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Proposed Budget Cuts to Miami Dade Park Department to Hit Disabilities Programs Hard

In the proposed Miami Dade County budget for 2009-2010, Leisure Access Services, the section of the Miami Dade County Park Department that serves persons with disabilities, stands to lose six full time positions and cut one position to part time. Programs most adversely affected will be sports programs, called Paralympic Programs,

for children and adults with physical disabilities and the Zot Art Project, which promotes adapted and inclusive art events. Over half of the full time staff running these programs will be eliminated in the proposed budget. Paralympic programs include wheelchair golf programs at Country Club of Miami and Palmetto Golf Courses, the wheelchair basketball team, the wheelchair tennis program, the vision impaired goalball program, the new vision impaired judo program, and swim lessons and water exercise for persons with disabilities in north Dade.

Leisure Access Services staff intend to fight for the programs and the persons they have advocated for and have implemented a plan that includes: educating and organizing the community to reduce cuts to this department; increased fundraising through the Leisure Access Foundation and grants, increased quality and quantity of volunteers and greater staff workload.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? Commissioners do have some flexibility in making their final decision on September 17, 2009. Two additional public hearings are scheduled for Sept. 3, and Sept. 17, before the budget is finalized. Meetings will be held at the Stephen P. Clark Center at 111 NW 1st Street beginning at 5:01 pm in Commission Chambers. Contact your County Commissioner and/or attend a hearing and urge the commission to preserve Park sports and recreation programs for persons with disabilities.

Nature Links Partners with GROW-Miami!

Nature Link News – October 09
Nature Links Parnters with Green Railway Organic Workshop for a unique volunteer/ vocational training opportunity.
Nature Links announces a new partnership with the organization, GROW-Miami (Green Railway Organic Workshop).
GROW-Miami’s mission is to beautify and create Green Space in a bleak part of the Miami warehouse district. GROW-Miami provides hands-on educational programs to students of all ages and abilities in addition to therapeutic programs for children and adults with severe disabilities, returning veterans, and other vulnerable populations. GROW-Miami works with teachers and schools to integrate hands on lessons with classroom curriculum and partners with various Miami organizations to provide no cost, therapeutic opportunities.
GROW-Miami seeks to unify Miami’s culturally diverse community, while promoting a positive image of agriculture. Their open-air garden serves as the backdrop for community education workshops, work-study programs, chef and educator seminars and many other important and exciting functions.
The organization is also striving to develop “Green Collar” professions, underwrite job training with supervision from agricultural professionals and eco-educators, and provide hands- on training.
The Nature Links and GROW-Miami partnership began on October 16, 2009 with Project BRIDGE students kicking off their first day of volunteer and onsite vocational training. Students will be at GROW-Miami every other Friday participating in this exciting work – study program. If you would like to join us at GROW-Miami, please contact Betsy Cox at,

GROW-Miami was started by Charlie Coiner in an attempt to re-zone and utilize urban railway property in Miami. They are located at 2950 N.W. 74th Ave., Miami, FL 33122.

To learn more about GROW-Miami, visit: