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Amigos For Kids

Amigos for Kids was created in 1991 with a simple purpose, to raise awareness of child abuse prevention and to help children and families in need. Amigos has created several avenues to reach these initiatives such as, the José Martí park after school program, which focuses on helping inner city children with scholastic assistance to which they have 100 children enrolled. Amigos strengthens families and communities by providing education to families on the philosophy of nurturing, to strengthen the bond between parent and child. Amigos has a plethora of programs that all have an array of benefits for families in the community.

One program in particular that stood out to the BV305 was the Amigos for Kids holiday toy drive. Christmas always makes most people want to give, wether it be gift giving or charitable donations. The ideology of the “Christmas spirit” changes people’s perspective, and encourages them to do what is taught to us as children, and that’s the simple act of sharing or giving. The holiday season brings people together, making them more aware, more courteous, and more joyful overall. When you think of Christmas, most people think of seeing the joy on a loved one’s face when you give them the perfect gift. The Amigos toy drive would give families, who otherwise would not be have the blessing to give, an opportunity to fulfill their Christmas

Unknown to the community, there are a staggering number of families who will go without Christmas all across the country this year, but in Miami, a good portion of those families will have a reason to celebrate through the combined efforts of Amigos for Kids and the Bearded Villains Miami chapter. Roughly three years ago, BV305 would attend their first event with Amigos for Kids with just a few members at that time, and would find themselves serving a purpose far greater than they imagined.

Early morning on Saturday, December 16th, the brothers from BV305 gathered in the parking lot waiting to be let into the building, so they can get to work. The sense of eagerness and excitement was thrumming throughout, and apparent in everyone’s faces. The Miami chapter bolsters over 40 members currently, and more than half of them attending, ready to change Christmas for every family they could. On one side of the room, volunteers and staff, and on the other, stood the brotherhood. When given the nod to get started, the villains jumped into action moving together and assisting like a fine tuned machine, accomplishing the task at hand of loading two trucks with toys way ahead of schedule. The day was filled with memories, laughter, some sweat and maybe even a tear or two. One thing is for sure, the Amigos for Kids and the Bearded Villains Miami Chapter will be making sure that families in their community do not miss out on the joys of Christmas.

Written by: John Banks IG: @bearded_superman

Edited By: Javier Vasallo IG: @Pride55

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Happy Thanksgiving

Cold wind. Salt water splashing against your face. The temperature is dropping. And for several people around you, disease and the rough seas are beginning to get the best of them. It’s a 66 day long trip. A 1,584 hour long journey from Plymouth, England to the new world. The world of promise, of wonder. The

world where any man or woman can practice any religion, or own their own land. But oh, were those 66 days hard. Around you sails get filled with the winds of the life you’ve left behind, in hopes for something more.

That’s the perspective of one of the (widely known as) Pilgrims. The group of settlers that left England on the Mayflower to make anchor in the shores of what is now cape cod. (far more north than their expected target of the Hudson River). The winter came hard for those settlers. With most of the crew opting to stay on board the ship instead of exploring and settling the new world before them. Throughout that winter, out of the 103 passengers; half passed on by either disease, exposure or scurvy (yes, scurvy is a real thing).

When the spring New England sun rose for the first time that year, the remaining settlers made their way to shore. Upon arriving, a neighboring member of the Abenaki tribe greeted the settlers. That same native American introduced the settlers to Squanto. Squanto was a member of the Pawtucket tribe. He was kidnapped by an English sea captain. Sold off to slavery. Escaped his slavers. And had found safe return to his home land.

Squanto taught the now weak from malnutrition pilgrims the ways of the land. How grow crops, extract sap from trees, and catch catfish. As well as how to avoid poisonous plants. Among all these things he helped the pilgrims form an alliance with the local Wampanoag tribe.

After the pilgrims first successful harvest, governor William Bradford organized a meal that lasted three days and included the native tribe.

It wasn’t until 1863 where Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday (at the behest of writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”). Set to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. It was celebrated on the day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. So it has been ever since.

Thanksgiving was and is a time to gather around with the people you love. Give thanks to the things you have. Spend time as a group. And appreciate each other. So from our family to yours. Happy Thanksgiving from BV305.en two groups that plan on serving their community for a very long time.

Written by: Victor Fonseca

Edited by: Javier Vasallo

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Boys and Girls Award

When it comes to community and charity, you would probably get the same answer from every BV chapter if you ask why they do it. “We don’t do what we do for recognition or rewards, we do it because we care about our community, we do it to inspire others to do the same.” The Bearded Villains as a whole, has grown tremendously in their charitable efforts. Teaching their communities about getting involved and giving forth.

On November 1st The Bearded Villains Miami Chapter were invited to a dinner and award ceremony put on by the Boys and Girls Club, for their work in the keys a few months before. (See blog entry Big Pine Key) The room was filled with lots of important people who have spent more than a lifetime aiding the children of south Florida. There was a genuine interest by all who were in attendance as to “who those bearded guys were”.

Countless awards for service were given out that night. Many people had earned acknowledgement from their staff and management. It wasn’t long before the BV305 was introduced, to receive their award for “distinguished service”. As they were called up to the front of the room, each brother looking around in a combination of surprise and pride, headed up to the front of the room to the applause of the crowd.

As the night carried on with dinner, drinks, speeches, and laughs, those in attendance seemed to gravitate to the BV305 side of the room to exchange praise and thanks. All had a genuine interest in meeting the guys, and learn a little more about what they represent. On this night, something happened that was bigger than any award possible, a bond was created between two groups that plan on serving their community for a very long time.

Written by: John Banks

Edited by: Javier Vasallo

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Miami Night

When someone is showing their might, we often times think of feats of strength. In the Body Building world it may be lifting heavy, for powerlifting it may be in attaining a large total weight, CrossFit may be crushing a WOD, and in Strongman it could be winning a local competition. To Matt Kunkle, it represents something else. It is empowering yourself to achieve goals despite whatever your obstacle.

On November 4th, the “Miami Might” event was put on to showcase all these different lifting styles, for all walks of life and with one intention in mind. To bring a community of lifters together and give back to the city. As we all know, when it comes to their community, BV305 are first in line to make an impact.

The day was filled with electricity in the air that could not be denied. As you walked through Elite U, one could tell there was genuine excitement in the room. To be a part of something bigger than the best lift, or the highest total. Competitors were there to make an impact in the community they had become familiar with from other Miami Might events and local gyms. Miami Might showcased many different athletes that day, but there was a focus on two special groups, the Adaptive Athletes and the Special Needs lifters.

The showcase of strength and the ability to overcome adversity was absolutely breathtaking. The special athletes were probably the biggest draw amongst all of those present. Each lift performed by each athlete made the crowd roar louder and louder, surging further with each rep. During the transition of lifts, you could find people outside spectating the Battle Axe gyms incredible athletes putting on a show for the crowd, as they demonstrated different lifts and techniques for Strongman.

This day had everything, fun, family, friends, PRs and fails with everyone enjoying every moment. The highlight of the day, was the moment shared when Matt presented the award for best lifter from last years event, to the parents of Joey Vega, which from this point forward would be named after him, due to his unfortunate and untimely passing earlier this year. Joey had competed last year in Miami Might and instantly impacted Matt’s life forever. After a brief story about their interaction, a moment filled with laughs and some tears, it was clear why Matt made the choice to name this award after Joey.

The Bearded Villains Miami chapter didn’t just sponsor and donate to the event though, thats just to simple to fulfill their passion for the cause, they also threw some brothers to the wolves, by having entered both Jamo and Chiko into the competition. For these two brothers, charity and properly representing the club go hand in hand. Jamo took first in his weight class, while Chikos last minute availability, allowed him to enter, and was able to produce a very respectable total, with over 1100 pounds and setting two personal records. As the Bearded Villains of Miami grow their reputation for serving their community, they also look forward to growing their partnership with Matt Kunkle and the Miami Might movement.

Written By: John Banks

Edited By: Javi Vasallo

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All Hallows’ Eve

It’s PM. A ghost, a vampire, and a zombie cheerleader approach your front porch. They’re hungry, and are coming specifically for you. Your front door pounds, outside you hear the howling of the crowd that gathers beyond. You approach the door, your hand reaches for the cool steel of the door knob. You turn it gently. The door swings open. “TRICK OR TREAT!”. They scream excitedly. It’s October 31st. It’s Halloween. Kids favorite holiday. But before it became the biggest day for costume and candy stores, Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve stood for something other than cavities and costumes with too little fabric.

Samhain was a festival, (celebrated by the Celtics in what is now Ireland) where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. It marked the end of summer and of harvesting. It also signified the end of the year, and with the new year, the beginning of the dark, cold, frigid winter. A time of year that was often associated with death. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the line between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead became blurred. So, on the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain . A day was believed that the ghosts of the dead could return to earth.

By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. Gradually, it blended with the older Celtic rites and traditions. By 1000 A.D., the church would make November 1st “All Souls’ Day”, (to honor the dead). All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called all – hallows. The night before, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion began, was called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Around the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Before this, Halloween wasn’t popular in early America because of the rigid Protestant belief systems that were around.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers. Borrowing from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. A tradition where children dress up in costume and travel from house to house, asking for candy or sometimes money, with the phrase , “Trick or treat?” The word “trick” implies a “threat” to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. Although the threat hast lost meaning over the years, the iconic phrase remains the same and widely recognized throughout the country.

Today, Halloween is celebrated as a day of joy. A day where you can dress up as anything you want with little to no judgement. Where the lights of reality dim, and creatures of all stories are welcome. Parties and festivals are organized to provide a creepy and scary element to remind everyone of the celebration that once based its origin around death and the end of year. So, as you bob for apples, scare your friends, and request treats and candies from strangers, remember the history of All Hallows’ Eve, and let’s all have a great time, be safe, and may the next year bring us prosperity and happiness.