Elected officials, civic leaders and philanthropists gathered at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Monday, Dec. 17, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of its new Charles J. and Olga Nielson Family Playground.
The new playground was named in honor of Charles J. and Olga Nielson who announced during the ceremony a $1 million gift to Miami Lighthouse Learning Center for Children to fund a major classroom expansion. The outdoor play area will provide a creative fresh-air environment for the Learning Center where enrollment has quadrupled in three years from 15 students to 60 in the coming academic year.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman and Miami-Dade Public School Board member Marta Perez were in attendance, along with other city and county officials, and representatives of the business community, including Jorge Munilla of MCM, general contractor for the new Learning Center, and architects from Wolfberg Alvarez.
A highlight of the program was a song performed by the Miami Lighthouse Learning Center for Children’s pre-school students.
Additionally, each pre-schooler received a Braille story book, a holiday gift donated by the Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation.
Established in 1931 by Dolly Gamble with the aid of Helen Keller and support from Miami’s Lions and the Miami Rotary clubs, Miami Lighthouse is the oldest and largest private agency in Florida assisting persons of all ages who are blind and visually impaired. Annually, the agency serves more than 17,000 with an array of programs that enable blind and visually impaired persons ranging from blind babies to seniors affected by age-related eye disease to achieve independence.
For more information, visit www.miamilighthouse.org.