Interact, Rotary do it all for charitable programs

Greg Martini and son Nicolas at Falls Auto Show.

Greg Martini and son Nicolas at Falls Auto Show.

Members of Gulliver Prep’s Interact Club are organizing their second annual charity soccer tournament, scheduled for Nov. 16 at Gulliver Prep. Last year, the event raised $1,000 and club president Nicole Rubin hopes they can exceed that total this year.

While that event is a major effort, this dynamic group of young people is also busy with ongoing outreach projects such as the Easter Seals Adult Daycare Center, a project now in its third year. Easter Seals, a facility where adult day care clients receive entertainment, company and food, is a monthly commitment for the club members who visit the facility to play bingo, share stories and give the clients some company.

Soon club members will begin visiting Chapman Partnership, an organization that caught their attention because of its rehabilitative approach to homelessness, cycling people out of the shelter in approximately six months with a job, a home and a life to look forward to. This also will be a monthly commitment for club members.

During the visit, the volunteers are split into two groups, one making meals to feed 500 individuals each visit (sponsored by Interact Club) and the other playing games with the kids and lifting their spirits. “Members have found the trips to be incredibly enriching experiences, usually always returning for every visit they can,” says Rubin. “The club has been very committed to the organization for the past six years and plans on continuing this dedication.”


The Falls Auto Show, held at 8700 SW 133 St., was back last month for another year and it was bigger and better, with something for everyone. Car lovers were in heaven checking out the incredible assortment of cars on display, from antiques to high-end luxury sports cars.

The event had it all! Even a retired fire engine purchased by event organizer and Pinecrest resident Fred Baddour. With some fire fighters in attendance to help, the truck gave many children and adults a chance to spray water from the fire hose, a first for most.

Greg Martini and son Nicolas at Falls Auto Show.Aside from the exhibition of great cars, Baddour enlisted his fellow Rotarians Greg Martini and club president Don Trombly to sell hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks to the crowd as they listened to some great music provided by a DJ. Raffle tickets were also sold to help raise charitable dollars, with all the proceeds from the raffle and the food sales benefiting the Gables Rotary Veteran’s bingo program. The event brought in $1,000 to support Veterans’ bingo, a monthly outreach in which Coral Gables Rotarians visit the VA hospital bringing food and calling bingo for the veterans, all of whom look forward to this ongoing event.

Among the many seen enjoying that picture perfect evening were some Gables Rotary past presidents Yolanda Woodbridge with her daughter and granddaughter, as well as Walter Alvarez with wife Annette. Other faces in the crowd were Rotarians Bill Quesenberry, George Reeves, Deena Bell, Charles Llewellyn, Ana Fournaris and Terry Long, to mention a few.


On Friday, Oct. 25, City Hall the Restaurant, 2004 Biscayne Blvd., will host Dark Dining that promises to be a unique experience with the idea of enhancing one’s senses.

In addition, Dark Dining offers people without disabilities an opportunity to get a better understanding of what life is like for individuals with visual impairments. Dark Dining provides diners with the opportunity to experience a first class meal while blindfolded.

“This unique event is a sensory overload dining experience you won’t want to miss,” says City Hall owner Steven Haas. Call 305- 764-3130 to make a reservation at $125 per person. That includes a four-course dinner with wine pairings, tax and gratuity. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Miami Lighthouse for the Blind.

Until next time, keep making each day count and email your information for this column to

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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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