ASPIRA of Florida Main Office

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Miami, FL 33126

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Latest News

Annual "Young Muchachos and Muchachas Conference"

MuchachosConf-2013 hands-WebHLIt was the first day of Spring Break and the young students in attendance decided to forgo the usual vacation activities for a unique educational experience.

ASPIRA's annual "Young Muchachos and Muchachas Conference", held at Broward College's South Campus on Friday, March 22, featured a variety of guest speakers who shared their experience and insight regarding the social, economic, and cultural issues youth face today.

The overall purpose of the event was to provide students with the knowledge necessary to emerge as the leaders of tomorrow with the belief that given the right tools and opportunities, anyone can learn to recognize and utilize their own potential.

More than 100 students representing middle and high schools throughout Miami-Dade and Broward Counties attendMuchachosConf-2013 writinged the all-day event.

The students were divided into gender specific groups and received personalized attention as they discussed the effects of bullying, finance management, substance abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS awareness, self-esteem and its relation to the dangers of human trafficking, college preparedness and acceptance of cultural diversity.

Among the distinguished guests and represented community organizations were Dr. Jose Macias, Assistant Dean of English Department, Broward College, Eduardo Santiago, Senior Accountant, Carnival Cruise Lines, Lieutenant Rafael Lopez, Broward Sheriff's Office, Maria Clara Rodriguez, Kristi House, Mary Rivera-Jean, Program Specialist, DFYIT, Karen Creary and Samantha Kuryla, Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center, and April Bell, Director of Online College Planning, College Board.

One of the most impactful moments came when Karen Creary and Samantha Kuryla spoke to the teenage girls about the realities of HIV and AIDS. The lecture was blunt, riveting and very real. Together they dispelled the misconceptions concerning the disease and educated the girls about how it can be contracted and spread. Kuryla put a face to the disease, her own, and emphasized the message that just one decision can alter your life forever. Having contracted the disease from her former husband 14 year ago, she shattered stereotypes and reached the students with an unforgettable, eye-opening message.

The speakers were given 45 minute time periods to address each group of students and share their message. Although the topics varied, the theme was the same: how to prepare for the future and avoid the obstacles that stand in the way of success.

"What do you love most about your job? What do I need to study to pursue a career like yours? What is the best piece of advice you can give us?"

MuchachosConf-2013 panelThe day closed with a leadership career carousel featuring a 'question and answer' session which allowed the guest speaker panel to answer questions like these from the students.

Having had the opportunity to truly experience the meaning of leadership through education, the students left the conference equipped with the most powerful tool of all, knowledge.

To view full picture gallery, click here.

Staying on the Right Track

CrimePreventionSamuel Durham and Omar Rosete talk and text at least once a month about school, sports, and life in general.

It's hard to imagine how far the relationship between this young student and his mentor has come in just four years.

As a freshman at Booker T. Washington High School, Durham, now 20 years old, was court ordered to enter Rosete's Crime Prevention Program after an error in judgment landed him in legal trouble. 

The Crime Prevention Program, operated by ASPIRA of Florida, Inc. and run by Rosete, focuses on taking youth diverted from the Juvenile Justice System and providing them with stay in school support, academic and personal counseling and family intervention.

"In the beginning it was hard; I always had someone after me about my grades and attendance, but now looking back I see how important it was and I'm thankful for what Omar has done," said Durham.

"Now we have an excellent relationship, Sam is part of the ASPIRA family," added Rosete.

ASPIRA's Crime Prevention Program is funded through the Miami Dade County Office of Grants Coordination and its success can be attributed to the support and resources Booker T. Washington High School has provided.

Acting as a liaison between the youth in the program, their parents and the school faculty, Rosete is constantly involved in all aspects of the students' lives. He keeps track of their whereabouts, grades, classroom attendance, family life and extracurricular activities. He keeps his cell phone close by at all hours of the day and night, just in case one of his students might need him.

Their success is his success.

"At first they refuse to be in the program, but over time they see the benefit of it and they really start to change," Rosete said.

Rosete has a proven record of helping his students make such positive life changes and Samuel's story is no different.

After much persistence, dedication and focus, Durham graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and received a scholarship from ASPIRA that covers his housing costs, admission fees and tuition at William Pen University in Iowa. He was also awarded financial aid and an athletic scholarship from William Penn University for his outstanding performance as a Track and Field star.

He plans to let his track career take him as far as it will go, maybe even the Olympics, but Samuel's first priority is continuing to put into practice everything he learned from Omar and his four years in ASPIRA's Crime Prevention Program.

"My focus is on studying – it's my future," said Durham.

"Samuel's story embodies ASPIRA's primary purpose of giving youth the tools and opportunities that allow them to overcome obstacles and be successful," said George Cabrera, President and CEO of ASPIRA of Florida, Inc.

A dramatic contrast can be drawn between who Durham was his freshman year in high school and who he has become as he finishes his freshman year in college.

"Everyone makes mistakes, the important thing is to not repeat them," said Rosete, who is always just a call or text away from his students, helping them stay on track.

ASPIRA Of Florida's Charter School Becomes Canvas for Famous Graffiti Artist During Art Basel Week

EMH SandOneGroupLos Angeles based street artist and female urban art icon, Sand One, returns to Miami to participate in the week of Art Basel 2012.  Her work will be exhibited throughout the week in The Arts District galleries. The main highlight of Sand's trip to Miami will be painting a large scale educational based mural called "Book Smarts" at ASPIRA Eugenio Maria de Hostos Youth Leadership Charter School located at 1 Northeast 19th Street Miami, FL 33132. The mural will feature the artist's signature long lashed girl characters engaging in school activities. Sand emphasizes, "the intention behind the mural is to highlight the importance of reading. Reading is knowledge." 

The mural is made possible due to the diligent efforts of Captain George Guevara of Fire Department Station 2, who recognized the necessity to beautify the school's building with something inspirational and creative for the students. The fire department sits adjacent to the school in Wynwood.  After meeting with Principal Jorge Trujillo and ASPIRA President/CEO George Cabrera, ASPIRA sanctioned the mural proposal as it directly relates to the student body, as well as the interactive aspect of the artist welcoming the students to help her paint the mural.  

EMH SandOneKids"This is an exciting opportunity to have our students participate in a unique, hands on project that expands their learning beyond the classroom," said ASPIRA President and CEO, George Cabrera. "This would not have been possible without the vision and support of Captain George Guevara. We cannot thank Sand One enough for sharing her talent with our Aspirantes and for choosing the Eugenio Maria De Hostos building as her canvas to communicate the importance of reading."

Sand has been painting hundreds of murals over the past three years all across the country, from Los Angeles to New York to Miami.  She also has her own clothing line featured in various boutiques across Los Angeles and has worked with corporate brands such as Levi's during Art Basel 2011 in conjunction with Primary Flight.  

  To view photo gallery, click here.

ASPIRA of Florida Welcomes its Quarter-Of-A-Millionth Website Visitor!

Counter250KASPIRA of Florida is excited to welcome its 250 thousandth website visitor! This benchmark number of a quarter of a million, reached during October 2012, reflects the effort our organization has put forth in bringing new and engaging content to our readers. In just over three years since the debut of our redesigned website we have seen expansive growth in website readership and are excited about the implications. Our ultimate goal is to keep those already involved with ASPIRA informed, while spreading the message of who ASPIRA is and what we do to the general public.