Starting in August, the North Beach based non-profit AYUDA, located on 7144 Byron Ave., will be offering two new services to benefit many of its members. The organization, which helps people who are underserved mainly in Miami Beach, hopes to grow its elder’s program by creating a social center to activate its seniors. Additionally, AYUDA will be offering online educational programs for adults, teens or young adults that do not have a high school degree and wish to expand their education.
“These two new programs will address a growing need in our community,” said President and CEO of AYUDA, Diana Susi. “We have 20 to 30 frail elders that are isolated and need to get transported to activities. We also have many adults and young people who can advance their education by learning online.”
Established in 1977, AYUDA has served over 145,000 children, adolescents, adults, and elderly in South Florida. AYUDA’s programs include enrichment as well as prevention for the very young to the elderly.
The organization has grown tremendously in over three decades thanks to its staff, board and community members.
“We are a home away from home,” said Susi. “Our clients rely on us as a one stop center for everything that they need like family interaction and basic needs.”
For elders, AYUDA provides home making services, counseling and home visitation. The non-profit also links seniors to services in the community and provides very personalized attention. Susi adds, “They become part of our family.”
In addition to helping seniors, AYUDA helps teenagers empower themselves. “We help young adults conduct themselves positively in the midst of whatever chaos is occurring in their family,” said Susi.
“We want them to be the stone that causes the ripple effect. So, if there is a lot of dysfunction in the family – we want them to be a positive example for the people around them. We also establish career goals for them. A lot of these kids are lost in the system and we help refocus them.”
The Board’s Chair DeAnne Connolly Graham, who has been on the Board for 15 years and Chair for 8 years, has seen the organization flourish through the launch of T.A.L.L aka Teens Are Lifelong Leaders.
T.A.L.L, a collaboration between the Children’s Trust, Miami Beach Senior High and North Shore Park & Youth Center, aims to empower and educate children from grades 6th through 12th with life skills.
“The curriculum focuses on how thinking positively and doing positive actions will help teens attain and maintain a good self-image,” said Graham, who is an ambassador for the program.
According to AYUDA, youth who participated in the program showed improvement in academics, behavior, and character as well as improved relationships at home.
Additionally, AYUDAhas an early childhood program that serves families with infants through second grade.
“Through partnerships with local businesses and donations, this program allows children who might not be able to experience the education they deserve to learn in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Susi. “Free breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided. Early stimulation for infants and toddlers, progressive pre-school instruction, early technology education and developmental screenings and inclusion programs for special needs children are offered through a partnership with Happy Kids Learning Center.”
“Everyone outside of Miami Beach thinks there is mega money on the beach but there is a lot of need,” said Susi. “Our clients are comprised of people who work at our restaurants and people who work at our hotels. There is a lot of need in Miami Beach especially during slow times in the tourism and hospitality industry.”
Currently, AYUDA is looking for board members and people who would like to coordinate events for the organization. For more information on AYUDA, visit www.ayuda.com or call Diana at 305-992- KIDS (5437).