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Amigos for Kids Helps Spread Awareness in the Neverending Battle Against Child Abuse

By Elisha Neubauer

The story of Amigos for Kids is both beautiful and devastating. A non-profit organization, Amigos for Kids is on a mission to prevent child abuse and neglect through community education and partnerships. While the organization itself is heartwarming, the need for such an organization is distressing, albeit a harsh reality that South Florida has been facing for many years.

The Miami group was started in 1991. Originally a group of close friends that had been volunteering across the county, they were approached by the Children's Home Society to form an auxiliary group. Once agreed, the auxiliary group, named Amigos of Children's Home Society, was tasked with creating awareness and drumming up local support in the Hispanic community of South Florida.

Within a year, the project grew beyond expectations as the numbers of disadvantaged children grew exponentially. To help the community cope with such disheartening growth, the group separated from the Children's Home Society, becoming its own independent non-profit organization. Several years later, in 2008, they joined forces with the National Council of La Raza, which has been named the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

"As an affiliate of NCLR, we've had years of opportunities to provide capacity building for our staff and information relevant to matters that define our mission," states Rosa Maria Plasencia, President and CEO of Amigos for Kids. "It has provided us a nationwide network of affiliates, experts in their field, all of which allow us to better serve the children and families in our community."

Amigos for Kids strives to reach out to the community in many ways. They host events such as the José Martí Park After-School Program, Amigos Strengthens Families & Communities Program, Amigos For Kids® Blue Ribbon Campaign, Family Fair Day, Back to School Drive, a Holiday Toy Drive, and Miami Celebrity Domino Night. These events, all popular in their own right, are ways that help Amigos for Kids strike up the necessary conversations, educate the public, and ensure strengthened family units in the community.

"The organization's most recent 24th annual toy drive made thousands of specific wishes come true, and we are grateful for the support of our donors and our eighth year presenting sponsor Ford Motor Company Fund," says Plasencia. "And the Amigos for Kids' 2015 Domino Night was a tremendous success with over 1600 in attendance and fundraising over $300,000."

While these events are impressive, Plasencia says they are most proud of receiving The Children's Trust 2015 Program of the Year Award. The Award is given to a multitude of individuals and agencies of varied sizes for their "Exceptional expertise and extraordinary commitment to improve the lives of children in Miami-Dade County."

Amigos for Kids' Strengthens Families and Communities Program was selected from their line-up to win this prestigious award from this respectable organization. The recognized program is a serious of workshops which is aimed at educating and supporting families in order to foster a favorable home environment. "The Amigos Strengthens Families & Communities Program, a program for parenting, impacts the lives of more than 150 families and 200 children each year," says Plasencia.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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