Friends and Neighbors

Young professionals raise money for Dade Legal Aid

Raising funds through fun for Dade Legal Aid are attorneys Melissa Arrojas and Stephanie Grosman.
Raising funds through fun for Dade Legal Aid are attorneys Melissa Arrojas and Stephanie Grosman.

Special to the Miami Herald

More than 100 young professionals helped raise funds while gathering with friends at World of Beer in Midtown recently, all for a special cause: Dade Legal Aid.

The organization provides legal services for the indigent in Miami-Dade County.

“Dade Legal Aid and the Dade County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section share the same vision: to leave the world better than how we found it,” said YLS President Ethan J. Wall of Richman Greer P.A. in a release. “We are so grateful to our friends at Dade Legal Aid who work tirelessly to help those in need in our communities. We could not be prouder to give back to Dade Legal Aid in a meaningful way.”

The event raised $1,200 for the agency from donations and tips to Wall, who served as “Special Guest Bartender.”


Officer Julian Perez was recently recognized with the Law Enforcement Officer Foundation’s 2013 Uniform Service Award during the foundation’s 14th annual gala.

He also was honored with the Pinecrest Police Department 2013 Medal of Valor. This award “recognizes a Miami-Dade County law enforcement officer who performs in an outstanding or exemplary manner in a uniform patrol position.”

Perez was called to a scene in March in which a veteran was threatening to commit suicide.

According to the incident report, “Officer Perez was able to defuse the situation through dialogue and convince the man to put the handgun down and move closer to him and farther from the gun. Officer Perez then made the decision to rush and grab the man to prevent him from getting a hold of the gun again.”

Perez is Crisis Intervention Team certified, as are all Pinecrest police officers, and has been with the village for five years. Because of his actions during the incident, he was chosen for training as a hostage negotiator and is now part of the Pinecrest Police Crisis Management Team.

Among his other awards for bravery, Perez was recognized by the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police with the Officer of the Month Award in July 2013 and the Life Saving Award.


Guests at the Miami premiere screening of Blockburger Productions’ “Sounding the Alarm” were given an in-depth look at how families are affected by autism.

Autism Speaks and the University of Miami hosted the event and the screening was sponsored by Coral Gables resident Tom Whitehurst. The documentary was shown to a packed auditorium who learned the recent statistics that count one in every 68 children in the United States as affected by autism.

“Sounding the Alarm” takes viewers along the journeys of 12 families across the U.S. and what they face after receiving an autism diagnosis for a loved one.

The film speaks for the children and families who suffer through countless therapy sessions, household moves from state to state seeking insurance coverage for treatments, and the struggle with the never-ending financial burdens of providing care.

Highlights include Katie Wright and her son Christian, the young man whose autism diagnosis moved his grandparents, Suzanne and Bob Wright, to found Autism Speaks.

The D’Eri family members, founders of Rising Tide Carwash in Parkland, are also featured in the film. Rising Tide Carwash hires employees with autism, offering them the opportunity to build independent lives.

“Sounding the Alarm” also will be shown during the 2014 Tribeca Family Festival in New York. To learn more, visit


Stephanie Claire Piñon, a 2013 graduate of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Coconut Grove, had the exciting experience of tradition at the 64th annual Washington National Debutante Cotillion and Thanksgiving Ball of Washington, D.C. There were 14 young women from other states involved in the festivities.

Stephanie was vice president last year of Junior Opera Guild, said her involved mom Gail, a retired attorney. Proud father Avelino is a surgeon specializing in urology. The family lives in Coral Gables.

Escorts for the young women were from the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. They enjoyed dinner at the Rayburn House Office Building, followed by a reception at the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room followed by the debutante balls.

Founded in 1949, the prestigious social event benefits the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.


The South Florida Writers Association will have its next meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., May 3 at the Pinecrest Library, 5835 SW 111th St.

Jeffrey Dorn will speak about “The Perils of Authors: Famous Authors and Their Early Publishing Disasters.”

Cost for members is $10 and for guests, $12. Brunch is included. RSVP by May 1, to For details, see

If you have news and photos write to . Please e-mail items at least three weeks in advance of an event.

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