Friends and Neighbors

MDC student gets fellowship to use art for justice


Kudos to Bianca Rodriguez, 24, who was one of a few students nationally who was selected for the prestigious 2013-14 Young People For Fellowship.

According to a press release, the fellowship is a year-long program that provides “... .passionate young leaders like Rodriguez with the tools to effect positive change in their communities.” She will use the award to start a youth initiative to help local middle school students explore social injustices through the fine arts.

Rodriguez said she “always knew” that she wanted to empower youth. As a youngster, she said she saw a lot of institutionalized racism and unfair disbursement of wealth.

As a part of the fellowship Rodriguez, a Miami Dade College English major, started “Art Critically” (AC), an after-school program that helps local youngsters explore social injustice issues through the fine arts.

“I love education and I love the arts, so I thought what better way to do both,” she said in a press release. The program started in September and now serves 50 students at Andover Middle School in Miami Gardens, where, she said the children “reflect, then paint, draw or create plays and then come up with creative solutions.” She said discrimination and crime are just two of the issues expressed by the students.

Rodriguez and her team of volunteers carefully designed the curriculum to reflect the needs of the community. In addition to her work with AC, Rodriguez is the editor-in-chief of the MDC Hialeah campus’ literary magazine “Cafe Cultura,” and has won numerous awards for her poetry.

“Bianca Rodriguez is a highly creative, intellectually curious student,” said Ivonne Lamazares, an MDC associate professor and co-adviser to AC.

“She is a very ethical, empathetic person, and her work with underprivileged students through Art Critically, is a tremendous contribution and speaks to her commitment to making a difference in her community.”

For more information on Art Critically, visit:

100 teens are

Disney Dreamers

Our hats are off too, to South Florida teens who recently were among the 100 teenagers from throughout the state selected for the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine.

They are Carlos Marmalejo of Homestead; KiAundra Kilpatrick of Miami Gardens, and Jeanine Shraim of Sunrise.

The teens received an all-expense paid trip with a parent or guardian to Disney Dreamers Academy’s seventh year at the Disney World Resort. The event ends today.

While there, the teens participated in a once-in-a-lifetime, innovative, outside-the-classroom, educational and mentoring program. The program helps to inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for career paths ranging from animation to zoology. Motivational speakers and celebrities share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and dream big.

While at the Disney Resort, Tracey D. Powell, Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion said, “Dreamers have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other renowned entrepreneurs and executives.”

Women’s Impact


Jazz in the Gardens will present a “Women’s Impact Conference and Luncheon” from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, at Shula’s Hotel and Golf Club at 6842 Main St. in Miami Lakes.

The program will be hosted by Jasmine Sanders, co-host of the D.L. Hughley Show and will start with registration and check-in, followed at 9:30 a.m. with workshops sessions, and other activities to include an authors lounge and a relaxation oasis. Lunch and entertainment will be from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Register today for you tickets at: You may also call 954-558-9664 for more information.

Event celebrates

women in uniform

The Sixth Annual Miami Beach Women’s conference and the city of Miami Beach will celebrate Women in Uniform, during the National Women’s History Month program to start at 8 a.m. with a complimentary “Breakfast with a View.” Hosted by the Miami Beach Chamber’s Women’s Business Council, the speaker will be Monica Zima of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Mayor’s Panel, featuring Women in Uniform, will follow from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Panelists will include: U.S. Air Force Major Brook Cortez; WWII Marine Veteran Conni Gordon; Special Agent in Charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Addy Villanueva; Metro Dade Firefighter Phyllis Sloan-Simpkin.

The Women’s History March will take place from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. when participants will march from Miami Beach City Hall to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden for a “Darden in the Garden” luncheon from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Tickets to the luncheon are $30 and $35 each. For tickets and more information go online at:

Pearls and Hat

Tea Party

You can make your reservations now for the annual Pearls and Hat Tea party, sponsored by Angels from Heaven, Inc. a nonprofit organization that raises money to help support medical clinics and schools in rural Jamaica.

The tea party will be from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 22 at 2334 SW 181st Terr. in Miramar. If you go, the gate number is #097. After you enter, make a left then the first right turn.

The cost is $25 per person and is hosted by Cynthia Banks. To reserve your spot, call Banks at 954-394-7980 or Cecile Dixon at 954-593-6520.

All funds collected will benefit children and poor adults in Jamaica.

Essay contest

winners announced

One of the highlights of the 21st Annual Commemorative Service and Youth Talent on Parade, presented by the African American Committee of the Dade Heritage Trust and held Feb. 9, was the winners of the essay contest, who wrote on the topic: “Why I Am Proud of My Heritage.”

The elementary school award recipients were: Riciyah Smith, first place; Herleyd Remy, second place, and Christian Powell, third place. All are students at Parkview Elementary School.

The middle school winners were: Jeremiah Harris, first place; Durwina Ofield, second place, and Tupac Kersainville, third place, and Brianna Parris, honorable mention. All are from Charles R. Drew Middle School.

The high school winners were: Leesa Annete Newbon, first place, North Miami High; Rickenson Charles, second place, Northwestern High School; Jayla Ware, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Gamma Delta Sigma Chapter, Buds of Spring, third place; and Jasmine Gorea, Northwestern High, honorable mention.

Other participants included: Keya Curtis, Kaysia Curtis, Brittane Rolle, Breanna Rolle, Jaquan Jordon Cannon, Chryatian Rembert, Twyon Bowe Jones, Adonas Jones, Jarron-Charles McKinney and Dance Group.

The program celebrated the history, heritage and culture of Miami’s African American community.

‘Celebration of

Life’ concert

A “Celebration of Life” concert in memory and in honor of departed band members will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Gusman Concert Hall at 1314 Miller Dr. on the campus of the University of Miami.

The program will feature conductors Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, (USAF Ret.), Robert Longfield, and Tom Keck. Others on the program will include Erin Gittelson, oboe soloist; and Dale Underwood, sax soloist.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the box office on the day of the concert. You may also order online at Call 305-273-SOUSA for more information.

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