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Legislative Affairs

2015 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by All Aboard Florida

The Young Professionals of the Lighthouse hosted the annual Legislative Luncheon on July 1st, honoring Miami Lighthouse champions in the Florida Legislature during the recent legislative session. Honorees in attendance included Senator Gwen Margolis, Representative Jose Felix Diaz and Representative David Richardson. Thanks was also extended to our governmental relations guru, Bob Levy, President of Robert M. Levy & Associates, for his important work with the Legislature on behalf of Miami Lighthouse.

A highlight of the event, sponsored by All Aboard Florida, was the presentation to Miami Lighthouse of a grant by AT&T. The important new grant will enable youth who are blind or visually impaired to engage in activities related to broadcast journalism, expanding their options for further education in the field and employment. The presentation was made by Alex Dominguez, Area Director of External Affairs for AT&T.

"We are extremely honored to receive support from AT&T," said CEO Virginia A. Jacko. "This generous grant will significantly expand Miami Lighthouse's High School High Tech Program and provide our students with the opportunity to explore jobs in the communications industry."

Representative David Richardson, President & CEO Virginia Jacko, Board Chair Ray Casas, Senator Gwen Margolis and Representative Jose Felix Diaz

Representative David Richardson, President & CEO Virginia Jacko, Board Chair Ray Casas,
Senator Gwen Margolis and Representative Jose Felix Diaz.

 
SGA Client Maximo Gonzalez, Ali Soule from All Aboard Florida and Board Chair Ray Casas

SGA Client Maximo Gonzalez, Ali Soule from All Aboard Florida and Board Chair Ray Casas.

 
AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs Alex Dominguez and President & CEO Virginia Jacko

AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs Alex Dominguez and President & CEO Virginia Jacko.

 
Senator Gwen Margolis, Representative David Richardson, President & CEO Virginia Jacko and Miami Lighthouse Music Program participants

Senator Gwen Margolis, Representative David Richardson,
President & CEO Virginia Jacko and Miami Lighthouse Music Program participants.

 
Laurie Flink, Deputy District Director, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz;  David Lancz, Legislative Assistant, Representative David Richardson;  Jennifer Braisted, Alzheimer's Association; Harriet Carter, Community Liason to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Laurie Flink, Deputy District Director, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz;
David Lancz, Legislative Assistant, Representative David Richardson; Jennifer Braisted, Alzheimer's Association;
Harriet Carter, Community Liason to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

 
Board Director and YPOL Chair Pablo Gonzalez, Luis Gamoneda, Matt Anderson and Josh Weber

Board Director and YPOL Chair Pablo Gonzalez, Luis Gamoneda, Matt Anderson and Josh Weber.

 
Julia Costin and Carolina Ramirez Jake Freeman and Thamiah Tutt

Julia Costin and Carolina Ramirez.

Jake Freeman and Thamiah Tutt.

 

President & CEO Virginia Jacko meets with Florida State Senator Alan Hayes

 
President & CEO Virginia Jacko meets with Florida State Senator Alan Hayes, Chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, in Tallahassee during Dade Days 2015.

President & CEO Virginia Jacko meets with Florida State Senator Alan Hayes,
Chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, in Tallahassee during Dade Days 2015.

 

2014 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon Underwritten by All Aboard Florida

On Thursday, July 10th, the Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their annual Legislative Luncheon and networking event at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Over ninety guests including elected officials and aides, Miami Lighthouse board directors, and young professionals gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking underwritten by All Aboard Florida. This year’s lunch honored the Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation represented by Chair Eddy Gonzalez and the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners chaired by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa who was represented by Manny Orbis.

State Representative Kionne L. McGhee, Board Chair-elect Ray Casas, Senator Gwen Margolis, Robert Levy, State Representative Eddy Gonzalez, President and CEO Virginia Jacko, Senator Anitere Flores, Senator Oscar Braynon, Senator Dwight Bullard.

State Representative Kionne L. McGhee, Board Chair-elect Ray Casas, Senator Gwen Margolis, Robert Levy,
State Representative Eddy Gonzalez, President and CEO Virginia Jacko, Senator Anitere Flores,
Senator Oscar Braynon, Senator Dwight Bullard.

