Friends and Neighbors

Amigos for Kids honors victims of child abuse

Over 150 South Florida children and parents gathered together at Jose Marti Park for the Amigos For Kids There’s NO Excuse for Child Abuse! Candlelight Vigil commemorating National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Over 150 South Florida children and parents gathered together at Jose Marti Park for the Amigos For Kids There’s NO Excuse for Child Abuse! Candlelight Vigil commemorating National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
David Cabrera / Gort Productions

Special to the Miami Herald

The South Florida community honored child abuse and neglect victims during a candlelight vigil at José Martí Park in downtown Miami recently in recognition of April’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Hosted by Amigos for Kids, the Blue Ribbon Awareness Campaign united the community through the vigil, activities for parents and children, and information about identifying and addressing the issue.

“Child abuse is a hidden truth that robs our children of their innocence,” said Rosa Maria Plasencia, Amigos for Kids President and CEO, in a release. Amigos for Kids was founded in 1991 to respond to the “needs of South Florida’s abused, abandoned, neglected, and less-fortunate children and their families, through education, abuse prevention, and community involvement.”

You can get involved by volunteering or making a donation at

The popular ING Miami Celebrity Domino Night is coming up at 8 p.m. June 14 at Jungle Island. This has been a successful fundraiser for the cause since 2005. Featured are live music, dancing, silent auctions, and, of course, domino playing. For more information and sponsorship opportunities, call Amigos for Kids at 305-279-1155.


Chef Chris Bulgarin is back for a second round of teaching the art of making the perfect hamburger. He will present his culinary skills in a class from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables.

Just in time for grilling season, Chef Chris will present inventive flavorful burgers for tasting as he takes participants through each step in their creation. Planned are an Asian-style slider with sesame and ground pork on a sweet bun with fly fish roe, Asian vegetables, tomato and sesame mayonnaise; a slider jalapeño popper burger with jalapeño cream cheese, sautéed jalapeños and a patty with diced jalapeños.

For the “grand six-pound finale,” he will make The Monster, a whopping four-pound beef burger, matching Monster bun, a pound of three cheeses (cheddar, Swiss and provolone) and a pound of toppings including tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, fresh jalapeños and sautéed onions. The finished product will be cut and served to the class. A baked potato salad made with mayonnaise, sour cream, bacon, cheddar, chives and sautéed onions will be served on the side.

Registration deadline is Monday. The class costs $50 for Garden members and $65 for others. Register for Big Burgers and Sliders — The Second Round at


Seniors are invited to visit the Pinecrest Community Center, 5855 Killian Dr., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday to celebrate Older Americans Month. More than 35 agencies will be represented at the Senior Fair.

Seniors can benefit from health screenings by Baptist Health and Mount Sinai Medical Center. Other agencies planning to attend include the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Transportation, Alliance for Aging, Miami-Dade Transit and Miami-Dade Public Libraries.

Visit for the valuable information and goodies. Attendees will also have the chance to have complimentary chair massages. Refreshments will be available, too.

And, for the first time, the Senior Fair will extend into Pinecrest Gardens where residents can attend a horticulture class as well as take a tour of the garden.


Exemplary high school students and education nonprofits in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Lee, Hendry, Collier, and Monroe counties are invited to apply for grants and scholarships through the Sun Life Rising Star Awards through June 9. Available funds total $220,000.

The U.S. Business Group of Sun Life Financial seeks to promote the academic achievement of underserved youth. The four winning organizations will receive $50,000 in grants, and in turn, each nonprofit will nominate a student to receive a $5,000 Sun Life Rising Star scholarship toward financing their college education. The program is the educational cornerstone of the Miami Dolphins Foundation.

Sun Life will surprise the winning students with their scholarships at a special award presentation led by prominent members of the South Florida community.

Qualifying students exhibit leadership skills and a commitment to community, and qualifying nonprofit organizations “promote academic excellence as a means to achieving life-long financial wellness.” By the end of 2014, Sun Life Financial will have committed almost $5 million to 86 students and 79 nonprofits in 16 cities across the U.S. In South Florida, the organization has already committed $880,000.

“Sun Life is proud to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Rising Star Program,” Sun Life Financial U.S. Vice President of Marketing Ed Milano said in a release. “We continue our commitment to investing in our nation’s underserved youth by recognizing educational excellence as a means to financial security. We look forward to welcoming our newest class of Rising Stars this year and following their continued success.”

Nonprofits can submit applications with their nominated high school seniors at www. Student nominees must be active in an organization with the Sun Life Rising Star Awards mission. Nominated students are required to submit a 750-word essay.

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