Every other Sunday Coral Gables High senior James Ziv takes part in Friendship Miami where he helps special needs children develop their sensory skills through different activities.
“I started doing this in 10th grade,” Ziv said, adding that this year he is president of the organization. “Each volunteer has a specific child. They work with that child. It develops a friendship between the two. We do different actives such as yoga, karate and cooking.”
He said the program not only helps the children, but it also gives the parents a break from dealing with their special needs kids.
As president, he helps organize the events including social sessions for the volunteers.
“We have different sessions, where we can get in someone who has great knowledge in this area,” Ziv said. “Some of the volunteers aren’t really familiar with special needs children, so the people we bring in can teach them how to deal with when a child gets angry and how to calm them down.”
At Gables, Ziv is the business manager of Highlights, the school newspaper.
“I have to manage the advertisements. I manage the funds and I have to pay for the paper with the funds,” Ziv said. “Our high school paper is pretty amazing. It’s as close you can get to an actual newspaper company. We are completely student generated.”
He is a member of the National Honor Society and the treasurer of Interact. Ziv said Interact gives students the opportunity to participate in a number of events each weekend that help the community. The Gables Interact Club is very involved in the caroling competition in downtown Coral Gables during the holiday season.
“We do various events at the school for fundraising. We generate our own funds. We donate the money to different causes,” he said.
Next year, Ziv will attend the University of Florida where he plans to study finance.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld