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Philanthropists Jorge Luis and Marile Lopez will be awarded one of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s highest honors at the 8th Annual Wild About Kids Gala this year. The 2014 Charles “Bebe” Rebozo Humanitarian Award honors a person, family or organization that has shown overwhelming support and constant dedication to the children in our community. It is the Lopez's compassion, wisdom and love of helping others, especially the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade youth, that make them worthy of the award.
Over 1,500 South Floridians of all ages and fitness levels gathered at the starting line at Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale to raise funds and awareness at MADD’s (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) annual WALK Like MADD and MADD Dash 5K. Although the fastest runners were declared winners, the whole community won a victory in the campaign against drunk driving with raised funds totaling more than $138,000.
Former WTVJ-NBC 6 anchor and longtime MADD supporter Tony Segreto emceed the event. VIP supporters and speakers included the event’s Honorary Chairwoman Susan Israel, City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, and Broward Sheriff’s Office Colonel Alvin Pollack. Local country favorite Ciara Rae took to the stage to perform the National Anthem and a selection of songs. Popular tribute band 2 of Us got the crowd moving with a playlist of Beatles’ classics.
In cities around the globe, metered parking lots were temporarily transformed into public parks and social spaces for one day as part of an annual event called "PARK(ing) Day." The Coral Gables Museum has taken that idea a step further by offering its beautiful green turf-covered Museum Plaza as a permanent park space for recreation, for a brown bag lunch or for simple relaxation. The Plaza is the site of the weekly lunchtime Jazz in the Gables January through March, but the Plaza is available every day and open to the public. Pictured: A lively after-school soccer game for youngsters.
Style Saves, the non-profit that empowers children through styling and complimentary clothes, invited students from various programs to "shop" for back-to-school clothes at its fourth annual event at the Arsht Center. Over $100,000 was raised by Style Saves to make the event possible. Also at the event, Davis Vision provided complimentary eye screening for students. Those in need will receive complimentary in-office exams and will then be fitted for prescription eyeglasses at no charge to students or families. The students represented Miami-Dade Public Schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Communities in Schools, Irie Foundation, Mentor Network, Lotus House and The Guatemalan-Maya Center. Pictured: Style Saves founder Rachel Russell with Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) honored The Fairchild Challenge educational program at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables with its 2014 Award for Program Excellence, given out at the APGA's annual meeting at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Amy Padolf, director of education at Fairchild Garden, accepted the award on behalf of Fairchild and was recognized by her peers for her work in public horticulture. The Fairchild Challenge interdisciplinary STEM education competition now reaches 125,000 students in South Florida at more than 273 schools from PreK-12.
Pictured: APGA Award – Amy Padolf, Patsy Benveniste (Chicago Botanic Garden), Dr. Casey Sclar (American Public Gardens Association (APGA), Catherine Hubbard (ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden).
Kaley Schwartz has become the eighth student from New World School of the Arts High School to receive the prestigious Silver Knight Award. Kaley’s project, winning her the award in the Arts category, entailed her painting portraits of children in the Cardiac Unit of Miami Children’s Hospital and donating them to the parents. To date, Kaley has gifted more than 50 framed portraits and plans to keep her project alive as a way of offering a respite to parents with children in the Intensive Care Unit. At NWSA Kaley held a solid 5.9 GPA and received three Honorable Mention Scholastic Art Awards as well as an Honorable Mention in the South Florida Science and Engineering Fair. She was also the vice-president of the Science Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society. She will be attending FSU in the fall and plans to double major in Anthropology and Art History. Ultimately, her goal is to become a curator.
Locust Projects has selected 26 South Florida high school students to participate in its 2014 LAB (Locust Arts Builders) Program. It's the 5th year of LAB, and the students selected from an open call will have the opportunity to create a collaborative exhibition at Locust Projects’ gallery in the Miami Design District. Under the direction of contemporary visual artists Monica Lopez de Victoria of the TM Sisters and Loriel Beltran, students manage all aspects of the project's production during a three week summer intensive. Students also visit art institutions on guided field trips and interact with members of the local art community during visits to the Locust Projects gallery. The exhibition project culminates with an opening reception where the students’ family and friends are invited to celebrate and mingle with Miami’s art community on Second Saturday Art Walk in July.
The all new Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique & Job Training Center opened in the Wynwood Art District at 2040 N.W. 7th Avenue. The new location will also serve as the donations center for Lotus House, a unique center that serves disadvantaged and homeless women and children. The center provides support as it empowers women and youth to achieve self-sufficiency. The Boutique specializes in like new and gently used clothing, furnishings and collectibles. Open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 305-576-4112 to learn more. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law.
South Floridians in support of ending hunger celebrated together at Feeding South Florida™’s first Ultimate Hunger Champion Awards Gala held at Conrad Miami. In addition to bringing awareness to local hunger issues, the gala honored participants of the Hunger Games, FSF’s series of competitive events between corporations, which launched in January. Sport celebrities, MMA star Will Brooks and WNBA’s Ruth Riley spoke at the gala, bringing guests to tears with heartfelt stories of their youth. Ascendo Resources won the Hunger Games competition and became this year’s Ultimate Hunger Champion.
Yet another new zoo baby born at Zoo Miami was a male Somali wild ass, representing the world’s most critically endangered asses with less than 1,000 believed to still exist in the wild. It is the last remaining ancestor of the modern donkey. They are the smallest of the wild equids and are found in rocky deserts in very isolated areas of Eastern Africa.