Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Fashion night raises money for Dade Legal Aid

Mayra Joli, owner of Mayra Joli Immigration Law, shows off a designer ensemble at the third annual Fashion Night on Brickell to benefit Dade Legal Aid.
Mayra Joli, owner of Mayra Joli Immigration Law, shows off a designer ensemble at the third annual Fashion Night on Brickell to benefit Dade Legal Aid. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

At the recent Fashion Night on Brickell it was not just about beautiful models wearing the latest designer looks and strutting style on the runway.

This fashion show and its festivities were all for a good cause —helping underserved children and families get the help they need from Dade Legal Aid.

“Proceeds from the event will go to benefit Dade Legal Aid and its award winning pro bono project, Put Something Back, which benefits at-risk, underprivileged children, women, immigrants and families,” said lawyer Mayra Joli, who pioneered the event, in a release. She also served as producer and modeled in the show.

Her Joli Law Firm rolled out the red carpet for the night of “fashion for justice.” And everyone involved, from models to fashion designers to hosts, volunteered their time for the event.

“It was a great effort by everyone and we made over $20,000,” said Karen Josefsberg Ladis, executive director of Dade Legal Aid/Put Something Back.

The show featured international designers including Sha Ali Ahmad, Lourdes Atencio, Felix Suriel, Tania Guizandi, Andrea Q Rojas, Diego Vaz, Esther Macchiavello, Roxana Sittic, Diana Schafer, Ericka Nuñez del Prado, Alicia Porras and Eddwins Ra Mendieta.

The casting director was Mintoy Legier of Joli Law and the masters of ceremonies were Steven Befera, Gianina Acevedo and Sandra Coscio.

Hundreds of fashionistas, beauty queens, dignitaries, TV personalities, lawyers and celebrities attended. To get involved, learn more about the designers, and to see runway gallery photos check out

And to learn how you can help Dade Legal Aid and its mission to assist “vulnerable populations including children, teens, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, women, the elderly, the disabled and families living in poverty,” go to


The Miami Acting Company is celebrating its 10th anniversary with multiple performances of the “habit-forming” hit show, Nunsense! The comedy is Off-Broadway’s second-longest-running musical with 3,672 performances in New York.

Now, you can see it at the Pinecrest Garden Banyan Bowl Theatre from March 31 through April 3. All shows start at 8 p.m. except for Sunday’s performance with a 7:30 p.m. curtain time.

Miami Acting Company regulars Francine Birns, Karen Shane and Debbie Richardson will be joined by returning Anita Garcia and newcomer Irene Gonzales as the five “Little Sisters of Hoboken” who present their own delightful variety show to try to raise money for their nunnery.

Melanie Lee is director and choreographer, and the musical direction is by Leo Walz. Ken Kurtz is the scenery and lighting designer.

Tickets to the show are $30, $25 for seniors and $20 for students and can be purchased by calling Pinecrest Gardens at 877-496-8499 or online at

Miami Acting Company is a nonprofit organization with a mission “to promote awareness and appreciation of the performing arts in South Florida through the presentation of live theatrical performances.”

It provides free admission to several groups including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami, Legal Aid, East Ridge Retirement Community, Casa Valentina residents, Take Stock in Children, and Unrepresented People’s Positive Action Council. Check the website to learn about sponsorship and marketing opportunities with MAC.


Kudos to Sissy DeMaria on her honor as one of the Top Women in PR by industry authority PR News. DeMaria is president of Kreps DeMaria Public Relations & Marketing and the founder of WorldWise PR Affiliates.

“It is both professionally rewarding and personally humbling to be recognized by PR News with this prestigious award,” said DeMaria in a release. “This honor comes as we celebrate the opening our New York office and recent designation as the top PR firm in Miami by readers of the Daily Business Review. I could not be more proud of our entire team’s commitment to excellence in client service and accomplishments in propelling us to the top of our field.”

Also known for her South Florida community involvement and volunteerism, DeMaria formed Give a Buck for Special Equestrians in 2013.

The nonprofit encourages horse owners to make a small donation with their monthly horse boarding fees to help support therapeutic riding programs for children, and for veterans with physical and mental disabilities. The group recently raised $75,000 for the cause at its second annual Pony Derby Classic and Gala.

DeMaria, a mother of three, was one of only two Florida women to receive the PR News honor. DeMaria has worked alongside her company’s CEO, Israel Kreps, for more than 25 years.


The Homestead Soup Kitchen has fallen short on its fundraising to purchase food, plastic plates and utensils, garbage pickup, electricity and propane.

If you can help this local nonprofit, run by volunteers, send a contribution to Homestead Soup Kitchen, PO Box 901180, Homestead, Florida 33090-1180.

The group was able to replace the roof and floor this year and have a new energy-efficient air conditioner installed. They have made arrangements to get fresh fruits and vegetables from another local nonprofit and a board member is picking up day-old bread from a local store.

And on the bright side, the Homestead Soup Kitchen has recruited some new volunteers to cook and serve meals. The soup kitchen has been feeding the hungry in our community since Thanksgiving Day 1983. To learn more about helping out visit

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