Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Scholarship fundraiser returning

Although it’s been nearly two years since my older son Rick died, it still seems like yesterday. Rick is what his family called him. But to many others, he was Pastor James F. Hines, the Youth Pastor at Kornonia Worship Center in Hallandale.

Last year, on the anniversary of his death, the first benefit dinner was held at Signature Grand in Dania to honor Rick’s memory, his vision for youth, and to raise funds for scholarships. It was a great start, said Debra Hines, Rick’s widow and the CEO of BASOAM.

“Because of that event and other donations, we were able to present seven, $500 scholarships to some very deserving students to help them while they are in college or vocational school,” she said. “We presented the awards at a scholarships breakfast last June. We are looking to double the number of scholarships this year.”

The Second Annual Black-Tie Benefit Dinner, the scholarship fundraiser, will be at 8 p.m. Sept. 12, at the My Destiny Ballroom, 1970 W. 60th St. in Hialeah. The evening will feature entertainment by Broadway musical dancer and singer Afra Hines, and Marshall Davis Jr., an internationally known tap dancer. Both have roots in Miami. Afra is the daughter of my younger son Shawn, Marshall’s parents are Dr. Rozalia Williams and Marshall Davis Sr. He is the director of the African American Heritage Cultural Arts Center at 6161 NW 22nd Ave.

Several years before Rick’s death, he and his wife Debra founded the organization “Brothers and Sisters on a Mission” (BASOAM), which was geared to helping underprivileged and at-risk youth. Not only did Rick and members of the organization reached out and mentor young people on their neighborhood streets, one of the organization’s goals was to also provide scholarships to deserving students who want to go to college or vocational school.

If you go, tickets are $60 each or $600 for a table of 10, and can be purchased by calling 954-243-5726 or by sending an email to: You may also go online at, for more information about the organization and its mission.

Voices of Women Summit coming up

You are invited to the Voices of Women Summit to be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 22 at Florida International University’s Wolf University Center, 3000 NE 151st St. in North Miami.

This is a free, women and girls awareness event that will provide expert information on education, motivation and training on ending: sexual assaults on college campuses; revenge justice abuse; human trafficking; revenge porn; domestic violence; gender pay inequality; workplace discrimination; sexism/gender discrimination, and victim blaming.

To register for the summit, send an email event registration to: and include your name, telephone number and email address and place it in the subject area: The Voices of Women Summit Registration.

Once your registration is received, a confirmation email will be sent to you. Hurry, space is limited. Lunch will be provided for all event attendees.

For more information, call 561-868-2021 or to to the website:

YWCA Networker at Jungle Island

The YWCA will have its Seventh Annual Premier Cocktail and Charity Executive Networker, “Women of Influence” from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at Jungle Island Treetop Ballroom, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail.

According to a press release, the event was established to showcase a panel of successful and prominent local businesswomen who share their personal stories and to highlight the commitment to the YWCA’s mission that is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The fundraiser will benefit the YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade.

If you are thinking of going, early registration is $75, and $80 on the day of the event.

For tickets and information, call the YWCA at 305-377-9922 or email You may also go online at

Contest set up for teachers

Because at least 75 percent of all classroom supplies are purchased out of pocket by teachers, the South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union (SFEFCU) hopes to lessen the load of four South Florida teachers through a back-to-school social media contest.

The contest is called: #WhyITeach and #MyFavoriteTeacher, and will run through Sept. 30. The contest provides teachers the opportunity to win $250 to purchase classroom supplies and to be “praised by those who appreciate their hard work and generosity,” according to a press release.

Teachers can self-nominate or be nominated by students (past or present) and the contest will take place across all of the credit union’s social media platforms which includes Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Participants must follow one of these platforms to post an entry.

Here are the rules:

Teachers must be South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union members to claim their prize and the post needs to include the following:

▪  The hashtag #WhyITeach or #MyFavoriteTeacher and SFEFCU’s social media handle (#SFEFCU);

▪  A picture and a caption that describes why you teach or why a teacher is your favorite;

▪  Teacher’s school, grade and the subject he/she teaches.

Four winners will be selected at random from all qualifying entries and winners will be notified through social media.

Students receive valuable experience

This also from South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union: Congratulations to the 15 high school seniors from several Miami-Dade County public schools who participated in the credit union’s Summer Internship Program. The students were from Career and Technical Education Programs and were selected to work in the credit union’s headquarters and branches.

The students worked for five weeks in accounting, branch and lobby services, human resources, marketing and information technology departments. The experience provided the interns with a real-life working experience.

According to Michael DiBenedetto, a spokesperson for the credit union, since 2007 the credit union has hosted more than 100 high school interns in the program which has served as a launching pad for their careers. “We are proud to work with the schools and shaping the lives of our interns,” DiBenedetto said.

The 2015 Credit Union Summer Interns are:

Jonathan Lopera, Alejandro Alonso and Magyanis Ruis, from G. Holmes Braddock Senior High; Ahlia Dunn, Brian Reyes, Daniel Weiland, Nicole Regalado, and Severiano Fernandez, Coral Reef Senior High.

Also, Brandon Lacayo, Ismael Peria, Lauren Montero, and Sheyka Cruz, Southwest Miami Senior High; Carschana Laporte, Miami Jackson Senior High; Michidael Ceard, North Miami Beach Senior High and Somarys Alcantara, Miami Lakes Educational Center.

Grant Writing course available

If you have a non-profit (501c3) organization and would like to learn how to write grants, A Grant Writing 101 Course will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Phichol Williams Community Center, 951 SW Fourth St. in Homestead.

The course will be presented again from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 29, at Hosanna Community Baptist Church, 2171 NW 56th St. in Miami.

The course has been developed for those who are responsible for seeking funding from local, regional, state, and national funders, but may be overwhelmed with the process. The course will teach participants grant writing as an applicant and as a reviewer.

The course will be taught by Adraine Kreglo, who manages one of the nation’s largest and most creative youth volunteer programs. She has 25 years of experience with organizations throughout the United States and the Caribbean. In 2010 she launched Serendipity Solutions to share her experiences and to offer grant writing and volunteer management services.

To register, send an email to: and include your name, organization, date you want to attend, and contact information. The cost is $25 per person and cash, money orders and credit cards will be accepted. You may also pay on the day of the event or through Paypal in advance by sending an email to:

If you need more information, call 786-618-1477.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.