Miami Lakes Board Plans Special Needs-Focused Events and Resources

The Miami Lakes Special Needs Advisory Board focused on enhancing community engagement and resources for individuals with special needs, addressing the planning of events, workshops, and the creation of a comprehensive directory of resources during their recent meeting. The board deliberated on a range of topics, from the logistics of the upcoming Spring Fling event and a proposed karate program to the necessity of updating the town’s website with a list of local resources and the consideration of offering sign language classes.

The most prominent item on the agenda was the organization and fine-tuning of the Spring Fling event set for March 30th. The board discussed in detail the event’s layout, volunteer coordination, and the timing of activities. Concerns were raised about the possibility of running behind schedule, as had happened in the previous year, prompting proposals to begin preparations earlier. There was a consensus on the arrangement of food trucks and activities, with considerations made for the placement to ensure a smooth experience for attendees. The question of whether to start the event at 9 am or 10 am was debated, and the necessity for volunteers to sign up for liability purposes was underlined. The board also deliberated on the engagement of a DJ to provide entertainment and contribute to the festive atmosphere.

In preparation for Autism Awareness in April, the board considered collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce on a workshop, but scheduling conflicts prompted a suggestion to aim for October to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month instead. The board also evaluated the practicality of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) workshop and debated the potential for hosting workshops with Parent to Parent and the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD). These workshops would cover topics such as stress management for parents and resources for new parents navigating the system. However, there were differing opinions on the number and focus of workshops to be held throughout the year.

The need for a readily accessible directory of resources for individuals with special needs was another point of discussion. The board recognized the importance of updating the town’s website to include such a resource list, highlighting local businesses that cater to individuals with disabilities and providing information about IEPs, the law, and available services. The logistics of the karate program were also scrutinized, including the process of enrolling individuals and managing potential over-enrollment, as well as the distribution of applications and uniforms.

Moreover, the board contemplated the idea of a bike ride in April, considering potential partnerships and the distribution of promotional items like wristbands and pens. They also discussed the possibility of providing sign language classes and the need to ensure consistency in the offering of such classes.

The board tackled logistical challenges associated with the RBT program, emphasizing the need for clear details about expenses. The debate extended to the formatting of sign-in sheets and the inclusion of participants’ information. Concerns about accommodating a potential participant who did not meet the age criteria outlined in a flyer for an upcoming event led to a broader discussion on flexibility and gauging interest levels.

The meeting also touched on the planning of an open house, including food orders and the arrangement of tables and chairs, with an emphasis on safety measures. The potential participation in a health fair in April was brought up, with some members recalling past experiences of low engagement levels from attendees. This brought forth the idea of securing vendors and establishing a firm date for the fair.

The promotion of the Spring Fling event was addressed, with discussions on the need for active engagement in securing sponsorships from local businesses. There was a decision to approach businesses on Main Street for sponsorships and consider a $500 offer from a local dentistry practice. The necessity of a DJ and the recognition of sponsors were also debated, with the board considering the addition of a volunteer sponsorship package.

As for the “Movies at the Park” event, board members provided feedback on the previous movie event, contemplating its low turnout and minimal profits. Alternative event ideas, such as a holiday festival with food trucks and Christmas markets, were proposed, weighing the financial implications and potential to draw larger crowds.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Manny Cid
Child and Family Services Board Officials:
Vivian Levy, Francisco Tollinche, Jesenia Orellana, Clarimar Zeledon, Madelin Santana, Gabriella Escobar (Staff Liaison)

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