Today's special Friends and Neighbors Tribute goes to Adrian Abreu, 17, who was selected as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade's 2013 Youth of the Year.
Adrian, who lives in South Miami, has been profoundly deaf since he was 8. In spite of his deafness, he is active with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade's Hank Kline Club. He was selected for the honor from among many other honorable nominees, including winners from the organization's four other clubs.
Said Adrian: "The club changed my life and helped me learn many new things. Being a part of Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade has made me realize that it's OK to be different."
Adrian will represent the organization today through Tuesday, at the Florida Youth of the Year celebration hosted by Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Fort Lauderdale, where he and about 30 other Florida Boys and Girls Clubs youths will compete for Florida Youth of the Year award. Nominees will be judged on leadership qualities and services exhibited through home and family, moral character, community, school, service to club, life goals, obstacles overcome, essays , poise and public speaking.
Alex Rodriguez-Roig, executive director of the organization said Adrian is a "role model for many of the other children at the Hank Kline Club.”
"All of us at boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade are extremely proud of Adrian. It's been amazing for us to witness all he has accomplished since he's been active in our organization. We wish him the best of luck at the Florida Youth of the Year Celebration. He is already a winner," Rodriguez-Roig said.
Zeta of the Year
Our hats are off also, to my childhood friend Ivis M. Richardson, for being named Zeta of the Year of the Beta Tau Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.
A press release statement from he sorority said of Richardson: "She is certainly deserving of this honor. For many years, we have been able to observe her many qualities and attributes. ... She is a very personable and articulate individual who sets high standards for both her sorority and her personal endeavors."
In addition, Richardson has held various offices in the chapter including 2nd vice president, parliamentarian, reporter, Youth Auxiliary chairwoman, co-chairwoman and assistant musician. She became a member of the chapter in 1979, joining the legacy of Zeta with her aunt Mattie Gibson Jones. She is a Diamond life member of the sorority.
Richardson doesn't know what it means to have an idle moment. She serves as president of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Gamma Alpha Chapter; vice president of the Dade Charmettes, an active member of the Booker T. Washington Class of 1956; a charter member of Greater Love Full Gospel Baptist Church, where her son the Rev. Dwayne A. Richardson is the pastor; a deaconess, and a trustee and ministry leader. She also serves as the church secretary and as supervisor of the church's day care center.
A retired Miami-Dade County Public Schools elementary school principal, she has worked as a science teacher, a teacher of students with learning disabilities, an assistant principal and as a District Supervisor for Title I in Region II. She also served as a District Coordinator for Blood Borne Pathogens Workshops.
Said Richardson: "One of the greatest gifts of God is to strive to be a peaceful, loving individual. We learn from the struggles we encounter."
In addition to the Rev. Richardson, she is the mother of three other grown children: Kevin Grace, Nadine Roach, and Dawn Jones, Esq.; the grandmother of 12 and the great-grandmother of six.
‘Mother Earth Day’ art exhibit
The Artist Colony's "Mother Earth Day" Art Exhibit will be Monday through Saturday at the Miami Beach botanical Garden at 2000 Convention Center Dr. in Miami Beach.
Presented by Arts at St. Johns, the program will feature a reception at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by "Mother Earth Day" performances provided by the botanical garden.
Admission is free. For more information call 786-309-1275.
Story Time Theater
Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School at 6600 Miami Lakeway North, will present its Second Annual Story Time Theater at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. At that time, the favorite stories of many children will be brought to life by students and teachers.
The free event will be in the school's cafeteria and is open to the community. Two of the stories to be performed by PreK3 and 4 students are: "Eight Silly Monkeys" by Steve Haskamp, and "Chicka Chicka boom", by Bill Martin Jr.
Young guests will also participate in a craft activity associated with the stories, dance, and enjoy cookies and juice.
"This activity brings parents, children and the community together while developing early literacy skills and creating memories," said Alina Falcon, a teacher and the VKP/Preschool Director.
If you go, it would be a good idea to make reservations by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 786-205-2838.
Discussion to focus on school suspensions
Miami-area churches that are members of PACT (People Acting for Community Together), will join Msgr. Chanel Jeanty, Vicar for Canonical Affairs at the Archdiocese of Miami and members of his parish at St. Philip Neri in Miami Gardens at a meeting to be at 7 p.m. Monday at New Birth Baptist Church, 2300 NW 135th St.
At the meeting, participants will voice their concern over the high suspension rates in Miami Dade schools and will speak with representatives of Miami-Dade Public Housing and the Miami-Dade Police Department about better utilization of public housing units as Neighborhood Resource Units (NRUs).
According to PACT, unsupervised out-of-school suspensions contribute to high crime rates and poor academic performance. Eight of the top 10 schools with the highest suspension rates are also in the top 10 zip codes for juvenile crime.
The goal of the assembly is to get a commitment from Miami-Dade Police Department and Miami-Dade Public Housing Department representatives to revive existing NRUs and open new ones within residential areas in high crime neighborhoods.
The community is invited to the meeting that is expected to draw more than 1,200 individuals.
Celebrating Israel’s independence
In celebration of Israel's 65 years of Independence, the Young Professionals of Temple Beth Shalom's "The Tribe" will host a month-long. two-phased program called "The Israel Experience" and will culminate with an Israeli-style birthday bash from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Villa 221, 221 NE 17th St. and Biscayne Blvd. The event is designed for young, unaffiliated 20-30-somethings and not to advocate or take political positions. It is meant to educate and celebrate "Yom HaAtzma'ut".
Phase one of the event will feature "salon" meetings at the homes of individual volunteers, where the host and their guests will choose a topic of conversation about Israel. The Tribe expects at least 100 such Salon meetings will take place in April across Miami.
Phase two is the Villa 221 event, to feature music, food, entertainment and culture. Guests will mingle and DJs will play top Israeli hits. Israeli flags will wave in celebration as renowned comedian,. "The Hebrew Mamita" takes the stage.
The salon gatherings are free but the party on Tuesday is $25 per person in advance and $40 at the door. To register and for more information on participating in a Salon gathering or to purchase event tickets go to: www.thetribe.org/israel.