On the second Sunday every December candles are lit around the world to honor the memories of children and grandchildren who have died too soon.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting, presented by The Compassionate Friends, brings together tens of thousands of bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives and friends around the globe. They gather to bring light to those who will never be forgotten.
The mass candle lighting, which starts at 7 p.m. in New Zealand, creates a 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. It is believed to be the largest event of its kind in the world.
The Miami Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will host its 10th annual local event starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Miami Dade County Fair and Expo Center in the Grand Ballroom of the Goode Building, 10901 Coral Way. Candles will be lit at 7 p.m.
Organizers have planned a program of special readings and poems. Soloist Karen Strolis Lewe will be the musical guest and a reception and slide show will follow the ceremony.
Members of the Miami Chapter invite all those wishing to participate to join them in remembrance. This event is open to the community and there is no charge to attend. You can bring a framed photo of a loved one to place on the group’s Memorial Table and take the photo home after the ceremony. Guests also will have the opportunity to speak with others who are dealing with the death of a child of any age.
Last year there were over 500 known services held in the United States including every state as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. It is expected that ceremonies will be held in 19 countries. The national website is www.compassionatefriends.org and there will be extended chat room hours online. There is also a message board for families to post tributes. Call 877-969-0010. To contact the Miami Chapter about support, involvement and the Candle Lighting call 305-460-5762.
Helping Sick Children
Jai Alai players in Miami recently stepped up to help children with extreme medical conditions at the PATCHES nursing center in Florida City. PATCHES stands for Pediatric Alternative Treatment, Care, Housing & Evaluation Services. The generous donation made by the IJAPA Players Association will go toward programs at the center.
Jai Alai player Jose Oyarbide came to PATCHES earlier this year for a tour and was responsible for telling the Players Association about the nursing center.
PATCHES also has a center in Fort Pierce. Almost 100 very sick children, birth to age 21, are cared for five days a week, 12 hours a day at both centers which are staffed by RNs, LPNs, CNAs, EMTs, teachers, and respiratory, physical, speech and occupational therapists every day. The service facility relies on help from the community. For more visit www.patchesppec.org.
Ring in the holidays at the next luncheon gathering of The New Neighbors Club of South Dade starting at 11 a.m., Dec. 12 at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Dr. The group will host the talented new choral group The Children’s Voice Chorus. The singers will share Christmas carols and holiday songs.
The children’s chorus was developed to answer the community’s growing need for music education enrichment programs. All voice students are invited to get involved regardless of their ability to pay.
The New Neighbors Club luncheon and program is $25. Reservations are required and the deadline is 6 p.m., Dec. 6. Contact Rita Casagrande at 305-595-0213 or email@example.com.