Friends and Neighbors

Carrollton School to get new wellness center


Special to The Miami Herald

The long-dreamed Wellness Center at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart can become a reality thanks to a $1 million donation toward building it from investor, philanthropist and Coral Gables resident Mike Fernandez and his family.

Plans are for the state-of-the-art structure to serve the Carrollton community as a teaching center for athletics with training facilities, a gymnastics studio, weight cardio center, an indoor running track and a gymnasium able to support two volleyball courts and a full basketball court.

In addition to benefiting the all-girls school in the heart of Coconut Grove, the center will be available to underserved girls who are part of the Barnyard, Breakthrough Miami and the Honey Shine Mentoring Programs.

“Mike and Constance Fernandez have been blessed with a depth and generosity of spirit that knows no bounds,” said Sister Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ, Headmistress of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. “Their willingness to help others inspires much hope in the future of our community. Carrollton is greatly blessed to count Constance and Mike as friends of the heart.”

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart bills itself as the only all-girls school for grades pre-K through 12 in Florida. Fernandez’s daughter attended the school and found success.

“We are very grateful for the education that my daughter Michelle, now a law student ... received at Carrollton,” Fernandez said in a release. “I am proud to say that she is among the many graduates over the years who have become women of conviction, courage and confidence.”

Fernandez currently serves as Chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Coral Gables that invests in healthcare services companies locally and nationwide. Fernandez has been honored numerous times in recognition of his successful business ventures and dedicated community service.

Carrollton, 3747 Main Hwy., has been a leading girls’ school for over 50 years. For more information, visit


You don’t have to wait to see this on TV. Award-winning cinematographer and producer Elam Stoltzfus will present his latest documentary of the Florida Wildlife Corridor at a special presentation at 12 p.m., March 4, at Miami Dade College Homestead Campus, 500 College Terr., in the Aviation Building, Room F222. The event is free and open to the public.

Stoltzfus’ appearance is part of the Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture series. His earlier work was shown by the Homestead Center for the Arts in March of 2011.

In 2012, he was part of a small team that traversed 1,000 miles in 100 days from Everglades National Park toward Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia. The experience will be featured in a documentary distributed through a Public Television national release later this year. You can see a beautiful, condensed version of the adventure on YouTube at

Raised on a family farm in rural Pennsylvania, Stoltzfus has always had a love of the American outdoors. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is the executive director, producer, and cinematographer of four separate hour-long nature documentaries featuring Florida landscapes. Three went on to Public Television national release. The Wildlife Corridor Expedition is his latest project. To read more about it visit

The late Bea Peskoe was an activist for social justice, education and culture.

A simple lunch is available before the presentation at 11:30 a.m. for $10. Call Barbara Millenbruch at 305-230-9185 by 2 p.m., March 1 to reserve a lunch.

Parking is available on the east side of the campus, closest to the Aviation Building. Enrollment is up at the college so leave extra time to find a spot. The building has handicapped access.


Rotary World Understanding Month will conclude on Feb. 25 when the newest member of Rotary Club of Miami Dadeland Pinecrest, Pero Dimsoski, discusses the Nation of Macedonia and the surrounding area formerly known as Yugoslavia. The club meets for breakfast and to hear an interesting speaker on Mondays, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., at the Dadeland Marriott Hotel, 9090 S Dadeland Blvd.

March is Rotary Literacy Month and the Miami Dadeland Pinecrest Club has scheduled four speakers.

South African author and inspirational speaker Annette Jahnel will discuss her book, My Year of Beds on March 4. On March 11, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, will talk about his recently published book, Miami Transformed. On March 18, Dar Airan, past Rotary President of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, will talk about his soon to be published book, Ten Mantras To Be A Better Husband — The Art Of Learning To Say ‘Yes, Dear’ Lovingly. Mark Goldberg, author of SatanWorld and other thrillers, will close out the month with his presentation on March 25.

If you are interested in attending a meeting as a guest, call Ron Lieberman at 305-613-6744 or Membership Chair Tom Boswell at 786-417-6003.


More than 1,000 caring supporters are expected to join in the South Florida Walk to Defeat ALS, starting with registration at 8:30 a.m., March 2 at TY (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park, 3300 N. Park Rd., Hollywood. The walk begins at 10 a.m. Many of the walkers have a loved one fighting the disease. Others will walk in memory of someone who has lost the battle.

This event raises funds and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease. There is no known cause or cure. ALS patients, including many in wheelchairs, will join in the event.

The Walk is the ALS Association’s signature fundraising event. Last year, walks in Florida cities raised nearly $1.2 million. To get involved visit, or call 888-257-1717, ext. 126. For more, go to

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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