Recapping Last Week’s Ayudan Visits…
“Do you want to dance under the moonlight
Squeeze me, squeeze me baby all through the night
Do you want to dance?” – The Beach Boys
Last week was a busy week for us in Ayudanland. It all started on Wednesday, when team “Restore Miami” dusted off their dancing shoes and headed to the Little Havana Activities and Nutrition Center for a “Senior Prom.” This had to be one of the funnest events I’ve had a chance to be a part of. You could just see from the enormous grins on both the seniors and our team members that everyone was having a ball (pardon the pun). The team spent about an hour on the dance floor practicing their shimmies and shakes. They followed that up by raffling of some Marlins tickets and t-shirts to the eager patrons. Once the team wrapped up the raffle, they headed to the dinning room to serve their dance partners some chow. It was Arroz con Pollo for everyone and, boy, did it look tasty! All in all, this was a day everyone will remember and I can’t wait for our next Prom.
“C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me!” – The Cookie Monster
Thursday took us from the dance floor to the kitchen where team “Extra Innings” visited Easter Seals for some lessons in baking with their Culinary Arts High School. The Culinary Arts High School serves students ages 16 through 21 with Autism and other special needs. The students were the teachers in this role reversal and gave quite the lesson to boot. These kids can bake some unbelievable cookies. Watch out Betty Crocker, you have some competition coming your way!
The team also spent sometime in the classroom visiting with the younger students in Easter Seals’ Autism Elementary School. The group worked on lessons on drawing and coloring. When they wrapped up, they headed outdoors to catch some rays and play on the campus’ jungle gym. Billy the Marlin even came by to enjoy a little time on the slide.
“Hey, hey we’re the Monkees and people say we monkey around!” – The Monkees
On Friday, my team “Animal House” got the chance to visit somewhere only one of us had ever had the opportunity to visit before, Monkey Jungle. This place is a hidden gem here in South Florida and, if you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. This park is the home to over 30 species of primates and does an amazing job of making it an interactive experience for their patrons. We had the opportunity to visit the park’s Amazonian Rain Forest that is the home to some 125 Squirrel Monkeys that run freely throughout the forest.
While this park is thriving with life, there’s an unwelcome guest that’s ruining the party for all the monkeys. An invasive plant species called Air Potato has spread like wild-fire and is causing damage to the native plant species of the park. Here’s where we came in! Donning our blue shirts and equipped with some of the best trash bags and work gloves one could ask for, Animal House got busy weeding out the pesky Air Potato. Although we only had a couple of hours to comb through some 7 acres of forest we still managed to make enough of a dent where, hopefully, the staff at Monkey Jungle can start eradicating this pest.
Check out the slide show below to catch a glimpse into the life of an Ayudaneer!
Until next time, friends…