Community Voices

Middle-school students show their artwork created at summer camp

Yahnae Laing, 12, had the opportunity to share her creations through the Arts for Learning’s Lewis Arts Studio summer camp art show.
Yahnae Laing, 12, had the opportunity to share her creations through the Arts for Learning’s Lewis Arts Studio summer camp art show. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Members of the community, family and friends joined 18 middle-school students at their recent summer art show and the celebration was anything but typical.

This group of young artists might not otherwise have the opportunity to display their work. They are kids from Miami’s low-income neighborhoods and acquiring the education, skills and training to pursue a visual arts career can seem like an impossible dream.

But through Arts for Learning’s Lewis Arts Studio summer camp, the students met Mondays through Fridays for art learning, and art making, while also going on field trips to experience our local cultural institutions.

Their art show was the beautiful “icing on the cake.”

“We are so excited to open the doors of the Lewis Arts Studio to share the amazing pieces of art our students have created this summer with the community,” said Sheila Womble, executive director of Arts for Learning in a release. “This work highlights how the program has helped these young artist become more sophisticated in their artistic craft and thinking.”

For more than seven years, Arts for Learning’s Lewis Arts Studio has served as a haven for students with an interest and talent in visual arts. Year-round programs, including summer camp, give the students free technique classes to develop their artistic skills, practice teamwork, learn critical thinking and problem solving, and develop their portfolios.

The Studio has helped guide more than 90 students and made an impact in their lives through Saturday sessions, magnet application support, alumni activities, and the summer camp program.

To learn more, visit


Community leader Anita Jenkins spent part of her summer at the prestigious Leadership Education and Development Seminar at the 2016 General Federation of Women’s Clubs Annual Convention in Baltimore.

She successfully completed the seminar to join her fellow graduates as leaders for GFWC on the state and national level.

“It was an honor to represent GFWC Coco Plum Woman’s Club, Miami and to represent the State of Florida GFWC at the International Convention,” Jenkins said in email. “The LEADS program provides valuable information, practical ideas and resources to assist future leaders in developing leadership skills. 'Living the Volunteer Spirit' is part of being a good leader. I would encourage you to find a GFWC Woman’s Club in your area and join. You will be blessed.”

Jenkins was highly recommended for the seminar by her club and the Florida Federation. Each state selects one candidate out of a pool of qualified applicants. The LEADS program “identifies potential leaders at the grassroots level and provides them with training, support, and encouragement to assume greater responsibilities at the club, district, state, and national levels of the Federation.”

The graduates are volunteers committed to the GFWC’s mission of enhancing lives through service.

Jenkins is a member and the newly elected president of GFWC Coco Plum Woman’s Club located at 1375 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables.

The club has been active since 1912 as a community service organization that supports many different projects in Miami-Dade County such as Cops of Kids, Patches in Homestead, New World School of the Arts, Chapman Partnership, Camillus House, V.A. Hospital, A Safe Haven for Newborns, SafeSpace Domestic Violence Center and many more.

It is open to everybody interested in volunteering, philanthropy, and fellowship with other members. For membership or other information, call 305-665-5731 or email The website is


It’s not too early to start putting together that perfect ensemble to wear to the 25th anniversary Coral Gables Community Foundation gala themed “A Passage to India.”

All proceeds from the event will benefit the foundation, a nonprofit that develops programs and initiatives to enhance the quality of life for those who live, work, learn and play in “The City Beautiful.”

The gala is sure to be an enchanting evening and guests will be inspired by elements of Bombay, New Deli and Agra. Co-chaired by Sissy DeMaria and Mary Young, the gala will be held 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Coral Gables Country Club.

During the gala, several influential members of the community will be honored including: Armando Codina (Legacy Award); Roberto Martinez (Education Award); Rick and Margarita Tonkinson (Philanthropy Award); Trish and Dan Bell (Arts and Culture Award); former Mayor Dorothy Thomson (Jerry Santeiro Community Award); and Nat Moore (Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and the Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute).

“This annual gala has become a time-honored tradition for our organization, and it’s a tremendous point of pride to unveil our latest and most significant edition … one which doubles as a commemoration of our milestone anniversary,” said Mary Snow, executive director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation in a release.

Attire is black tie or saris and sherwanis. For more on how to attend or sponsor the event or for details about the Coral Gables Community Foundation, contact Snow at 305-446-9670 or You can learn about the gala and its history at

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