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Miami Visionaries Awards Next Generation finalists

Next Generation visionary: An individual under 40 years old who is leading efforts to create a positive future for South Florida through his/her work or volunteer efforts.

NOMINEES

▪ Vance Aloupis, CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida.

▪ Chad Bernstein, founder of Guitars Over Guns Organization.

▪ Richelle Williams, senior pastor at Jesus People Ministries Church International.

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Here’s what their nominators wrote about these finalists.

Vance Aloupis: Vance was just promoted to CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida, and recently finished the organization’s most successful legislative session ever, having passed KidCare, a low-cost federal-state health insurance program. He is the right-hand man of David Lawrence, former Miami Herald publisher and founder of The Children’s Movement. Vance is a key figure when it comes to giving a voice to our state’s youngest citizens. A former lawyer, Vance left his legal job to join The Children’s Movement in 2010 and now devotes himself to making sure children between the ages of 0-5 have the proper care and education they need to go on and lead successful lives. Children’s Movement works tirelessly to improve Florida’s voluntary pre-K programs, implement high-quality parent skill-building programs, secure health insurance for all children, ensure screening and treatment for all children who might have special needs and provides high-quality mentoring programs.

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Chad Bernstein: In 2008, professional musician Chad Bernstein founded Guitars Over Guns Organization (GOGO) to formalize the ad-hoc mentoring that he and his band mates from Suenalo were doing in schools and detention centers. GOGO’s mission is to provide mentoring to at-risk youth through music education as an alternative to the negative influences that typically dominate their environments. The innovative program integrates social and emotional learning concepts with popular music education and mentorship from Miami professional musicians. For the past 8 years, GOGO has empowered over 400 students during the school year and an additional 550 students in outreach programs. GOGO youth have written and produced original music and videos and have been featured on local and national TV. GOGO students improve academic performance, decision-making skills, and school attendance. These measurements are byproducts of a shift in the way these once-vulnerable students think about the world, and their place in it.

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Richelle Williams: Not often does a former Miss South Florida Beauty Pageant winner walk away from a glamour-bound career to ministry and work for the Lord. But Richelle Williams, senior pastor and the executive administrative director at Jesus People Ministries Church International (JPMCI), did that and much more. JPMCI is one of South Florida’s premiere and mainstream full-gospel, word-of-faith ministries. With over 8,000 members, Pastor Richelle is a strong and solid force in the ministry’s growth and development. She’s a proud alumnus of Miami Carol City High; a distinguished FSU Garnet & Gold Alum; and founder of the FAU Red & Blue National Collegiate Recruiting Hostesses. She holds numerous pageant titles: Miss Miami Coed, Miss Carol City, Miss Jr. Florida, Miss South Florida Coast, and she placed top 15 in Miss Florida USA. In addition to her ministry work, she has a nonprofit, Klassy Club, which helps empower girls to live their fullest. Richelle is also a chaplain for the Miami Gardens Police, and hosts a nationally syndicated program, Impact TV, seen on TBN.

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