Community Voices

Miami Watercolor Society presents awards to young artists

Celebrating at the Miami Watercolor Society exhibition are Maidorys Garcia, mother of the winning artist; Mabel Morales, District Supervisor of Visual Arts, Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Yudiel Garcia, this year’s Purchase Award Winner; Lizzy Hunter, art teacher at South Miami Senior High School; Dottie Greene, art show founder; and Karon Gorham, Miami Watercolor Society.
Celebrating at the Miami Watercolor Society exhibition are Maidorys Garcia, mother of the winning artist; Mabel Morales, District Supervisor of Visual Arts, Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Yudiel Garcia, this year’s Purchase Award Winner; Lizzy Hunter, art teacher at South Miami Senior High School; Dottie Greene, art show founder; and Karon Gorham, Miami Watercolor Society. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Hundreds of students, parents, teachers, friends and community leaders gathered at the 32nd annual “Impressions in Watercolor Exhibition” awards reception Nov. 16 at the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center.

The Miami Watercolor Society sponsors the children’s watercolor painting showcase, where the group presents awards to young artists.

More than 300 watercolor paintings by Miami-Dade County Public Schools students, kindergarten through 12th grade, were selected for the exhibition in the one medium show. This year’s Purchase Award Winner is Yudiel Garcia, a senior at South Miami Senior High School.

Attending were Miami Watercolor Society’s Karon Gorham and Dottie Greene, the art show founder. Lizzy Hunter, art teacher at South Miami Senior High School, and Maidorys Garcia, the artist’s mother, also celebrated at the event with Yudiel, who has always loved painting.

“Both my parents are athletes, and because I’m tall, everyone assumed I’d be a basketball player, but I’ve always been an artist,” Yudiel said in email.

To learn more and see upcoming events involving watercolor classes and exhibitions, visit http://miamiwatercolor.org/.

Joshua’s Heart Foundation

Miami resident Joshua Williams, 16, is the CEO and founder of Joshua’s Heart Foundation. The Ransom Everglades senior said he saw his first homeless person when he was 4 and decided to do something about it.

Joshua has become a hero to the one in six Americans who face hunger. His foundation has distributed more than 1.6 million pounds of food and assisted more than 400,000 individuals, according to his website.

He has also recruited more than 12,500 youth volunteers, raised more than $500,000 for Stomp Out Hunger, and donated more than 100,000 toys, books and clothes.

Joshua is currently the subject of a new Foundation for a Better Life “Pass It On” campaign that highlights the values of giving. He is the campaign’s first ambassador that shows how ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

You can watch the inspiring “Pass It On” video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=vQIBNOu5m5M. The commercial featuring Joshua telling his story about combating homelessness and hunger debuted Oct. 4 in movie theaters and on national television.

Recently, the Joshua’s Heart Thanksgiving distribution and family volunteer day on Nov. 18 was a huge success. Joshua’s Heart distributed 728 turkeys along with groceries to Miami families in need.

To learn more about how you can get involved locally, nationally or globally with Joshua’s Heart Foundation visit https://joshuasheart.org.

Palace residents are movie stars

Seniors, ages 85 to 103 years, are seeing their names on the movie screen. They appear in the new documentary film “the 13th floor” that was produced and directed by Miamian Mel Gorham.

The film premiered at The Palace Coral Gables, and Gorham, along with her Great Dane Isabella and the film’s cinematographer, Cody Brinson, was in attendance to celebrate with the “young” stars.

Gorham said she was inspired by her 89-year-old father, Sandford “Sandy” Shier, who is a resident of The Palace Suites — Kendall. In her film, Gorham interviews seniors and asks about their philosophies of life. Subjects that are not usually discussed are included in the film that uses a “French noir” film technique reminiscent of the black and white movies of the 1960s.

“I was able to express myself and my inner feelings,” said Pascual Perez, one of the residents who starred in the film, in a release.

Film critic Hap Erstein introduced Gorham to the audience. In addition to the residents of The Palace Coral Gables, she also interviewed residents of the senior living sister communities, The Palace Suites and The Palace Royale. Gorham’s team has submitted “the 13th floor” to more than 20 film festivals across the country in the documentary category.

“I’m thrilled to have contributed to their lives,” Gorham said in email. “They’ve left their legacy in film and what I am doing will live on.” To learn more, visit https://www.melgorham.com/thedocumentary/.

Toy Drive for Three Kings Day

Miami volunteer Trudy Lechner continues to help get needed supplies to Puerto Rico following the devastation left by Hurricane Maria. Now, she is holding a toy drive for children from infant to teen to be delivered for Three Kings Day, Jan. 6.

“I am working with a wonderful couple — angels, actually, Jose and Winda Aponte, that have taken on a mission to send all they can to Puerto Rico. Both are Puerto Rican and saw how so much that was initially donated never reached the people. They collect and fill containers that are delivered to ‘Wings of Hope’ and religion-based organizations,” Lechner said in email.

In addition to the toys, Lechner is still collecting necessary items like toiletries, diapers for babies and adults, formula, Ensure, work gloves and more.

“I hurt for these people as most folks have moved on and Puerto Rico is not in the news anymore,” Lechner said.

To contribute to her ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ Toy Drive, call Lechner at 305-794-7384. There are sites where you can leave items or you can arrange for pickup.

Free car-seat safety event

Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade will host free car-seat safety classes at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 20, 7205 NW 19th St., Suite 500. The group also will be giving away new car seats to deserving families in South Florida. Each registered family will take one home for the holidays.

Who can attend? Women who are at least seven months or 28 weeks pregnant, and parents with infants who are less than 1 year old. You must register ahead of time. Call Olga Rodriguez at 305-274-3172 ext. 4075 to register. Space is limited.

Nationally certified experts will run the classes and give demonstrations after each on how to correctly install a car seat. Proper installation can reduce the risk of death for infants by 71 percent and for toddlers by 54 percent in motor vehicle related accidents.

HSCMD is a community-based nonprofit organization designated by the Florida Department of Health “to provide case management, risk-reduction, education and counseling to pregnant women, infants and their families.”

Learn more about this group at https://www.hscmd.org/.

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

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