Friends and Neighbors

St. Brendan senior honored for work in Nicaragua


Special to the Miami Herald

Congratulations to youth leader Amanda Sandino, a senior at Miami’s St. Brendan High School, for winning both the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship, and the Prudential Spirit of Life Scholarship. 

Amanda, 17, has contributed almost 3,800 hours in community service. Both scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate leadership skills, academic achievement, and commitment to others.

Her major impact has been as a volunteer in Nicaragua. She initiated her own service project, Children of El Tepeyac, after contacting the Catholic nuns of Oblatas Del Corazon de Jesus in Nicaragua. The organization helps struggling residents of El Tepeyac who live near the Mombacho Volcano.  

Inspired by the needs of children in the area, Amanda spent her summers in 2012 and 2013 personally distributing the donations of clothes and medicine she collected.

She said she also volunteered to teach English at the community’s elementary school and was able to collect funds for school supplies for all 200 students. Each received pencils, erasers, colored pencils, sharpeners, and notebooks.

“The best part of my project was when I visited Nicaragua and got to personally distribute all the clothing donations and medicine I collected,” Amanda said.

“I loved my first visit to El Tepeyac so much that I decided to continue with my project for another year,” she said. “There were a few goals I set myself for the second year of my project. The first goal that I accomplished was to double the donations. I was able to send almost 1,800 pounds of clothing in the summer of 2013.”

Amanda is also a 2014 Silver Knight applicant in the English category for her school.


University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame will honor eight Hurricanes legends at the 46th annual UM Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet. The reception starts at 6 p.m. Dinner and the ceremony are at 7 p.m. Thursday at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrott Jungle Trail, Miami. 

The Class of 2014 includes James Jones of the Miami Heat; Andre Johnson, currently with the Houston Texans; former NFL star Clinton Portis; and former Miami Dolphin Lamar Thomas. Also being inducted are baseball greats Jeff Morrison and Javy Rodriguez, track All-American Wyllesheia Myrick and NCAA diving champion Rio Ramirez.

  Guests can meet the inductees and other members of the Sports Hall of Fame at the cocktail reception. Last year, nearly 40 UMSHoF members attended the dinner, along with football Coach Al Golden and Athletic Director Blake James. After dinner, the eight inductees will be honored with individual video highlights and their induction speeches.

  Tickets for this special event are $100 per person or tables of 10 for $1,000. Call 305-284-2775 for information on tickets and program ads. You can also check


Registered service animals who selflessly help the public as guides and therapy animals, and with handicapped assistance, detection, military, and search and rescue can receive free eye exams through May in the seventh annual ACVO® National Service Animal Eye Exam Event.

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is hosting the event in which more than 250 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico donate their time and resources to thousands of eligible service animals.

Registration for service animal owners and handlers runs through April 30 at

The program was launched in 2008 and through it nearly 22,000 service animals have been examined. Organizers help dogs and other service animals including horses, and even a donkey named Henry, with these sight-saving exams.

“Early detection and treatment are vital to these working animals,” said Stacee Daniel, executive director of ACVO, in a release. “Our hope is that by checking their vision early and often, we will be able to help a large number of service animals better assist their human friends.”

Other nonprofit supporters that endorse the event include the American Veterinary Medical Association, most state veterinary medical associations in the U.S. and Canada, the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, and other national service animal organizations.

If you have news and photos for the Friends and Neighbors column, send it to . Please e-mail items at least three weeks in advance of an event.

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

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