April – National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Please join us in The
Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), in collaboration with
Prevent Child Abuse Florida and the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida to
raise awareness of this important issue.

“DCF encourages not only parents but all members of Florida’s communities
to take action to support the development and protection of children,”
Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said. “Together we can raise awareness and
give a voice to vulnerable children in our state.”

In DCF’s Southern Region, which encompasses Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, several municipalities are issuing proclamations recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. CHILD ABUSE PROCLAMATION

The City of Doral will present a proclamation to the Department at a
ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. April 14 at City Hall.

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado will present a similar proclamation at a
ceremony set for 11 a.m. April 16 at City Hall.

Similarly, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Commission Chairwoman
Rebeca Sosa and the Board of County Commissioners this week issued their
Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation and urged residents to
participate in activities that strengthen families and communities.

Governor Rick Scott also signed a proclamation naming April 2014 as Child
Abuse Prevention Month and urges Floridians to participate.

DCF urges its community partners and residents to report any suspicion that
a child is being abused or neglected via the Florida Abuse Hotline by
calling 1-800-962-2873 or online at www.FloridaAbuseHotline.org.

As indicated by the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s 2012 Research
Guide, stimulating and nurturing environments improve a child’s cognitive,
psychological, behavioral and physical well-being, while neglectful or
abusive experiences depress mental and physical growth. Let’s all help
provide safe and nurturing environments for our children.

For more information on events happening throughout the state visit:

2014 Service Provider Survey

Alliance for GLBTQ Youth

Dear Community Partners & Allies,


The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth is committed to ending lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) youth homelessness in Miami-Dade County. We know that in part, success to meeting this goal is linked to data. We are proud of the valiant community effort (iCount – point in time census of unaccompanied homeless youth) to shift this information void, but the plight of youth experiencing homelessness continues. And as a community we can do more!


As a partner of The Forty to None Network and in commitment to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, we are asking everyone that works with homeless youth to please complete 2014 Service Provider Survey. Help us ensure that data from our communities is included in this imperative, national research. 


Forty to None Project   


In 2012 you helped us get the word out about our Serving Our Youthsurvey. We just released our second iteration of the survey, a continuing climate study that will allow us to better address the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth homelessness, understand the needs of service providers related to working with these youth, and scale solutions to meet those needs. The survey is conducted in partnership with the Palette Fund and the Williams Institute at UCLA.


Do you or someone you know work with a program that serves youth experiencing homelessness? We’d love to hear from you! The survey can be accessed here.



Thank you on behalf of all our youth for completing or forwarding the survey! Together we can end their experience of homelessness. 


In community,


Carla Silva

Executive Director

Educate Tomorrow’s Silent Auction

Educate Tomorrow's Silent Auction


Purchase your ticket today for only $40

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 – 6 PM ~ 8:30 PM

Briza on the Bay
1717 N. Bayshore Drive

To provide food, wine or to be a sponsor contact Brett McNaught
at mcnaught@educatetomorrow.org

Educate Tomorrow’s Board of Directors

Melanie Damian

Chris Damian Darius Nevin

Sarah Clasby Engel Stacey Koch Lieberman Jason Mazer

Kara Sharp Scott Dimond Pat Gannon

Erika Leigh Lucas Peter Valori Robert Levenson

Antonio Shelton Jennifer Pakradooni

Erica French Melissa McCarthy Virginia Emmons McNaught


We believe that any child in our community that is abused, abandoned or neglected should have the support of their community throughout their teenage years and into adulthood with no “age-out” date and no end to when they can be a part of Educate Tomorrow. Educate Tomorrow is meeting a crucial need in Miami and with college students across the state of Florida. In 2013 the prestigious College Board, Advocacy & Policy Center named Educate Tomorrow the 2013 Innovation Award winner for the Southern Region of the United States for the category of preparing students for “Getting In” to college. Educate Tomorrow is devoted to creating independence for disadvantaged and foster youth through education, mentoring and life skills.

Educate Tomorrow is determined to help all emerging adults in need of support in reaching their goals of getting ready, getting in and succeeding in college. Former foster youth in Florida have a great opportunity regarding higher education. Those who age out of the dependency system at 18, are adopted out of the dependency or are placed in the custody of a relative may be eligible to receive an exemption from paying tuition or fees at any Florida university or college. In addition, those who are in foster care on their 18th birthday can also qualify for the funds that enable them to receive $1,250 a month to pay for living expenses while a full time student. Sadly, this opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, homelessness, chronic joblessness, neglect and abuse is often lost.

In 2009, 1,475 young adults aged out of foster care in Florida. Based on recent statistics, less than 50% will earn a high school diploma before they turn 22, many will experience homelessness and only 30% will be gainfully employed. Currently more than 90% of our 213 active participants are enrolled in school or gainfully employed. Nationally less than 3% of former foster youth ever obtain a college degree. There are currently 102 Educate Tomorrow participants who are now over 23 years old. Of those, 44% have a college degree or certification and 94% have their high school diploma or GED.

