Archive for the ‘Social Work’ Category

Party of the Year: The 20th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On November - 21 - 2014

Diana RosBy: Dr. Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Arguably the best party of the year, the 20th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, an elegant “Oz Reimagined”-themed gala, took place on Saturday, November 1, welcoming nearly 1,000 guests, who gathered to dine, dance and donate to one of the worthiest causes: the Make-A-Wish foundation. The highlight of the glamorous celebration, was a thrilling concert by the “Queen of Motown,” Diana Ross- the most outstanding performance we’ve seen at a party since Donna Summer performed at Destination Fashion in 2007 (this writer’s first official social column for The SunPost). Ross, dazzling in a red, bejeweled halter pantsuit, wrapped in red organza, entered the stage singing “I’m Coming Out” and had guests enthralled as she performed other chart-topping hits such as,”Baby Love,” “Upside Down,” “Do You Know,” “Stop-in the Name of and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” And while Ross’ performance was the crown jewel of the Ball, there was plenty of glittery goodness leading up to the concert. From the gold carpet, to the cocktail reception filled with culinary delights created by InterContinental Miami Executive Chef Alexander Feher, including seafood served on an ice bar shaped like the trees from OZ, to the premier items at the Ball’s silent auction, and special appearances by Dorothy and her crew, the Wicked Witch and Glenda and the “Voice of Oz” that summoned revelers to the Main Ballroom for dinner- the night was filled with the enchantment we’ve come to expect from the unparalleled Make A Wish Ball. Inside the Ballroom, guests were captivated by both the splendor of the room’s white-on-white decor and the beauty and wit of Gabrielle Anwar, who returned for the fourth consecutive year as Celebrity Emcee and Auctioneer. In what has become a Ball tradition, Gabrielle and fiancé,  Ball Chair, Shareef Malnik opened the night’s festivities with a creative dramatic moment. This year’s involved Gabrielle engaged in steamy dialogue with a faceless “Oz” – actually the voice of  Shareef — who eventually revealed himself, emerging from underneath the voluminous skirt of Gabrielle’s emerald green ball gown, eliciting a roar of laughter from the room and setting the stage for the more serious task of raising money for Wishes. A touching moment came courtesy of South Florida Wish recipient Nicole Graziano, who sang a touching rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” Read the rest of this entry »

Philadelphia Shows Love for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On June - 5 - 2014

alex-lemonade-standJust in time for the summer and “lemonade season,” Philadelphia will once again prove that it’s the City of Brotherly Love by helping Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) commemorate 10 years since founder Alexandra “Alex” Scott challenged volunteers everywhere to help her raise $1 million for childhood cancer research, one cup of lemonade at a time. To continue Alex’s legacy, volunteers, sponsors and supporters across the area will join the fight against childhood cancer during the National Lemonade Days Initiative, June 6 through 8. Whether it’s hosting an Alex’s Lemonade Stand, attending one of the Foundation’s signature events or supporting the Foundation through visiting one of its many sponsor fundraisers, the Philadelphia area will be taken over by ways to help cure childhood cancer. 

National Lemonade Days

From Friday, June 6 through Sunday, June 8, thousands of volunteers will host Alex’s Lemonade Stands from coast to coast during National Lemonade Days in an effort to raise $1 million for the kids’ cancer fight. Utilizing founder Alex Scott’s original fundraising idea, the stands will provide a fun and easy way for supporters of all ages to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer while learning the important lesson of giving back. 

June 2014 will mark 10 years since Alex challenged the nation to help her raise $1 million toward finding cures for all kids with cancer, one cup of lemonade at a time. Though Alex would ultimately lose her life to the disease that same summer (August 1, 2004), she would do so with the knowledge that she had reached her goal and laid the groundwork for her mission to continue. 

For those not able to host a lemonade stand, ALSF’s website allows visitors to search for events by zip code, event name, or host name:

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Peace, Love, and Hats Off for Honey Shine

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On May - 23 - 2013

Tracy Wilson Mourning and her Honey Bugs Shine

More than 600 stylish ladies, all in sensational hats, recently gathered for the annual Hats Off Lunch at Jungle Island which boasted the colorful retro theme:  “Peace, Love, Honeyshine.”  During the welcome reception, the ladies bid on coveted silent auction items, and posed in the red carpet photo booth before enjoying a seemingly endless buffet. The always-charming, award-winning journalist, Louis Aguirre, news anchor with WSVN TV Fox 7 and DECO Drive co-host, who looked dashing in a fedora, flattered the ladies as soon as he took the stage- drawing roaring applause from the audience.  Aguirre introduced Honey Shine’s Honey Bugs, Yolanda Jiron, 18, and Quanthavia Stalworth, 17, now college-bound, who shared their personal stories of success and served as Mistresses of Ceremonies.  Honey Shine founder, Tracy Wilson Mourning joined the ladies on-stage and gave a touching and tearful account of her personal involvement with Honey Shine, which dates back to her childhood. Read the rest of this entry »

Miami Light the Night Walk Raises $850,000

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On December - 11 - 2012

4,500 people participated in the Miami Light the Night® Walk by the Southern Florida chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raising $850,000 which doubles the amount raised in 2011. 78% of all monies raised goes directly to research for cures for blood cancers. For more information, visit  

The Miami Tower was lit up in gold, red and white  – the colors of the balloons carried by the Walkers i.e. gold for those walking in memory of loved ones lost to cancer, red for supporters and white for survivors. The Walk was led by Lisa Gaeta, the National Chairman of the Board of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and by Light the Night® Miami Walk Chair Ralph E. Lawson, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Baptist Health South Florida. 

The Top Friends and Family team was Team Luke and the Top individual fundraiser was Larry Kahn with Lowell Homes.  The Top Corporate team was Baptist Health South Florida. Walk activities included food and activities for children and families, music by DNR, a band featuring local physicians, a Remembrance Ceremony for loved ones lost to cancer and the Walk itself followed by fireworks, dessert and dancing.


Alex Rodriguez, Soraya Rivera-Moya, Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and Ronald McDonald

On Saturday, November 3, Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida celebrated its 30th Anniversary at the Moore Building in the Miami Design District. More the 450 supporters of the charity enjoyed a festive and delightful event contributing to the $140,000 raised, aiding in RHMC mission of helping South Florida’s children live happier and healthier lives. The celebration culminated a yearlong 30THAnniversary fundraising campaign, which raised more than $500,000 for the charity. 

Mayor Carlos Gimenez was on hand to announce the  proclaimation of “Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida Day” in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

 Two South Florida favorites – DJ Bounce from the American Airlines Arena’s Grey Goose Lounge and the high octane Latin fusion of “Locos Por Juana” – helped keep the energy level high all night long for the event guests and families staying at the two South Florida Ronald McDonald Houses. 

While the money raised from the 30TH Anniversary Celebration will help RMHC get closer to its goal of building a third Ronald McDonald House inSouth Florida, RMHC Executive Director, Soraya Rivera-Moya says the event was also able to connect charity’s donors and sponsors with the families they support through RMHC’s various programs. 

“The greatest reward from our 30TH Anniversary Celebration was seeing the joy and gratitude on the faces of the families staying at our two Houses,” says Rivera-Moya. “We thank our year long and event sponsors and corporate partners as they truly believe in our mission. The “Heart Chain Celebration on Saturday was all about the families, volunteers and donors together as one big family.”

St. Jude Angels and Stars Gala

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On May - 31 - 2012


Juanes, Karen Martinez, Juan Luis Guerra , St. Jude Patients Victor, Stephan and Carlos

By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

The stars came out en masse for the tenth annual FedEx/St.Jude Angels & Stars Gala on Saturday, May 19. Actress/supermodel Daisy Fuentes, and Latin power-couple, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Juanes and TV host/actress Karen Martinez, served as the celebrity chairs and were on-hand to mingle with guests at the JW Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami. More than 800 guests enjoyed a Grey Goose cocktail reception, seated dinner and live performances by gorgeous Spanish, Grammy Award-winner, David Bisbal and Vicente Garcia.

Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Juan Luis Guerra got a standing ovation when he was presented with the Al-Rashid Hope Award for his tireless commitment to providing resources for needy children in Dominican Republic and Latina America, particularly in the areas of health, sports and education.

“I am honored to receive this award during such a special year like the 50th anniversary celebration of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Guerra. “While I am passionate about music, I care even more about providing children with the best care, so they can live happy, healthy lives.”

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