The luncheon began with Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ student Leon Stewart performing The Star-Spangled Banner on keyboard. Ray Casas, Miami Lighthouse Board Chair-elect, welcomed attendees and introduced Miami Lighthouse Summer Training and Recreation Program (STAR) student Silvio Plata who gave the invocation. Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO, spoke about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and the importance of leadership and uniting young professionals, elected officials and Miami Lighthouse’s board directors. Attendees were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse and were able to see the many different activities that more than 150 children participate in on a daily basis in our summer camp. We thank all the elected officials, board directors and young professionals who attended the event.

Harriet Carter Community Liason to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, President and CEO Virginia Jacko, Board Chair-elect Ray Casas, Phillis Oeters Corporate Vice President of Government and Community Relations for Baptist Health South Florida, Olga Connor Director of Office of Communications & Legislative Affairs at the Florida Department of Health, Board Director Deborah Montilla, Lilian Rivera Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County.

Harriet Carter Community Liason to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, President and CEO Virginia Jacko,
Board Chair-elect Ray Casas, Phillis Oeters Corporate Vice President of Government and Community Relations
for Baptist Health South Florida, Olga Connor Director of Office of Communications & Legislative Affairs
at the Florida Department of Health, Board Director Deborah Montilla, Lilian Rivera Administrator of
the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County.

     
Board Chair-elect Ray Casas, Manny Orbis Special Projects Liason to Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, President and CEO Virginia Jacko.   Silvio Plata, Summer Training and Recreation Program Participant.

Board Chair-elect Ray Casas, Manny Orbis Special Projects Liason to
Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, President and CEO Virginia Jacko.

 

Silvio Plata, Summer Training and Recreation
Program Participant.

     
Bridget DeSeno and Judith Ruiz.   Board Chair-elect Ray Casas and Ali Soule of All Aboard Florida.

Bridget DeSeno and Judith Ruiz.

 

Board Chair-elect Ray Casas and Ali Soule of All Aboard Florida.

     
State Representative Eddy Gonzalez, Senator Oscar Braynon, II, Mayor of North Miami Beach George Vallejo.

State Representative Eddy Gonzalez, Senator Oscar Braynon, II,
Mayor of North Miami Beach George Vallejo.

     
     

2013 Florida State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez visits Miami Lighthouse

Our State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez and his staff Jennifer Gurland, Yariel Diaz and Kayla Malone toured Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on August 12th. He visited one of four Heiken mobile eye care units, the Better Chance Music Production Program™ and spoke with clients in the Social Group Activities area. We thank Representative Rodriguez and his team for spending time with us to learn about our programs.

 

State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez with instructors and students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™

 
 

State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez with instructors and students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™.

 
     

2013 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host the “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by All Aboard Florida

The Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their annual Legislative Luncheon and networking event at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Tuesday, July 9th. Over seventy young professionals and fifteen elected officials and aides gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking underwritten by All Aboard Florida. The lunch honored Senator Denise Grimsley, Senator Gwen Margolis and State Representative Manny Diaz, Jr for their support of Miami Lighthouse and the Heiken Children’s Vision Program.

The luncheon began with Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ student Angel Wallace singing The Star-Spangled Banner. Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano Jr. welcomed attendees and introduced Miami Lighthouse Summer Training and Recreation Program (STAR) student Silvio Plata who gave the invocation.

Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO, spoke about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and the importance of leadership and uniting young professionals, elected officials and Miami Lighthouse’s board directors. Attendees were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse and enjoyed seeing the fun and engaging activities over 150 children participate in on a daily basis. The lunch sponsor, Jose Gonzalez, Vice President of Corporate Development for Florida East Coast Industries at All Aboard Florida, spoke about the new convenient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective intercity passenger rail service being developed between South Florida and Central Florida.

We thank our sponsor, All Aboard Florida, elected officials, aides and all the young professionals who attended the event.

Visionary of the Year State Representative Manny Diaz Jr. with President & CEO Virginia Jacko Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano, Jr.   State Representative David Richardson with Visionary of the Year Senator Gwen Margolis.

Visionary of the Year State Representative Manny Diaz Jr. with
President & CEO Virginia Jacko Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano, Jr.

 

State Representative David Richardson with
Visionary of the Year Senator Gwen Margolis.

     
State Representative David Richardson, Jeannette Nunez, Visionary of the Year State Representative Manny Diaz, Jr. and Holly Raschein.  Nunez and Raschein accepted the Visionary of the Year award of behalf of Senator Denise Grimsley.

