December filled with parties, festivals, toy drives

December filled with parties, festivals, toy drives

Pictured (l-r): Hank Langston and Doral Valdes-Fauli enjoy chatting with hosts for the CGCF holiday party Ruben Ceballos and Bill Bonn at their lovely Coral Gables home.

From the end of November beginning with the Junior Orange Bowl Parade on Thanksgiving weekend, the calendar of events could fill a book.

A quick note to all those non profits and other organizations that have listed events on our online calendar of events. Changes were made and many of the listings need to be reposted. Please check events to see if you events need to be added again.

Among the first of those in December was the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club’s Holiday Dinner Dance on Dec. 2.

The affair also served as an opportunity to thank the dental clinic staff as well as install its newest members including Theresa Gilmore, Valerie Valenzuela and Paola Mendez. Arely Ruiz also is a new member but was out of town and not able to attend. Also honored that night was Eneida Rivera who was presented with the Barbara Lapsley Best New Member Award.

December filled with parties, festivals, toy drives

Pictured at Coral Gables Community Foundation’s Holiday Party are (l-r) John O’Rourke, Carlos Garcia and Wayne Eldred.

Past president Linda Hartwell coordinated the party with past president Mireya Kilmon and president Mayra Dominguez, all doing their part for a great affair.

The CGWC Holiday Boutique on Dec. 3, coordinated by Susie Tilson, provided additional funding for the dental clinic. Vendors’ space was sold out for this first time event helping the club raise several thousand dollars for the clinic. It has been a terrific year for the dental clinic with some major funding from Coral Gables Community Foundation to update the clinic with a new dental chair and more.

Speaking of the Coral Gables Community Foundation, CGCF held its annual holiday soiree at the home of Bill Bonn and Ruben Ceballos on Dec. 10. Carlos Garcia, who has chaired the foundation for three years, will be turning that position over to John O’Rourke. Executive director Mary Snow addressed the crowd after a welcome from Carlos and reviewed the impressive growth and distribution of funds during Carlos’ term.

Among the many seen enjoying the celebration were several past CGCF chairs including George Corrigan, Hank Langston, former Gables Mayor Don Slesnick and Yolanda Woodbridge, as well as Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason and Coral Gables Chamber chair Wayne Eldred.

December filled with parties, festivals, toy drives

Eneida River (left) accepts “Best New Member” Award from Coral Gables Woman’s Club past president Barbara Lapsley for whom the award is named.

The 2015 Rotary Music Award Winner at the 2015 Merrick Festival Caroling Competition was Archbishop Curly/Notre Dame Academy. The school won for a song by the Petatonix (an a capella group) called That’s Christmas for Me, written by the Petatonix and arranged by Ben Brahm. Coral Gables Rotarians who sponsor this prize category were treated to a performance by the group on Dec. 17 at their last weekly meeting for the holidays.

Toy drives were conducted at multiple sites including a great one at the Coral Gables Museum on Dec. 11. The event included free menu samplings from participating Gables area restaurants: Seasons 52, Red Koi Thai and Sushi, Pardos Chicken and Vicky Bakery.

Guests were asked to bring a new unwrapped toy in exchange for a complimentary copy of the Gables Fire Fighter Calendar. Guests also enjoyed some photo ops with a few fire fighters featured in the calendar. Toys from that event were delivered to the children of the Barnyard Community Center in the West Grove area and also the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless – Homestead Family Facility. On Dec. 12, Scott and Belinda Sime also held their annual Toy Drive/ Holiday Party collecting tons of gifts for children in need while Rotarians collected gifts for seniors.

Profit Inc., one of the South Florida’s oldest business networking groups, had a festive holiday Open House at Tarpon Bend hosted by Robert Beans, owner of Bay Plumbing. Not only did everyone enjoy some great hors d’oeuvres but each one also left with a gift bottle of wine. Among the many seen enjoying the celebration were club president Rosemary Guilfoyle, Dr. Joe Briggle, Mike Sutta, Pete Riley, and Enrique Yunis.

Save the date for Coral Gables Rotary’s Inaugural Chili Cook-Off, set for Feb. 21. More information will be available soon. Get your favorite recipes ready for this first of many annual events in Coral Gables.

May you all have a blessed and joyous holiday season and a very happy new year.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Active in many non profits, she received numerous awards across the community. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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