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The Miami Power Team Foundation
It was late1994, Yoandra had just turned 5. She, along with her brothers Michael (7), and Giovanni Sánchez (9) visited a young man who had lost all of his mobility due to an automobile accident, and in result became quadriplegic. The three brothers were still in Elementary school and held green belts in karate at the time. Edward “Eddy” Velázquez had recently graduated from Sunset High School and after the devastating accident could not recognize anyone, lost most of his memory and suddenly remained without friends. On January 29, 1995, the three brothers promised to visit their new friend several times a month. The Sánchez brothers, together with their parents Jacqueline and Miguel Sánchez, visited their new friend Eddy almost every weekend throughout the year 1995.
Little by little, Yoandra, Michael and Giovanni, who gave Eddy demonstrations of karate, helped to move Eddy’s hands and legs, and showed him attention and affection, saw the results of their caring and loving efforts.
Every time the Sánchez kids said their goodbyes after their visit, Michael would say his name, “
On another day he moved one hand, then on another day moved the other hand. One day, he took the spoon and began to eat alone by himself. One day he uttered Michael’s name more clearly. Next, he took the hands of the three siblings and parents and kissed them, as if he was saying thank you!
As Eddy progressed, and on a day while Michael and Giovanni were moving one of their legs, to the surprise of all, he moved the leg that was supposed to be amputated at Jackson Memorial Hospital in days to come.
The happiness felt by Mrs. Daysi Velazquez, Eddy’s mother, was so large that the news of this work spread all around. Doctors were pushed to accept Eddy in the therapies offered by the Baptist Hospital, since they had previously classified him as beyond saving, and it was not possible for his insurance to cover him. But this time Eddy had begun to respond. A mother like Daysi would not, in a million years, take no for an answer!
In the same therapy session, she gave the telephone number of Miguel Sanchez to several other mothers who, like her, had children with physical disabilities. Mr. Sanchez joyfully agreed to Daysi’s request, who had asked for permission to give his telephone number to other mothers who were desperate for help.
The satisfaction of having achieved something impossible with Eddy and visiting seven other children with physical disabilities during 1996, gave the Sánchez family the push needed to institute the Miami Power Team Foundation, in October of the same year.
From 1995 to 2000, the three brothers and their parents devoted themselves to this loving work almost every weekend, month by month, year after year. They devoted themselves in body and soul to bring smiles and hope to the lives of hundreds of children with different disabilities and terminal illnesses, and helping them became the
They visited their new friends at home to play, talk to them, read them books, make karate demonstrations, show them magic tricks. When their friends were sick at hospitals, they made sure to visit them. The newly-founded organization set up outdoor activities such as baseball games, fishing trips, and horseback and pony rides.
Indoors, they celebrated and hosted their friends’ birthdays, Thanksgiving dinners, Toy Drives during Christmastime, self-defense karate courses, basketball, bowling, tennis, roller-skating, painting classes, playing with animals, art fairs on the street. They visited theaters, went to the movies, participated in parades (such as the Three Kings Parade, in Miami), organized parties in the streets to meet and greet and find friends, amongst many other activities.
During this time in 1996, Mr. Miguel
Ramón González was the first inductee, being part of the team from 1996 to 1999. Melanie Rodríguez and Raymond Varela participated from 1997 to 1999, and José A. Torres was also part of the team during 1996 to 1997 – these were the first children to join the founding siblings Yoandra, Michael, and Giovanni Sanchez. They all gave many hours of community service, and their dedication and selfless acts of kindness have been vital to this work. The support and enthusiasm of the parents of the first members of our team are very significant to us, and we hold their work very dearly.
Ramon, Melanie, Raymond, and José, together with the siblings Yoandra, Michael and Giovanni also left, during their time of service for the Miami Power Team, the legacy of their values: fellowship and of their commitment to humanity. Other children throughout the world have followed the lead and example of all members of the Miami Power Team Foundation.