State Representative David Richardson, Jeannette Nunez, Visionary of the Year State Representative Manny Diaz, Jr.
and Holly Raschein. Nunez and Raschein accepted the Visionary of the Year award of behalf of Senator Denise Grimsley.

     
Cameron Sisser, Board Director Kent Benedict and Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano, Jr.

Cameron Sisser, Board Director Kent Benedict and Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano, Jr.

     
Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano, Jr. presenting Jose Gonzalez, All Aboard Florida, with a tactile painting made by Social Group Activities   Ali Soule, Maria Byrd, Kadie Black and Commissioner Sally Heyman.

Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano, Jr. presenting Jose Gonzalez,
All Aboard Florida, with a tactile painting made by Social Group Activities
participants.

 

Ali Soule, Maria Byrd, Kadie Black and Commissioner Sally Heyman.

     
Judge Norma Lindsey with President & CEO Virginia Jacko and Judge Spencer Eig.   Pablo Gonzalez and Shawn Folk.

Judge Norma Lindsey with President & CEO Virginia Jacko and Judge Spencer Eig.

 

Pablo Gonzalez and Shawn Folk.

     
Elizabeth Martinez and Fiorella Lanfranco.

Elizabeth Martinez and Fiorella Lanfranco.

     
Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ instructors provided background music for guests to enjoy.

Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ instructors provided background music for guests to enjoy.

     
     

CEO Virginia Jacko visited Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

CEO Virginia Jacko visited Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

CEO Virginia Jacko visited Senator Marco Rubio at his office in the Russell Senate Office Building and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who serves on the Congressional Vision Caucus, at her office in the Rayburn House Office Building in April, 2013. CEO Jacko was in Washington for the semi-annual VisionServe Alliance meeting at which she was one of three CEO panelists on a session about board governance.

2012 City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado visits Miami Lighthouse for the Blind

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado toured Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on July 13th. He visited the children in the Summer Training and Recreation (STAR) and Transition summer camp programs, toured the Better Chance Music Production Program™ and spoke with clients in the Social Group Activities area. “It was quite an experience to tour Miami Lighthouse’s programs, and I congratulate you all for the work you are doing for our blind and visually impaired residents.” We thank Mayor Regalado for spending time with us.

Mayor Regalado feels Braille typed by STAR summer camp program student   Mayor Regalado speaks with clients in Social Group Activities

Mayor Regalado feels Braille typed by
STAR summer camp program student

 

Mayor Regalado speaks with clients in Social Group Activities

     

2012 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host the “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by Flagler Development Company

The Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their Legislative Luncheon and networking event at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Monday, June 18th. The event was generously underwritten by Flagler Development Company. Nineteen elected officials were represented at the luncheon including representatives from U.S. Senator’s Nelson and Rubio’s offices, two U.S. Congressional aides, one State Senator and four State Representatives. Over eighty young professionals gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking which were followed by a tour of the Miami Lighthouse.

The event was kicked-off with a musical performance by Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ students Eddy Camacho, Stephanie Camacho, Oman Pedreira and Alexis Velasquez. Chairman of the board of directors Michael Silva and chair-elect Agustin Arellano Jr. welcomed attendees to the luncheon and introduced Miami Lighthouse transition student Joey Chica to give the invocation, after which Juan Pablo Paniagua, a Braille literacy program student, spoke about his journey with Miami Lighthouse.

Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO of Miami Lighthouse, spoke to the group about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and the importance of leadership and uniting young professionals, elected officials and Miami Lighthouse’s board directors. Attendees were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse which included the Low Vision Center and Solutions Store, STAR and Transition summer camp programs and the Better Chance Music Production Program™. We have 150 schoolchildren enrolled in our summer camps. Guests enjoyed seeing the fun and engaging activities children participate in on a daily basis here at Miami Lighthouse. We thank our sponsor, Flagler Development Company, elected officials, aides and all the young professionals who attended the event.

Photos Courtesy of Kathy Fitzpatrick Zirulnick

 

Representative Joe Gibbons, Representative Ron Saunders, Board Director Ray Casas, Representative Luis Garcia, Senator Gwen Margolis, Representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Doral Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez, Chairman Michael Silva, CEO Virginia Jacko, Miami- Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman, Hallandale Beach Commissioner Alexander Levy, Board Director Kent Benedict, and Board Director Agustin Arellano Jr.

