District Rotarians gather for charity, fellowship and fun

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Rotarians came from as far away as the Bahamas for this year’s District 6990 Picnic held at Tropical Park on Mar. 13. It was a picture-perfect day with music, fellowhip, games and lots of food including some great grilled meats thanks to some tireless Rotarians including Brickell Rotary’s Antonio Pinheiro and Jay Almeida along with new Rotaract President Andres Albino.

District Governor Larry Herman was delighted to have as guests that day the incoming and outgoing exchange students who represent Rotary so well and help spread understanding and good will throughout the world. Included in that student exchange group were Aya Andai, Noelia Maya, and Kendra Washington, to mention a few.

Traveling farthest to attend the picnic were members of the Lucaya Club in the Bahamas, Jacquieline Russell and Ed Pavey, as well as a visiting Rotarian from Ecuador, David Ceballos. Among past District Governors supporting the event were Ellen Blasi, Robin Shelly and Lee Phares.

Other faces in the crowd were Roy Gonas, Greg Martini, Yoli Woodridge, Susan Shelly, Mike Sutta, Win Lippert, Lalita and Dar Airan, Alan Cohn, Lan Nghiem-Phu, Tim and Susan Ryan, Robert White, Mike and Maria Kesti, Ron Lieberman, Linda Singer and Bill Oates.

Following the picnic, several Rotarians moved on to Coconut Grove to support a Gables Rotary fundraiser to help provide clean water, school supplies, shoes and more for the Maasai in Kenya.

Catarina Jimenez opened her beautiful home to the crowd of supporters who enjoyed some wonderful hors d’oeuvres, open bar, raffle and auction in her magnificent backyard that should be in House Beautiful. Exceeding her fundraising goal, Catarina has collected more than $26,200 and already started ordering supplies to be sent as well as to go with her. Included will be these unbelievable water-proof, inflatable and rechargeable solar LuminAID lights that have arrived and are ready to ship.

Catarina got a 50 percent discount on the lights enabling her to buy 96 initially giving the Maasai the gift of light in the dark pitch huts. She has been told that it will take about three seconds for the Maasai to get used to finally having light. What an amazing experience to share.

In other news, Gulliver Interact Club held its ninth annual Fashion Show Benefit on Mar. 10, at Gulliver’s Prep Campus. This very lucrative student production once again will benefit three great charities: Easter Seals, Chapman Partnership and Give Kids the World Village.

Club members make monthly visits to Easter Seals Alzheimer daycare center playing bingo and sharing stories as well as monthly visits to the Chapman Center downtown making meals to feed 500 and playing games with children.

The third charity that club adopted several years ago, Give Kids the World Village, is a resort in the Orlando area that serves children with life-threatening illnesses providing a free week’s vacation for the child and the child’s entire family. Amazingly enough, GKTW Village has never denied a request for a sick child.

Orchestrating this event is no small task but Interactors are an industrious group. This year’s Interact vice president and Fashion Show chair is Alissa Seleznov received amazing support from president Maya Dhairyawan and public relations director Kayla Patel as well as secretary Madison Wieder.

This year had a twist as the club invited a few members of their sponsor club, Coral Gables Rotary, and some faculty to model clothes from their high school era to add to the hilarity of this always fun night of laughter and fashion.

Among the Rotarians strutting their stuff with this writer on the runway were Greg Martini, Gables Rotary president, and Hank Langston, Rotarian and Gulliver’s Dean of Faculty and University Relations. Among the other faculty modeling that night were head of school Frank Steel, Melissa Sullivan, Catalina Hilgado and George Hart.

Finally, save the date of Apr. 30 for the fifth annual “Tea at 2” event to benefit Fashion for Charity. This afternoon tea of fashion, shopping and inspiration will be held at Granada Presbyterian Church Hall, 950 University Dr. in the Gables, 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $50 in advance.

Visit www.ffcteaparty2016.eventbrite.com to register.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

If you want to submit information for this column, please send your news via email to Gloria@communitynewspapers.com.


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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 gloria@communitynewspapers.com

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