Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Children filled with joy at Kappa Alpha Theta Halloween party

Hosting a party at the Childrens' Home Society McLamore Center are from left: Carrie Cleland, Kappa Alpha Theta's Miami Alumnae Chapter president Kirstie Bray, Linda Clark, Kit Wills, Lisette Betancourt, Lisa Rennison, Andrea Mustelier, and Lisa Koch.
Hosting a party at the Childrens' Home Society McLamore Center are from left: Carrie Cleland, Kappa Alpha Theta's Miami Alumnae Chapter president Kirstie Bray, Linda Clark, Kit Wills, Lisette Betancourt, Lisa Rennison, Andrea Mustelier, and Lisa Koch.

Members of the Kappa Alpha Theta Miami Alumnae Chapter threw a fabulous Halloween party for more than 15 boys and girls at the Children’s Home Society McLamore Center. The members of this women's fraternity planned the event for their annual Day of Service and in memory of founder Bettie Locke Hamilton and her birthday of Oct. 19.

The children played games, had a pizza lunch with Halloween cupcakes, and were treated to face painting and a magic show. In addition, the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Chapter members donated more than $200 worth of gift cards and goods collected from members.

Carrie Cleland, President Kirstie Bray, Linda Clark, Kit Wills, Lisette Betancourt, Lisa Rennison, Andrea Mustelier and Lisa Koch were among those involved in the service day.

“It was such a great feeling to see the expressions of joy on the childrens’ faces through all the activities we did with them,” Bray said.

To learn more about this local alumnae chapter, visit Initiates of Kappa Alpha Theta can get involved in the group. Write email to miamithetas@gmail.comfor more information.


Be sure to bring your gently-used sneakers and shoes to the Dadeland Station Sports Authority when you register for the Turkey Day Run. From noon to 6 p.m., Nov. 23-25, members of the Miami Dadeland Pinecrest Rotary will be collecting the shoes to help raise funds for the needy.

The Turkey Day 5K Run starts at 7 a.m., Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, at Tropical Park, next to the baseball fields. For course route, visit Everyone is invited to join in this event to work out before working at eating the holiday feast.

You can bring your shoes for donation on the day of the race also. Look for the Rotary collection box. And be sure to tie the shoelaces of the pairs so they do not get separated in the box. The funds raised from the sneakers go toward scholarships for deserving students. For more, contact Howard Horowitz, president, at


‘Tis the season for Christmas trees. Remember that buying your tree from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade continues an over 35-year tradition of helping youth in after-school programs and summer camps.

The Tree Lot will open its tent doors on Nov. 23 at the Boys & Girls of Miami-Dade’s Hank Kline Club, 2805 SW 32nd Ave. in Miami. It will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., until the trees sell out.

The trees are gorgeous Fraser firs hand-selected in North Carolina by Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade President Alex Rodriguez-Roig. They stand 5 to 14 feet tall with prices starting at $55. Plain and hand-decorated wreaths are also available starting at $35.

One hundred percent of the sale proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, which helps thousands of boys and girls in Miami-Dade County with positive programs year-round. For more information on how to get involved with this group, visit


Be sure not to miss this fun, free event when the skies are filled with giant-scale, radio-controlled planes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 28 at the AMPS Flying Field, located 2.4 miles west of Krome Avenue on Southwest 168th Street.

This is a wonderful family event hosted each year by the Aero Modelers of Perrine. The AMPS AeroFest 2015 will include World War II fighters flying in formation against enemy airplanes, extreme aerobatic planes doing almost-impossible maneuvers over the runway, and races by jet turbine-powered models.

There is a parking donation of $5 requested and volunteers will have homemade food for sale. Bring lawn chairs, relax and enjoy our beautiful fall skies at the AeroFest. At noon the public is invited to walk around the models, view the craftsmanship and talk to the pilots.

To learn more about this community service group dedicated to the promotion and education of model aviation, visit and to get involved contact Contest Director Tony Fandino at 305-216-8580. AMPS was established in 1959 and has grown from a small group of enthusiasts to a large group with a facility where anyone interested in learning to fly can join in.


The holiday tradition continues with the 67th annual Junior Orange Bowl Parade set to start at 4 p.m., Nov. 29 in downtown Coral Gables. The theme is “Our Historic Hometown.” The free event is always fun for families who line the streets to watch hundreds of children and young people show their talents. There are also marching bands, colorful floats and creative community parade groups that continue to make this thrilling each year.

The Junior Orange Bowl 2015-16 Royal Court will also ride a float. This year, Alexa Rodriguez was crowned Junior Orange Bowl Queen, and Madison Estape and Alexandria Egues were crowned as Princesses. This has been a “royal tradition” since 1951. The Little Sister this year is Takiya Belfore.

The Royal Court serves as volunteers and goodwill ambassadors at all of Junior Orange Bowl Festival events. The Queen, Princesses and Little Sister are chosen each year based on personality, poise, and their desire to be involved in their community.

Volunteers produce all of the Junior Orange Bowl festival events. To learn how to become part of the team, call 305-662-1210 or email

You can get more information about attending the parade at

Tickets can be purchased for grandstand seating on the Merrick Park side of Biltmore Way, across from Coral Gables City Hall, for $10 each. There are also VIP tickets for $30 each that include assigned seating on the Coral Gables City Hall side of Biltmore Way and access to the executive suite for food and drink during the parade.


If you love traditional German food and crafts like Advent wreaths, visit the annual German Christmas Market from 1-7 p.m., Nov. 28 at Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, 3010 De Soto Blvd.,Coral Gables.

The market, with many vendors participating, also will include music performances, raffle ticket prizes, and craft tables for the kids. Admission is free.


It’s almost “time’s up” to enter the 28th annual Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Contest. The competition is open to all eighth grade students in South Florida. This year, the theme is “Is There Hope for Harmony in the World?”

Students in public, private and home schools are invited to enter. Entries must be received or postmarked by Dec. 1 and may be up to 500 words. Prizes are awarded to three winning students and their teachers at an awards ceremony at Books & Books in Coral Gables on Jan. 10, 2016. All finalists will receive a Junior Orange Bowl certificate.

The South Florida Writers Association is a co-sponsor of the Creative Writing Competition along with Books & Books. Applications are available online at Look under the tab Sports and Events. Or you can contact contest chair Samantha Jones at 305-662-1210.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at