For the eleventh consecutive year, Belen Jesuit students will host a ‘fun day’ for 150 children ages 3-12 with Autism and other disabilities on Friday, October 20 from 8 a.m. - noon.
The day will begin with the Belen students hearing a presentation regarding Autism at 8 a.m. “Our students start the day very apprehensive but then find that the kids are a lot of fun,” said Olga Ramon, Mathematics teacher at Belen and event coordinator. “They learn techniques to better interact with the children and they learn a little compassion, patience and understanding for these kids.”
The activities will begin at 9 a.m. when the students from Blue Lakes Elementary School arrive at the Belen gymnasium. Among the activities scheduled are finger painting, basketball, hula-hoops, etc. All activities will conclude by noon.
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School is located at 500 SW 127 Avenue in Miami.
“This day is special for a number of reasons. For one, this event is held on a day when the school is closed so all the students participating from Belen are doing this as volunteers,” said Ms. Ramon. “Secondly, this event gives our students the opportunity to give back and to have fun all while bringing a smile to child with a disability.”
“Our students always do a great job of playing with the Blue Lakes students and making them feel at home,” said Jose E. Roca, principal. “Three hundred student volunteers plus faculty and staff help to ensure that things go smoothly. At the end of the day it is always uplifting to hear how much our students got out of the day and to see them exemplifying our motto of being men for others.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1 in 110 American children is on the autism spectrum — a 600 percent increase in prevalence over the past two decades. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined.
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline. In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.