Rotarians bring smiles to young and old alike

Rotarians bring smiles to young and old alike

Past president of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, Walter Alvarez, and wife, Annette, who is Executive Director of MCIV, show off their tip jar at Great Grove Bed Race where Rotarians sold beer and got to keep the tips for their veterans project.

The Be a Santa to a Senior, a project spearheaded over the last number of year by current South Miami Rotary President Gabriel De Armas, of Home Instead Care, now has 50 drop off locations for gifts to bring joy to seniors over the holidays. In fact, the City of Coral Gables recently presented him with a Proclamation acknowledging his good works.

In other good news, the Coral Gables Rotary Foundation increased its ongoing support for the Coral Gables Woman’s Club’s free children’s dental clinic with a $5,000 grant. Several Rotarians were recognized at the Club’s Halloween Party which netted another $2,500 plus for the clinic that provides more than $225,000 in free dental care for children of the working poor. Speaking of the clinic, every year the CGWC provides Thanksgiving food baskets for the families of the dental clinic patients as well as $15 gift cards for the children. This is no small endeavor and outside donations are always welcomed.

In addition, Coral Gables Rotarian Lorraine Sheldon and her Community Service committee are helping furnish five apartments of formerly homeless veterans through cash and in-kind donations. The project kicked off on Nov. 10th when Lorraine, Yolanda Woodbridge, Water Alvarez and this writer, brought furnishings, kitchen appliances, television/ VCR, supplies and bedding to the apartment of the first veteran, Alfred Barron, on November 10th. Of course numerous businesses along with the Coral Gables Rotary Foundation carried the bulk of the load to pull off this amazing project.

Rotarians bring smiles to young and old alike

Vanilla Ice rides to victory in Great Grove Bed Race.

To help with additional underwriting for this program, more than a dozen Rotarians sold beer at the Great Grove Bed Race with more than $600 in tips going to that veterans’ project. Among the crowd helping sell Concrete Brewery’s craft beers were Bill Quesenberry, Deena Bell, Sophie Dumont, Keith Phillips, Sally Baumgartner, Walter and Annette Alvarez, and Andrew Dixon.

Speaking of the Great Grove Bed Race, Vanilla Ice and his crew rocked it on Nov. 8th. Beds this year were better than ever and Vanilla Ice interacted with each one all afternoon and also rode in his own winning bed. Major sponsor, Debt Warriors (Jacobs Keeley, PLLC), hammed it up with attorney Amida Frey in full warrior regalia on their awesome bed. All in all it was a picture perfect day that also served to benefit Little Smiles charity. Kudos to the many sponsors and to Bed Race Productions’ Daisy Lewis and Barbara Ferenzi on a great event.

In more outreach to children, Coral Gables Rotarians, dressed in costumes and bearing refreshments, visited the children at Ronald McDonald House near Jackson Memorial to throw a Halloween Party on Oct. 30th for the children following their Thursday weekly meeting at the Marriott on LeJeune and Navarre. It seems this club never stops with their community outreach efforts. Children and adults alike always love this party that the club throws every year to bring joy to the ill children at RMH undergoing treatment.

Rotarians bring smiles to young and old alike

Seen here at first of five apartments being furnished by Gables Rotary, this one for US Army Veteran Alfred Barron seated surrounded by (l to r): Lorraine Sheldon, Yolanda Woodbridge,Gloria Burns and Walter Alvarez.

Finally, on election day, Nov. 4, Chamber Trustees enjoyed a reception at Montica Jewelry on Miracle Mile before moving on for the parties watching results. John O’Rourke, always the gracious host, welcomed the crowd all of whom received a free drink token from John’s buddy Wayne Eldred from Tarpon Bend next store. That night it seems everyone was very excited the FIU issue passing and you can bet Dr. Rosenberg was surrounded by supporters celebrating.

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. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. 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 sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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