Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Congratulations for Bendross-Mindingall on vice chair appointment


Congratulations to Miami Dade County School Board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, District 2, who recently was voted the first African-American woman to be the vice chair of the School Board. The election was held at the School Board’s annual organizational meeting Nov. 17.

Said Bendross-Mindingall: “I am truly honored to serve in this position and I thank my fellow School Board members for their support. We are all capable of serving in leadership and I thank them for allowing my name to be called next.”

Bendross-Mindingall is a former elementary school principal and former Florida representative. She is known for her hand-on tactics in helping to better the status of life in the black community. As an elementary school principal, she encouraged many of the single mothers at her school to go back to school so they could get a better job and get off welfare. Several of them went on to complete college.

She said she is proud to serve alongside such a “dynamic group of individuals, the superintendent and staff to further the educational lives of our students.”

See the Light Luncheon

For 85 years, the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind has helped to make life easier for the blind and visually impaired. On Nov. 12, the organization marked the occasion at the 10th Annual See the Light Luncheon, where it was announced the Braman Family Foundation has pledged $1 million toward Miami Lighthouse’s new Center of Excellence for Visually Impaired Children. The new space will serve a prekindergarten for blind 3- and 4-year-olds, and an early intervention center for blind babies.

Thomas J. Wlodkowski, vice president of Comcast, was the keynote speaker, and he told the audience that Comcast has collaborated with Miami Lighthouse to pilot the new Comcast “Talking Guide,” an innovative new system that allows a visually impaired person, using either English or Spanish, to access TV program selection through audio output. The Spanish language version of the Talking Guide was unveiled at the luncheon.

In addition, Soraya Rivera-Moya, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities, presented a check for $25,000 in support of the Miami Lighthouse Music Program.

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s president and CEO Virginia Jacko said the organization has experienced a 24-fold client increase since 2004. “We now serve over 12,000 individuals annually.” She said the funds raised at the luncheon and the grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities will help meet the increased demand.

The event was sponsored by Comcast, Nostro Jones, P.A. and GenSpring. Mark Trowbridge, Coral Gables Chamber president and CEO, was the master of ceremonies.

Rundle to speak at summit

The Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle and Judge Carroll Kelly will be the keynote speakers at the 2015 Annual Summit presented by the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council of Greater Miami (DVSAC). The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the 11th Floor Conference Room at the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, 175 NW First Ave.

The DVSAC of Greater Miami will take an in depth look at the criminal justice system’s response to crimes of domestic violence from experts who work inside the system.

To RSVP, call Angie Castro, Survivor’s Pathway at 786-275-4364 or 786-334-6992, or email her at:

Fall recital scheduled

The Performer’s Music Institute will present its End-of-Fall Semester Recital at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, at Miami Shores Community Church, 9823 NE Fourth Ave.

The recital will feature the institute’s students of voice, said Oscar Diaz Jr., director of PMI. The program will include vocal selections from opera, musical theater, art songs and popular music.

It’s free and open to the community. For more information, call Diaz at 305-757-7725, or email him at:, or go to

Quilt show deadline Dec. 15

Don’t forget the deadline to register your quilt for the Pioneer Museum Quilt show is Dec. 15.

The show will be held Feb. 20-21 at the Florida Pioneer Museum at 826 N. Krome Ave. in Florida City, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. Antique and modern quilts will be featured. The museum will also be open the same hours on both days.

The show will feature a lecture to be given on the museum’s collection of antique quilts and a live demonstration on an 1860 sewing machine. Other sewing machines from the 1860s through the 1940s will also be on display.

Registration forms are available at the Florida Pioneer Museum , at the Town Hall Museum at 43 N. Krome Ave. in Florida City and on the website:

Ladies of Leisure Luncheon

Several years ago, a group of retired professional women got together once a month just for lunch and fellowship. At first there were only a few women attending the monthly luncheons, which are held at a different location each month. The number has grown now to more than 100.

Called the Ladies of Leisure Luncheon, the group will meet at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 9 for the Christmas luncheon at Nikki’s on the Green Restaurant at Orangebrook Golf and Country Club, 400 Entrada Dr. in Hollywood.

The group welcomes newcomers. Lunch is $35 per person and if you go you must make your reservation by Dec. 2 by mailing your check to Thomasina Hargrove at 3821 NW 196th St., Miami Gardens, FL 33056, or you may call her at 305-625-0804.

New Neighbors has new location

The New Neighbors Club of South Florida has a new meeting place for the monthly luncheons. Starting Dec. 9, the group will meet at Devon’s Seafood & Steak Restaurant at 11715 Sherry Ln. in the Town and Country Mall in Kendall.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. with luncheon and program starting at noon. The cost has also changed — $23 per person, which is $3 less per person than at the previous location.

This month’s program will feature a musical tribute to the holiday season and will include an old-fashioned sing-along with piano accompaniment. Member and travel professional Evelyn Guilfoyle will give a brief overview of upcoming travel opportunities.

Reservations are required. To make yours, send an email to: or call 305-595-0213 by 6 p.m. Dec. 6.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.