Friends and Neighbors

Three South Florida teens win honors from Disney

A warm Friends and Neighbors salute to the three South Florida youngsters have been selected to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy with television personality and comedian Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine. Out of 5,000 applicants, the students were among the 100 selected for the innovative, once-in-a-lifetime, outside-the-classroom educational and mentoring program at the Walt Disney World Resort. The program will take place March 7-10.

Those from South Florida are:

• Cesar Castillo of Miami, a 17-year-old, who describes himself as "an ambition driven [person] who strives to become a successful social entrepreneur." Castillo speaks English and Spanish, and attends Miami Springs High. He enjoys public speaking, attending government and business meetings and playing golf and the violin. He wants to attend Stanford University.

• Kalin Houston lives in Davie and attends St. Thomas Aquinas High School, where she is a junior. She also is a member of the National Honor Society, Chapter Teen Vice President, Jack and Jill Inc. and co-founder of ThinkBIG. She plays varsity basketball and is an all-American in track and field. Her dream is to become a perinatal specialist to help high risk women deliver healthy babies.

• Aisha Louis, 17, lives in Hollywood and attends Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep School in Miami. She is a member of the Knightingales Concert Choir, a cheerleader for the boy’s varsity basketball team, a Student Council representative and junior class president. Her passions include health, writing, and music. She wants to attend Columbia University to study to become an obstetrician -gynecologist.

Each student and a guardian will be provided with an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney world Resort. The teens will participate in and learn skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies. They will also participate in workshops with professionals and celebrities.

Dade Heritage Trust honored at UF

Here’s more good news: Dade Heritage Trust has been honored with the prestigious Beinecke-Reeves Distinguished Achievement Award in Historic Preservation. The award was presented on Feb. 15, at a reception on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.

The award was presented by Morris Hylton III, director of Historic Preservation for UF’s College of Design, Construction and Planning. He mentioned the many accomplishments of Dade Heritage Trust since its founding in 1972. He especially noted the Trust’s advocacy battles to save the Miami Circle, the Freedom Tower, the Miami Marine Stadium and the Miami Herald building.

In accepting the award, Becky Roper Matkov, CEO of Dade Heritage Trust said, "Preserving old buildings in development-obsessed Miami has been an exhilarating adventure... Buildings of the past tell the story of a community’s history in three dimensions."

Jewish, female and funny

"Real to Reel", a documentary film series sponsored by the Miami Beach JCC, is now in session through March 19, at various venues.

"Making Trouble," will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday and at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the Miami Beach JCC.

The film tells the story of six of the greatest female comic performers of the last century — Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein. The screening will be hosted by four of today's funniest — Judy Gold, Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney and Jessica Kirson. The documentary tells what its like to be Jewish, female and funny.

‘Art by the Sea’

The historic Virginia Key Beach, will be the site of "Art by the Sea" on March 9.

Presented by The Big Blue and You Inc., the family event will celebrate art and the ocean. Those attending the show are asked to bring a can of beans, peas or corn to donate to "Joshua’s Heart," an organization that feeds the hungry.

Lighthouse Dog Walk

The Sixth Annual Miami Lighthouse Dog Walk will take place from 9 a.m. to noon today at the Shops at Midtown Miami, 3401 N. Miami Ave. The annual "Walk, Waggle and Stroll Dog Walk" is dedicated to raising awareness for guide dogs and service dogs of all kinds. The walk will include dog guides, other service animals and regular pet companions on a walk to pledge support for Miami Lighthouse for the blind and Visually Impaired.

The event will be hosted by Miami Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman, Public Defender Carlos Martinez and CBS 4 morning anchor Rhiannon Ally. Chief Meteorologist David Bernard will be the Master of Ceremonies. On-site registration is $25 and includes a Britto "Azul" dog walk T-shirt and doggy bandana. The fee is waived for visually impaired walkers.

This year’s grand prize winner for most participant pledges collected will receive two tickets to a meet and greet event with Cesar Millan "The Dog Whisperer" at the Fillmore. Call Cameron Ehren Sisser at 786-362-7515 or 305-479-7338, for more information.

Historic preservationist to speak

The New Neighbors Club of South Dade will present Becky Roper Matkov, CEO, Dade Heritage Trust as the guest speaker at its monthly luncheon meeting on March 13 at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Dr.

She will speak on "Dade Heritage Days — Celebrating Miami’s Cultural and Environmental Heritage," an eight-week-long celebration, with over 100 different events which the trust has sponsored for the past 27 years.

Roper-Matkov is the founding editor of Preservation Today Magazine, co-author of Florida’s Historic Restaurants and the editor of the book, Miami’s Historic Neighborhoods. She currently is a member of the International Women’s Forum and serves on the boards of the Stiltsville Trust, the Prologue Society and Art in Public Places.

Social time starts at 11 a.m.. followed by the luncheon and program at noon. The cost is $25 per person and reservations are required. If you go, please make your reservations by Tuesday by calling Rita Casagrande at 305-595-0213 or send her an email,

Cinematographer to speak at luncheon

Elam Stoltzfus, a cinematographer and producer who, for nearly 30 years, has specialized in telling stories of Florida’s natural heritage, will be the guest speaker at the Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture Series at noon Monday at Miami Dade College Homestead Campus in the Aviation building, Room F222. The campus is at 500 College Terr.

Raised on a family farm in rural Pennsylvania, Stoltzfus has always had a love of the American outdoors. A graduate of Florida State University he has narrowed his focus to Florida’s unique landscapes and people.

In 2012, he was part of a team that traveled 1,000 miles from the Everglades to Okefenokee Swamp in 100 days. The experience will be featured in a documentary that will be distributed by Public Television later this year.

A simple lunch is available at 11:30 a.m. for $10 by reservation. Call Barbara Millenbruch at 305-230-9185 to reserve a lunch.

Congresswoman to speak at sorority event

U.S. Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, will be the special guest at a luncheon celebrating Founders’ Day of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at 2 p.m. March 10, at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel, 1611 N. Bayshore Dr. in Downtown Miami.

Hosted by the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter, the public celebration will salute the sorority’s legacy of service and sisterhood that spans more than a century. Wilson, a former president of the chapter, and whose district spans parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, will be the keynote speaker. She also served as the sorority’s International Regional Director.

Tickets are $50 each. For tickets and more information email

Fundraiser to help babies in Congo

The community is invited to the world launch of Project Motherhood is a Blessing to be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Mokai, 235 23rd St. in Miami Beach. The project is geared to reducing maternal and infant mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The program will feature a complimentary open bar and hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and entertainment by Sounds by DJ Irie.

A suggested minimum donation of $100 is requested.

For more information, go to

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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