The Voice: the e-newsletter of the Human Services Coalition
Issue 2
November 24, 2009
in this issue
PLTI grad starts ESE Connection
Give thanks by giving back
IM Changemaker Conference
Follow the money
Obama signs compensation bill
Dade Delegation
Job opening at HSC
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Institute inspires community leadership

In January 2010, the Parent Leadership Training Institute will begin its third 22-week class on leadership, community advocacy and public policy. Since 2008, 50 community members have participated in the intensive PLTI class, emerging as well-qualified and engaged child advocates. Recent graduates have become PTA presidents or are running for public office. If you want to shape your community  and play a role in the decisions affecting your family, apply for PLTI!
HSC alumna launches soccer team
PLTI grad starts support group for special needs families
ESE Connection, a support group for parents and caretakers of special needs children
When Karla Sobenes's son, Enrico, was diagnosed with low functioning Autism, she began to realize that she would not only be a mother to him, but also, "his advocate." Karla's mother, Marbel, also wanted to fight for a better quality of life for her grandson and all children with special needs.

Marbel signed up for the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) and graduated with the class of 2008. When Marbel joined PLTI, she and Karla had an idea: they wanted to start a support group for parents with special needs children. While navigating the school system to ensure that Enrico was placed in the right classroom, Karla realized parents going through similar experiences could benefit from guidance and camaraderie. While they were eager to get their program off the ground, "the problem was that we had no idea how," Marbel said. "Now we are equipped with the tools to...implement the program we always wanted to."

Karla and Marbel launched the ESE Connection in September 2008, and they are now considering merging with two other PLTI graduates' project, which aims to bring fathers and sons with disabilities to events where they can enjoy time together as a family.

"Without PLTI," Marbel said, "we could not have made this connection or even begun planning for our program."
Turkey Day!Give thanks by giving back

The holiday season is a time for giving thanks for our blessings and sharing gifts with others. Help make a difference by giving to the Human Services Coaltion. You can do this in three ways:
            1. Give online 
            2. Mail a check to:
                        Human Services Coalition
                        Attn: Gifts
                        260 NE 17th Terrace, Suite 200
                        Miami, FL 33132
            3. Bid on items in our online auction 
Double your impact! An anonymous donor has agreed to match all donations made between now and December 31, 2009.
Imagine Miami elicits conversations of change, action

Panel discussionMore than 150 participants in the November Imagine Miami Changemaker Conference heard from experts on racial equity, taxes, healthcare and education--all within the context of financial accountability.

Each presenter and participant had a suggestion about how to bring about change. El Nuevo Herald's Manny Diaz, a member of the panel, said, "We must demand accountability" from our elected officials. County Commissioner Katy Sorenson told the crowd to consider running for office.  Read more.
Be sure to check out our website's resources page, which has helpful links and information, such as our advocacy toolkit.
HSC 'follows the money' after Changemaker Conference

In the wake of the third Imagine Miami Changemaker Conference, we at HSC are considering how Miami-Dade residents can better demand accountability from their elected officials.

As we saw during the summer's budget hearings, politicians often require pressure to heed constituents' wishes. We want to provide veteran and novice advocates alike with the tools to become more strategic about targeting officials. In understanding politicians, it is usually best to follow the money.

HSC will host "Follow the Money," a seminar led by Edwin Bender, on Tuesday, December 8 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Bender is Executive Director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which has developed online tools and databases for tracking campaign donations, lobbyist funds and stimulus money. Seminar participants will learn how to use these tools and effectively apply them to advocacy. Please RSVP through our Socializr page by December 1. Please mention any pertinent issues you are eager to learn more about so that we can tailor the workshop accordingly.
Whose money is behind political campaigns? take our quiz
  1. Which out-of-state organization contributed $350,000 to the Florida Democratic Party in 2008?
  2. Which two groups' combined donations represented almost half of the money raised for the Save Our Homes ballot initiative? 
  3. How many lobbyists did US Sugar Corp. employ in Florida in 2009?
  4. Which industry contributed the most money to campaigns in Florida in 2008?
 See answers.

*Information provided by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Imagine MiamiObama signs Worker, Homeowner & Business Assistance Act

On Friday, November 6, President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 into law.  This law provides up to twenty additional weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation for thousands of Floridians who have exhausted all benefits or will by the end of the year.  The law is effective for weeks of unemployment beginning November 8, 2009.  

The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) notes "... their top priority is paying our eligible customers as quickly as possible and we will begin making payments within 4 to 6 weeks."   Some recipients will automatically be eligible for the extension; those who need to file applications will receive instructions.
AWI will post regular updates on unemployment compensation to their web site at the following address 
AWI staff can also be reached at 1-800-204-2418 to assist individuals who have specific questions about unemployment compensation.
Dade Delegation gives public chance to voice concerns

Twenty-five state legislators from Miami-Dade County will attend the Dade Delegation Public Hearing on December 2 at the Stephen P. Clark Center , 111 NW 1 St.

Community members are invited to speak about any issue of concern. Those interested in speaking must submit an application. Contact
Delegation Coordinator Alex Dominguez at or (786) 473-1686 for more information.
Imagine Miami Director opening effective January 2010

HSC seeks creative, experienced and passionate individual to oversee design and management of Imagine Miami, an initiative of the Human Services Coalition, comprised of online civic networking, quarterly seminars and twice annual conferences. Duties include: web design and composition; management of growing online civic network; oversight of organizational collaterals and online advocacy tools; development and delivery of related training materials. BA degree required, with advanced education preferred with minimum two years of related experience. Skills: proficiency in various software programs, editing, web design, project management; excellent oral and written communications skills; community relations, facilitation and training background; demonstrated success in messaging and marketing. Must be resourceful, agile, collaborative, compassionate and open. Bilingual English/Spanish or English/Creole preferred. Salary commensurate with skill. HSC is an equal opportunity employer.
Contact Paola Pierre at 
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