Health & Fitness

MDC photographers take heartfelt portraits of children undergoing cancer treatments

Members of the Flores family participated in the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus Photo Club activity. Student photographers created beautiful memories for the families with children undergoing treatment at Miami Cancer Institute.
Members of the Flores family participated in the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus Photo Club activity. Student photographers created beautiful memories for the families with children undergoing treatment at Miami Cancer Institute. Miami Dade College

The gardens at Miami Cancer Institute were the beautiful backdrop for a special event that student photographers set up for pediatric cancer patients and their families during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The students are in Miami Dade College’s Kendall Campus Photo Club and their creations were for the little patients undergoing treatment at MCI, part of Baptist Health South Florida.

“The idea behind the portrait initiative was to allow advanced photography students to venture out of the classroom into a real-life assignment that will further their knowledge and experience, while giving these families a memory that will last a lifetime,” said Tony Chirinos, associate senior professor of photography and club adviser.

The family portrait event has been ongoing for five years. Participating families receive 8x10 portraits.

“The children and families were so appreciative of this wonderful opportunity and now have a keepsake from a great day,” said Laurie Sargent, child life specialist at Miami Cancer Institute.

The MDC Photo Club gathers amateur photography students “with the desire to improve their skills and learn how to express themselves through visual language.”

The club gives members opportunities to exchange knowledge, and helps the students enhance their awareness of endangered environments, cultural diversity, and the changing world around them through a variety of activities.

To learn more about the program, contact Chirinos at

Race to build an invention

This is your chance to have fun and donate to a good cause at the 10th annual Patently Impossible Project, 6-8 p.m., Nov. 7, The Lab Miami 400 NW 26th St. in the heart of Wynwood.

Join a team, or cheer on the teams, as the creative builders race to assemble their inventions from various items. Over 250 Miami judges, bar leaders, attorneys, law students, law firms and inventors are expected to attend.

The event features music by Event Factor, and appetizers and beverages donated from a variety of Miami’s local hot spots. All of the dollars raised support Dade Legal Aid’s Child Advocacy Project that helps foster youth aging out of the system who are in dire need of legal services. Register and learn more at

Art contest winners

Congratulations to all the Miami-Dade students who entered the South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union annual My Miami Holiday Art Contest. The winning young artists and their families were recently honored at a reception.

The students created art pieces that celebrated Miami’s many cultures, landscapes, and people during the holidays. One grand prize winner and nine finalists were selected and they received scholarships from the credit union.

“My experience with the Credit Union Art Contest was fun, it was good and I am very grateful for everything,” said Sureily Marestein, this year’s grand prize winner. Marestein is a junior at Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts and her art will be featured on this season’s holiday cards.

The cards are for sale for $10 at any South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union branch. Net proceeds benefit the Miami-Dade County Council of PTAs/PTSAs and Miami-Dade County Public Schools art programs.

The winners are: Grand Prize Scholarship Winner, Sureily D. Marestein; Gold Scholarship Winners, Kayah Hornek, Madelyn Obata, and Akaiya Payne; Silver Scholarship Winners, Anabelle Calles, Amelie Angelique del Risco, and Nysia Banks; Bronze Scholarship Winners, Claire Chormanski, Jade Levy, and Yasmin Benitez.

My Miami Art Reception.jpg
Miami-Dade students and families were celebrated at the annual My Miami Holiday Art Contest winners’ reception. From left, Michael DiBenedetto, SFEFCU President & CEO; Sureily Marestein, My Miami Art Contest Grand Prize Winner; and Janell Upton, SFEFCU Executive Vice-President.

Guardians of our troubled waters

All are invited to see the film premiere of “Guardians of Troubled Waters, The River Heroes of the South,” co-sponsored by Friends of the Everglades and Coral Gables Congregational Church, at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 7, 3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables.

Award-winning film director David Weintraub’s latest documentary “tells the story of our early communities and their deep connections to their rivers and streams as a source of spiritual sustenance, as their lifeblood and as a critical component of their livelihood, how that changed during the industrial era when paper mills, tanneries and other manufacturing plants turned clean, protected water into moving cesspools, and the heroes who rose to challenge the destruction.”

Tickets are a donation of $15 per person. Make an online donation at This is a ticketless event. Organizers will have your name at the reservations table at the door. For more information, call 828-692-8062.

Band begins anniversary season

For its 40th anniversary celebration, the Greater Miami Symphonic Band will present the world premiere of an original composition by Robert Sheldon, 8 p.m., Nov. 10 at Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr.

Commissioned for GMSB, “Miami City Montage” was inspired by the Miami skyline. Music director Robert Longfield, with special guest conductor, Gary Green, will lead the community symphonic band.

“The beginning section portrays the hustle and bustle of the city,” Thom Proctor, president, said of the new composition. “The middle section features a Cuban danzón style slow dance. And the end returns to the excitement of South Florida.”

Selections also include “Procession of the Nobles” (Rimsky-Korsakov), “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral (from “Lohengrin”) (Wagner), “Allerseelen” (Strauss), and “Symphonic Suite” (Williams).

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students and children over 5 years old. They are available at the box office on the day of the concert, or in advance online at

If you have news for this column, send it to CHRISTINAMMAYO@GMAIL.COM.