 
 

Representative Joe Gibbons, Representative Ron Saunders, Board Director Ray Casas, Representative Luis Garcia, Senator Gwen Margolis, Representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Doral Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez, Chairman Michael Silva, CEO Virginia Jacko, Miami- Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman, Hallandale Beach Commissioner Alexander Levy, Board Director Kent Benedict, and Board Director Agustin Arellano Jr.

 
     
 

Legislative Lunch sponsors Jack Lowell and Estrella “Star” Manso of Flagler Development with Board Director Agustin Arellano Jr.

 
 

Legislative Lunch sponsors Jack Lowell and Estrella “Star” Manso of Flagler Development
with Board Director Agustin Arellano Jr.

 
     
  Miami Lighthouse transition student Joey Chica gives the invocation   Juan Pablo Paniagua, winner of the South Florida Braille Challenge two years in a row, speaks about his journey with Miami Lighthouse  
 

Miami Lighthouse transition student Joey Chica
gives the invocation.

 

Juan Pablo Paniagua, winner of the South Florida Braille Challenge
two years in a row, speaks about his journey with Miami Lighthouse.

 
         
 

Business card raffle prize winner with prize, a tactile American Flag made by Social Group Activities clients

 
 

Business card raffle prize winner with prize, a tactile American Flag
made by Social Group Activities clients.

 
     

2012 Virginia Jacko and Cameron Sisser meet Governor Rick Scott at Miami-Dade Days World Famous Paella Fest

 
 

2012 Senator Gwen Margolis presents Miami Lighthouse for the Blind a Senate resolution recognizing 80 years of service to the Miami-Dade community

 

On January 17th 2012 Senator Gwen Margolis presented Virginia Jacko, and Kieran, of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind with a Senate resolution recognizing Miami Lighthouse on 80 years of the service to the Miami-Dade community. You can view the entire resolution by clicking here.

2011 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host the “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by Flagler Development Company

The Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their Legislative Luncheon and networking event at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Monday, June 27th. The event was generously underwritten by Flagler Development Company. Sixteen elected officials were represented at the luncheon including three State Senators, four State Representatives and two U.S. Congressional aides. Sixty young professionals gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking which were followed by a tour of the Miami Lighthouse.

The event began with elected officials assembled to view the unveiling of a plaque commemorating legislative support for Miami Lighthouse programs. Board member Agustin Arellano Jr. then welcomed attendees to the luncheon and introduced Natalia Sulca, assistant instructor in the acclaimed Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™, who delighted guests with an inspiring vocal performance of “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO of Miami Lighthouse, spoke to the group about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and described the ways in which the Florida Legislature helps Miami Lighthouse transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired, from babies to seniors. Elected officials and young professionals in attendance were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse which included one of our Heiken mobile eye care units, Low Vision Center and Solutions Store, STAR and Transition summer camp programs and the Better Chance Music Production Program™, programs in which 125 schoolchildren are enrolled this summer. Attendees enjoyed seeing the fun and engaging activities children participate in on a daily basis here at Miami Lighthouse. We thank our sponsor, Flagler Development Company, elected officials, aides and all the young professionals who attended the event.

Florida Senators and Representatives received plaques in recognition of their support of Miami Lighthouse programs (from left to right) Representative Barbara Watson, Senator Gwen Margolis, Senator Nan Rich, CEO Virginia Jacko, Senator Oscar Braynon, Representative Cynthia Stafford, Representative Jose Felix Diaz, Doral Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez and Representative Dwight Bullard.

Florida Senators and Representatives received plaques in recognition of their support of
Miami Lighthouse programs (from left to right) Representative Barbara Watson,
Senator Gwen Margolis, Senator Nan Rich, CEO Virginia Jacko, Senator Oscar Braynon,
Representative Cynthia Stafford, Representative Jose Felix Diaz,
Doral Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez and Representative Dwight Bullard.

     
Board Director Gloria Martin with CEO Virginia Jacko and Representative Jose Felix Diaz.   Board Director Ray Casas unveils the plaque with (from left to right) Board Director Gloria Martin, CEO Virginia Jacko, Senator Nan Rich, Representative Jose Felix Diaz and Senator Oscar Braynon.

Board Director Gloria Martin with CEO Virginia Jacko
and Representative Jose Felix Diaz.

