5 Volunteer Groups Making South Florida A Better Place

The Miami area and other parts of the southernmost region of the Sunshine State may be gorgeous year-round, but they also face similar problems to the rest of the United States. Citizens have to deal with dwindling employment and educational opportunities, racial and gender inequity, and environmental and animal abuse. Fortunately, many non-profit organizations, such as the ones presented here in no particular order, are striving to improve life in southern Florida.

#1 in our overview is the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, an organization that works to bring together and empower the local Jewish community. Its campus, which covers over 100 acres, houses a variety of organizations and programs including preschools, day schools, cultural programs, low-income housing, and more. The Federation maintains a dialogue with people in government, supports Israel education and awareness, and convenes the community in times of crisis, celebration, and commemoration.

JFSPBC has annual campaign divisions such as Major Gifts, Women's Philanthropy, and Business & Professional Development. There's also the Young Adult Division, which engages in social leadership opportunities, and the Center for Jewish Philanthropy, which works on humanitarian projects such as food pantries and international aid. Additionally, the Federation can connect Jewish students to a fund that provides no-interest, no-fee education loans.

At #2 is The Barnacle Society. This volunteer non-profit, citizen-supported organization was created to generate public awareness and financial development for the preservation of The Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove, Miami. Throughout the year, the Society offers activities including concerts, theater performances, and outdoor film screenings on the lawn of the estate. Its efforts work to raise funds to maintain the house and grounds.

The Barnacle Historic State Park grounds serve as a gathering space for picnics, events, and parties. Activities include Cars & Cigars, held every Father's Day; the Bayou Bash, where guests can enjoy blues music, boiled crawfish, and bourbon tastings; and Woofstock, an annual event that features silly pet tricks, K9 officer demonstrations, dog adoption opportunities, and various costumed canines.

In the #3 spot is United Way of Miami‑Dade, which strives to build community by helping people care for one another. The group seeks a future in which children can learn and thrive, families are financially secure, and everyone is in good health. United Way's methods include research, investments in programs and initiatives, lobbying, and providing opportunities for people to engage in altruistic activities.

Among the organization's programs is ReadingPals, in which ordinary adults read to preschool-aged children. This project has a remote equivalent where participants read stories via video. Another remote volunteering opportunity allows citizens to send thank you letters to essential employees. In addition, United Way often collaborates with local restaurants, bars, and breweries to host events.

Our #4 is the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a private non-profit organization located in Miami. Founded in 1992, it is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of abused, neglected, and abandoned horses and other livestock. The organization educates the community about responsible ownership, and promotes the welfare of living creatures through local and national advocacy.

South Florida SPCA works in partnership with local law enforcement, who contact the group about cruelty and abandonment cases. The nonprofit seizes and provides care for those victims at its facility in Homestead, Florida. Healthy horses are then retrained and are sometimes able to be re-homed. Steeds that are available for adoption are visible on the SFSPCA website.

Finally, #5 on the list is the Fort Lauderdale-based Deliver the Dream. The group provides therapeutic programs to families facing a serious illness, crisis, or disability. Activities have included exercises, cooking demonstrations, parties, and workshops that teach crafts such as building a lava lamp or hand puppet. Through its offerings, Deliver the Dream aims to restore hope, strengthen relationships, and change perspectives to provide inspiration for the future.

The organization's programs include Family Fishing Day, which gives participants the opportunity to enjoy nature, fish together, and go on a scavenger hunt. Other programs include Canvas & Connections, which teaches young people to use the creative arts to express their thoughts and feelings, and Sports Spectacular, a partnership with local teams that provides hands-on activities for families.