Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Jr. OB honors four community leaders who’ve made a big impact on area youth

Celebrating at the first Junior Orange Bowl Gala are from left, Executive Director Jessica Cerda-Antomarchi; Charles DeLucca, Jr. and Charles DeLucca, III of First Tee of Miami; and Peter Tolmach. The Junior Orange Bowl recently honored the following for their commitment to helping children: Dr. Narendra Kini, CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital; William H. Kerdyk, vice mayor of Coral Gables; and Charles DeLucca, Jr. and Charles DeLucca, III, of The First Tee of Miami.
Celebrating at the first Junior Orange Bowl Gala are from left, Executive Director Jessica Cerda-Antomarchi; Charles DeLucca, Jr. and Charles DeLucca, III of First Tee of Miami; and Peter Tolmach. The Junior Orange Bowl recently honored the following for their commitment to helping children: Dr. Narendra Kini, CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital; William H. Kerdyk, vice mayor of Coral Gables; and Charles DeLucca, Jr. and Charles DeLucca, III, of The First Tee of Miami.

There’s always room for something new in Miami and often the new blends perfectly with the historic.

The 66-year-old Junior Orange Bowl has added a gala to its list of accomplishments. The inaugural event was held recently to honor four community leaders who have tirelessly worked to make a positive impact for the youth in our community.

The honorees were: Dr. Narendra Kini, CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital; William H. Kerdyk, Vice Mayor of Coral Gables; and Charles DeLucca Jr. and Charles DeLucca III, of The First Tee of Miami. Marcia Diaz de Villegas of Miami Children’s Hospital accepted the award on behalf of Kini.

The gala, held at the Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables, featured Sandra Peebles of Univision as emcee. The evening also included a silent auction. All proceeds will support the Junior Orange Bowl academic, athletic and cultural arts events and programs for children.

“We are truly humbled and grateful for all of the support we received for our inaugural gala,” said Chair Michelle Benitez-Bermudez in a release. “The response from donors, sponsors and the community has been so generous. The youth will benefit greatly from the success of this event, and that’s what is most important.”

At the gala, Kathleen Kauffman was inducted as the 45th president of the Junior Orange Bowl. Joining her on the board is president-elect Charles Knight, vice presidents Samantha Jones and Adhys Obeso, treasurer Sam Burritt, secretary Benitez-Bermudez, Barbara Waters and Isa Goenaga.

Benitez-Bermudez was also the winner of the James Charlton Outstanding Service award. This award is given to the Junior Orange Bowl volunteer of the year. To learn more call 305-662-1210 or visit http://www.jrorangebowl.org/

SPORTS ITEMS NEEDED

Time to clean out the closets and sort through your unneeded sports equipment, clothes and sneakers for donation to the Patriot Outreach charity drive.

For the last four years, Blake Miller, a junior at Palmer Trinity School, has been the chairman of the Patriot Outreach program. Blake coordinates the drive in South Miami-Dade County to collect used, but still usable, athletic equipment and apparel that are then sorted, boxed and shipped to the Dominican Republic. The items are then distributed to impoverished children in Higuey and Punta Cana.

The recycled equipment and clothing give the youth there the opportunity to participate in athletics. Patriot Outreach members have been conducting the annual drive for eight consecutive years. Throughout that time, the organization has collected more than 65,000 pieces of sports equipment, uniforms, shoes and related gear.

The Patriot Outreach board includes students from many area high schools, according to Blake. He works with board members Keaton Zargham, Ryan Booth and Jett Caplin from Miami Palmetto High School; Alex Hartnett of Coral Reef Senior High School; Ryan Merritt of Christopher Columbus High School; and T.J. North of Westminster Christian School.

The donation drop-off location is Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest. Just drive your car up to the drop-off box in front of the office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., now through April 30. For more, email Blake at bmiller1024@gmail.com.

HALL OF FAME BANQUET

This is your chance to see some of the finest athletes in University of Miami history join the UM Sports Hall of Fame. The 47th Annual Induction Banquet will start with a reception at 6 p.m. April 9 at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail in Miami.

The group of 10 honorees includes two-time Olympic medalist Lauryn Williams as well as football stars Jonathan Vilma, Kevin Patrick, Rusty Medearis, Winston Moss and the late Sean Taylor. Also set for inductions are College Baseball Hall of Fame Member Alex Fernandez, NCAA champion diver Chris Mantilla, basketball star Kym Hope and former football assistant coach Rob Chudzinski.

“This is an impressive class that reflects the highest level of athletic talent representative of The U,” said K.C. Jones, president of the UM Sports Hall of Fame and member of the 2008 class in a release. “We look forward to introducing this outstanding class to Hurricanes fans at our induction ceremony at Jungle Island.”

With the addition of the Class of 2015, the UM Sports Hall of Fame will have 292 members.

Tickets to the banquet are $100 for individuals or a table of 10 for $1,000. Super Tables of 10 are available for $1,500. And new this year is the Super Table for $1,750, which includes a half-page advertisement in the program.

For more about tickets and tables, contact UMSHoF Executive Director John Routh at 305-284-2775, or go to http://www.umsportshalloffame.com/

The UMSHoF was founded in 1966. It is open free to the public on weekdays, 12-5 p.m. at 5821 San Amaro Dr., Coral Gables.

YOUTH FAIR FOR SPECIAL GUESTS

It will be a fun-filled day for students with special needs when the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition hosts Exceptional Students Day, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 2 at Tamiami Park. Students of all ages with special needs can enjoy select rides at reduced speeds on this day.

Many vendors and concessionaires can accommodate the special guests. The students also will be treated to select shows and access to all exhibits inside Arnold Hall, the World of Agriculture Tent and The Petting Zoo located at The Oasis, according to organizers. The Youth Fair’s Tadpole the Clown will make extra special appearances.

“This is truly a wonderful day not only for the students but for everyone on The Youth Fair team,” said Bob Hohenstein, president and CEO, in a release. “To see the joy and delight on the youngsters’ faces is always something each of us look forward to.”

The 64th annual Youth Fair is open daily until April 5, except for March 16-17 and March 30-31.

Known for generations as simply The Youth Fair, the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition has donated millions of dollars in scholarships, awards and cash premiums to Miami-Dade students since 1952. The organization is dedicated to supporting education and South Florida agriculture. For more visit http://www.thefair.me/thefair/index.php or call 305-223-7060.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at ChristinaMayo05@aol.com.

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