Lexie Murray has been a UNF intern for the past few months. She visited New Heights to check out the Fiesta Fridays project and interview the volunteers who serve there. Thank you Lexie, for all of your assistance with telling the stories of people who are making a difference in our community!
Fiesta Fridays just sounds like a great time. Well at New Heights, a nonprofit organization in Jacksonville providing services to infants and adults with disabilities, it’s definitely a time for individuals in the program to have fun letting their creative side out.
Michelle Smith, instructor and supervisor at New Heights, had nothing but good things to say about the program that HandsOn Jacksonville started hosting several years ago. On the second and fourth Fridays of each month, volunteers come out to give individuals with disabilities an afternoon filled with fun activities such as arts and crafts, painting and socializing.
“The ability to make a difference and help people achieve goals that we take for granted” was Smith’s response when asked why she loved working at New Heights. You could tell by watching her interact with the program participants she meant it.
HandsOn Jacksonville project leader, Edvina Palislamovic, comes monthly to help put on the event. While helping a girl put together a paper flower with a smiley face, the craft of the day, she said she enjoys seeing the participants have a good time because each one of them is sweet and special.
New Heights has been providing services to people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome for more than 60 years. They love their partnership with HandsOn Jacksonville and hope to find more volunteers like Edvina and Anna Tapia to help out and lead Fiesta Fridays. To come out and fiesta with New Heights, just visit handsonjacksonville.org.