Paws4You Gala, Club Events and Festivals Usher in Spring


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Spring is only a few weeks away and activity has already accelerated.

ABBA fans enjoyed a tribute band, ABBA Revisited, at Paws4You’s 2022 Gala, “Mama Mia Here We Go Again!” at the JW Marriott on February 25. The numbers are still out, but they are said to have won over $100,000 that night to support this nonprofit that rescues pets and finds them good homes.

With a fun 70s and 80s theme, most were dressed in disco and hippie outfits, adding to the fun. The evening was filled with things to do and eat, caviar, cocktails and a silent auction at dinner, a concert and a live auction with Cynthia Demos and the very entertaining famous auctioneer, John Curley from California.

A generous crowd helped raise big bucks while bidding on amazing trips and, of course, an exquisite timepiece from presenting sponsor Chopard. During happy hour, they even treated guests to adorable puppies that were no doubt adopted soon after.

Founder and CEO Carol Caridad was very grateful for the ongoing community support she receives. Congratulations to the co-chairs of the evening, Ann Rubino and Kathy Cowan.

Among the many participants in this sold-out affair were Jean-Baptiste Maillard of Chopard, Norma Jean Abraham of the Anthony Abraham Foundation and Renee Reichling of the First National Bank of South Miami.

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) District 11 Art Luncheon drew GFWC clubs across District 11 for an art contest and luncheon at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club clubhouse on February 23. Members of clubs such as Cocoplum, El Portal, Miami, Miami Springs, Hialeah, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Homestead and more gathered for a brown bag lunch instead of the usual buffet to play it safe.

Each club brought the items of their first place winners to be judged, with the district first place winners being judged at the GFWC FL State Convention in May.

At that same luncheon, Elizabeth Kourtesis Fisher was named GFWC FL District 11 Volunteer of the Year and was presented with her award and flowers by District 11 Director Brenda Merrill. At the GFWC FL convention in May, Elizabeth will be honored along with state finalists representing other districts. At that time, the State’s Volunteer of the Year will be announced.

Speaking of the women’s club, Gringo Bingo at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club on March 1 drew record crowds with half of the $2,000 to be shared with The Villagers, who have awarded several grants to help CGWC preserve the clubhouse. club history and improve lighting. . It was a party as always with Steven Bradley as emcee and bingo host and DJ Germain generously volunteering his services by providing music.

Before the games began, CGWC President Ruth Martinez and this writer presented the Founder and CEO of A Safe Haven for Newborns (ASHFN) with a check for over $1,300 that was raised for ASHFN during of the February event. Nick thanked everyone and two of the current sponsors in attendance that evening, Elizabeth Gamez Vazquez and Frank Vazquez of EZ Title Services and 1st Empire Elite Financial. Save the date of April 5 for the next Gringo Bingo. To RSVP, send an email to [email protected]

The South Miami Rotary Arts Festival returned February 26-27 with plenty of great food and artistic entertainment, all to benefit scholarships and the many charitable efforts of the Rotary Club of South Miami. The weather was perfect throughout the weekend and kudos to the many Rotarians and other volunteers who gave of their time.

As always, the First National Bank of South Miami provided the headquarters where the organizers coordinated the work with other volunteers. Among the many hardworking members at the event were Renee Reichling, vice president of festival sponsor First National Bank of South Miami; Sabrata Basu; Doreen Reitenauer; Laurie Kahn; Wendy Lapidus; and Roy Gonas.

Just a day later, on February 28, the Woody Foundation Lobster Fest was another big hit. This sold-out affair took place at the Coral Reef Yacht Club.

Lobster Fest is one of many events held throughout the year to help people with spinal cord injuries cope, as is Woody Beckham whose father Bill was a recent guest on Gloria’s Gab LIVE on the 21st of February. To see this show which also featured South Miami Rotary Arts Festival Co-Chair Laurie Kahn, visit

The 2021-22 Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Diamond Ball will take place April 2 at Lowe’s Miami Beach Hotel. Juan Carlos (JC) Mas, President and CEO of Mas Group of Companies and his wife Vivian Mas were recently announced as the 2021-22 inductees into Ambassador David M. Walters’ International Pediatric Hall of Fame. During the gala, the couple will be recognized for their philanthropic support and contributions to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and the South Florida community over the past 25 years.

Their son, Sebastian, faced life-threatening complications as a baby and was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for 28 days. When Sebastian miraculously recovered on his first birthday, the family donated $1 million to the hospital. Since then, JC has served on the hospital’s board of directors as a member and chairman. For more information on visiting the Gala
Finally, the 34th annual Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Contest is just around the corner. The contest is open to eighth graders only and entries must be received online or postmarked by March 18. The theme of this essay contest is “How can art and music change our lives?” The awards ceremony will take place on April 10. For more information, call 305-661-1210 or go online to

Until next time, keep making every day count, share an act of kindness every day, and stay safe.

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