Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Boys & Girls Clubs celebrate with Wild About Kids Gala

Celebrating at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade Gala are: From left, Juan Jose Delgado, Michael S. and Lynda Gordon, Pamela Guilarte, Olga Guilarte, Gabriela Rachadell de Delgado, Elizabeth Patino, Eris Thomas, Judith Kramer, Melissa Pallett, and Raul Rodriguez-Jacome
Celebrating at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade Gala are: From left, Juan Jose Delgado, Michael S. and Lynda Gordon, Pamela Guilarte, Olga Guilarte, Gabriela Rachadell de Delgado, Elizabeth Patino, Eris Thomas, Judith Kramer, Melissa Pallett, and Raul Rodriguez-Jacome

For more than seven decades, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade have been helping children improve their lives through education and sports in order to realize their dreams.

The group recently held its ninth annual Wild About Kids Gala to raise additional funds for its after-school and summer camp programs. More than 500 guests in attendance enjoyed performances by Venezuelan fashion designer Angel Sanchez, Nickelodeon actress Elizabeth Elias, 2014 Latin Grammy Best New Artist Mariana Vega, and members of the Boys & Girls Clubs Youth Dance Club.

The gala was chaired by community leaders Juan Jose Delgado and Gabriela Rachadell de Delgado, and co-chaired by Ralph and Elizabeth Patino.

“We are humbled by the overwhelming support received and all those who have helped us reach this milestone,” Rachadell de Delgado said in a release. “In its ninth year, you’d think we’d be emotionally prepared to take it all in, but the truth is, the invaluable support we receive each and every year never ceases to amaze me.”

Gala committee members included: Maria Cecilia Arocha, Tom Bezold, Katie Cabanas, Lynda Gordon, Pamela Guilarte, Judy Kramer, Steven D. Lear, Marile Lopez, Alfredo Mesa, Yuni Navarro, Melissa Pallett, Raul Rodriguez and Eris Thomas.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade has been helping youth in the community since 1946. The clubs provide programs in the areas of character and leadership development, educational enhancement, career preparation, health and life skills, cultural arts and sports, fitness and recreation. To learn how you can help, visit


Children and families will enjoy celebrating Hanukkah at the grand lighting of a Minion menorah at 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Village of Palmetto Bay Coral Reef Park, 7895 SW 152 St.

Everyone is invited to visit the park’s gazebo bandshell near Southwest 77th Avenue for activities including a bounce house, a live olive oil press show, kids arts and crafts, music, and raffles. Traditional holiday delicacies, donuts and the Hanukkah gelt of chocolate coins will be served.

This event is being hosted by Chabad of Palmetto Bay and is free to all. Local dignitaries will join with Rabbi Zalman Gansburg for the menorah lighting at 3 p.m. For more information, visit


Enjoy Christmas and Hanukkah holiday family classics at two community concerts presented by the Greater Miami Symphonic Band. Music Director Gary Green and Conductor Robert Longfield will lead the band and audience members into the holiday season with a delightful variety of popular music for the band and handbell choir.

Bring the whole family to these fun events. The Family Holiday Concert will be 3 p.m. Sunday at Pinecrest Gardens Banyan Bowl, 11000 Red Rd.; and the Holiday Concert with The Bells of St. Andrews Handbell Choir, will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, at the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, University of Miami, 1314 Miller Dr. in Coral Gables.

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $5 for students and children over age 5. Tickets are available online and at the box office on the day of event. The Pinecrest location concert ticket includes admission into the Gardens after 2 p.m. For more go to or call 305-273-7687.


Share the joy and celebrate the achievements of young musicians when the Miami Music Project presents its Winter Concert Series with four shows in Little Haiti, Liberty City, Little Havana and Doral.

The concerts will highlight nearly 500 students who are active in this positive neighborhood program that brings music to deserving youth. The concert series is “the culmination of many weeks of hard work by our young musicians, the staff and community partners,” Maritza Diaz said in email.

Most recently, Miami Music Project was awarded the Knight Arts Challenge grant for the fourth time in the organization’s history, she said. And at a recent ceremony, Miami-Dade County School Board member Raquel Regalado presented a proclamation to the group for “making music accessible to all children, establishing chapters in neighborhoods throughout Miami where children are provided music education resulting in positive social transformation.”

The first event in the four-concert series is Winter Wonderland at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at University of Miami’s Gusman Concert Hall to celebrate the community of Little Havana, home of Miami Music Project’s four chapters.

Following that there will be three more shows: “Holiday Celebration” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, at the Little Haiti Chapter, Toussaint L’Ouverture Elementary, 120 NE 59 St.; “Believe in the Magic” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, at Doral Chapter, John I. Smith Middle, 5005 NW 112 Ave.; and “Festive Finale” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Liberty City Chapter, Charles Drew K-8 Center, 1775 NW 60 St.

For more about The Miami Music Project, visit


Calling visual artists who are seniors in high school. Now is the time to apply for the Miami Prize 2016.

Carlos D. Malamud, a native of Mexico City and former resident of San Diego, California, created this new award after he moved to Miami in the summer of 2014. Malamud said he was inspired after hearing a lecture by Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Malamud asked how he could help visual art students and he started working on his project with Mabel Morales, District Supervisor for Visual Arts/Dance of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Morales introduced him to retired art teachers Marilyn Traeger and Marlene Kohn, who now run The Fund 4 Design and Art Education. And the Miami Prize was born.

"The Miami Prize was created to award seniors of the Miami-Dade School district for their excellence in visual art, and for them how to learn to manage money wisely,” Malamud said.

Apply for the award online by Feb. 28, 2016, at The winner of the $3,000 prize will be notified by May 1.

The mission of the Miami Prize is “to honor one outstanding Miami-Dade County Public School senior year visual art student in order to encourage and promote the continuation of their pursuit of excellence.”


My Friends and Neighbors column will not be published on Dec. 20. I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season of giving and love with family and friends. As we celebrate, let us all find time to reflect and be grateful. And let us always find time and ways to help others.

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