Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Young Patronesses of the Opera volunteer for Girl Scouts

Ashley Wheeler, a junior member of Young Patronesses of the Opera and daughter of YPO President Lisa Wheeler, helps with opera-related crafts at the Girl Scout Workshop.
Ashley Wheeler, a junior member of Young Patronesses of the Opera and daughter of YPO President Lisa Wheeler, helps with opera-related crafts at the Girl Scout Workshop.

Congratulations to the members of the Young Patronesses of the Opera who gave of their time at the annual Girl Scout Workshop at Riviera Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables.

“Over 110 girls enjoyed the fun-filled day, participating in a short adaptation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte while enjoying crafts, costumes, and makeup,” said Gail Piñon co-chair of the YPO Girl Scout Workshop committee. “They were enthralled by a visit from YPO member Julie Todaro dressed as Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. They were also delighted with a performance by an opera ‘diva,’ Ms. Corinne Lachtara.”

The workshop was made possible this year by a grant from the List Family Foundation, Piñon said.

The YPO has long had a mission to promote a love of the opera in our community. In addition to Girl Scout Workshops, the group’s educational programs include In-School Opera performances, teacher’s workshops, publication of Opera Funtimes books, and a voice competition for young opera singers. For more, visit


The Zumba Girl Up fundraiser scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart was canceled after a scheduling conflict.

Working through the United Nations Foundation, Girl Up has a mission “to give American girls the opportunity to become global leaders and channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for United Nations programs that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls.” To find out how you can help, visit


Get out there and run, or walk, to help the Good Hope Equestrian Training Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 31 at Schnebly Redland’s Winery 30205 SW 217th Ave.

The Hoofing It For Hope 5K will raise money for therapy horse programs and services that help adults and children with disabilities as well as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The event includes the 5K course, and a shorter one for participants who want to be involved but can’t go the entire distance. There also will be arts and crafts, food trucks, rides and music. To register for the event, donate and learn about sponsorship, visit or call 305-258-2838.


There will be a free, informative dinner for those interested in the April fundraising event Miami Walk Now for Autism Speaks at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29, at the Hilton Miami Airport, 5101 Blue Lagoon Dr.

At the dinner, you can speak with committee members about team building, how to help share awareness about autism, and how to raise funds for research, advocacy and services.

The Miami Walk Now for Autism Speaks is scheduled for April 19 and more than 28,000 are expected to participate. For more, contact Angelica Fernandez at


There is a Feb. 1 deadline to RSVP for the “To Unmask the Mysteries of Childhood Cancer” luncheon hosted by Margaux’s Miracle Foundation at 11:30 a.m. March 3, at the Treetop Ballroom at Jungle Island. The shopping boutique will open at 10 a.m.

The guest speaker will be journalist Carl Hiaasen. Proceeds from the event will support Margaux’s Miracle Foundation research in childhood cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The cost is $125 per person and you can purchase tickets or learn more at


Don’t miss Bob Jensen’s free presentation, “South Dade Black History: 1900 to Present,” at noon Feb. 2, at the Florida City Commission Chambers at 404 W. Palm Dr. as part of the Homestead Center for the Arts Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture Series.

Jensen will present historical photos and commentary based on 35 years of research. He will share information about South Dade’s first black pioneers, John and Belle Thomas; St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church’s beginnings; and the Florida East Coast Railway. Also included will be the community’s contributions to the World War I and World War II efforts.

An optional lunch will be available at 11:30 a.m. for $10. Call 305-230-9185 before 2 p.m. Jan. 30 to reserve. You can also bring your own brown bag lunch. Learn more about upcoming events in the series at


Nighat (Niki) Naseer of South Florida will speak about her book, Golden Bangles, Hidden Tears, at an event hosted by the Coco Plum Woman’s Club on 10 a.m. Feb. 4 at 1375 Sunset Dr. in Coral Gables. Admission is $15 and includes snacks.

Naseer arrived in the United States in 1974 from Pakistan. The book is her story of growing up as an oppressed Muslim Pakistani woman. Reservations required. Call Dottie Zammas 786-444-2114 or email by Feb.2.

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