Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Pinecrest businesses buy middle school computers

Miami-Dade School Board Vice Chairman Larry Feldman and Mitchell Panter, managing partner of Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., celebrate the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new computer lab at Palmetto Middle School.
Miami-Dade School Board Vice Chairman Larry Feldman and Mitchell Panter, managing partner of Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., celebrate the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new computer lab at Palmetto Middle School. All Star Event Photography

Stepping up to help students get what they need to succeed: Pinecrest Business Association members who raised money for 35 new computers at Palmetto Middle School.

Panter, Panter & Sampedro law firm led the drive that raised $19,950 to outfit the workroom now known as the Pinecrest Business Association Computer Lab. The firm was the first to sign on and was the majority sponsor of the effort.

“In today’s world, technology and education go together more than ever. It’s our duty as a local business to support that,” PPS managing partner Mitchell Panter said in a release. “After seeing the lab in person, our firm committed to go one step further and will purchase new televisions and additional technology to make sure that these kids have the tools that they need to get the most out of their education.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new lab, Palmetto Middle School Principal Jesus Gonzalez praised the school’s community of helpers.

“As I was thinking about all the great things that are continuously occurring at Palmetto Middle School, I recalled an old Yoruban proverb that wisely states, ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child.’ Our own village of Pinecrest is a living example of that very proverb,” Gonzalez said. “Thanks to our parents, community and stakeholders, our students are able to experience successes that would otherwise not be afforded them.”

To learn more about getting involved and joining efforts with PPS, visit


The Friendship Circle of Miami will host its annual Walking 4 Friendship Walk and Community Carnival at 9 a.m. April 3 at 8700 SW 112 St. Past events have gathered over 1,000 participants in solidarity to help our special needs community.

Join in and walk, or donate, to raise funds for children, teens and young adults with special needs and their families. The Friendship Circle, and teenage and young adult volunteers who work to promote awareness and acceptance, organize this event.

The Friendship Circle has 180 teens who have volunteered more than 8,000 hours befriending and assisting 100 children with special needs. Their mission is to befriend a special person while they themselves become empowered, enriched and transformed.

There is no charge to join the walk, and the organization welcomes everyone to bring family and friends. Refreshments are available for purchase, and ride and entertainment wristbands are $5.

High school junior and volunteer Shelby Klein, 16, said the walk raises money so “all of the kids who belong to the Friendship Circle can have the best of what the program has to offer.”

“I am truly honored to be a volunteer at such a wonderful organization that offers so much to the special needs kids and young adults in our community who are looking for friendship and acceptance,” Shelby said in an email. “I look forward to the Sundays when I can spend time bonding with my special friend. She and I have grown close and I love the fact that she sees me as a true friend.”

For more, visit; contact Executive Director Nechama Harlig at 305-234-5654, ext. 11, or Linda Woolfson at 305-234-5654, ext. 10; or email

“The Friendship Circle Walk-a-Thon is a vital fundraiser as it helps the Friendship Circle sustain all of its incredible social and recreational programs for children, teens and young adults with special needs,” Harlig said in email.


Make it your mission and join the many walkers and runners at the La Croix Water Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale 5K. This is the Mothers Against Drunk Driving annual signature fundraiser in support of its mission to end drunk driving.

The event will take place in more than 80 U.S. cities. The Fort Lauderdale walk/run will start at 7:30 a.m. April 24 at Huizenga Park, 32 E. Las Olas Blvd. along Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk.

“The 2016 Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale 5K is a fun way to join forces with others in the community to stop drunk driving,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said in a release. “By walking or running together, participants can not only enjoy a great event, but also reinforce the mission of MADD: to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.”

To register, visit The cost, up to March 24, is $20 for adult walkers and runners and $15 for youths under age 21. After that date, the cost goes up to $25 for adults and $20 for youths.


Put on your dancing shoes and go to the annual gala Dancing for a Cure hosted by the Woman’s Cancer Association of the University of Miami, Barton Ravlin Chapter. Or you can make a donation to help.

The party starts at 7 p.m. March 26 at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Dr., with an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, fabulous food, silent and live auctions, and dancing. Michelle Fay of Y-100 will be the emcee.

The group will recognize Kerry L. Burnstein of the UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center as the Researcher of the Year for 2016. Burnstein focuses on prostate cancer.

WCA is an all-volunteer group and everyone is invited to join in this fun evening for a great cause. Tickets are $125 and proceeds go toward cancer research at Sylvester. For tickets, or donations and sponsorships, contact Lourdes Beltran, gala chairman, at 786-543-0868, or


Congratulations to all for another successful Tour of Kitchens fundraiser hosted by the Coral Gables Community Foundation. The seventh annual event brought together a great mix of foodies, home-design enthusiasts, architecture admirers, and fans of the City Beautiful.

Nine of Coral Gables’ finest private home kitchens opened their doors to the public with food tastings, home and kitchen items for sale, and table setting displays for inspiration.

Proceeds benefited the foundation and its Culinary Arts Fund, which provides support and scholarships for the Culinary Arts Program at Coral Gables Senior High School.

“The success of this year’s Tour of Kitchens enables us to continue our support of the Coral Gables Senior High School Culinary Arts program and the mission of the Coral Gables Community Foundation, now celebrating its 25th year,” Venny Torre, chair of the 2016 Tour of Kitchens, said in a release.

The beneficiaries of the tour, the Culinary Arts Program students, showed off their culinary skills at one of the homes by preparing a delicious ceviche dish.

“This signature event attracts nearly 500 guests and is a fabulous community gathering year after year,” said Mary Snow, executive director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. To learn more and get involved, visit

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