Here is an occasional review of my other doings. While my family, my job and my training take most of my time, I am pleased to say good things continue to happen in my community service world.
In foster care and related services, Our Kids of Miami-Dade, the lead agency for child welfare in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, continues to go from strength to strength. Although it has now been over three years since my term as Chairman of the Board ended and I got kicked upstairs to the Advisory Board, I try to stay connected behind the scenes. Our long time CEO Fran Allegra and today’s Board of Trustees are doing a marvelous job. Besides demonstrating strong day to day operation of a system of care that is responsible for approximately 4,000 children, Our Kids continues to win plaudits for the technology solutions it has pioneered to enable case managers to keep contact with and assist foster children. Our Kids has also led the state and probably the US in pioneering ways of keeping the medical and dental records of foster children complete and up to date so that doctors do not have to guess at what treatment has occurred in the past, whether the child is allergic to certain medicines and so forth.
A few months ago, the case that led to the privatization of child welfare in Florida and therefore the creation of Our Kids, came to a conclusion after more than 10 years in the judicial system. The guardian of then four year old Rilya Wilson, the child whose body was never found, was convicted of various crimes in connection with the disappearance. The guilty verdict led to a 55 year prison sentence. The outcome of the case and the progress engineered by Our Kids ensures that Rilya’s death was not in vain.
Meanwhile, the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) has reason to believe this could be a productive session of Congress as it relates to improving the energy security of the U.S. I’m sure many readers wonder whether a sane writer would include the words “Congress” and “productive session” in the same sentence. And you may be right in your skepticism. But we really do believe there is momentum for bipartisan legislation either this year or next.
The ESLC’s idea for an Energy Security Trust Fund would take a portion of the royalties from oil and gas drilling and devote them to research and development of renewable energy sources has caught the attention of President Obama as well as the Congress. He mentioned it in his State of the Union Address giving the ESLC credit for the idea, then raised it again in a subsequent speech. As a consequence, I was able to have a 10 second conversation on the topic with President Obama when he spoke at the Port of Miami at the end of March. I mentioned my participation on the ESLC and the Trust Fund idea. The President said “That is a good idea. Thank you.” I was very pleased to be able to have even this brief conversation with the President on behalf of our CEO Robbie Diamond, our co-Chairs Fred Smith (CEO of FedEx) and P.X. Kelley (former Marine Corps Commandant) and the other distinguished CEOs and retired four star Admirals and Generals on the ESLC.
Last but not least, on the concussion front, the ImPact computerized baseline testing is in place throughout Miami-Dade County’s public school athletic programs (contact sports). Over 15,000 students have been tested with the University of Miami’s sports medicine clinic providing follow up care to victims of concussions. Our family is incredibly proud that our son David who raised the money for this effort as well as being the voice and face of the effort to achieve concussion awareness and prevention legislation that led to passage of a Florida law last year is the recipient of the Spirit in Sport Award from the National Federation of High School Associations for Section 8 which is essentially the southeast U.S.
I would be more than happy to hear about the community service efforts of our readers. There is so much that needs to be done in so many areas. It is never too late to start helping.