Enrollment is currently open. Apply Now!

Spring Session 2020 (rolling admission)

Learn about climate change and express yourself through videography, art, dance, and gardening. Students will have a public art show at the end of this session.

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Spring Session 2- 2020

Participants will have the opportunity to socialize, learn about nature/growing, experience Biscayne Bay through water sports and education. Students will learn basic cooking skills, and have work/study opportunities and be exposed to what our local community has to offer.

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Youtube Channel

You can visit our Youtube channel and check out wonderful student-made videos and more at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-JtDsVNlJvELrouAD-gYuw

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Nature Links Updates!

The End of 2019 really was very positive for Nature Links. We had our very first Winter Art Gala and Fundraiser. We raised nearly $5,000 thanks to the generosity of our community. Here are a few pics from the event!

Students made art and sold their art to our community! They were speaking to people about their work and what it meant to them. It was a huge learning experience for them, presenting their idea’s and work to the community.
Casey Zap of The Center for Subtropical Affairs got a great painting from the young artist featured here.
One of our students had his book release and signing at the event! He sold over 40 copies. A great success.
We had great support from our art community as well! Featured here is Dale Zine- a wonderful Zine/music/art shop in Downtown Miami. We also were supported by several artists from Mana Contemporary who donated works to be auctioned! Thank You to Laura Marsh, Raffa Vargas-Bernard and Roy Neil Hunter.
Our fantastic partners Center for Subtropical Affairs set up a beautiful table, featuring their mushroom tinctures, plants from their nursery and more!
Featured here is the founder of Shake A Leg, Harry Horgan and his family in front of the mural students painted on our classroom.
Students dressed to impress with their teacher.
Huge Thanks to all of our sponsors listed here!

Nature Links Winter Gala 12/20 6-9pm!!!

RSVP TO THE NATURE LINKS WINTER ART GALA HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nature-links-winter-gala-tickets-84652025487

On December 20, 2019 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm we will be hosting our first ever Art Gala and Fundraising Event at Shake A Leg Miami.
There will be food and drinks, games, live music, art, video and performances by Nature Links students, speakers from our community, a raffle with items donated from our community by places such as Kreative Gardens and more. 

We also will have members of our creative Miami community presenting information on what they do as well as hosting activations! We have Center for Subtropical Affairs, Dale Zine, The Department of Reflection, Mana Contemporary, Club Exile and more!
The evening will be fun and educational. Our students are very excited and proud to be a part of this event. It would help us very much if you could share this event with people you know and donate to our organization by purchasing a ticket and/or by choosing to donate at the event!

RSVP TO THE NATURE LINKS WINTER ART GALA HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nature-links-winter-gala-tickets-84652025487

We are grateful to all of our partners who have helped us along the way including: The City of Miami, MDCPS, The Frost Science Museum, The Perez Art Museum, Shake a Leg, Vizcaya, The Center for Subtropical Affairs, Buenazas, UM Card Center, Parent to Parent, Push to Open, AOA, The City of Coral Gables, Coconut Grove BID, Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, Commissioner Ken Russel and The Honorable Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez.

New Fall Programing! Tuesday/Thursday Classes now offered.

Apply Here: ENROLL NOW

We are so happy to announce that we are offering new classes on Tuesday/Thursday this Fall at Shake a Leg Miami- www.shakealegmiami.org

Expressive Earth: Art/Nature and Science: M-W-F 10am-3pm

Participants will learn Earth Sciences related to climate change. We will grow plants and learn about Florida Natives. We will be creating art related to these topics for an art show that will be presented to the public in December 2019.

Community Connections: Jobs, Cooking, Integrating: T-TH 10am-3pm

We will explore what our community has to offer regarding job/volunteer opportunities. On site training: water sports, maintenance and more. We will focus on independent life skills such as cooking and life management.

*Both sections will also include: field trips, music and movement, disability rights, socialization, reading and nutrition

Nature Links Summer News Update!

Hello Everyone! We are excited to be getting back to classes on Monday July 22, 2019! The Summer session will end on August 28, 2019 – Stay on the lookout for our Fall start date as well.

There is still space- Apply here now: Apply

“… Facilitate social connection; Foster creative expression in our students…”

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What Our Students LEARN!

Gardening, Arts and Creativity, Environmental Science, Job Readiness, Communication, and Nutrition. Through lessons in Urban Farming, Recreation and Sports, Performance, Videography, Music and Movement Therapy. 

Weekly class field trips into the outdoors and community volunteerism, inspire social engagement and encourages team building. While learning a new craft, or creating a short film on the page and unto the screen, cultivates creativity and explores ones expression.

What Our Students Look Forward To!

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The mission of Nature Links for Lifelong Learning is to equip young adults with intellectual disabilities, the skills they need to lead fulfilling, productive lives.

Through our programs, students build living skills, make friends, connections, and prepare for jobs or further professional training opportunities.

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We foster creative expression in our students and the broader population through art, music, recreation, dance, and videography.

While building an understanding and appreciation of the natural world in our students and the community.

 

We work to expand community sensitivity to intellectual disabilities through public involvement in our programs and interaction with our students as well as interfacing students with the community.

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We seek to offer job readiness and employment training and facilitate our students’ access to work opportunities, mentoring, volunteer training, internships, and service opportunities in parks, restaurants, plant nurseries, museums, local businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

We facilitate social connection and support for independent living among young adults with intellectual disabilities.

Increasing  parent/guardian and student knowledge of local opportunities, agencies, civil rights, and benefits available to them while assisting in providing long term life planning for young adults with disabilities.

We make all kinds of art forms, perform, and dabble in music! We take class field trips into the great outdoors! And have been preparing students for their very own public artistic exhibition, that will be curated and opened in September 2019.

