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Exciting new partnership with Historic Virgina Key Beach Trust !

Nature Links for Life long Learning announces an exciting new partnership with the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park Trust. Beginning with introductory sessions to begin by early November, NL seeks to address the needs of young adults over 22 years old with disabilities by providing unique opportunities for regular programming focused on continuing education, health and exercise, job training and social activities for a population so often overlooked in South Florida.

Behind these tree's is the land where our garden's will grow! Guy Forchon, executive director of the Historic Virgina Key Beach shows us the electricity available.

Another view of the garden site.

The Pavillions toward the back are site's where we can hold classes outdoors and be shaded from the sun.

This is the Historic concession stand where we will be having our healthy eating class.

The view to the beach from the concession stand when it is opened up. What a great place to cook and eat healthy food !

Reconnecting young people with natural world in ways that combine fun and fellowship with learning and the potential for productive careers is the central goal. “The facilities at Virginia Key Trust are ideal for this program. We believe there can be great synergy in all of this,” said Gene Tinnie of HVKBT.  Program elements includes organic gardening, habitat restoration, animal rescue, learning about weather, sea life, healthy bodies, and using the existing concession stand to learn cooking and marketing of produce.  Community Dinners will be held on site in the future.

The September, 20 Dinner Visioning Session was a success !

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 We had a great turn out at Executive Directors Greg Bush's house. It was an evening filled with idea's, concerns and community connections. 


 David Lawrence ( Child Readiness) speaks to the crowd about perseverance for programming such as Nature Links for Life Long Learning during these tough financial times. Harry Horgan of Shake-A-Leg Miami, Lily De Moya of Parent to Parent Miami, Anick Sternberg, Jill Brookner of Miami Dade Public School System, Lixon Nelson of Imuneek, Mari Chael and Victoria Zamorano all listen.

 In this photo; Paula Bush smiles for the camera, next to her sits Mari Chael, Vice President for Nature Links for Life Long Learning, Lucy Binhack of Miami Dade County Parks and Recreation, Jim Bigham- producer of the film “For Once in My Life” and Diane Adreon, Director for Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at U.M.

Adam Gersten a local lawyer helps Greg with the power point.


Greg Bush as he presents his power point, next to him John De Leon( lawyer and president for local A.C.L.U)- Secratary Nature Links for Life Long Learning look on.



Gene Tinnie of the Historic Virgina Key Beach Trust announces their decision to allow Nature Links for Life Long Learning to use their facilities and site for our programming ! Great News !


Cynthia Gay of Best Buddies is interested in the discussion. Other atendees not included in the pictures were: Brian Arwari of U.M, Dept. of Kinesiology, Liz Malman, Nick Zamorano a Nature Links Project Bridge grad and Lucner Nelson a job coach.

Nature Links Visioning Session and Dinner to be held September 20, 2011

 Barring a hurricane or some other major calamity, our Dinner Visioning Session for Nature Links scheduled for September 20, 2011. We expect at least 20 or more people from a number of organizations (Including Lucy Binhack head of Disability Services with MDC Parks) Jill Brookner from MDCPS, David Lawrence from the Children's Movement/Trust, Diane Adreon from UMs Card Center, Lily Demoya from Parent to Parent, Mari Chael, an architect, and others with different perspectives about helping us to focus on creating the best program for continuing education for young adults with disabilities using the natural world. We are excited to share our progress within the community of educators and and others involved in helping persons with developmental delays. We will be taking questions and comments into great consideration during this event. At Nature Links for Life Long Learning we are extremely focused on linking with our community resources to improve our overall community. Check back to see the outcome !

The Future of Nature Links

 Building upon the extraordinary success of the Nature Links high school project named Project Bridge, this new extension project –called Nature Links for Life Long Learning – will initially focus on young adults from 22 to 30 years of age. It will assist in continuing to develop their social lives, work, residential opportunities for independent living, and life skills – specifically as they relate to the natural world. This model project – in coordination with the work of Parent to Parent and other local and statewide organizations – will help build a sustainable community addressing all segments of our population. More to come !


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: