Community Voices

Toy drive helps spread anti-bullying culture of kindness, encouragement

Sharing holiday cheer with donated toys for children at the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade Hank Kline Club are, from left: Kimberly Roselle, Planet Fitness regional manager; Mike Esposito, Planet Fitness operations director; and Yahima Batista, Planet Fitness regional manager.
Sharing holiday cheer with donated toys for children at the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade Hank Kline Club are, from left: Kimberly Roselle, Planet Fitness regional manager; Mike Esposito, Planet Fitness operations director; and Yahima Batista, Planet Fitness regional manager. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

More than 80 children at the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade enjoyed toys and holiday joy thanks to donations from Planet Fitness gym members and community residents.

The 250-plus unwrapped gifts were collected at 11 locations before the “Planet Fitness elves” gathered them up for delivery.

The toy drive is part of the organization’s philanthropic effort, The Judgment Free Generation, designed “to combat the judgment and bullying faced by today’s youth by creating a culture of kindness and encouragement.”

“The joy that we saw on the children’s faces made us so excited and proud to be a part of this special day, and we are very grateful to our South Florida community for helping us spread a little holiday cheer,” said Scott Linsky, managing partner at Planet Fitness Miami, in an email.

The organization has partnered nationally with Boys & Girls Clubs of America as well as STOMP Out Bullying to help make a meaningful impact on today’s youth. To learn more about the mission, visit http://givingback.planetfitness.com/

Young people ages 13 to 24 can call the STOMP Out Bullying HelpChat Line, a free and confidential online chat that deals with issues around bullying and cyberbullying as well as provides support to youths who may be at risk of suicide.

Live trained counselors ask questions and listen so they can help you make a plan. For hours and more information, visit http://stompoutbullying.org/index.php/information-and-resources/helpchat-line/

If you need help immediately, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-PRIDE (7743).

LEARN ABOUT SPICE ISLANDS

Chad Husby, botanical horticulturist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, will discuss “Exploring the Spice Islands in the Footsteps of David Fairchild” at the next meeting of the Tropical Flowering Tree Society at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Garden’s Corbin Building next to the Garden House, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables. Enter at the South Gate.

The event is free to visitors. The group meets on the second Monday of each month. Programs include speakers, rare flowering tree auctions, a bloom table and refreshments. Become a member for $30 a year. For information, call 305-389-5404 or check out www.tfts.org.

TAKE A TOUR OF KITCHENS

Calling all foodies, home-design enthusiasts and admirers of architecture. How would you like to visit some of the finest private home kitchens in Coral Gables and experience mouthwatering food tastings?

The Coral Gables Community Foundation will host its eighth annual Tour of Kitchens fundraiser starting 9 a.m. Feb. 4. Proceeds will go toward the Coral Gables Community Foundation and its Culinary Arts Fund, which provides support and scholarships for the Culinary Arts Program at Coral Gables Senior High School.

Foundation Board Member Venny Torre will serve as chair of the tour for the second consecutive year.

The self-guided tour will begin with breakfast, coffee and mimosas at Snaidero Kitchens + Design Showroom, 4110 Ponce de Leon Blvd. At check in, guests will receive a program booklet containing the tour map. Stops are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and guests can visit the homes in any order.

Each stop features tasty bites from popular eateries, including Swine, Spring Chicken, MyCeviche, Whisk Catering, Steak-Out Catering, La Taberna Giralda and the beneficiaries of the tour itself, the Culinary Arts Program students.

The tour finishes with a champagne closing event at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, 4119 Ponce de Leon Blvd., from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Guests also may indulge in desserts provided by Cao Chocolates, Dolci Peccati Gelato, Happy Sugar Drop, Hip Pop and more.

Also featured will be kitchen talks by interior designer Julia Johnston and a silent auction including home, kitchen and food-related items.

Tickets are $60 per person. Purchase online at http://gablesfoundation.org/events-landing/tour-of-kitchens/. Or you can call 305-446-9670.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.

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