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."