Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vigils Honor Florida's Uninsured and Deliver Urgent Messages to Legislators

Credit to The Florida Medical Campaign
As scores of nurses and healthcare workers made their voices heard this week through lobby visits and press conferences in the Capitol, groups of Floridians held four vigils in four cities across the state to draw attention to the healthcare crisis in our state.
“I don’t have the basic human right of health coverage, so when I got sick last year, I ignored the symptoms until I passed out in class,” explained Daniela Gonzalez, a senior at University of Central Florida who became uninsured when her mom lost her job at Disney. “I woke up in the hospital and now I owe $22,000 in medical bills. My mom is a cancer survivor and she owes the hospital $70,000 for her treatments. I go to school full time and work two jobs to help pay our medical bills,” explained Gonzalez.

Today, you can call Tallahassee and ask that they expand healthcare to one million more Floridians. Call (866) 443-1844 and ask your representative to support Medicaid Expansion.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Students Network for Internships

It's no secret that Catalyst Miami loves interns. We know that energetic and passionate students are our future leaders. That's why we engage graduates of our high school SoundOut program as summer interns, we recruit high school graduates and others to our ten-month apprenticeship program, Public Allies (apply by May 24!), and it's why we developed the Connect for Good Internship program with Florida International University.

Rebecca Garcia, an undergraduate at the University of Miami, studied Catalyst as a civic change platform. The student team wanted to do something that could help Catalyst as part of their project and decided to promote the internship network--a win-win-win for students, the network and Catalyst Miami. Rebecca and her peers developed this catchy flyer to promote the internships.
Jaheera White is Catalyst Miami's AmeriCorps VISTA Community Learning Coordinator pulling this all together. She's working hard to expand the program to Florida Memorial  University and has already built relationships with Barry University and Miam-Dade College.

Get on board now with these fantastic opportunities to build a better Miami and a better you!

Organizations to Watch: Florida Nonprofit Alliance

Written by Elmasei Antoine, Nonprofit Leadership Coordinator 

Is a nonprofit you care about facing funding or infrastructure challenges? Are you wondering who is advocating for the needs of these organizations? Then you should know about the Florida Nonprofit Alliance!
Nonprofit organizations are facing increasing pressures to deliver quality services and high-impact programs with less money. In the midst of a chaotic political and economic environment, the Florida Nonprofit Alliance (FNA) formed to take a comprehensive approach to weathering the financial storm.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Student Leaders Urge Others to Stay Involved

On Tuesday, April 9, Jill Gideon and Mnar Muhareb, facilitators of the SoundOut youth engagement program, congratulated the second class of SoundOut participants at a graduation ceremony held at Booker T. Washington High School. It was a time to reflect on all that the students learned over 22 weeks and commend them for their participation and implementation of three sustainable community projects: a community garden, a mentoring program, and a bullying awareness campaign. 

The SoundOut Program is geared towards youth who are interested in developing personal ownership of school improvement, learning the skills necessary to affect change in their lives and the lives of others, and becoming youth leaders by utilizing youth voice. Students learned effective strategies to advocate in and for the communities where they live and attend school. 

Class of 2013 SoundOut Graduates and Program Facilitators
at Booker T. Washington High School
“I’m glad I got to discover everyone’s learning talents,” said one graduate of the program. “This program enabled everyone to grow together.”

Aaron Cervantes, a senior at Booker T. Washington High School, was selecteed as the SoundOut Class speaker. This emerging trailblazer demonstrated exceptional leadership traits throughout the program and his remarks at graduation did not disappoint. He urged his peers to remain involved in their communities and advocate for issues that directly impact teenage youth. He shared a statement that resonated with his fellow graduates. "I'm here to destroy ephebiphobia. I believe in our youth."

Ephebiphobia, the fear of youth, is a concept Aaron and his classmates have a newfound passion to combat. As part of SoundOut, they spent several weeks addressing this and other discriminatory messages about teenage youth. Lessons in community service, advocacy, and academic achievement helped to frame their thoughts for facing such challenges moving forward in their student and adult lives. Aaron, who is committed to teaching others about ephebiphobia and advocating on behalf of youth in the future, explained in his keynote address, “None of us are the same as when we came here. Every single one of us is a leader in our own right... I
Aaron Cervantes, SoundOut graduate (12th grade) pictured with
facilitators Mnar Muhareb (L), Jill Gedeon (M), & Lizabeth Verano (R).
believe in all of us.”
The students completed an average of eighty community service hours through the SoundOut program, showing that youth are committed to their communities.
Congratulations to all the SoundOut graduates! Catalyst Miami wishes you the best as you strive for excellence in the next chapter of your lives.

A Letter to Disney: There's Nothing Magical about Losing a Day's Pay

Your organization can send this to Disney President Robert Iger:


Robert A. Iger
President and CEO
Walt Disney Company
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

RE: SB 726, HB 655, SB 1216/HB 1125

Dear Robert Iger,

There is absolutely nothing magical about getting fired or losing a day’s pay because you got sick. So, it’s no surprise that momentum for earned sick time is growing. In just the last few months, City Councils in Portland, Oregon, and Philadelphia have passed earned sick time bills and New York City is poised to do the same. Families, the backbone of your business, understand how important access to earned sick time is and that’s why residents around the state want Walt Disney to stop putting profits over people and stop working to block earned sick time initiatives in Florida!

