Friends and Neighbors

Being a mom is about giving of yourself, not just giving birth

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers and mothers-to-be.

I have a friend, Sandra Moore Clark, who has never been a biological mom. Yet, as a single woman, she managed to raise four foster children and a nephew after his mom died. When her foster children grew up and were no longer in the state’s system, my friend so loved her "children," that she told them they still had a home with her.

Today, Clark’s "children" consider her their "real’ mom. She has been with them through their baby years - the youngest was 2 when Clark became a foster mom — and through all their growing up years. The two girls, Marie Esther and Olygin, are now married and have children of their own. And you couldn’t find a prouder grandmother than Clark.

"She’s always been my mom," said Marie Esther. "I have never seen her any other way. She taught me everything that a loving mother would teach her children - about values, morals, how to keep our finances in check. She always put us first and put herself last. Most of all, she taught us how to be giving and loving. No one would have known that we were not her biological children."

I’m telling you about Clark because I know there is more to being a mom than giving birth. While I believe giving birth to another human being is one of the miracles of life, I am aware that not all biological moms are mothers. Clark is one of those women (and there are many more) who, I believe, was placed on this earth for the purpose of being somebody’s mom. She took on the challenge without complaining. becoming a loving and doting mother. If she ever had a problem with any one of the children she raised, I never knew it. The children adore her. And I admire her.

As a single mom who raised two sons, I know how demanding the task of rearing children in a single-parent household can be. Life was even more challenging for me because I am the mother of sons. They were so young when I was thrust in the role of single motherhood, and although I loved them very much, I had no idea of how to bring them up. So, I leaned heavily on my faith in God and the guidance from my late mother and from Bishop Walter H. Richardson, my pastor at church, who became their godfather .

Clark, in my book, is one of those unsung heroes who hardly ever get the recognition they deserve. So on this Mothers Day, I cast my vote for Sandra Moore Clark, who as one of the many mothers who never gave birth, but in my opinion deserves to be crowned "Mother of the Year."

Shirley Gibson receives honorary degree

Congratulations to the Honorable Shirley Gibson, one of three persons who on Saturday received honorary doctorate degrees at St. Thomas University’s commencement ceremonies. The honorary doctorates were presented by University President Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale.

Gibson, an alumna of the university, was the first mayor of Miami Gardens. Gibson is credited with successfully leading a dedicated group of neighbors in creating the first predominantly African-American municipality in the state. The municipality is the third-largest city in Miami-Dade County. According to a press release from the university, Gibson’s "diligence, community board leadership, entrepreneurship skills and exemplary community service have earned her numerous awards and honors as well as international recognition in mayors’ circles."

Also honored was Gregory T. Swienton, the newly retired executive chairman of Ryder Systems, and Sister Elizabeth Worley, SSJ, chancellor for administration and the chief operating officer of the Archdiocese of Miami.

According to the press release Swienton led a change in the Fortune 500 transportation company’s business model. The change resulted in significantly improved operational and financial performance, with a $3.5 billion turnaround in free cash flow. Under his leadership, Ryder also achieved a 230 per cent increase in stock value, among other advances. In 2008, Swienton was recognized by the Catholic Church and named to the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great, one of five orders of knighthood that are conferred by the pope.

The honorary doctorate was bestowed on Worley because of her work as chair of the Board of Directors at Mercy Hospital (1986-2004), Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Hospice (2005-2007), and chancellor for administration and CEO for the Diocese of Orlando (2007-2010). Now celebrating her Golden Jubilee as a Sister of St. Joseph, Worley is the first woman to hold the title of chancellor. She has received the "Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice" award, which was presented to her by Pope John Pall II, in recognition of a lifetime of faithful service to the Catholic Church.

From Majorca, Spain, to Majorca Avenue

The community is invited to join Chabad Jewish Center in Coral Gables as it welcomes an ancient Torah from Majorca, Spain. The Torah was written approximately 200 hundred years ago on deerskin, and according to information from the center, has "come full circle — from the Spanish Mediterranean island of Majorca, Spain to Majorca Avenue in Coral Gables. The new Torah will be celebrated by reading the ten Commandments from it at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, which is the holiday of Shavuot, the day that commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, 3,325 years ago.

"This scroll is a very appropriate addition to the Chabad Center, as represents the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition and survival," said Rabbi Avrohom Stolik, director of the center. "The ancient wisdom contained in this scroll is the essence of our identity as Jews, and possessing it now at our center is cause for great pride and celebration."

The celebration will conclude with a gourmet dairy dinner buffet following the reading of the Torah. The festivities will be at 2030 S. Douglas Rd., Suite 117 in Coral Gables. It’s free and all are welcome. If you go, please make your reservations today by calling 305-490-7572 or emailing .

New affordable housing in Overtown

Things are really happening in Overtown. On May 2, the St. John Community Development Corp. (SJCDC) and the Miami-Dade Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Consortium had a ribbon cutting for the newly renovated affordable, multifamily apartments at St. John Village 1410 apartments and St. John Village 1731-41 Apartments.

Joining the Board of Directors of the St. John CDC, was U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens. The two projects are a part of a group of projects to be completed by the SJCDC. The multi-family buildings had been in foreclosure prior to being purchased and completely renovated to offer 34, one- and two-bedroom units for persons who qualify with a 50 percent area median income or below.

Retired Miami-Dade teacher honored

A Friends and Neighbors salute to Gail Gelvan, an active member of Alpha Delta Kappa Florida Chi Chapter, who recently received the organization’s highest honor at the state convention in Panama City Beach.

In a statement from the organization, which is composed of women educators, Gelvan is said to be "most deserving of the outstanding "Honoris Causa" award. We are extremely proud of all her contributions, commitments and achievements."

According to the statement, Gelvan has served as District IX Chairman, president of Florida Chi as well as president of the Miam-Dade Presidents’ council. "She generously volunteers her time, home and family in service for Alpha Delta Kappa, while continuing to serve her school and community. Earlier this year, she established the first district-wide Valentine Tea for prospective members.

Gelvan, a retired Miami Dade County public school teacher, volunteers at Chabad of Palmetto Ba y, is active in discussion groups at Temple Beth Or and is a weekly arts and crafts volunteer at Miami Children’s Outpatient Hospital in Palmetto Bay.

Fashion luncheon

The fourth annual "Take a Walk in Her Shoes" Luncheon and Fashion Show will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the Intercontinental Miami Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza in downtown Miami. The event is a vintage fashion show produced by C. Madeleine’s and directed by Danny Santiago, with hair styling and makeup by Rik Rak Salon. the theme is "Deco Riviera."

The event., which will benefit Chapman Partnership for the homeless, will also feature a "Best Dressed Diva" contest. Come dressed in your best late 1950s, early 1960s vintage attire to enter in the contest.

In addition to the fashion show and other festivities, he event will honor, Terry Buoniconti, Ana Codina, Lizette Diaz, Jennifer Naszradi, Phillis Oeters, Rita Ramirez, Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, Katy Sorenson, Tara Solomon and Boo Zamek.

Tickets are $125 each. To purchase tickets and for m ore information call 305-329-3081.

Golf to benefit charity

The eighth annual Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the Christian Homes for Children, will be at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Historic Country Club of Miami, 6801 NW 186th St. Registration is at 7 a.m. and tee time is 8 a.m. The cost is $100 per person and includes a continental breakfast, an awards luncheon, unlimited beverages on the course and lots more.

All proceeds will directly benefit abused and neglected children throughout the South Florida community in the watch-care of Christian Homes.

For tickets and more information, call Mary Menzies at 305-825-0517 or email Christian Homes for Children at

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.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category