A portion of your ticket is tax deductible. Educate Tomorrow is a certified 501(c)(3) organization.

Graphics Donated by Amaniac DesignEducate Tomorrow

Switchboard QPR Suicide Gatekeeper Training

HELP Anytime. Always.
Switchboard’s Suicide Prevention Department
Promoting a Suicide Safe Community Since 1968
Switchboard of Miami counsels, connects and empowers people in need.
Tuesday April 8, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST


Add to Calendar


Switchboard of Miami, Inc.
190 NE 3rd Street
Miami, FL 3313
Driving Directions


National Suicide Lifeline Logo 

QPR Logo 


For more information about our Suicide Prevention Department and trainings, please contact:



Demian Laudisio


305.358.1640 x1156



            Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn



(Parking not included)

Community Suicide Gatekeeper Training

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

9:00am to 11:00am

Question. Persuade. Refer.

3 Simple Steps Anyone can Learn to Help Save a Life from Suicide

QPR Gatekeeper Training is provided as a free community outreach workshop through Switchboard of Miami, Inc., in conjunction with the Florida Youth Suicide Prevention (FLYSP) Project.

CEUs available for LCSW, LMFT and LMHC professionals. Also approved provider through Florida Certification Board for Mental Health and Substance Abuse. 

CE Broker Provider #50-15676, expires 3/31/2015


Training is held on the second Tuesday of every month.

Where: Switchboard of Miami, Inc.

190 NE 3rd Street

Miami, FL 33132

Register Now! 
I can’t make it

Support Switchboard’s Suicide Prevention Department


Your donation ensures Switchboard will continue to provide our Suicide Prevention Services to our community

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Count in Miami-Dade County

Information provided by Carla Silva, ED – The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth

Hello friends and community members,

The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and The Miami Coalition for the Homeless along with several youth service agencies are spearheading the first ever count of unaccompanied homeless youth in Miami-Dade County on August 29, 2013. As you know, LGBTQ youth are disproportionally affected by homelessness and represent 20-40% of all homeless youth. Therefore, we need volunteers…we need you! 

Our count has been thoughtfully structured and is LGBTQ inclusive – collecting data about sexual orientation and gender identity; safe zone images on posters; and we have committed to having one LGBTQ person on each iCount team to ensure that youth that identify as LGBTQ have a ready community member/advocate available to them. Our goal is to have at minimum 25 volunteers. Help us make this iCount a success and safe for all youth regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity expression. Volunteer your time, link the official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/youthcountmiami, invite your friends, colleagues and anyone interested to like, post or share the page, send this message to your LGBTQ networks and encourage folks to join us on August 29th. The press release & flyer are attached; for more information email info@icountmiami.com or call 211. 

To volunteer for the count sign-up on the website www.icountmiami.com. There will be a volunteer training on August 21st 4-5:30pm at the Chapman Partnership located at 1550 North Miami Avenue (Worship Center).  

This count is an essential element in addressing homelessness. In order to create appropriate programming, we have to know the scope of the problem. On behalf of all our youth, thank you for your support!



Back-to-School Events – FREE Books!


FREE Books at
Back-to-School Festivals
Promote Reading

Updated List below! 
Hope for Miami and FIU have teamed up and are giving away a total of 12,000 books at numerous back-to-school festivals around Miami-Dade County.

The book distributions are an extension of the Summer Reading Explorers program funded by The Children’s Trust. In addition to free books, some festivals will offer free backpacks and school supplies; school uniforms, haircuts, and physicals. 

So come on out and get ready to start the school year off right!

Date Time Site Address Organization Contact/Phone/Email
July 26
10 to 2 pm Peacock Park 2820 McFarlane Road City of Miami Esther Balsera 
(305) 416-1532
July 27
10 to 
2 pm 
1 Speedway Blvd.,
Homestead 33035
New Life Community Outreach/Baptist Health Patty Miller
(305) 834-3341

