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Emmanuel Ortiz, 17, takes a dive during swimming class at Palm Springs North Pool. (Photo by Hellen Rivas / South Florida News Service)

Learn-to-Swim program seeks to prevent drownings, No. 1 cause of small kids’ deaths

When Karina Medina took swimming lessons for the first time at age 8, she did not expect to become a lifeguard. Now at 17, her role is to protect others from a frequent occurrence in South Florida: drowning. According to the Miami-Dade Drowning Prevention Coalition, drowning is the county’s leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. “It ...

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Heroines Choir's musical director Analy Mendez leads a rehearsal for the event Arts for Healing on a recent Saturday. (Photo by Maria Serrano / South Florida News Service)

Arts for Healing show at Miami Dade College to feature dozens of breast cancer survivors

  In 2012, singer Mary Jo Garrity and art director Alice Billman produced The Heroines Show to promote healing through arts in the Miami area. Three months into the production process, the show came to a halt − Garrity, 53, died. A 10-year breast cancer survivor, she had been diagnosed with another rare type of cancer. “After Mary Jo’s death, ...

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After her asthma attack, Ashley went from dancing and enjoying her everyday childhood to recovering from a drug-induced coma, where she had to re-learn everything, including how to walk, write and eat.

Girl recovering from critical asthma attack launches foundation to raise awareness

When Ashley Marie Hierrezuelo, 12, left her dance practice three months ago, she didn’t feel well and asked to go to the hospital. Her parents figured it was another asthma attack that could be easily dealt with. But upon their arrival at the hospital, Ashley was given multiple treatments that didn’t help and resulted in her lungs continuing to fail. ...

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John Paul Jebian, a sign language teacher at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High, teaches his high school students American Sign Language alongside Lisa Espineira, 37, a certified sign language interpreter. (Photo by Daniel Hidalgo / South Florida News Service)

Deaf community pushing for state to license interpreters

In a second-floor meeting room at West Dade Regional Library, Lissette Molina Wood recently stood in front of a group of deaf people. Halfway through her first term as president of the Florida Association of the Deaf, Molina Wood, 37, also deaf, is trying to build support for a bill that would require all American Sign Language interpreters to be ...

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Margarita Beckford, the post-high school coordinator at the Overtown Youth Center, informs students about activities planned for the month. (Photo by Daniela Rios / South Florida News Service)

Overtown Youth Center students to participate in career-motivation event

Malyka Joseph, a high school student from the Overtown Youth Center, realized she wanted to major in engineering by accident. In middle school, she fulfilled her credit requirements ahead of time and was one of the only girls placed in engineering electives. “I kept getting talked at and discriminated at because I was a girl interested in engineering, but I ...

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Ishkol is a native of Guatemala, where she learned how to speak in her village's dialect but never attended school.  (Photo by Melhor Marie Leonor/South Florida News Service)

Eliminating illiteracy in migrant workers: it’s complicated

Isabel Ishkol’s daughter spots her mom outside her classroom at Le Jardin Community Center in Homestead and quickly tumbles over. It’s close to pick up time for the 3-year-old, but not quite. In what sounds like a whisper, motioning with her hands, Ishkol tells her daughter to join her teacher, now busy wrangling other toddlers. Vanessa lingers, beaming. More than ...

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Gaby Benavente, 20, a transgender student at Florida International University, stands in front of the bathrooms scheduled for renovations at the Graham Center, FIU’s student union. As the bathrooms are renovated in late Spring 2015, a storage closet close by will be turned into the university's first gender neutral bathroom. (Photo by Maria Soledad Lorenzino / South Florida News Service)

LGBT students praise FIU for readying campus’ first gender-neutral bathroom

At home, Gaby Benavente dresses as a man and goes by her legal name, Gabriel, to please her parents. At Florida International University, Benavente, 20, a male-to-female transgender student, is able to express herself as a woman, but she still runs into trouble when using bathrooms on campus that are marked “Men” and “Women.” Benavente uses men’s rooms at school ...

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Frazer

The Children’s Award Gala

Dr. Troy Frazer received the first Children’s Hero Award in 2009.  Photo courtesy of Pedro Mendez. By Jessica Cohen South Florida News Service Foster care cases are kept confidential. Until 2009, the general public had little knowledge of what was going on. But that year, the situation changed when the Family Resource Center presented the first Children’s Hero Award to Dr. Troy ...

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Timothy Stahlsmith copy crop

Game show at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital brings fun to patients

Timothy Stahlsmith, 9, a patient at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, calls the contestant line for the live game show ‘Top 3’ on JoeD TV, which is similar to the popular game show ‘Family Feud. ELI VERA/SOUTH FLORIDA NEWS SERVICE       By Eli Vera and Matias Ocner Read in Miami Herald. Every weekday at 2 p.m., Timothy Stahlsmith, 9, sits up ...

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magnetprograms

Two new high school magnet programs debut this month

Brian Duffie, 14, attended the first week of a summer bridge program to prepare for his freshman year of high school at BioTech. At the Fairchild Lab, Duffie read about orchids in preparation for the Million orchid Project, which students will help conduct along with Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden staff.  Rebeca Piccardo / South Florida News Service   By Rebeca Piccardo ...

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