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Public Safety

The stairway to Nuevo Caminar’s meetings displays the 12 steps to recovery. This one says ‘esperanza,’ which means ‘hope.’ (Photo Hellen Rivas / South Florida News Service)

Nuevo Caminar in Hialeah offers free help for overcoming addictions

When Jose Velasco, an alcoholic, looked for help, he was consuming a bottle of whiskey per day. He drank while working as a carpenter and got fired. “You see that nobody likes you, that they distance themselves from you because you are an undesirable person,” Velasco said. He fell into depression. “I started to look for a way to commit ...

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A group of Broward County high school student developed a safety kit. (Photo by Adrianne Richardson/SFNS)

Broward County high schoolers develop kit to improve driver safety

As a full-time mother who’s always on the go, Wynne Avellanet said she’s not always prepared for unexpected emergencies while driving. But recently, when her 8-year-old son, Noah, suffered from a bad nose bleed on the way to school, she was able to stop the bleeding. “My son suffers from chronic nose bleeds, and we’ve often been caught in situations ...

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Danny Hayoun, guitar mentor, shows students the different styles of guitars and basic notes. (Photo by Ricardo Montalvan, South Florida News Service)

Guitars Over Guns mentoring program helps kids express themselves through the arts

When Finest Meridor was 11 years old, he was reserved and felt like he had nothing to do during his free time. Now 18, Meridor is a member of the drama club and vice president of the engineering club at North Miami High School, and handles music production of a band that performs at ArtWalk in Wynwood. Meridor said he ...

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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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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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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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Silvia Vanni plays with Daniella Collazo as she carries her puppy, Olaf, named after the snowman character in her favorite Disney movie, Frozen. (Photo courtesy of Silvia Vanni)

Germ-free playground will help 2 year-old cancer patient thrive

As children walked through the lobby of Miami Children’s Hospital last month, 2-year-old Daniella Collazo greeted them with a smile and a wave. “It’s OK. You’ll be OK,” she said to the passing children. About a year earlier, Daniella had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma stage III cancer, a type of cancer that develops in the nerve tissue with a high ...

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Alexander Gonzalez, 27, from Hialeah plays the character Oliver in front of the chorus during a performance of Oliver Button is a Sissy, a musical meant to teach kids about bullying, by The Miami Gay Men’s Chorus at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Coral Gables on Feb. 25. (Photo by Chris Curto / Miami Herald)

Miami Gay Chorus performance to highlight bullying

When Raul Morin was 15, he sat in front of the class jock in school, “the wrestler, football player, big, beefy guy,” who bullied him for being gay. “I was the class nerd, the closeted white elephant no one could talk about,” said Morin, now 33. The bully would write the word “fag” on the back of his shirt, in ...

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