Student honors, fun with firefighters; cellulars sought

By Gloria Burns….
Actors’ Playhouse Musical Theater for Young Audiences, directed by Earl Maulding, entertained a top achievers group at the April 27 Coral Gables Friends of Education Elementary School Achievement Breakfast with a selection from the new production, The Emperor’s New Clothes, which opened April 28. Students were also treated to some inspirational words from Mark Trowbridge, President of the Gables Chamber, before being awarded certificates and medals. Among students, parents and friends gathered at Westin Colonnade for the event were folks from Gulliver Academy and South Miami Campus, Miami Christian School, Coral Gables Preparatory Academy and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School.

GFWC clubwomen preparing for Race Day dinner include top (l-r) Charlyne Carruth, Meda Jensen, Barbara Lapsley, Sabrina Perez-King, Mayra Dominguez, Pam Schaefer, Patti Hendon, Linda Hartwell, Carmen Suarez and Lynne Guadamuz; below (l-r) Mireya Kilmon, Gloria Burns.

Orchestrated by retired school teacher, Joan Rietsma, owner of The Giving Tree, and this writer, the annual event receives generous donations from Miami-Dade Chapter- Thrivent Financial, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club, the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, the Westin Colonnade, Claire Frances Whitehurst, Alberto Romeu Photographer, Dr. Mandy Offerle and Joan Reitsma.

“Administrative Assistants Day” is as good an excuse as any for working gals to take a break at one of the funniest local charity events, South Florida Firefighter’s Annual Secretary’s Day Luncheon, held at Jungle Island this year on April 27. Participating with the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club made the occasion even better for this writer. A special area was set aside where folks from Dior offered make-up touchups and firefighters featured on the 2011 calendar signed them and posed for photos , all done during a preluncheon cocktail reception. Of course, the entire crowd enjoyed the all the Firefighters who hoped to win a spot on the next calendar by strutting their stuff during the show and collecting additional dollars for two eventbeneficiating charities, Safe Haven For Newborns and Here’s Help.

General Federation of Women’s Clubs members from all over South Florida joined others statewide for the Florida Federation’s Annual Convention when outstanding clubs are recognized for projects and programs. Among local women attending and carrying awards for their club back home were District 11 Director, Pam Schaefer, Coral Gables Woman’s Club; District 11 Junior Director, Lynne Guadamuz, Homestead Junior Woman’s Club; Charlyne Carruth, a Past President GFWC Florida, Woman’s Club of Hialeah; Meda Jensen, Woman’s Club of Homestead; and Coral Gables Woman’s Club members, President Linda Hartwell, Claire Frances Whitehurst, Barbara Lapsley, Carmen Suarez, SabrinaPerez-King, Mayra Dominguez, Patti Hendon, and Mireya Kilmon among many.

Finally, Chamber South asks everyone to remember our soldiers by dropping off old or unused instruments for “Cell Phones for Soldiers,” a great program begun by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, teenagers from Norwell, Mass., with only $21 of their own money. Donated cell phones are sold to a recycling company with the funds used to purchase calling cards that are sent to all troops in need. Now a registered non-profit, CPS has raised almost $2 million in donations, distributing more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers overseas. For details, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers. com. To participate, contact Chamber South, 305- 661-1621 for drop off locations.

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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