Archive for the ‘Social Work’ Category

Galas A-Go-Go

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On March - 14 - 2012


Lisa Hochstein, Alexia Echevarria, Karent Sierra, & Friend

By:  Mary Jo Almeida Shore

Tis the season:  to get dolled up in the name of charity.   Amid the club and restaurant openings, snowbirds and spring breakers, Miami socials are triple booked with galas.  Here’s a short list of some of our favorites so far.

Hearts and Stars Gala

On Saturday night, more than 1,000 guests gathered at George Wallner and Malinka Max’s gorgeous waterfront estate, Shangri La on Hibiscus Island for the Little Lighthouse Foundation’s Third Annual Hearts and Stars Gala– which was more of a swank South Beach bash than a traditional gala.  Co-founders Robert Sena, Aaron Resnick, Charlie Venturi and Aracibo Quintana and 20 co-hosts created a club-like atmosphere that included mini-lounges with white leather couches and cocktail tables, multiple bars and terrific dance music by DJ Louis Dee. Read the rest of this entry »

Honey Shine’s Art of Entertaining

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On March - 11 - 2012

Cathy Blank, Tracy Wilson Mourning, and Honey Bug Rebecca Francisque

On Tuesday March 6, Tracy Wilson Mourning, wife of NBA Champion Alonzo Mourning, and Founder of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, encouraged more than 150 women to become members of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, through a series of “The Art of Entertaining” tips and tricks useful for any social occasion, at the residence of longtime member and philanthropist Cathy Blank.

Held in part to creatively build upon the network of members in support of the program’s mission, recruitment events like “The Art of Entertaining” help fund nurturing experiences that enlighten the path and empower the future of young girls enrolled in the Honey Shine Mentoring Program. “We are truly thankful. It is through the collective power of the women who gathered that we are able to make profound changes in the life of our Honey Shine girls”, said Tracy.

Professionally lead do-it-yourself tutorials included floral arranging by Kitanim, a floral design company founded on the philosophy that flowers have the magical ability to transform a space and mood through the senses with flowers provided by Berkely Florist Supply. Fare to Remember, Miami’s premier caterer, served-up creative culinary bites made easy by Chef Sarah Davidoff. Berry and strawberry mojitos, prepared by popular mixologists, soon followed. Meanwhile, helping any “entertaining” hostess look her best for her guests was Cream Beauty who had the Beauty Bar booked in between demos and Salsa dance classes lead by Morgan Munoz. Topping-off the mid-day soiree were the many sweets and entertainment gifting treats courtesy of Gift Chixx, Aroma Espresso and 3 Men & A Lil Lady Sweat Treats who provided the best cake pops ever!

After a few moving words and testimonial from Rebecca Francisque, high school freshman and Honey Bug, an impressive group of 40 women, present at the mixer, became members, totaling $20,000 in donations awarded to the program, with more expected to pledge Honey Shine in the coming weeks. Membership, by both individuals and corporations, continues to be one of the primary funding sources by which more than 180 girls enrolled in the Honey Shine Mentoring Program continue to receive much-needed mentorship. In addition to the fun perks, such as tickets to the highly anticipated 10th Annual Hats Off Luncheon on May 8th, 2012, and member-only functions that make up the membership program, each commitment by a new or returning member helps support year-round program activities that include bi-weekly workshops and a six-week summer camp developed to encourage young girls to shine as women. For additional programming and membership package details, visit

photo courtesy: Mitchell Zachs

Inaugural Wine, Women & Shoes

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On February - 16 - 2012

Melba Reyes and MCH Foundation President and CEO Lucy Morillo-Agnetti, Miami Children’s Hospital patient and Honorary “Shoe Guy” Joseph Reyes (center) presents thank you frames created by him and other patients to Wine, Women & Shoes Honorary Chair and CBS 4 Anchor Shannon Hori and Co-chairs Carola Pimentel and Criselda Breene

More than 400 ladies slipped into their stilettos and joined together at the Inaugural Wine, Women & Shoes for a day of shopping and fun with the common purpose of supporting world-class pediatric healthcare. BFFs, colleagues, daughters, mothers and grandmothers from throughout South Florida gathered at Coral Gables Country Club on February 8 to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars to benefit Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. Honorary Chair and CBS 4 Anchor Shannon Hori served as Mistress of Ceremonies. Attendees were treated to a never-before-seen trunk show featuring Christian Louboutin shoes and accessories. They also enjoyed a sophisticated day of wine tastings, a silent auction featuring lavish trips and experiences, a fashion marketplace and a fashion show presented by Neiman Marcus.

 “This is a fun-filled day of shopping and camaraderie,” said event Co-chairs Criselda Breene and Carola Pimentel. “At the same time we are here for a very serious cause because the women here today are able to make a major difference in the lives of so many children.” 

Guests had the opportunity to hear from Melba Reyes, who has two special needs children whose lives were both saved by the experts at Miami Children’s Hospital.

“On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank all of you who have made my children and all children a priority in your lives by being here today,” said Reyes. “If Miami Children’s was not here, I wouldn’t have my two miracles and I am eternally grateful for your support.” 

The luncheon was also highlighted by “Shoe Guys” representing area organizations like –the City of Miami Fire Department, United States Marines and Miami Children’s Young Ambassadors – who showed off the latest ladies fashions on a silver platter, literally. Two fashionistas were awarded with Neiman Marcus gift certificates for winning a shoe contest. Aimee Cogan won “Best Stiletto” and Alison Kunkel came home with the prize for “Best All-Around” shoes. Shoe judges included designer Lisa Pliner; Ocean Drive Editor Suzy Buckley; Inaugural Wine, Women & Shoes Committee member Christina Getty-Maercks; and Lucy Morillo-Agnetti, Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation President & CEO. 

“I’m very excited that we are able to bring together women of all generations for philanthropy, friendship and fun,” said Morillo-Agnetti. “It’s only natural that you are here to support Miami Children’s Hospital because our doctors and nurses provide the best pediatric care in Florida and expert subspecialized care to thousands of children worldwide.” 

Sponsors included Audi; Baudouin Croonenberghs; Capital Group Companies; CBS 4; Coral Gables Country Club; DJ Crespo; Delmonte; Estefan Enterprises; KARLA Conceptual Event Experiences; K&L Gates, LLP; Logistical Outsourcing; Menu Men, Inc.; Miyo Home; Montero Wolkov, LLP; Neiman Marcus; Ocean Drive Magazine; Victor & Tammy Napoli; Passion Growers, LLC; Premier Beverage; Tech-Optics, Inc.; Tui Lifestyle; Tui Pranich & Associates; Vattikuti Foundation; Vogue; and Isa & Ava Zucker. 

Members of the Inaugural Wine, Women & Shoes Committee included Co-chairs Criselda Breene and Carola Pimentel and Norma Jean Abraham, Gingi Beltran, Michele Benesch, Susanne Birbragher, Carolina Arellano Cejas, Heidi Charalambides, Andria Miyares, Fiorella De Satory, Cristina Echavarria, Christina Getty-Maercks, Gotmar Giron Ocariz, Beatriz Bravo-Gutierrez, Iran Issa-Khan, Gaby Jimenez, Irene Korge, Alison Kunkel, Nicole Lozano, Nancy Lopez Levy, Andrea Maenz, Belen Martinez-Christensen, Lily Moskovitz, Bronwyn Miller, Bridget Murphy, Tammy Napoli, Leticia Pfeffer, Terry Schecter, Jackie Silverman, Blair Sonville, Molly Snyder, Lauren Sturges-Fernandez, Maria Elena Uzcategui, Saoussan Wahab, Siri Willoch, and Jocelyn Woolworth. 

Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation has announced this will be an annual event and Wine, Women & Shoes Palm Beach benefiting Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation will debut on Thursday, November 15 at Mar-a-Lago.

photo courtesy: Mitchell Zachs and Yamila Lomba


Let the Music Play- MISO’s Night in Vienna

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On January - 27 - 2012

Athina Marturet, Maestro Marturet, and Christian Meischel

The Adrienne Arsht Center was packed to the rafters on Saturday January 21 for the Miami Symphony Orchestras (MISO) annual gala concert, An Evening in Vienna, where more than 3,000 of Miamis social elite gathered to witness an unprecedented occasion.  On this special evening, the House of Swarovski presented MISOs Music Director and Conductor Eduardo Marturet, with a one-of-a-kind crystal baton.   Christian Meischel, Swarovski’s project manager, flew in from Austria especially for this momentous occasion, as the baton is the first-ever of its kind.   

Throughout the evening, the charismatic and energetic Marturet, wearing royal blue crystallized Donald Pliner loafers to match the stage lights, encouraged the audience to share in his enthusiasm, which even resulted in a broken baton! Fortunately, said baton was not the Swarovski baton, which had yet to be presented.  The crowd obliged, clapping to the Polka, and dancing to the upbeat tempos, and delighting to the waltzes, and great overtures.  Read the rest of this entry »

Redford Brings Sundance Sparkle to YoungArts

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On January - 18 - 2012


Robert Redford photo credit: Robert Leslie

By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore 

We fully expected to be smitten on Saturday night at the YoungArts “An Affair of the Arts” Gala, where one of our favorite actors of all-time, Robert Redford, was honored with the Arison Award.  What we didn’t expect was that we would have the honor of meeting the Sundance Kid and gushing, shamelessly, about the fact that we are lifelong, card-carrying members of the Robert Redford fan club.  The still-gorgeous-as-ever, septuagenarian actor, director, activist and founder of Sundance Institute+ Film Festival humbly listened and even indulged us in a photo- a privilege reserved to very few on that stellar evening.   

Prior to the gala, more than 800 A-list guests, including prominent artists, community leaders, philanthropists and celebrities, gathered for the performance and awards presentation at the historic Gusman Center for the Performing Arts where visual artist and 1986 YoungArts winner Doug Aitken was presented with the Alumni Award; and arts administrator Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, received the YoungArts Leadership Award. Read the rest of this entry »

Kreiss Supports Honey Shine Mentoring Program

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On January - 18 - 2012

Loren and Kate Kreiss with Tracy and Alonzo Mourning

Earlier in the week, home furnishings powerhouse, Kreiss, celebrated the arrival of its Design District showroom, with a cocktail hosted by retired NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning and his fabulous wife, Tracy Wilson Mourning to benefit the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, founded by Tracy more than a decade ago. The event attracted more than 300 design-minded trendsetters who enjoyed eco-friendly cocktails courtesy of VeeV, hors d’oeuvres by MG Events and beats by DUTCH. 

Special guests included: photographer Iran Issa-Khan, outdoor living designer Fernando Wong, NIBA Home owner Nisi Berryman, stylist Elyze Held, philanthropist Jennifer Valoppi, Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora; Barbara Becker, Kate Kreiss, Amaris Jones, Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio. 

The lovely Loren Kreiss, Managing Director of Kreiss Enterprises shared the following about the stylish gathering at the 3,800-square-foot showroom, “I’m thrilled with the turnout and reception for the grand opening of our Design District location. The crowd’s palpable energy, coupled with the inspiring support for Honey Shine, made this a truly memorable occasion.”