A little more than two years ago, Suneliz Santana, 26, and Vincent Scott, 28, and their four children faced a hardship leaving them homeless.
With the help of Miami Children’s Initiative, a non profit that tries to transform the lives of Liberty City residents, Santana obtained her GED high school degree and their children have improved in their reading.
On Saturday, the two will rappel 19 floors down the side of the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, as part of the Over the Edge fundraiser to help benefit the Miami Children’s Initiative. The couple participated in a contest where they submitted a video online featuring their children and a story on how both met. The video with the most votes online won.
The winning couple will get to exchange vows atop the hotel and then rappel down to their families and friends wearing their wedding gown and tux. They also receive a prize package, which includes a wedding cake, champagne and a honeymoon night’s stay at the JW Marriott Marquis.
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“I would’ve never imagined,” Santana said. “I am blessed and thankful for this opportunity.”
Anyone can participate in the fundraiser. Participants must raise $1,000. Deadline is June 3. Last year, the fundraiser raised $100,000.
Cecilia Gutierrez, president and chief executive of Miami Children’s Initiative, said the event leaves a major impact in the community.
“It is an opportunity to share a different side of Liberty City — to celebrate the brilliance of our children and parents and to promote the serious work that is occurring in this community,” she wrote in an e-mail. “As an organization, we are determined that the future of Liberty City’s children will not be defined by their zip code. And we are utilizing a cradle to career strategy that works to end generational poverty.”
The Miami Children’s Initiative serves more than 500 children and families.
“Our impact is far wider when you add the investment we make in early learning centers in Liberty City— reaching close to 800 young children. Funds raised from Over the Edge Miami 2016 will be used to support current programs that are in need of financial support or are currently under-funded,” Gutierrez said.
The event will also include community and civic and educational leaders.
“We go “Over the Edge” because we believe that caring, committed residents, youth and individuals can join forces to ensure all Liberty City’s children enter kindergarten ready to learn, meet and exceed grade level expectations by third grade, excel and graduate from high school and enter and graduate from a post-secondary education prepared for a prominent career and meaningful civic engagement,” Gutierrez added.
For more information on Miami Children’s Initiative, go to http://www.miamichildrensinitiative.org/