United Way Rocks for Education benefits Center for Excellence

By Lee Stephens….

7-year-old piano prodigy Stephanie Safont, signs David Henrie’s arm (at his request for an autograph) after he heard her play the piano during the event.

David Henrie, star of Emmy-winning series Wizards of Waverly Place, hosted thee recent United Way Rocks for Education, a spectacular evening of entertainment, music and laughs with all proceeds benefiting the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education.

The fun-filled night included two routines by the award-winning dance troop from Southwood Middle School as the opening act; a performance by Stephanie Safont, a 7-year-old piano prodigy and center alumna, and songs by American Idol contestant Symphony Music Howlett. Drake Bell and his band closed out the night with a one-hour jam session, which included hits like Makes Me Happy and Found a Way.

Local 10 news anchor and United Way board member Laurie Jennings welcomed the guests to the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami.

Before the show, 200 lucky guests had a chance to visit and be photographed with Henrie and Bell during a private Meet & Greet (photos at www.facebook.com/unitedwaymiami.

“We want to thank David Henrie and all the performers for lending their voices to raise awareness and support for quality early care and education,” said Harve Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade. “With everyone’s support, the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education will continue its national outreach to make a difference in the lives of young learners.”

The center is a national state-of-the-art teaching and learning initiative dedicated to elevating the quality of early childhood education in Miami-Dade and beyond. It models proven best practices in the field of early education, and shares those practices with adult learners including parents, educators and child care providers. The center also works with business and elected leaders from around the country to raise the standards of early childhood education, and support sustainable and lasting change.

For more information, visit online at www.unitedwaycfe.org.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida was the presenting sponsor of the event, and Goya Foods was the exclusive food sponsor. Other sponsors included American Airlines, Baptist Health South Florida, Zuni Transportation, Williamson Automotive, The Falls, Miami’s Community Newspapers, 97.3 The Coast and Dolphin Secure.

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