Miami Beach

Beach Buzz

Beach Buzz: Moving forward one step at a time after so much loss

 <span class="bold"> <span class="italic">From left to right: Pinkberry’s Director of Operations Jeyson Jones, owner David Beall, and Store Manager Kevin Fantis celebrate the grand opening of the new Alton Road shop with a cheering squad from Miami Beach Senior High. </span></span>
From left to right: Pinkberry’s Director of Operations Jeyson Jones, owner David Beall, and Store Manager Kevin Fantis celebrate the grand opening of the new Alton Road shop with a cheering squad from Miami Beach Senior High.
J. Sean Brown

Special to The Miami Herald

Thanks for the continuing replies to my recent articles about my grief following the death of my boyfriend, Richard Sharpstein, divorce after a 25-year marriage, the upcoming sale of our longtime Miami Beach home and my dread of Valentine’s Day and my recent 56th birthday.

Valentine’s Day came and went (sadly with no special flowers from a special love). As for my birthday, I spent the weekend with my parents at their home in Delray Beach. It was good to reconnect with them – and for me to escape the tumult of the South Beach Wine & Food Fest.

I continue to receive inspiration (and offers for meals) from unexpected people. I still have little appetite, however, and cry often. A friend relayed a comment from a recent television interview: “The world continues to change and those of us who do not change with it get left behind.’’ I realize I have been standing still, surrounded by my pain, as the world is passing me by. Hopefully, the fog will lift a bit and I will be better able to move forward as time goes by – even if it is one baby step at a time – and minute by minute.


I’ve served as a mentor for Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program for three years. My co-mentor, Marilyn Lesser, and I work with approximately 30 girls at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School in North Miami. Marilyn and I missed our monthly sessions with the girls in December and January, following Richard’s death, Marilyn’s knee surgery and a symposium the girls attended at St. Thomas University.

For our February meeting, Marilyn and I decided to be honest about the difficult issues we had each been facing: loss, pain, depression, fear of change, etc. It proved to be one of the best sessions we’ve ever had. Our sharing openly allowed the girls to feel comfortable doing the same, something they might not have considered otherwise. A surprise birthday cake, organized by school coordinator Elizabeth Swint made the day all the more special.

Women of Tomorrow will host its annual fund-raising gala on Saturday, March 8, at the Mandarin Oriental. More than 500 guests are slated to attend the sold-out event, planned by gala chair Marisa Toccin Lucas, founders Jennifer Valoppi and Don Browne and co-vice president, Katherine Fernandez Rundle. The evening – which will include a cocktail reception, silent auction, four-course dinner and live performance by South Florida’s own Soul Survivors – will commemorate WOT’s 18th year of mentoring at-risk young girls in South Florida and raise funds to support the more than 3,000 girls benefiting from the program this year. Honorees will include Wayne and Cynthia Boich, Bruce and Tracey Berkowitz, Edie Lutnick, Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio and Mentor of the Year, Robbin Newman. To learn more, call 305-371-3330 or visit


Alton Road construction didn’t stop Pinkberry from celebrating its newest yogurt store with a bang. The Feb. 7 grand opening at 1523 Alton Rd. (coincidentally next to Smoothie King) in South Beach included a two-hour pep rally with more than 60 Miami Beach High band members and cheerleaders. Pinkberry partnered with the school throughout February, donating 20 percent of purchases (when customers mentioned Beach High) to benefit the school’s graduation fund. The Alton Road site is Pinkberry’s fifth location in South Florida (others are in Aventura, Midtown, Ocean Drive and The Prado in South Miami). Owner of the South Florida stores (plus five locations in Atlanta) is Miami Beach resident David Beall. For details, call (305)397-8767or visit


BrazilFoundation, a nonprofit that raises funds to support community-led initiatives and social projects in Brazil, will host its third annual gala at 7 p.m. March 15 at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). More than 450 are expected to attend the black-tie event, which will feature the percussion group Quabales and a performance by two Brazilian dancers from the Miami City Ballet School Ensemble (MCB School Director Darleen Callaghan will also accept the International Philanthropy Award). Other honorees include José Dias Campos, Paula Senna and Brazilian mega star Ivete Sangalo. Tickets (starting at $1,000 each) are available online at


Miami Children’s Museum is preparing for its disco-themed “Be a Kid Again” gala on March 1. It features extensive silent and live auctions (with Dave Barry and Paul Castronovo) and a Studio 54 Tribute by The Boogie Knights. Event chairs are Ana and Neisen Kasdin. Sponsors include Alan Potamkin and Brigett Rock, Jeff and Yolanda Berkowitz and the Miami Marlins/David Samson. An after-party (chaired by Zak Mann and Amber Toback) begins at 10:30 p.m. with DJs Corey Chase and Troubles, plus a performance by electro violinist David Damage. Gala tickets are $500 each; after-party tickets are $65 in advance; $85 at the door. For details, call (305)373-5437 or visit

Beach Buzz runs every other Sunday, and focuses on people and businesses throughout the Beaches, Aventura and Miami. To reach Debra K. Leibowitz, call 305-531-7887 or email, or become a fan of her Beach Buzz page on Facebook.

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