 

Board Director Ray Casas unveils the plaque with (from left to right)
Board Director Gloria Martin, CEO Virginia Jacko, Senator Nan Rich,
Representative Jose Felix Diaz and Senator Oscar Braynon.

     
MLH expresses appreciation to the 2011 Florida Legislature
     
Senator Nan Rich visits the STAR summer camp program Braille literacy class.   Senator Gwen Margolis tours the Heiken mobile eye care unit with Miami Lighthouse staff member Brenda Williamson and Maria Delgado, aide to Miami-Dade County School board member Dr. Martin Karp.

Senator Nan Rich visits the STAR summer camp
program Braille literacy class.

 

Senator Gwen Margolis tours the Heiken mobile eye care unit with
Miami Lighthouse staff member Brenda Williamson and Maria Delgado,
aide to Miami-Dade County School board member Dr. Martin Karp.

     
Phil Reagan, Patricia Vila Wright and YPOL Committee Member Pablo Gonzalez.   Board Director Agustin Arellano Jr., Carey Kane, Rob Bowlby and Board Director Kent Benedict.

Phil Reagan, Patricia Vila Wright and
YPOL Committee Member Pablo Gonzalez.

 

Board Director Agustin Arellano Jr., Carey Kane,
Rob Bowlby and Board Director Kent Benedict.

     
Legislative aides accept recognition plaques (from left to right) Mary Cowart aide to Representative Cynthia Stafford, Ludie Benel intern to Representative Dwight Bullard, Julie Fishman aide to Senator Nan Rich, Lissette Vasquez aide to Senator Anitere Flores, CEO Virginia Jacko, Raquel Zuniga aide to Representative Ana Rivas Logan, George Fossett aide to Representative Matt Hudson, Holly Merrill Raschein aide to Representative Ron Saunders, Matt Monica aide to Representative Luis Garcia, Tore Ciolino aide to Representative Franklin Sands, Harriet Carter Community Liaison to U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Laurie Flink Deputy District Director to U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Legislative aides accept recognition plaques (from left to right) Mary Cowart aide to
Representative Cynthia Stafford, Ludie Benel intern to Representative Dwight Bullard,
Julie Fishman aide to Senator Nan Rich, Lissette Vasquez aide to Senator Anitere Flores,
CEO Virginia Jacko, Raquel Zuniga aide to Representative Ana Rivas Logan,
George Fossett aide to Representative Matt Hudson, Holly Merrill Raschein aide to Representative Ron Saunders,
Matt Monica aide to Representative Luis Garcia, Tore Ciolino aide to Representative Franklin Sands,
Harriet Carter Community Liaison to U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and
Laurie Flink Deputy District Director to U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz..

     
Attendees enjoy “God Bless the U.S.A” sung by Natalia Sulca.

Attendees enjoy “God Bless the U.S.A” sung by Natalia Sulca.

     
     

2011 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime visits Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, District 2, visited Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on June 22nd. He toured one of the Heiken mobile eye care units and heard a performance by students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™. “As a musician, it was a real treat to hear the students in the Miami Lighthouse music program perform,” said Commissioner Monestime. We thank Commissioner Monestime for taking time to tour our facility.

Commissioner Jean Monestime with Better Chance Music Production Program™ students and instructors   Commissioner Monestime with music program assistant instructor Natalia Sulca

Commissioner Jean Monestime with Better Chance Music
Production Program™ students and instructors

 

Commissioner Monestime with music program assistant
instructor Natalia Sulca

     
Virginia Jacko, CEO of Miami Lighthouse, gives a tour of the Heiken mobile eye care unit to Commissioner Monestime   Commissioner Monestime and Virginia enjoy the musical performance by students in our Better Chance Music Production Program™

Virginia Jacko, CEO of Miami Lighthouse, gives a tour of the
Heiken mobile eye care unit to Commissioner Monestime

 

Commissioner Monestime and Virginia enjoy the musical
performance by students in our Better Chance Music
Production Program™

     
     

2011 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell visits Miami Lighthouse for the Blind

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell, District 8, visited Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on June 15th. She visited one of the Heiken mobile eye care units, children in the STAR summer camp program, and heard a performance by students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™. “I was delighted to have had the opportunity to tour the Miami Lighthouse and witness firsthand the remarkable programs they offer our community.” We thank Commissioner Bell for taking time to tour our facility.

