Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Darrell Gwynn Foundation, Ford dealers give kids powered wheelchairs

Kaylee Oseguera is presented with a new wheelchair at the Miami Auto Show by the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Ford. From left are Todd Payne, chairman of the board for Darrell Gwynn Foundation; Mike Hooley, president at Plantation Ford; Kaylee; her dad Hermes Oseguera; and mom Lindsey Oseguera; and Jim Gwaltney, Ford regional sales manager.
Kaylee Oseguera is presented with a new wheelchair at the Miami Auto Show by the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Ford. From left are Todd Payne, chairman of the board for Darrell Gwynn Foundation; Mike Hooley, president at Plantation Ford; Kaylee; her dad Hermes Oseguera; and mom Lindsey Oseguera; and Jim Gwaltney, Ford regional sales manager. Darrell Gwynn Foundation

To help the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and its mission “to provide support for people with paralysis and prevent spinal cord injuries,” South Florida Ford Dealers contributed to the purchase of customized power wheelchairs for community children in need.

The “You Buy a Ride, They Get a Ride” campaign began two years ago with one dealership and has expanded throughout South Florida. The wheelchairs were given to the children and their families at the Homestead-Miami Speedway during the recent Ford EcoBoost 400.

“We, as South Florida Ford Dealers, have an obligation to our local communities,” said Al Young, president of the South Florida Ford Dealers. “The ‘You Buy a Ride, They Get a Ride’ campaign is more than donating money — it is about having South Florida rally around needy families and children. It is about helping these people obtain freedom and mobility.”

The Darrell Gwynn Foundation has arranged for the donations of hundreds of customized wheelchairs to individuals facing financial and medical hardships. Many are customized with features such as headrests, joysticks, tilt and recline systems, seat cushions, and wheels and seat elevators designed to meet the unique needs of each recipient.

“The Foundation works towards the education and prevention of spinal injuries,” Darrell Gwynn said in a news release. “For those people already in need, our wheelchair donation program can help give a quality of life that they did not have before. With partners like the South Florida Ford Dealers, we are able to mobilize needy children in South Florida with their own custom, cost-free wheelchair. “

To give your own Gift of Mobility, visit darrellgwynnfoundation.org.

SUPPORT MUSIC

One of our most popular holiday events is the festive candlelight dinner hosted each year by The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music of the University of Miami. Proceeds of “Winter Wonderful” benefit music scholarships and Frost MusicReach, the community music-mentoring program.

Highlights include a reception, a three-course holiday dinner and joyous musical performances throughout the evening performed by students in the Frost Chorale, Symphonic Choir, Choral Union, and instrumentalists in the Frost Holiday Orchestra. The music director is Karen Kennedy, program director for the Choral Studies Program at the Frost School of Music.

“The Winter Wonderful Holiday Dinner is simply the perfect start to the holiday season,” Frost School of Music’s Dean Shelly Berg said. “It brings good cheer to new and longtime friends of the University of Miami and honors the wonderful patrons of the arts in our community. Best of all, the gala proceeds go directly to support music scholarships at the Frost School of Music, including our acclaimed, high quality Frost MusicReach mentoring program that uplifts at-risk teens in our community all year long and encourages them to succeed in school and in life.”

At the event, Berg will present the 2014 Frost Legacy Award to Swanee and Paul J. DiMare in honor of their support of the music school and other schools and programs at the UM.

Individual tickets begin at $300 and prices for tables of 10 start at $3,000. The holiday dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the J.W. Marriott Marquis Miami, 255 Biscayne Blvd. Way. To order tickets or tables or for more information, visit www.miami.edu/frost/index.php/winter_wonderful. Or you can call 305-284-6486 or email EventsManagement@Miami.edu.

HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR

It’s that time to take in the celebrated annual Villagers Holiday House Tour. This year theme, “Then and Now,” will feature homes from Pinecrest to the bay with an emphasis on elegant architectural changes. Participants will go on guided tours through five of our community’s most beautiful and historic homes. There will be a gift boutique, a quilt raffle and refreshments of holiday cookies. All proceeds go toward the preservation and protection of historic sites.

The Villagers 2014 Holiday House Tour will be from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6.

Tickets are $35. To receive yours in the mail quickly, send a check payable to: The Villagers Inc., P.O. Box 141843, Coral Gables, FL 33114-1843. Include your address and phone number on check and a self-addressed stamped return envelope. There will also be a will-call table for tickets purchased too late to be mailed.

For more information, contact Holiday House Tour Chair Kathleen Bowker at 305-443-1747 or info@thevillagersinc.org, and visit www.thevillagersinc.org.

HELPING KIDS

The exciting worlds of art, athletics and business combined in a mission to help children at the recent IRONMAN 70.3 Miami UnitedHealthcare Corporate Challenge Reception held at Artist Romero Britto’s gallery.

Wilber Anderson, CEO and race director of Miami Tri Events, unveiled the one-of-kind “Britto Bike” along with Bryan Palmer, vice president of sales and account management for UnitedHealthcare of South Florida, and Leanda Cave, four-time World Triathlon champion.

The sold-out challenge was held Oct. 24-26 and the Britto art bike, a Canyon Speedmax CF 9.0, was up for auction. All event proceeds benefit the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation.

Athletes from all around the world participated in the Miami event, one of the largest IRONMAN® 70.3 races in the U.S. Check it out at ironmanmiami.com. The mission of UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is to provide medical grants to help children gain access to health services not covered, or not fully covered, by their parents’ plans. To apply, donate or learn more, visit www.uhccf.org.

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

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