Between 1999 and 2015, the Miami Power Team increased the amount of activities scheduled for the children. Every month visits are made to specific children, emphasizing and giving priority to children with terminal illnesses. We have continued doing the same activities we did back in the 90s – now in our new offices, farms that are lent to us by our generous friends, and banquet halls paid for by our sponsors. In 2016, the Miami Power Team completed 21 years of community service helping more than 2,500 children with cancer, autism, Down syndrome, physical and visual impairments, and children with terminal illnesses.
The Miami Power Team Foundation ensures that all children with disabilities and terminal illnesses feel accepted and included in the society we all share, without feeling different. Providing them with long lasting memories that will remain for the rest of their lives, as the children participate in fun activities that have been impossible to achieve before due to their disabilities, is our goal.
We make our children’s dreams a reality by eliminating obstacles to the achievement of these dreams, giving the Miami Power Team children a reason to be happy and conquer their dreams.
The Miami Power Team Foundation gives the terminally ill children who battle health issues that threaten their lives an opportunity to receive happiness, and at the same time ensures that children with disabilities and terminal illness have a fair chance in life.
Our cause also transforms the life of our volunteers helping them to become better citizens. An important part of our cause is to spread and raise awareness among the public and the world to support children with disabilities.
We strive to be the best friend for those children who need a helping hand by providing emotional support and human warmth. Bringing them happiness so that, even if for a moment, they forget their limitations and achieve their dreams. So their parents, at least for a while, live the excitement of seeing their children happy and surrounded by friends.
The work of the Miami Power Team was and is to bring joy to sad faces, faces with dreams and desires of enjoying their childhood. As in occasion has been done and continues to be done: we find friends to those children who had no one to play with, who have no friends on the block or do not know each other. Knocking doors to all the neighbors asking them so that their children would greet our special friends; so the children of the neighborhood will make a commitment that they will not make fun and bully them. We work to Include the MPT children them in their peers’ games, and from then on, when they see their school bus, raise their hands and salute them. Many children on the block would then come to meet the special children, talk, play and even give them toys at Christmas; some invited them to their birthdays, too!
We do a mini fair where volunteers and Guardian Angels are invited: musicians, clowns, magicians, and Pizza Hut brings them hot pizza every hour. The neighbors will bring a typical dish and is shared on a table –life also changes for them from this day and onwards.
Many children in wheelchairs, who had never played baseball before because of their challenges, have been able to enjoy the excitement of a baseball game. How would they hit a ball? What if they try to do so? Or how would they run? Our friend, The Miami Power Team volunteer who was placed behind the chair would push them. Next to the special friend, they tied the four hands together, hugging the bat until the ball came out of the chair like a bullet. Then came the magic, the child ran in his wheelchair pushed by his friend, who made him reach the bases, and together, conquered runs.
Roller skating would also be a dream for our children, and how to achieve it without using legs, and skates? Again, the friend of the Miami Power Team was pushing them with their skates, and this time made them feel as if they’re flying through the sky.
And so every year, with friends like these, many dreams and old, long-gone hopes are made true.
The Miami Power Team Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, devoted to the noble cause of giving hope and extending a helping hand to children who are terminally ill, have cancer, and children with disabilities, including children who have autism, Down syndrome, physical impairments and visual impairments. Its founders, Directors receive no salaries and no compensation, have been working volunteers since 1995, and for 18 years without bank account.
Finally in 2016, after many years running out of the Sanchez’s home, the Miami Power Team Foundation opened its own offices and a bank account, and instituted a Directors and Advisory board. Its founders and directors continue to steer the organization voluntarily, without receiving any compensation – their only form of payment is the smiles and embrace of their children and their children’s families. The Miami Power Team is allied with the Miami Dade College, Florida International University (FIU), and the University of Miami (UM), and continues to receive the support and recognition of notable government and private entities.
Today, the Miami power Team Foundation has the goal of buying a piece of land and make it a paradise for the special children and their families. A place to have fun, where they will find mental, physical and spiritual relaxation. An atmosphere of peace, harmony, and human warmth to nourish their soul and life where, at least for a few hours, children with different disabilities and terminal illnesses will be able to ease their pain. A natural environment, so that children with special needs will have their own place, where their dreams will come true. Now we ask of you, help us conquer this dream!