Celebrities, Abilities & Service Dogs – Oh My!

 

The Ability Explosion Luncheon and Simulation Event was huge success, even for homeless and service dogs alike. The mayor Philip Levine and the commissioners graciously participated in the event to bring awareness to the obstacles and challenges others face on a daily basis. Awareness and compassion bring change.

 

The day began with a Disability Simulation (DS2014) at the Commission Chambers. Public figures in the community, like celebrity film-star Steve Guttenberg the Miami Beach Mayor and commissioners were given the opportunity to experience what it is like to have a disability. For a few moments, some dawned thick masks, blocking all vision even in the bright Miami sunshine. Others sat in wheelchairs and wore ear muffs to block out all noise. Equipped with a red-tipped white cane, and a good deal of peer support, we set out to traverse the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and the streets of Miami Beach. Overall, the experience was revealing, rewarding and a tribute to those with disabilities who conquer the world everyday with their innumerable abilities.

 

Following the simulation, the event moved to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden where Ability Explosion presented the 2014 Biz-Ability Luncheon MC’d by CBS4 Rick Folbaum and featuring my close friend, film star Steve Guttenberg as the noted speaker. Several institutions and people were awarded for their monumental work in creating awareness and providing opportunities for those with disabilities. An excellent lunch was prepared by renowned Chef Michael Blum, and we were entertained by talented musicians, dancers from the local community and the paparazzi that lined the hall.

 

All in all, it was a wonderful day for everyone to celebrate our own unique abilities, and we look forward to the progress to come. See you at Ability Explosion 2015!

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Steve Guttenberg and Michael Blum

Great lunch, thanks Michael!

zukes gift bags

Zukes, what a great sponsor!

Steve Guttenberg and Ceci

Steve and Ceci

Zukes and Fun Paw Care Zukes and Fun Paw Care

Service dog miami guide dog

Chef Michael, how about a service doggie bag, eh?

Zukes gift bags and Fun Paw Care

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein and David New

3 handsome guys!

David New speaking in the commision chamber mayor Philip Levine speaking at the commission chambers

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein and Sabrina Cohen

Who’s that beautiful lady! A rose between 2 thorns.

Steve Guttenberg and Sabrina Cohen and singer

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein with blind fold on

Mayor Philip Levine poking me in the foot with his cane and Steve getting adjusted to their new environment.

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein and Philip Levine

I am really enjoying myself here!

Steve Guttenberg and Russell Hartstein walking

As we make our way out of the commission chamber.

Steve Guttenberg signing movies for the fans

Signing movies for the fans

Steve Guttenberg and Russell Hartstein feeling for braille on the elevator.

Feeling for braille on the elevator.

Steve Guttenberg and Russell Hartstein in elevator

Listening intently to the Lighthouse for the blind rep graciously explaining each detail.

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein with blindfold on.

Learning how to feel and rely on other senses to navigate the world

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein going down first flight of stairs blind.

Uh-Oh! Stairs look ominous!

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein, first step down the stairs

The first step is always the hardest. Steve didn’t kick butt on dancing with the stars for being uncoordinated!

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein receive excellent guidance from Lighthouse for the blind

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein receive excellent guidance from Lighthouse for the blind

Russell Hartstein whispering words of encouragment to Steve Guttenberg

Whispering sweet nothings and words of encouragement to my bud

Steve Guttenberg, signing autographs

Signing autographs and taking pictures, what a sport!

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein slow and steady wins the race

Slow and steady wins the race!

Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein and mayor philip levine

Cheering on Philip! Doing a great job!

Steve Guttenberg and Russell Hartstein posing for paparazzi

What a great day!

Commissioner Tobin and friends in wheel chairs

Edward Tobin and friends getting into the groove!

Commissioner Michael Grieco walking blindfolded

Commissioner Michael Grieco walking blindfolded

Steve and his adoring fans

Steve and his adoring fans

Fuel the love zukes gift bags

Fuel the love zukes!

Steve Guttenberg, David New, Russell Hartstein, Ceci and  fans in group picture

Winding down a great event!

Saphi, Davids gorgeous guide dog service dog

Thanks for the noms Russ!

Saphi David New's guide dog service dog

Don’t you even think about offering me your empty hand, Where’s my noms?! Please

Dancers at ability explosion with the orchestra in the background

Look, I’m a butterfly, or something.

Dancer photo bombing David talking with Steve guttenberg

Dancer photo bombing.

Rick Folbaum MC'ing

Rick Folbaum on the mike!

Singer at Ability Explosion

What a voice! Rocked the house.

Steve Guttenberg laughing at david news jokes.

David cracking jokes!

Steve Guttenberg and Russell Hartstein Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Wrapping up a great event!

David New and Rick Folbaum doing a raffle drawing.

and the winner is?

Saphi the service dog checking out the crowd

Don’t forget my noms, K?

Steve Guttenberg and Russell Hartstein talking guide dogs Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein feeling for the stairs Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein walking outside with blindfold Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein walking with blindfold on Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein with blindfolds off being filmed Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein talking service dogs David New, family and friends eating at ability explosion Dancer putting on a show at the lunch Steve Guttenberg speaking at Ability Explosion Steve Guttenberg, David New and Rick Folbaum Steve Guttenberg speaking with Sabrina Cohen's mom Ability Explosion Luncheon Miami Beach Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein and Alison Steve Guttenberg,Russell Hartstein and Sabrina Cohen Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein and Alison Stiegler Steve Guttenberg, and David New's parents Steve Guttenberg, Russell Hartstein and Sabrina Cohen Steve Guttenberg, and the FIU orchestra Steve Guttenberg, and art teacher fan

 

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