Hats Off to Success

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Multitudes of guests opened their wallets for philanthropy at the recent Kiwanis Club of North Miami Beach-Sunny Isles Beach 60th Anniversary Gala. Layers of interest and engagement could be sensed as guests socialized in an excited vibe hosted at Christine Lee’s, The Village at Gulfstream Park, Hallandale Beach.

“This was our first gala fundraiser and really are thankful for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is a partner. She made a passionate push for Kiwanis and Kiwanis service for the children,” said Ed Margolis, gala chairperson.

What distinguish the Kiwanis from other civic groups is that the Kiwanis emphasizes community participation that serves the children of the world. In contrast, other groups tend to accommodate and promote individual businesses.

“I felt our gala was a big success and all of the money we raised benefit local scholarships for students,” said Lewis Thaler, Kiwanis President. The breaking news for the group is the merger of the North Miami Beach-Sunny Isles Beach Kiwanis with the Miami Shores club. The new name for the group will be Northeast Miami-Dade Kiwanis.

Fellow Kiwanian and emcee, Peter Cummings, kept the program moving along briskly and performed the “Kiwanis Recruit Song” that he wrote.  As attendees enjoyed a delicious Chinese dinner buffet, the installation of club officers, guest speakers and K-superstars then followed.

Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was slated to attend the gala and present an award to Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen; however, due to political controversy between her and President Trump, Wilson, who is known to wear sparkling cowboy hats, was advised not to attend the gala for her own security.

Commissioner Sally A. Heyman mollified the situation and told the audience that both legislators were once roommates. According to Heyman, she was the perfect roomy and did not mind all the clutter in the apartment stacked with silk hat boxes.

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen was introduced and gave a brief, yet gracious speech. There were several members of her extended family from Cuba in attendance.  “For sixty years, the Kiwanis have improved and saved the lives of South Florida children. These volunteer members act as mentors and provide the support needed for children to thrive,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

As a former Florida teacher, Ros-Lehtinen can relate to the needs of young people who seek guidance. Much of the audience in attendance were educators, and Ros-Lehtinen’s remarks garnered a rousing applause. “There are eleven service leadership programs in the community and I encourage students to participate, adults to become mentors, and strengthen the leadership programs. The passion and commitment in shaping our children into better citizens has a profound impact in our neighborhoods,” added Ros-Lehtinen.

Two of the main sponsors were Simon Falic Duty-Free Shops and the Town of Golden Beach.

Dignitaries included:  Honorable Norman Edelcup, Steven Moll, Sam Michels, Former Sen. Gwen Margolis, Harriet Carter, Svetlana Nudel, Mark Snyder, and George Vallejo among others.

For more information, visit their website. Also feel free to call Lewis J. Thaler, President: 786-202-1122, or Jeffrey Berson, Vice President: 305-682-1569.


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