planted by local residents Look closely and you'll notice flowers in front of homes that face the garden: new growth It's a different kind of "growth" than the half-constructed skyscrapers dominating Miami's downtown skyline The flowers in this neighborhood known for its poverty and crime were planted by people who have a stake in the future of their com munity: people who may remember when Overtown was a thriving African-American enclave But see Miami is like that Criticize it for its neighborhoods torn in half its rampant corruption sprawl and traffic Snicker at the extremes of wealth and poverty the worship of fast cars and artificially created beauty and the Have you thought about MOEBIUS This is adapted from a column that appeared on June 3 2007: A pair of adorable 5-year-old twins was making their first visit to a museum Identically dressed in pink T-shirts and polished shoes stamped with red hearts Michelle and Rachel drew flowers suns lakes and little ducks before running through the Miami Children's Museum to play with remote-control boats and see a map of the world Their mother Lily Luna a 27-year-old Mexican immigrant was delighted to see her little girls play even as she reminded them to behave "Sometimes I can't take them out because I don't have the money or the time or any kind of transportation And even if did I wouldn't know how to get here" she admitted while looking over educational brochures with information on savings bank loans and tax preparation Despite the playful setting the occasion was serious: It was an event organized by the Human Services Coalition to show low-income families the resources that are available to help them with their finances It was a beautiful scene that could be repeated countless times more times Frustrated because information about social services doesn't reach individuals who need it nonprofit agencies are searching for innovative ways to advertise themselves Their efforts however are almost always stymied by the same lack of funds that blocks the progress that we so badly need in our society In Miami many services and programs exist to help people who are less economically and socially privileged Sponsoring agencies however have noticed that the people most in need don't take advantage of these services because they either haven't heard about them don't believe they're eligible that advocates for children's health and education underwrote the expenses of activating 211 a telephone number that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reserved nationwide in 2000 to provide community information and referral services Their investment totaled $15 million At first 211 received eight calls a day Two weeks ago following a massive publicity campaign over several months the number which at first would only accept calls from residential phone lines but has since expanded was called by 800 people a day "Whatever the problem when you dial 211 trained professionals know that you may have called for one reason but after they ask you more questions other issues may arise They try to connect you with what you really need" Emily Cardenas The Children's Trust's communications director explained One of the most common problems is that people are unable to access government services because the application process is too complicated especially for those whose first language is not English For example 22 percent of children in Miami don't have medical insurance because they aren't poor enough to qualify for Medicaid However most of this segment of the juvenile population is eligible at different levels for the low-cost insurance program KidCare In many cases the opportunity is lost however "Parents don't know where to begin" Cardenas emphasized It's time for our community to focus more on the physical and economic health of the population instead of concentrating so much on the infrastructure and on polishing its international image as a mecca of wealth and power seeming apathy of residents But look harder And listen Because people here are resihent and like the flower that grows through the sidewalk we find ways to emerge through even the hardest of times There are a million untold stories of people like Marvin Dunn who started the gardens in Overtown who in their own way however big or small are turning Miami-Dade into the place it can be: more just inclusive and sustainable When we see a garden or hear a story it revives our sense of hope and possibility Corinna Moebius is director of Imagine Miami a civic engagement initiative hosted by the Human Services Coalition About the older person who can't find a job because his age is an obstacle to being hired? About the mentally ill person who can't leave a prison for criminals because there aren't enough facilities that provide the help he truly needs? Have you thought about the person next to you who does harm? About the delinquent who steals an old lady's purse and wipes out her savings? About the racist who proudly sends his son to school dressed as Adolf Hitler to celebrate Halloween? About the sexual predator who roams at will and rapes women who are too ashamed to report it? About the man who killed his wife and mother-in-law in a Doral hotel on Valentine's Day and then killed himself? Have you thought about the person next to you who's alone? The person who isn't accepted? Who isn't loved? The person who can't see or speak? The person who doesn't understand? Who doesn't love himself? The person who doesn't believe in God? CARING FROM 1L favoring special interests that stuff his pockets with money? About the Coast Guard patrol boats that churn powerfully through the water trying to capture immigrants who are sailing in search of liberty? About the developer who puts the ecosystem at risk in order to build one more housing subdivision? About the greedy business owner who exploits employees paying them miserable wages under deplorable working conditions? About the television producer who spreads false stereotypes among her audience and manipulates the truth? Have you thought about the person next to you who's discriminated against? About the African American stopped on the highway because of his skin color? About the homosexual who cannot legalize his right to love? About the Hispanic who is sick because she doesn't have insurance to cover her expenses in an obsolete healthcare system in which doctors spend only 10 minutes with each patient? dent nonprofit agencies "We look to the government for help in creating a one-stop opportunity for people to connect with those services provided by businesses government and the nonprofit sector" said Ruth Shack president of the Dade Community Foundation "There is a need for a comprehensive listing of services that could be on the Internet or available through the county's information helpline 311 That kind of wide-ranging list doesn't exist" There are efforts underway however Two years ago The Children's Trust a foundation or don't know how to access them This situation is alarming because Miami is one of the metropolitan areas in the United States with the highest poverty index the most expensive housing and the lowest educational level Community agencies are battling on various fronts but their biggest obstacle is to secure the funds needed to offer services And as if that weren't enough federal state and county officials have drastically cut the budgets for benefits programs leaving the government without many resources to help indepen ABOUT THE HUMAN SERVICES COALITION AND THE BOOK ald a Spanish-language newspaper Support for this book was given by The John and James Knight Foundation The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald Aetna Foundation Gloria Estefan Foundation and Faith Read Xenos All proceeds go to the HSC The Coalition can be reached at: 260 NE 17th Terrace Suite 200 Miami 33132 wwwhscdadeorg 305-576-5001 A BILINGUAL BOOK Punto de Partida Point of Departure -Stories of Truth and Hope written by El Nuevo Herald columist Daniel Shoer Roth was published by The Human Services Coalition ($1795) All rights reserved The articles originally appeared in El Nuevo Her Founded in 1995 the Human Services Coalition identifies and launches innovative strategies to help people and communities thrive HSC works through a network of partner organizations linking people with financial education healthcare information public benefits and educational and economic-opportunities HSC's programs promote economic self-sufficiency participation in civic life and respect across many divides way Miami: Join Daniel Shoer Roth and community leaders Free There will be music provided by a band from the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and a lot of sweet treats RSVP: patriciamio hscdadeorg More author appearances on- Oct 28 6 pm Books Books 265 Aragon Ave Coral Gables Mirimi Book Fair Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus: Nov 11 4:30 pm (a bilingual event) IF YOU GO Oct 24 pm at the Miami Children's Museum 980 MacArthur Cause.

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