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Daniela Perez, 5, is checking each #teachHope70x7 bag for a sandwich, chips and a snack before they are packed into the cars to go to the streets of downtown Miami. (Photo courtesy of #teachHope70x7)

Miami first-grade teacher launches #teachHope70x7 to ‘teach hope’ to the community

When Jocelyn Morffi, a first-grade teacher at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami, was talking to her students two years ago about recent tragedies in the world, she was inspired to show them that there is hope in the community. Then, a year later, she brainstormed with her new group of students about ways they could “teach hope” ...

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Agustin Guardiola prepares free samples at an event in All Angels Academy Episcopal School in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Mama’s Guava)

Two young college grads from Miami get taste of success selling Mama’s Guava Bars

One September afternoon in 2011, the smell of walnuts and guava filled the air at the Village at Science Drive apartment complex in Orlando. As neighbors began knocking on their door asking for samples, Agustin Guardiola and Alejandro DeZayas knew they had finally pinpointed the start of their business. “I never thought I would pursue a business in guava products. ...

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For Claudia Bustillos, left in pink, the water and the mind connect during a paddleboard yoga session because it is part of the meditation. (Photo by Daniela Rios, South Florida News Service)

Yoga on the water: SUP helps build balance and muscles

The bluish-green wall with lotus shapes at Om Beats yoga studio resembles the ocean. Claudia Bustillos, 38, owner of Om Beats, said she planned it to reflect her love of the ocean and yoga, which she developed as a young girl. “Yoga and water sports are my passion. They make me feel alive,” said Bustillos, who moved to Miami from ...

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Future Ladies: Onix Morera, right, teaches Maria Lopez, 15, good posture as part of the Future Ladies of America program. (Photo by Hellen Rivas, South Florida News Service)

Nonprofit group helps teenage girls celebrate traditional Quinceañeras

When Addis Acay Hunter turned 15, her family could not afford to give her a Quinceañera, a Hispanic tradition celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday as a symbol of her coming-of-age. Then, Onix Morera, a family friend and founder of the nonprofit organization Talent Artistic Juvenile, thought of a way to help girls such as Addis: Creating a program to develop ...

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Laura Florio and Candlebox lead singer, Kevin Martin, talk to participants of Peanut Butter & Jelly Project following a feeding. (Photo by Christopher Salas / South Florida News Service)

PBandJ Project: Local Non-Profit Organization Feeds The Homeless In Downtown Fort Lauderdale

When Laura Florio, 33, and her husband, Micah Harris, 38, were at a local grocery store with a cart full of food for themselves, Florio decided she wanted to make a difference in the community.  She began filling the cart up with food for others: loaves of bread, bologna, cheese, two cases of water, mustard and mayo. Harris stopped his ...

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Nicole Mejia shows the proper form of stretching at the Chicago Stay Fit Within Tour in May 2015. (Photo courtesy of Prairie Production)

Founder returns home as Fit & Thick national tour concludes Saturday in Miami Beach

When Nicole Mejia, international model and fitness instructor, first launched her Fit & Thick tour around the United States a year-and-a-half ago, she had no idea where it was going to lead. “I never thought this was going to be my final tour stop,” said Mejia, 26. “Especially in my hometown, Miami.” Fit & Thick is an Instagram-inspired movement that ...

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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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Juan Pablo Hernandez, Saul Jaramillo and Sindy Arenas brainstorm ideas to enhance the DescribeMe app. (Photo by Daniela Rios / South Florida News Service)

Miami Developers create DrescribeMe app to allow users to rate each other 1 to 10

When Saul Jaramillo moved from Colombia to Miami 15 years ago, he couldn’t communicate well in English and came off as arrogant. But he was just timid because he couldn’t speak English fluently. “I have an accent, and I was embarrassed by it, so I wouldn’t talk to people in school. By the end of the semester, classmates told me ...

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