SIB Aftercare Program spreads holiday spirit with help from community

SIB Aftercare Program spreads holiday spirit with help from community

Winning Team (l-r) Don Alcime, Jeffrey Davis, Nathaline Bowen, Veronica Puentes-Martinez, Santa, Pharin Walker, Mackender Pierre-Louis, Stephanie Riboul, Front Row: Figley from Antler Ridge Farm, Hamburg New York. Photo by ASP Staff.

This year the City of Sunny Isles Beach held a Thanksgiving Food Drive and Toy Drive at Pelican Community Park for the less fortunate. This drive was led by the After School Program counselors. This amazing display of generosity was put together with the hope to not only donate to those who otherwise could not afford a great holiday experience, but also to bring the community together to show everyone that Sunny Isles Beach cares.

The Thanksgiving Food Drive collected both perishable and non-perishable foods. Cranberry, cheese and mashed potatoes were some of the foods donated to the Miami Rescue Mission. Our counselor Veronica Puentes-Martinez organized the Food Drive and with the support of the entire staff of our Cultural and Community Services Department, the drive was a huge success. “We saw the opportunity for us to help make this thanksgiving memorable for families in need of hope. Without the support of the Aftercare kids, parents and members of our community, this would not have been possible,” said Puentes- Martinez and then she added, “I’m proud to be a part of something so meaningful.”

SIB Aftercare Program spreads holiday spirit with help from community

Marines from Toys for Tots with Santa.

The Second Annual Toy Drive featured a special visit from Santa and two reindeer that made a long trip from the North Pole to greet the children of the After School Program. The counselors collected toys by age groups and asked the children with support of their parents to open their hearts for a great cause. “Once the Toy Drive began and parents brought in bags and boxes of toys on the first day, I knew we were going to do something bigger than any of us could imagine,” says Nicole Essix, an After School Program counselor. After two weeks, the Toy Drive concluded and the counselors counted more than 750 brand new unwrapped toys. These gifts were donated to the United States Marine Corp: Toys for Tots. “This was one of the most gratifying experiences for me, seeing all of the toys together knowing that we were about to brighten the lives of many kids,” said Djanne Antoine, Second Grade After School Program Counselor.

The City of Sunny Isles Beach has set a precedence with its generosity in 2014 and the counselors are optimistic that they will make the 2015 toy collection even bigger. Whispers about plans for next year have already been heard in the Cultural and Community Services offices at Pelican Community Park.

SIB Aftercare Program spreads holiday spirit with help from community

Food Drive Coordinator Veronica next to the Miami Rescue Mission Truck.

Special Thanks to the After School Program Counselors and Cultural and Community Services Staff that made this all possible:

Susan Simpson, CCS Director, Sylvia Flores, Assistant CCS Director, Darrin Graumann, Event Specialist, Kathy Fernandez, Event Assistant, Christine Carney, Community Center Coordinator, Marie Napolitano, CCS Administrative Coordinator II, Darya Yeroshova, CCS Office Assistant, Norelli Liguori, CCS Office Assistant

• Nicole Essix – Kindergarten
• Melvin Packeel – Kindergarten
• Jurna Pierre – Kindergarten
• Larissa Vieira – Kindergarten
• Blondine Isnady – Kindergarten
• Judy Givens – Kindergarten
• David Meyers – First Grade
• Melissa Gonzalez – First Grade
• Jill Gedeon – First Grade
• Josie Vital – First Grade
• Leslie Johnson – First Grade
• Robin McQueen – First Grade
• Djanne Antoine – Second Grade
• Sherry Alouidor – Second Grade
• Thara Nelson – Second Grade
• Stephanie Dirocco-Davila –
Second Grade
• Stephanie Riboul – Third Grade
• Veronica Puentes-Martinez –
Third Grade
• Mackender Pierre-Louis-
Third Grade
• Nathaline Bowen – Fourth Grade
• Jeffrey Davis – Fourth Grade
• Pharin Walker – Fifth – Eighth Grade
• Jessica Telusmond-Boue –
Fifth – Eighth Grade

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