July 28 
10 to 
2 pm
Jose Marti Park 351 SW 4th St. 
Miami 33130
Amigos for Kids Rosa Plasencia
(305) 279-1155
Aug. 3
10:30 am Kendale Lakes Library 152nd Ave. & Kendall Drive District 11 Comm. Juan Zapata Fernanda Sanchez
Aug. 3
10 am Pablo Duarte Park 2800 NW 17th Ave.,
Miami 33142
Young Dreams Community Outreach Organization Jordana Zarut
(786) 873-6322
Aug. 8
9 to
1 pm
Maternal and Child Health Ctr. 551 W 51st 
Place, Hialeah
Citrus Health
Lourdes Martinez
(305) 825-0300
Aug. 9
11 to
 2 pm
North Dade Health Center  16555 NW 25th Ave.,
Miami Gardens 33054
The Next Level of Hope Erik McCall
(305) 812-5542
Aug. 10
10 to
2 pm
Hialeah Church of Nazarene 310 East 5th St., Hialeah El Buen Pastor Mally Abella
Aug. 10
10 to
 1 pm
Camp Owaisser 
17001 SW 264th St,
Homestead 33031
District 8 Commissioner 
Lynda Bell
Charlene Collazo
(305) 378-6677
Aug. 10
10 to 1 pm  Olinda Park 2101 NW 51st,
Miami 33142
District 3 Commissioner 
Audrey Edmonson
Gina Vargas
(305) 636-2331
Aug. 11
9 to 
1 pm
Doral 10045 NW 19th
St., Doral 33172
Metro Life
Yoshika Green
(954) 668-5814
Aug. 17

11 to 2 pm  West Perrine Park 10301 SW 170th Terr.
Miami 33157
West Perrine Christian 
Julia Banks

For additional information relating to the book giveaways, contact:

Deanna Steffy, Program Assistant at Hope for Miami

(786) 388-3000 Ext. 308



The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County by making strategic investments in their future.


Trends Changing Meeting Venues

Reblogged: By Martha C. White | Posted July 18, 2012, 2:27 PM EDT
No boring ballrooms: From beanbag chairs to balconies, meeting space is getting reimagined.

Today’s meeting hosts need some space. But not just any space: They want it eco-friendly and well-lit, with cozy seating and top-notch technology at their fingertips. Planners are demanding rooms and layouts that cultivate creativity and connections so they can get measurable results on their expenditures. They want space that’s user-friendly, inspiring, and, above all, not boring—and facilities are delivering. Here are the top meeting venue innovations of 2012:

1. Residential
If meeting space fools you into thinking you could be in a well-decorated home, hotels are doing something right. Instead of sterile and corporate looks, venues are configuring and furnishing meeting space to be relaxing and homey. One central element of this more residential look is cozy furniture. “It’s a more comfortable atmosphere to relax and take in information,” says Peggy Roe, vice president of global operations services for Marriott Hotels & Resorts. Venues can’t add couches and easy chairs fast enough. Some are going extra-casual with ottomans and even beanbag chairs. (Can recliners be far behind?) “We really looked at making sure there was an addition of soft seating,” says Erin Wade, director of catering sales for Starwood’s New York hotels. “Some of our groups don’t want a formal boardroom. They want it to be more interactive and laid back.” “They don’t want the boring meeting room. They want a hipper design,” says Lana Trevisan, corporate director of food and beverage for Gansevoort Hotel Group. “I’ve seen a huge switch in that.” At the Gansevoort Park, Trevisan says the Blue Room is popular with meeting planners who like its white leather banquettes and anti-boardroom look.

2. Niches for Networking 
Venues are developing pre-function space that includes small areas for two or three attendees to gather during breaks. Building on the belief that collaboration fosters creativity, hotels are responding to organizers’ need for space that facilitates this. At a recent management conference for its own executives, Marriott International partnered with furniture company Steelcase to create a variety of prototypes in this vein. One had a long, high table with tall stools and plug-in recharging docks for devices where as many as 10 participants could gather. Tying into the residential theme, other seating was heavy on couches, easy chairs, and beanbags that were modified to offer back support. These seats were grouped in clusters surrounding low tables. Another prototype: a modernized phone booth where attendees could make cell phone calls in relative quiet and privacy. “One thing is people often look for individual spaces to do conference calls on breaks,” Roe says.

3. New Technical Equipment 
“More hotels are outsourcing A.V., which does have an effect for the buyer because there’s better quality,” says Bjorn Hanson, dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at New York University. “The number of pixels, it’s the brightness of lights on projectors, the ability to tie sound into what’s on the screen.” All of these elements combine to create a richer experience for presentations as well as videoconferences. Starwood’s Wade says the company worked with tech providers Cisco and Tata Communications to develop what it calls TelePresence suites at 16 of its properties, which allow for a videoconference in a boardroom setting with high-definition video. “As North American companies expand globally, it cuts down on having to send people overseas,” she says.

4. More Control of Lighting 
We’re already using iPads for everything else under the sun, so it makes sense that venues are using them to let planners control the lighting and sound from within a meeting room. “We can run lighting, A.V., the entire building from our iPad,” says Kristin Kurie, president of the Wilderman Group, a company that manages a trio of municipally owned conference facilities in the Southeast. “A.V., room temperature, and lighting are controlled in-room by the user,” says Christopher Kelly, principal at urban conference center brand Sentry Centers. “At every opportunity, we try to make it user-friendly.” Giving a meeting planner the tools to change the room environment on their own helps with productivity. “I think a big part of what meeting planners are looking for is a little bit more inclusive packages, rooms that are equipped with monitors or projectors,” says Oliver Ferry, regional director of entertainment sales for Morgans Hotel Group. “We’re getting more requests for videoconferencing via Skype, for instance.” Some venues also are making use of new LED technology for decorative lighting. Starwood’s Wade says at one of the brand’s properties, LED light panels let planners to raise or dim lights, and even change its colors.

5. Natural Light 
Venues are acknowledging that it can be soul-deadening to spend a full workday without knowing if it’s sunny or raining outside. “There’s a productivity factor from the natural light,” Kurie says. New properties and renovations are adding more windows in order to incorporate more daylight into ballrooms, breakout rooms, and break spaces.“ One of the key things we wanted to do is create meeting space that’s very interactive and engaging,” says Tristan Dowell, director of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts’ boutique Andaz brand. The function space in the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York has floor-to-ceiling windows. The greater incorporation of natural light also stems from the growing number of venues built or retrofitted to be LEED-compliant. Operators and sales managers say more planners want to hold events in environmentally friendly settings, and natural light is one of the few visible hallmarks of a green building. “Organizations are increasingly sensitive to corporate social responsibility, which is a trend that now informs what’s going on in meeting venues,” Kurie says.

6. New Names 
Hotels are rechristening their meeting rooms to emphasize the flexibility of the space and get away from the dull connotations elicited by names like “Ballroom A.” Marriott Hotels & Resorts dubs its large ballrooms “great rooms,” while Hyatt Hotels & Resorts’ Andaz brand refers to meeting rooms as “studios.” The Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand W uses both terms. The nomenclature is intended to highlight the fact that these spaces fit the kind of nontraditional meeting formats organizers are using to a greater degree. “Designers are trying to find ways to appeal to social [events] as well as meetings,” says NYU’s Hanson. By emphasizing something about the room with a name that reflects something special about the space, that becomes a “premium room,” he says.

7. Urban Outdoor Space 
Why should resort destinations have all the fun? Big-city hotels are adding patios, terraces, and other outdoor areas that groups can use as break areas during the day and as reception space in the evening. “The majority of our rooms have an outside space,” says Gansevoort’s Trevisan. “We’ve incorporated that a lot into our meeting spaces.” She says when meeting planners see the outdoor spaces, they realize it can be a great way to keep groups energized over the course of a long day. At the Andaz Wall Street in New York, an adjacent patio is popular for groups seeking space for a reception or coffee break that gets them out of the building and into the fresh air. “People want more of an engaging experience in the meeting space,” Dowell says. “Most new Ws have outdoor space,” Wade says. The W New York has two spacious terraces on the 17th floor off the presidential suite. “We’ve explored the option of tenting the terrace space because it is in such demand. We’re responding to those trends because we’re definitely hearing our customers ask about them.”

8. Open Kitchens 
“Some of the best parties start and finish in the kitchen,” says Dowell. With that as the starting point, Andaz has built open, operational kitchens within the function space of several properties. “It becomes a part of your event,” he says, and engages attendees on a deeper level. At the Andaz 5th Avenue, two large open kitchens are situated in the center of the meeting space. The Andaz West Hollywood has a prep kitchen integrated within its function area, and a meeting space at the Andaz Liverpool Street in London has an open kitchen as well as a wine cellar. Watching the chefs at work encourages people to talk to them and ask questions and sparks conversation between attendees, as well. “We want to have that level of interaction in everything we do,” Dowell says.

9. Fewer Stages 
As part of the push to make meeting space more multipurpose and flexible, venues have been eliminating fixed stages during renovations. “Stage are rare now,” NYU’s Hanson says. “They take up lots of space and they can’t be used for an event when there isn’t a need for a stage.” While this is probably good news for most event planners, those actually looking for space with a built-in stage may find the task more challenging.

10. Eco-Friendly Spaces 
Although it’s long been a priority for certain socially and environmentally minded groups, the desire for green meeting space seems to have finally gone mainstream. More planners are seeking LEED-certified or eco-friendly venues. According to the 2012 American Express Meetings & Events Global Forecast, 73 percent of meeting planners have an increased interest in hosting greener meetings. “I think clients have an expectation that the buildings will be environmentally friendly,” says Kurie. LEED certification is the gold standard in terms of verifying a venue’s earth-friendliness, but retrofitting existing space can be challenging and expensive. As a result, companies have been searching for other ways to quantify and measure a venue’s environmental impact. Hilton Worldwide has a program called LightStay that analyzes the economic impact of 200 operational practices, from food waste to air quality. It also provides a “meeting impact calculator” that tells planners what the environmental impact of their event will be at a particular property. American Express Meetings & Events is working with Green Hotels Global on what the company calls an “environmental reporting program” that measures the environmental effects of meetings.