Commissioner Lynda Bell tours Heiken mobile unit with Dr. Bryan Wolynski   Commissioner Bell visits students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™

Commissioner Lynda Bell tours Heiken mobile unit with
Dr. Bryan Wolynski

 

Commissioner Bell visits students in the Better Chance
Music Production Program™

     
Commissioner Bell is shown a Braille letter   Child in the STAR Summer Program shows Commissioner Bell a Father’s Day card

Commissioner Bell is shown a Braille letter

 

Child in the STAR Summer Program shows
Commissioner Bell a Father’s Day card

     
     

2011 Florida Senators and Representatives Visit the
Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program Serving Children throughout the State

Florida State Senators, Representatives and their aides visited schools located in their districts to see The Miami Lighthouse Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program at work. The Florida Heiken mobile eye care unit travelled across the State from Monroe to Pinellas to Gadsden Counties. The Florida Heiken Program will ensure that schoolchildren in Florida's public schools who have no other access to eye care will no longer have to struggle because of poor vision. As the successful bidder in response to a Department of Health RFP, the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program was awarded a contract in 2011 to provide free comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses to financially disadvantaged schoolchildren who had no other source for vision care. The contract covers 62 Florida counties (from which Orange, Seminole, Lake and Volusia counties are excluded).

  Dr. Bryan Wolynski and Senator Arthenia Joyner during her visit to West Tampa Elementary  
 

Dr. Bryan Wolynski and Senator Arthenia Joyner during her visit to West Tampa Elementary

 
     
  Dr. Bryan Wolynski, Representative Jeff Brandes, Nurse Loraine Leger, RN and Rey Travieso at Shore Acres Elementary in Pinellas County  
 

Dr. Bryan Wolynski, Representative Jeff Brandes, Nurse Loraine Leger, RN and
Rey Travieso at Shore Acres Elementary in Pinellas County

 
     
  Representative Gwyn Clarke-Reed, Cornell Morgan RN Vision Consultant, Sonja Braziel Principal of Pompano Beach Middle School and Dr. Adam Perlman  
 

Representative Gwyn Clarke-Reed, Cornell Morgan RN Vision Consultant,
Sonja Braziel Principal of Pompano Beach Middle School and Dr. Adam Perlman

 
     
  Representative Janet Cruz and Dr. Bryan Wolynski inside Heiken mobile unit at Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary  
 

Representative Janet Cruz and Dr. Bryan Wolynski inside Heiken mobile unit
at Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary

 
     
  Carmen Arguijo and Holly Merrill Raschein at Key Largo K-8 Center  
 

Carmen Arguijo and Holly Merrill Raschein at Key Largo K-8 Center

 

“It was awesome, such a fabulous program. I took some pictures with Carmen and Dr. Ramirez and got to sit in on 4 or 5 screenings and helped kids pick out their new glasses. Such a rewarding way to start the week. It was sad to hear some of their stories. Thank you for the invite!”
     - Holly Merrill Raschein Legislative Aide to Representative Ron Saunders

“Thank you so much for inviting us. I was very impressed with the screenings that were given. Dr. Wolynski was great and works so well with the children. I have relayed my experience to the Representative. Thank you again.”
     - Kim Hamilton Legislative Aide to Representative Denise Grimsley
 

2011 Representative Matt Hudson (R- Naples) visited
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility

Representative Matt Hudson (R- Naples), chair of healthcare appropriations in the Florida House visited Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on May 17th. He visited with mothers and blind babies, social group activity clients, computer and technology training students and got a performance by students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™. Representative Hudson stated “I was humbled to see the hard work and dedication of so many people committed to enriching the lives of the visually impaired.” We thank Representative Hudson for his time to tour our facility.

  Representative Hudson, Virginia Jacko and students of the Better Chance Music Production Program™  
 

Representative Hudson, Virginia Jacko and students of the Better Chance Music Production Program™

 
     
  Representative Hudson, Nelba Gonzalez and social group activities clients  
 

Representative Hudson, Nelba Gonzalez and social group activities clients

 
     
  Representative Hudson and Virginia Jacko  
 

Representative Hudson and Virginia Jacko

 
     
  Representative Hudson visits with mothers and blind babies  
 

Representative Hudson visits with mothers and blind babies

 
     
     

2011 State Representative Matt Hudson Visits Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program Serving Mike Davis Elementary

Representative Matt Hudson (R- Naples), chair of healthcare appropriations in the Florida House, visited Mike Davis Elementary on Friday, February 25th to see The Miami Lighthouse Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program at work. The Florida Heiken mobile eye care unit travelled to Collier County where 39 students were examined and prescription glasses will be provided at no cost to 33 of the students. The Florida Heiken Program will ensure that schoolchildren in Florida's public schools who have no other access to eye care will no longer have to struggle because of poor vision. As the successful bidder in response to a Department of Health RFP, the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program was awarded a contract in 2011 to provide free comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses to financially disadvantaged schoolchildren who had no other source for vision care. The contract covers 62 Florida counties (from which Orange, Seminole, Lake and Volusia counties are excluded).

