The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The Linda Ray Intervention Center: From Conception to Celebration

The center has one goal in mind, one that will be made reality with Bridge for Peace’s contributions
Courtesy of Nathalie Schwart
A staff member at the Linda Ray Intervention Center teaches the children about music. He aspires to help them with their social and emotional development.

Annually hosted by Coral Gables Senior High’s International Baccalaureate Honor Society, Bridge for Peace is a fundraising affair, organized in an effort to raise money for a local beneficial cause. The Linda Ray Intervention Center will be the recipient of all proceeds raised at this year’s event. Through the efforts of junior Nathalie Schwartz, the center will be hosting a carnival with the money collected from the fundraiser. 

The Linda Ray Intervention Center, founded in 1993 at the University of Miami, is dedicated to supporting South Florida’s children and families in need. The necessity for such a facility was initially recognized by Wendall and Linda Ray, the creators of the Infants in Need nonprofit organization. Previously working for the Society of Abused Children, they recognized that there was very little interest in caring for abandoned infants in Miami-Dade County. 

Linda Ray approached the Department of Psychology at UM, aiming to create a center that would provide support and guidance for infants who had been born to drug addicted mothers. Ray met with Dr. Keith Scott, a professor at the UM Department of Psychology, to discuss the children’s center and its potential programs. Scott informed her that his staff was currently working on a study of infants who had been prenatally exposed to crack cocaine. 

“The decision to support this organization is a great idea. With the money from Bridge for Peace, kids who haven’t had the opportunity to normally learn like others will have new doors opened to them. The funds will help support the center and allow them to provide the children with a fun, interactive learning experience,” sophomore David Santamaria said.

Closely aligning with Ray’s goal of creating a safe environment for infants, Scott and Ray only lacked a facility to house the program and gain funding for it. As they started to design the building, they presented their ideas to the Miami-Dade County School Board. Many months later, they were able to gain financial support for the facility. With basic funding set in place, the center was officially inaugurated in 1993 on the UM campus. 

Children at the Linda Ray Intervention Center are able to play and learn at the playground available to them. (Courtesy of Nathalie Schwart)

Ever since the doors of the center opened, it has been dedicated to providing daily intervention services for infants and young children with developmental delays. The center’s highly-trained professionals, including the executive director Isabel Chica, provide diagnostic evaluation, consultation, technical assistance and training to families and teachers concerning youth with complex disabilities. 

As a Multidisciplinary Educational Service Center, we bring a unique targeted approach to the mechanisms of support, service delivery, training and dissemination of information to reach the most vulnerable, hardest-to-reach students and their families. Our center offers a myriad of programs and services developed to impact families’ access to resources and direct services,” executive director Chica said. 

The center is also closely associated with the Florida Department of Education Strategic Performance Plan, which focuses on preparing students with disabilities for high academic achievement. Children enrolled in the program are given the opportunity to learn and grow, preparing them for a life outside of the center. The ultimate goal is to help families visualize a brighter future for their children. 

“The Linda Ray Intervention Center is definitely a worthwhile organization to support. It creates a profound impact on all of the children who are under its care. While deciding which organization to donate to, it was obvious to choose this one, as it was touching to learn about the center’s goal to change the lives of disabled children,” junior Sebastian Lopez said.

The Linda Ray Intervention Center educates children through coloring activities, music and reading. (Courtesy of Nathalie Schwart)

As an active volunteer at the Linda Ray Intervention Center since she was in sixth grade, Schwart is now driven to provide children with developmental issues a place to call home. With the funds collected from this year’s Bridge for Peace, her plans for the carnival include creating an enjoyable event for the center’s kids, while also informing parents about available health care.

“I’m organizing a carnival for care. My goal is to supply families with health care resources, but also make it a memorable and pleasant experience. All families will be provided with care packages full of first aid equipment. There will also be two trucks, one for cancer and one for pediatrics. The cancer truck will screen parents for any kind of cancer, helping them if any are found. The pediatrics truck will arrange check-ups and vaccinations for the babies,” junior Schwart said. 

Schwart has high hopes for the carnival, as she also wants to include food, music, face painting, educational games, fair rides and a photo booth for all families to enjoy free of charge. A cancer screening truck and pediatric mobile clinic will be provided by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UM, a program that aspires to reduce the human burden of cancer through research, education, prevention and the delivery of quality patient care. With this vision for the carnival, Schwart estimates that the carnival with cost about $5,000.

“The money raised will allow us to then organize a carnival for the kids, an undoubtedly unforgettable memory for them. Unfortunately, many of these kids come from underprivileged backgrounds and do not have the resources many of us had growing up, whether it be toys or experiences like family vacations. We hope to bring a fun carnival to these kids, equipped with music, games and other entertainment to help lift their spirits and join our two causes,” senior Carolina Castro said.

Students who attend the Bridge For Peace event on Feb. 15 will contribute time and money to the club and center’s joint cause. The children and families at the Linda Ray Intervention Center will benefit from the work done by IBHS and its volunteers, as it sees its carnival completed in the upcoming future.

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About the Contributor
Kate Kuryla, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Kate Kuryla is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program who is excited to return to Cavsconnect for her second year as a staff writer. Aiming to improve since her previous year as a freshman, Kuryla is entering sophomore year with a new mindset. This past summer she was rarely home, as she was traveling to Scandinavia, Turkey and Italy. She definitely came back from her trip part Italian. She loves to try all kinds of food and listen to all types of music, but her favorite artist has to be Lana Del Rey. She hopes that maybe one day Del Rey will come to Miami on tour. When Kate is not doing schoolwork or with her friends and family, you can find her curled up in bed sleeping. She dreams of moving to New York City one day and have a cat to keep her company. Kate does not know what she will major in yet, but she believes it will be either in the medical field or law studies. She’s very indecisive. Hopefully sophomore year will guide her on the right path to success.

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