Further, we know how important basic workers’ rights and benefits are to mothers, fathers, and the families that they love and support and we urge you to reject legislative efforts to strip away local control from communities that have enacted or wish to enact local Living Wage, Earned Sick Time, Equal Benefits, anti-Wage Theft or other ordinances.

A recent poll of Florida voters showed that 80% of voters support laws that would ensure workers have a right to earn sick time to care for themselves or a family member, 60% support local governments’ rights to enact their own laws, 72% support laws that require businesses with public contracts to pay their workers living wages, and 83% feel that the Florida Legislature's attempt to deny local governments and citizens the right to vote on local laws is part of a larger effort to take away access to voting and deprive citizens of their right to vote.

We want Walt Disney to stop putting profits over people and stop working with legislators to block earned sick time initiatives in Florida. We want Walt Disney to urge legislators to vote no on bills that will harm families by lessening wages and removing local protections against wage theft. We want Walt Disney to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

St. Thomas University presents Ethical Issues in Nonprofit Agencies

The STU Center for Ethics invites you to attend a conference on:


 Friday, April 26th from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to be held at Convocation Hall on the St. Thomas University campus, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL.  Conference activities include a keynote speaker and three featured panels on the following topics:

            Ethical Aspects of Fundraising and Donor Relations

            Avoiding Board Member and Staff Conflicts of Interest

            Equitable Distribution of Resources:  Overhead vs. Programming
We are fortunate to have attracted some distinguished panelists and speakers for this event.  Invited speakers include:
            -Modesto Abety-Gutierrez, President/CEO, The Childrens’ Trust

            -Angel Aloma, Executive Director, Food for the Poor

            -Daniella Levine, President/CEO, Catalyst Miami

            -Professor Ronald Nyhan, Florida Atlantic University

           - Javier Soto, President/CEO, Miami Foundation

The registration fee of $50 covers breakfast and lunch and four hours of stimulating and thought-provoking discussions.  Due to limited seating, those wishing to attend should register no later than Monday, April 22nd.  For registration information, please contact the Center for Ethics at (305) 628-6581 or by e-mail: rmeyers@stu.edu. 

South Floridians walk for the cure (and for fun!)

Michelle Obama danced onto the scene in 2011 with the Let’s Moves campaign, inspiring Beyonce's “Move Your Body” video reaffirming that fun and fitness easily go hand-in-hand. A two-step here and a jive there could really get everyone in the community excited about working out and living a healthy lifestyle!  

First Lady Obama isn’t the only one setting an example of healthy living and exercise. Catalyst's very own Stepahy Rodriguez, a participant in the Children’s Leadership Training Institute, spread the word about health and wellness as a supporter of this year’s Diabetes Walk and Health Fair.

This past Saturday, thousands of community residents from across South Florida joined in a walk toward a cure for diabetes. The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) partnered with Walgreens to host this walk in Miami and bring awareness to the latest in diabetes cure research.
There are 25.8 million children and adults living with diabetes in the United States. Finding a cure means that millions of children and adults living with diabetes would have the ability to restore natural insulin production and normalize blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. DRI is committed to finding a cure.

This year’s walk included music, free giveaways, refreshments, entertainment, health booths, and information.
So, continue the momentum. Get fit. Get walking. And help DRI get one step closer to a cure! 

Be on the lookout for more information about how Stephy and our other program participants are civically engaged in Miami-Dade County. She and her family are gearing up for another walk toward a cure for diabetes this coming Fall.
Shared in honor of National Minority Health Month

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Health disparities, and efforts to tackle them, persist

Written by William S. Robinson, MA

Barbers and clients learn about health disparities
and the risks associated with Prostate Cancer
through the B.A.P Caps initiative.  
April is designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. DHHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as National Minority Health Month, a month dedicated to heightened awareness of differences in health status that exist in the U.S.  These differences, known as 'disparities,' have deep roots and have been a topic of focused concern for the nation's top health officials, researchers and advocates since Dr. David Satcher helped make it a part of his Surgeon General platform under the Bill Clinton Administration.  Nearly twenty-five years later, we have not closed the gaps in health status that were originally identified. Efforts continue under the Healthy People 2020 goals.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

'We have to start with something.' One 12-year-old's head start at leadership

"There's a lot to do. We can help in many ways. We have to start with something."
Twelve-year-old Joana is determined to change lives one young person at a time. She took a trip to Bolivia nearly five years ago, which sparked her interest in community service and defined her personal mission and vision to provide basic resources to children in need. Her project affectionately known as "The Creative Children of Bolivia" provides school supplies and gently used clothing to an orphanage located in a small-rural community in Bolivia.
With the support of family, friends, neighbors and her school community, Joana collects donations from classmates and friends and later sends them to children at the orphanage. "I started by going to my teacher," explained Joana, who began her project when she was in fifth grade. "I asked if I could present to the class and provide a donation box for school supplies."