Dr. Wolynski exams student   Dr. Wolynski shows Representative Hudson the different frames offered to the students

Dr. Perlman at work with students

 

Dr. Wolynski shows Representative Hudson
the different frames offered to the students

     
Mike Davis Elementary   Principal of Mike Davis Elementary Bob Spano, Manager Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program Dr. Bryan Wolynski and Representative Matt Hudson

Mike Davis Elementary

 

Principal of Mike Davis Elementary Bob Spano, Manager Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program Dr. Bryan Wolynski and Representative Matt Hudson

     
     

2011 Miami Lighthouse visits Tallahassee to gain support for its
Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program

Virginia Jacko, Carol Brady-Simmons and Cameron Sisser traveled to Tallahassee on February 7th and 8th to visit legislators about the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program. In addition to spreading the word about the fact that the program will serve 10,000 underprivileged students this year alone, the Miami Lighthouse team also attended the Fifth Annual Florida Vision Summit hosted by the Vision Caucus of The Florida Legislature and The Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind.

Health Care Appropriations Chair, Representative Matt Hudson and Virginia   Health Care Appropriations Vice-Chair, Representative Kenneth Roberson and Virginia

Health Care Appropriations Chair, Representative
Matt Hudson and Virginia

 

Health Care Appropriations Vice-Chair,
Representative Kenneth Roberson and Virginia

     
Senator Steve Oelrich and Virginia   Miami-Dade Delegation Member, Representative Frank Artiles and Virginia

Senator Steve Oelrich and Virginia

 

Miami-Dade Delegation Member,
Representative Frank Artiles and Virginia

     
Senator Eleanor Sobel and Virginia   Miami-Dade Delegation Member, Representative Carlos Trujillo and Virginia

Senator Eleanor Sobel and Virginia

 

Miami-Dade Delegation Member,
Representative Carlos Trujillo and Virginia

     
     

2010 Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Visits,
Speaks to U.S. House of Representatives about Miami Lighthouse

     
  CEO Virginia Jacko and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at Miami Lighthouse  
 

CEO Virginia Jacko and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at Miami Lighthouse

 
     
   
 

Miami Lighthouse President and CEO Virginia Jacko with Mr. Benjamin Leon
and U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

 

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen visited Miami Lighthouse during our summer campus in both 2009 and 2010. She is a co-chair and founding member of the Congressional Vision Caucus, supports better access to vision care for families, and supported HR 507, Vision Care for Kids Act, which was adopted in the House of Representatives to award grants to states to provide comprehensive eye examinations by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist for children and provide treatment or services to correct vision problems of children.

On September 14, 2010 Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives about the services and programs provided by the Miami Lighthouse. Click here to go to Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s YouTube link to see a video of the CSPAN broadcast of her speech.

On July 12, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, joined by Mr. Benjamin Leon and members of the National Association of Women Judges, gathered to give a hands-on lesson in criminal justice and law careers to twenty-five students in the Transition program. Ros-Lehtinen, along with Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie; Miami-Dade County Court Judges Myriam Lehr, Linda Singer Stein and Lisa S. Walsh; Greenberg Traurig shareholder Ronnie Fernandez; Yara Lorenzo, law clerk to Senior U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King; and Nneka Utti, a second-year law student at the University of Miami, all served as prosecutors and defense attorneys in the mock trial meant to encourage minority high school students to pursue careers in law.

The “Color of Justice” program had students acting as the jury in the case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, listening to trial proceedings and then deliberating on the case with their peers to reach a verdict. Association district director Judge Lisa S. Walsh, coordinator of the “Color of Justice” event stated that the organization encourages students with proficient Braille and computer skills to consider pursuing careers in criminal justice and the law.

Click here to see the article U.S. Congressswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wrote for Diario Las Americas on August 1, 2010.


