MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida organization is making a splash as they continue to help people with special needs spend a special day at the beach.
Those who take part in Sabrina’s Adaptive Beach Days are able to enjoy the sand and surf in ways they thought were out of reach for them. “I can’t always get this close to the water. It’s a beautiful summer day, and I wanted to come out here and enjoy it,” said participant David McCauley.
The biweekly event, organized by the Sabrina Cohen Foundation, is held every first and third Sunday on Miami Beach.
But the fun in the sun was a little sweeter this Sunday because it comes on the heels of a major victory. It’s the first one since the city commission voted 6-1 to build a recreation center to store equipment and provide services for people with mobility impairments to access the beach and the ocean.
The foundation will pay for the building on 53rd Street and Collins Avenue on city-owned land.
For Sabrina Cohen, this is just the latest chapter in a dream realized. “We started the program last summer, and the program has grown tremendously,” she said. “People are coming from all over Miami Beach and Dade County, and even tourists who are flying into town from Italy and Paris, Venezuela, so we’re really attracting an incredible demand for accessibility at the beach.”
“I think it’s something that puts us on the map as being an inclusive community, so I applaud her,” said participant Rosa Llaguno.
Cohen admitted there has been opposition from some residents, but she credited city officials and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine for their support from the beginning.
Whether you’re a participant or a volunteer, Cohen said, everyone’s help will make this program a continued success. “It’s gratifying and … you can see the immeasurable results. We’re changing people’s lives on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
And those whose days are brightened because of the program said they are infinitely grateful. “I feel privileged because I live down the street, and I can just jump on the bus and be here in 20 minutes,” said McCauley. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
The estimated cost for the facility and programs is estimated at $4.5 million. It will be built in a portion of a parking lot.
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