Youth Festival features young author, firefighters, art and more

St. Theresa School activities  mark Catholic Schools Week

Christopher Isaiah Penn Smith Curry reads from his book at CGWC Youth Festival.

Children of all ages gathered at the clubhouse on Saturday, Feb. 4, for the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club Youth Festival. The annual event offered multiple fun interactive activities that were as enjoyable to the adults as to the children participating.

Coral Gables Firefighters provided a first glance at activities awaiting everyone as they set up an obstacle/training course on the front lawn that was a huge hit with everyone.

Event chair Kate Swain recruited student volunteers and, of course, her sister club members helped with the career center, face painting, art projects, Venetian Swimming Club, and more. Returning from Virginia in time to help out with the setup was the club’s first vice president Ruth Martinez.

One of the day’s highlights was a reading and book signing by budding young author 7-year-old Christopher Isaiah Penn Smith Curry who read from his first book, Guess Who? Mr. Dinosaur. Christopher actually wrote the book when he was 4 — quite a prodigy! His proud mom, Kymberlee Curry Smith, helped with his presentation as his father and two brothers looked on.

Stations were set up for the children with one of the favorites being the creation of Valentine’s Day cards to be sent to the military. The career corner also drew great interest.

Alma Soto gave a presentation on nursing. Robin Burr and the Venetian Pool Aquatic Club also were on hand with information. Club secretary Valerie Valenzuela with Amy Chouinard, Natalie Tomas and others helped with face painting that were works of art. Valerie’s 2-year-old niece, Mila Pegg, enjoyed it all. When interviewed during the career segment, Mila advised her favorite part of day was playing in the club’s beautiful dental clinic.

Dr. Iris Torres Rivera addressed the kids at the career corner as director of the club’s Dental Clinic.

During the day, the Women’s Voice Network was on hand to tape a show to air on Mega TV in Spanish to help promote the clinic, the club and this great community resource. The Women’s Voice Network, is a new 501(c)3 non-profit that offers charitable groups a platform to promote their good work, educate and inform. Founded by Iris Garcia, of Iris Garcia Productions, her company has a beautiful production studio in Doral.

Yet another highlight of the day was a demonstration by the Canine Unit from the Police Department.

Volunteers who worked but also participated included Daniel Sequi, 15, who said, “I loved eating and the firefighters course.”

Brother David Sequi shared, “I loved helping people and the firefighters course too.”

Marcos Antonio Martinez, 10, a student at West Lab, stated, “I liked the police and firefighters demonstrations and loved learning about how writing stories can help others.”

Vincent Tully, 8, from Fairchild Elementary was one of the most engaging kids at the event with his face painted like Batman. He asked questions at every opportunity and when asked his favorite activity, said, “I really enjoyed making the Valentine’s for veterans.”

The Youth Festival is one of many programs the active woman’s group produces annually. Among the many outreach efforts, the club holds an annual fundraiser to help support the dental clinic.

This year’s dala, chaired by Arely Ruiz, will be on Apr. 8 at the clubhouse, 1009 E. Ponce de Leon Blvd.. The club meets the first and third Wednesday of every month.

For more information on how to support the clinic, sponsor the gala or to join club, call Gloria at 305-284-7379.

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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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