Palmetto High senior Talia Hason volunteers at the Miami VA Hospital’s nursing home.
“I’m working in recreation therapy,” Hason says. “We help the patients. They have different therapies they do. One was a crossword group.”
She says it made her sad to see that something that is so easy for most can be difficult for the veterans in the nursing home.
The veterans get a variety of programs to participate in, including a gardening group.
“That was better to see their abilities physically,” Hason says. “For some of them, it was harder to take the shovel and fill the pot.”
They also have a music therapy division that uses a special chair that plays music from the top and the chair vibrates. She says that therapy is supposed to be good for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
They also play a music trivia game where they will play a song and ask the residents to name the song.
“They start dancing in their wheelchairs,” she says. “It’s interesting to see what impact music has on people, no matter the mindset.”
Music is something that Hason can identify with. She has been a counselor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music Camp for the past couple of years and again this summer.
She works full days, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., keeping track of the children and helping them in areas such as music theory. She mainly deals with kids aged eight to 12, although the camp also draws high school students. Hason is there because she loves music. She sings and plays guitar.
“I’ve been to the camp for three years,” she says. “One year I was a camper. It was the summer before freshman year.”
At Palmetto, Hason is a member of Key Club, the National Honor Society and the English Honor Society.
“In my junior year, I was part of the Creative Writing Club and I’m going to do it again this year,” she says, adding she also took the creative writing class. “I wish I had taken it sooner in my it sophomore year.”
Hason says she loves writing poetry and this year she won three Gold Keys for her writing. She particularly enjoys one of the poetry writing exercises in the writing club. That exercise calls for the students to pass a piece of paper around the room that is a poem. Everyone has to write a line. “You see how the poem ends up,” she says.
“You have an idea of how the poem will go, but the next person has a completely different idea.”
Hason also plays midfield on the lacrosse team. She has been on the team since she was a sophomore. She finds lacrosse more stimulating than running track and field.
“It’s fun and it takes skill,” she says. “I used to play tennis when I was little, but I like more running. You have to be more focused. It’s more of a team sport than tennis.”
Outside of school, Hason has been a member of the Pinecrest Youth Advisory Council since she was in the sixth grade. The group talks about things that are going on in the Village and helped initiate the Pinecrest People Mover.
“I see a lot of people using it all the time,” Hason says. “It was really cool to be a part of starting that.”
The group also participates in the annual Relay for Life and organizes Earth Day activities at Pinecrest Gardens.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld