Community celebrates first annual Jr. Orange Bowl Gala

Community celebrates first annual Jr. Orange Bowl Gala

Pictured (l-r) are Junior Orange Bowl presidents, past and present, Robert Berman, Jeannett Slesnick, William Kerdyk Jr., Barbara Waters, Rex Russo, Don Slesnick III, Peter Tolmach and Kathleen Kauffman.

A new tradition has been added to the storied history of the Junior Orange Bowl as community, business, and philanthropic leaders recently celebrated the organization’s first annual Gala at the Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables.

The evening included a silent auction as well as a program to recognize honorees for their contributions to the community, and install the new Junior Orange Bowl board of directors. All proceeds from the Gala will help support the different programs of the Junior Orange Bowl.
The Junior Orange Bowl provides opportunities for children to showcase their talents through 15 academic, athletic, and cultural arts events that annually attract 7,500 kids.

Four honorees were presented with awards for their tireless and selfless work, and their impact on the youth through their philanthropic endeavors: Dr. Narendra Kini, CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital; Gables Vice Mayor William H. Kerdyk, and Charles DeLucca Jr. and Charles DeLucca III, of The First Tee of Miami. Marcia Diaz de Villegas of Miami Children’s Hospital accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Kini.

The gala featured Sandra Peebles of Univision as the emcee.

“We are truly humbled and grateful for all of the support we received for our inaugural gala. The response from donors, sponsors, and the community has been so generous,” said Michel le Benitez- Bermudez, Junior Orange Bowl Gala chair. “The youth will benefit greatly from the success of this event and that’s what is most important.”

Event sponsors included Bacardi USA, Ojalá Wines, Mercedes-Benz Coral Gables, Vintro Hotel & Kitchen, Vicky Bakery, Miami’s Community Newspapers, and University of Southernmost Florida.

Bermudez also was honored as the winner of the James Charlton Outstanding Service award, given to the Junior Orange Bowl volunteer of the year.

Kathleen Kauffman was inducted as the 45th president of the Junior Orange Bowl. Kauffman has served on the Junior Orange Bowl Board of Directors and was chair of the Junior Orange Bowl Parade for three years. Joining Kauffman on the board is president-elect Charles Knight, vice presidents Samantha Jones and Adhys Obeso, treasurer Sam Burritt, secretary Michelle Benitez-Bermudez, Barbara Waters and Isa Goenaga.

For more information, call 305-662- 1210 or visit the website at

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