Friends and Neighbors

Red Cross Ball draws 400 guests, leaders

PHOTO: Executive Director Alfred Sanchez and Board Chair Ed Joyce present a gift of recognition to American Red Cross Ball Chairs Barbara and Jose Hevia.
PHOTO: Executive Director Alfred Sanchez and Board Chair Ed Joyce present a gift of recognition to American Red Cross Ball Chairs Barbara and Jose Hevia.

Special to the Miami Herald

Everyone had a wonderful time at the 32nd annual American Red Cross Ball South Florida Region held recently at Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. More than 400 community leaders and philanthropists attended the elegant night of dinner, dancing and silent auctions all to help raise funds for South Florida disaster prevention and preparation.

The 2014 event was chaired by Barbara and Jose Hevia and was accomplished through their work and the work of a dedicated group of women with the mission to help American Red Cross. Hall of Fame sportscaster Lesley Visser served as host.

One of the guest speakers at the ball was Dave Sanderson, survivor and author of Brace for Impact. He was returning from a routine business trip in 2009 when a bird strike forced US Airways Flight 1549 to a heroic landing now know as “The Miracle on the Hudson.”

To learn more about his experiences and to be inspired by Sanderson’s video of how American Red Cross re-defined his life, visit

American Red Cross “shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid, and supports military members and their families.

The group depends on volunteers and the generosity of the public to perform its mission. For more, visit


When the 14 singers of the famous Yale Whiffenpoofs perform it is difficult to understand just how they sound the way they do without prerecorded music. The only instruments they use are their voices.

The singers of the a cappella group, established in 1909, always astonish audiences. The group has appeared on Jeopardy, The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, 60 Minutes, Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, Glee and The Sing-Off and has performed at The White House, Carnegie Hall, The Lincoln Center and the Rose Bowl.

Now you can be amazed too at a local concert hosted by the Homestead South Dade Kiwanis Foundation.

The Whiffenpoofs will be in concert at 2 p.m. March 9 at the South Dade High School auditorium, 28401 SW 167th Ave., Homestead.

The event is a fundraiser for the club, and all proceeds will be used to provide college scholarships for local high school students from the 2014 graduating class.

For one of the Whiffenpoof singers this is a very special treat. Nick Maas, Coral Reef High Class of 2010 and son of John and Michele Maas of Homestead, has spent his senior year at Yale singing across the world as a Tenor I.

“This will be the second time I’ve been able to do a performance in my hometown,” he said in a news release. “It is so special as this is where I was encouraged to pursue music and I will perform in front of those who encouraged me … a thank you of sorts as I am so appreciative of the support.”

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the law office of John P. Maas at 44 NE 16th St. in Homestead or at the Keyes Office at 690 N. Homestead Blvd. in Homestead. For more information, contact Dan Carter at 305-245-6628.


Get out and run, walk, or volunteer to support the Special Olympics at the 15th annual Sponsor An Athlete 5K Run/Walk starting at 8 a.m., March 9 at Gulliver Prep, 6575 Kendall Dr.

All proceeds go to Special Olympics Miami, which “provides Olympic-like sports training and competition for almost 3,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities who live and work in Miami.”

Everyone is welcome to register for this event at  http://  and sponsorship opportunities are available. 

Event volunteers are especially needed. For more information, call 305-406-WINS (9467) or go to 


Everyone will find great books at great prices at the popular annual sale hosted by the South Miami-Dade Chapter of the Brandeis National Committee from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 9 at the Publix on Southwest 146th Street and U.S. 1.

More than 2,000 books will be available to peruse and buy. The sale is known for its excellent selection of cookbooks, children’s books, art books, biographies and books about Florida, the United States, the world, and natural history, as well as current and classic fiction.

The annual event was begun decades ago by a small group of dedicated bibliophiles. Their motto was “old books for new” indicating that the sale’s proceeds would go to supporting Brandeis University libraries. 

Donated books are collected and sorted throughout the year by volunteers. This is not-to-be-missed community event.


Centro Mater Child Care Services, Inc., that provides care and education for economically disadvantaged children and families in our community, has announced that two of its five centers have been recognized by the Council on Accreditation (COA). 

  Centro Mater Child Care Center, the organization’s main center at 418 SW Fourth Ave. in Miami and Centro Mater West II, at 7700 NW 98th St. in Hialeah Gardens, received the COA’s After-School Program Accreditation.

  “We are extremely appreciative of this prestigious accreditation, as well as the process of its obtainment, as it has helped us to grow and provide better services for our children and families,” said J. Abilio Rodriguez, executive director of Centro Mater Child Care Services in a release. “This recognition is a testament to Centro Mater’s continuous pursuit for supreme quality.”

Currently celebrating its 45th anniversary, Centro Mater helps “economically disadvantaged youths six weeks to 12 years of age through early childhood care, education, after-school care, summer programs, nutrition and wellness guidance, development assistance, and parent-focused instruction.” To learn more, call 305-545-6049 or visit


The Gilded Lillies invite you to attend the 38th annual fundraiser luncheon to benefit Easter Seals South Florida starting at 11 a.m. with a reception leading to lunch at noon, March 22 at Rusty Pelican Restaurant, 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne.

The theme is Hooray for Hollywood. The Gilded Lillies was founded in 1975 by Joan Caldwell Marshall and volunteers have contributed over $571,100 to Easter Seals through countless hours and numerous fundraising efforts.

Cost for the luncheon is $50 per person. You can also make a donation to this good cause if you cannot attend the luncheon. For more information and to buy tickets, contact You can also call 305-547-4765 or email

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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