Community Voices

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade alumni inducted into Hall of Fame

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade held its fourth annual Alumni Reunion & Hall of Fame Induction at Marlins Park Aug. 25. This year’s inductees are, from left: Larry Rentz, accepting for his late brother Carl Rentz; Gerald Tinker; Serge Martinez; Paul George; Layne Jackson; and George Nowicki.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade held its fourth annual Alumni Reunion & Hall of Fame Induction at Marlins Park Aug. 25. This year’s inductees are, from left: Larry Rentz, accepting for his late brother Carl Rentz; Gerald Tinker; Serge Martinez; Paul George; Layne Jackson; and George Nowicki.

Since 1940, Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade has helped children in our community discover and follow their dreams. The group has provided supportive environments, and after school and summer programs, where youth can learn, thrive and accomplish.

On Aug. 25, six club alumni were inducted into its Hall of Fame at a special Alumni Reunion & Hall of Fame ceremony at Marlins Park. Their families and other Boys & Girls Clubs alumni celebrated them, and afterward all were treated to a Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves home game.

This year’s Alumni Hall of Fame inductees are Layne Jackson, former Navy Seal who attended the Kendall Club; and five Hank Kline Club attendees: Serge Martinez, pioneering surgeon of cochlear ear implants; Paul George, Miami historian; George Nowicki, retired agent of the U.S. Treasury Department; Gerald Tinker, 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist; and the late Carl Rentz, legendary Miami personal injury attorney. Larry Rentz accepted the award for his brother, who died in 2012.

Because of their dedication, talent and skills, Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade alumni have affected the South Florida community and beyond in areas of sports, entertainment, business, medicine, politics, justice, art, education and many other fields.

Many credit the life-changing programs they experienced at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade with setting them on the path to reach their dreams.

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Celebrating a grant to help Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services are, from left: Peter Schneider, Primerica president; Wendy Mitchell, Miami Bridge Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Dorcas Wilcox, CEO of Miami Bridge; and Kathryn Kieser, Primerica executive vice president and chairwoman of the Primerica Foundation.

Group for youth in crisis receives grant

Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services has received a $20,000 Primerica Foundation grant to support its non-residential, family crisis intervention and counseling programs.

Miami Bridge’s First Stop for Families Program works with about 400 youth and their families each year. It is designed to help families stay together and diverts children from “having to utilize emergency shelter services by providing short-term family crisis intervention assistance.”

“Miami Bridge is far more than just an emergency shelter,” said Dorcas Wilcox, CEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services in a release. “Our community-based programs, like First Stop for Families, are designed to open lines of communication in times of crisis and stress, we help families develop new solutions and approaches to overcome conflicts.”

Miami Bridge’s non-residential/community behavioral services help families, at-risk LGBTQ youth and truant students in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system, by making free counseling, case management, and mentoring services readily available.

Each year, Miami Bridge shelters more than 500 children and teens, and provides over 10,000 care days for them. Programs also provide counseling for more than 500 families with children ages 6-17.

The Primerica Foundation is the charitable arm of Primerica, the Georgia-based financial services company.

“Primerica is deeply committed to improving the communities in which we live and work,” said Glenn Williams, Primerica’s CEO, in a release. “Through targeted charitable giving, our Foundation helps strengthen and support families in their time of need. We applaud the exceptional work done by Miami Bridge and are proud to support this worthwhile organization.”

To learn how you can help youth in crisis by donations or volunteering, visit miamibridge.org.

If you are a youth who needs help, or an adult struggling with a child in trouble, go to miamibridge.org/need-help or call 305-635-8953. The phone line is open for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Free Family Expo

Hundreds of service organizations will be available to parents and students at the annual Family Expo, hosted by The Children’s Trust, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo Center. Enter on Coral Way at Southwest 109th and 112th avenues.

Admission, parking, and all activities and entertainment are free.

The fun-filled family event was created to connect parents to a wide range of services available for their children. Parents will be introduced to after-school enrichment programs that include the arts, robotics, filmmaking, coding and sports programs to help children stay focused and fit.

“It’s difficult to be a parent, but you’re not alone out there,” said Children’s Trust President and CEO James Haj in a release. “There are services and providers throughout this community to help with all aspects of raising children and building stronger families, and this is the place where you’ll find them.”

New for 2018 are the University of Miami’s Pediatric Mobile Clinic, which will administer medical screenings to kids; a mobile arcade; a teddy bear clinic sponsored by Jackson Health System “where kids can use bandages and bear hugs to make their plush charges all better”; a living, breathing “statue” of Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts; a three-piece, interactive, paint-by-number mural project that’s like a giant coloring book sponsored by The Motivational Edge; and elaborately costumed and Carnival-like stilt walkers.

Returning will be a pop-up planetarium, bounce houses and a rock-climbing wall, arts and crafts activities, kid-friendly Zumba classes, fencing and robotics demonstrations, storybook character meet-and-greets, and face painters and balloon artists.

Raffles will be held throughout the day and kids who get there when the doors open will receive a free backpack from The Children’s Trust.

Sign language interpreters will be on site. Food and beverages will be available for sale. For more information, visit thechildrenstrust.org.

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