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So, COME JOIN US! 

Currently enrolled students interested in attending another session or program do not need to complete an application.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at naturelinksmiami1@gmail.com or call (786) 505-4657

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Enrollment is open for this program with classes beginning July 22 – August 28, M-W-F. 

 

 

The Last few weeks at The Center for Subtropical Affairs

https://vimeo.com/user4616641/review/321585165/304d6ae31b

We have been visiting the Center for Subtropical Affairs for a few weeks now. We would like to share a compiled video of a few of our visits. Featured in this video- we are getting acquainted with the Center, planting seeds, transplanting vegetable plants, and mixing the substrate to put into jars where students will be growing their own mushrooms! We will be posting more videos in the coming weeks and soon, student produced work. Thanks for All Your Support.

Nature Links Announces Partnership with Center for Subtropical Affairs

What an amazing first day at @centerforsubtropicalaffairs! We toured the Center and planted moringa, pigeon peas and pride of Barbados flowers. We can’t wait to return and practice environmental stewardship through the integration of persons with developmental delays into our community. #autism#developmentaldisabilities#disabilityawarenessmiami

We will be going to the Center on a weekly basis to learn about Ecology, Urban Farming, Landscape Design related to our South Florida Environment. As we progress we will learn about their Farmers Market Program and transitioning students into volunteer/work opportunities at Center.

 

Nature Links is Hiring!

 

 

 

Nature Links is Hiring!

 

Assistant Teacher/ Administrative Assistant

The ideal candidate should have experience working with special needs students. In this position, one would assist in building our curriculum which revolves around the local environment, health, job readiness and the arts. This position also involves various administrative duties such as: Quickbooks, invoicing, emails to parents, scheduling and field trip planning. Being sensitive, creative and collegial is central to making a positive contribution to our unique program. This person would be employed by The City of Miami Parks Department, part-time, 25 hours a week at $15.57 per/hr. The program runs M-W-F 10:00am -3:00pm at Shake A Leg Miami


Lead Teacher/ Curriculum Specialist

This role will develop curriculum and daily lesson plans related to the thematic subject matter in collaboration with the Nature Links team. The teacher should have familiarity/experience with the population of persons with special needs. Our program focuses on local environment, health, job readiness and the arts, the candidate should have familiarity and experience with these topics. This person will be hired through The Adult Education Program of The Miami Dade County Public School System. Pay rate is $ 24.18 per/hr 13 hours per/week. This candidate would also be hired by Nature Links and paid $20 per/hr for an additional 12 hours.

Please Email Your Resume and Letter of Interest to: jennabalfe@naturelinks.net

Pamm “Art To Go” Program and Visiting Artists

We are happy and grateful to say we have had the opportunity to work with some wonderfully talented and generous guest artists, so far this fall session!

Kerry Keeler and guest artist Neri Garcia Farraz from Pérez Art Museum Miami were able to visit us at Shake A Leg Miami through their community outreach program Art-2-Go . They taught our students about elements of art such as line, form, and color. They guided the class in creating a group art project they pieced together like a puzzle, which became the final piece.

Guest artist Natasha Teresa Velez came in to work with us on different ways we can use materials, such as shaped brushes and salt, to create watercolor pieces.

Thank you very much Natasha, Kerry, and Neri! Your support and guidance allowed everyone to display their incredible creativity and individuality.

The works created during these workshop’s will be part of a forthcoming art show presented by the students of Nature Links and members of the local Miami art community.

We look forward to continuing to work with Perez Art Museum Miami in the future. Thank You again for providing this wonderful opportunity for our students.

A Summary of our Spring Session “Climate Change Awareness”

     Nature Links for Lifelong Learning has moved our operations to Shake A Leg Miami this year, 2018. We have been welcomed by staff and administration which has made the transition to our new home easy and pleasant.

     We have had two sessions of the “Climate Change Awareness Program” since starting at Shake a Leg back in March of this year. Our participants learned about Climate Change issues such as: Sea Level Rise, Environmental Justice, Pollution, Ocean Acidification and more. We had a special focus on social/independent life skills with Allie  Klionsky our assistant teacher and worked one on one with some students to achieve goals of employment. Participants also received daily exercise and creative movement lessons from lead teacher Jenna Balfe. We also went on several field trips, one of them to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, thanks to the hard work and support of Citizens for a Better South Florida which made it possible 🙂

 

 

 

     

     We worked on making short news stories for our “Nature News” series which we will be working on more in our Summer session. These shorts will eventually be posted on our website and potentially beyond. We also made art related to the different issues that we covered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     We applied to the Public Space Challenge as a class, our proposal was titled: “ Nature Links Presents: Getting to Know Each Other”.

 

     Our proposal was that every month at a different park, we would host a social/informative event for young adults with developmental delays. Our class came up with the idea, that had the goal of providing transportation to natural area’s for this population that generally has issues getting to such places. Participants also wanted the event to highlight successful members of their community and create a safe social space to meet new people. While we did not get to the finals round, the class did become motivated towards finding means to work together as a group to get their voices and needs out into the community.

     We enjoyed many water sports activities provided by Shake a Leg including a guided tour of the history of the Bay by Karis Starkes! We ended the tour by having our end of the session party on Eco Island. It was a very informative and fun tour which our participants were very happy about.

 

 

 

     

     So far our time at Shake A Leg has been very positive, educational and inspiring. We look forward to what’s ahead for this partnership. Thank You Shake A Leg!

 

 

 

 

Public Space Challenge!

Hello All,

Our class has come up with a proposal for the public space challenge 2018! Help us out by liking and commenting on our proposal.

Vote for us here: Click on me! Every vote counts. Just click on the heart icon and like our proposal. You can also read a summary of our proposal at the above link.

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