2010 Miami Lighthouse Heiken Children’s Vision Program Honored by Miami-Dade County School Board

     
  School Board member Dr. Martin Karp and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho  
 

School Board member Dr. Martin Karp, Miami Lighthouse CEO Virginia Jacko,
and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

 
     

A proclamation recognizing the Miami Lighthouse Heiken Children's Vision Program for distinguished services to county schoolchildren was presented at the April 14th meeting of the Miami-Dade County School Board.

Since its creation in 1992 by the Dade County Optometric Association, the Heiken Program has provided over 40,000 free comprehensive eye examinations and glasses, when prescribed, to low-income M-DCPS students who fail their state-mandated vision screening.

Click here to read the School Board Proclamation.

 

2009 Federal and State Legislators Visit the Miami Lighthouse

 
 
U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Visits Miami Lighthouse
 
  Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Visits Miami Lighthouse  

On July 2nd, U.S. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen visited the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind summer camp where she watched the children performing their daily chores and participated in their camp activities. To read U.S. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen press release, please visit http://ros-lehtinen.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=499. To read an article by U.S. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen featured in Diario Las Americas, please click here.

2008 Miami-Dade Public Library System,
Talking Books Service Honored by the Library of Congress

     
   

As a key community partner with the Miami-Dade Public Library System, Talking Books Service, Miami Lighthouse was honored to be invited to the July 21st County Commission meeting with Mayor Carlos Alvarez & Library Director Raymond Santiago at which the Talking Book Service was recognized by the Library of Congress as the 2008 Network Subregional Library of the Year based upon collaboration with Miami Lighthouse.

 

 
 



Donate Now

 
 



Florida Heiken Program
 

 
 



Click here to read the Annual Stakeholder Report
 

 
 



Website Auditing
 

 
 



Low Vision Center
 

 
 



State of Vision
Sales of the “State of Vision” license plate support services to blind and visually impaired people. Miami Lighthouse is the recipient of a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this license plate. The cost is $25.00 in addition to the regular registration fee.

 

 
 

 

STAR Summer Camp Children Testimonials

  • STAR is really cool. I like it because I get to be
    with all my friends and learn a lot during summer,
    from typing to art to music.
    - Marino, age 12


  • STAR is fun because we get to read a lot, go on lots of field trips, use the computers and learn programs like PowerPoint. I make a lot of friends here and get to learn things with them. It's a lot better than staying at home watching TV during the summer!
    - Madisleny, age 11


  • We learn a lot and have fun activities in STAR. The large print books I get have helped me a lot in school, and I like learning with a lot of friends that
    I've made here during my second year in STAR at Miami Lighthouse.
    - Taknighis, age 12


 
 
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miami Lighthouse was recognized at the 2015 Florida Blue Foundation Sapphire Awards luncheon as an organization that has demonstrated excellence and innovation in community health.

 

Miami Lighthouse ranks among the elite 1% of U.S. nonprofits having earned nine consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent nonprofit evaluator. Receiving such a distinction reflects our sound fiscal management, responsible use of donor dollars, and financial strength.

 

Miami Lighthouse has earned the Silver participation level through the GuideStar Exchange which is a testament to Miami Lighthouse’s commitment to data transparency.

 

 

                 

 

 

 

 

 

Miami New Times - Best of Miami 2017

   

 

 

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2015 Beacon Award in Education at the 13th Annual Beacon Council Awards.

 

Miami Lighthouse was the recipient of the 2013 Switchboard Miami All Star Most Valuable Non-Profit Award.

 

Miami Lighthouse is a two-time Charity Partner (2013 and 2014) of the Marlins Foundation and a 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Legacy Partner. Our Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program has received over $300,000 in charitable donations through these partnerships.

 

Miami Lighthouse named "Best of Miami" Charity 2017 by the New Times.

   
                     

 

 

 

 

Miami Lighthouse received United Homecare’s 2012 Thelma Gibson Community Service Award at the 18th Annual Claude Pepper Memorial Awards Ceremony.

 

Miami Lighthouse received a Silver medal at the 2016 Miami Today Gold Medal Awards Ceremony.

 

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the Community Outreach category.

 

Miami Lighthouse honored by being named the recipient of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce 2010 Non-Profit Business Diamond Award.

 

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award from Health Foundation of South Florida.

   
 
 

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