Fundraiser benefits Miami Bridge’s shelters and community outreach

Fundraiser benefits Miami Bridge’s shelters and community outreach
Fundraiser benefits Miami Bridge’s shelters and community outreach
Pictured at the event are (l-r) Judge Marisa Tinkler-Mendez, Judge Lourdes Simon, Judge Lisa Walsh, Judge Gina Beovides and Judge Michelle Barakat.
(Photo by World Red Eye)

More than 600 guests attended Miami Bridge’s Poseidon’s Night Gala to celebrate its mission of providing lifesaving services to local youth and families in Miami-Dade County.

The organization’s annual event took place on Saturday, Mar. 16, at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. The evening helped raise thousands of dollars to assist Miami Bridge’s 24-hour emergency shelter locations for children and teens, ages 10-17, as well as its free community outreach services.

“We are very pleased with the turnout and success of this year’s gala. Every year our event grows larger and larger and we are grateful for this expression of community support,” said Marlene Quintana, president of the board of directors at Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services Inc.

Upon arrival guests were immediately transported to the watery realm of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, as they were greeted by “mermaids.” They also were invited to visit the “Glam Station” featuring body glitter and rhinestones; mingle with entertainers on stilts and roaming interactive “jellyfish,” as well as visit the Seahorse Lounge where VIPs were treated to a special tasting of Hennessy VSOP Privilege Collection.

This year’s theme was inspired by those who work round the clock to help some of the most vulnerable population of kids and teens rise from the depths of unimaginable traumas.

“Miami Bridge is where a teen involved in gang violence finds a way off the streets; where young victims of human trafficking get the counseling and support they need, and where a parent can turn to help heal severe family division,” stated Dr. Dorcas Wilcox, CEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services Inc. “Thanks to our generous supporters we’ve been able to provide life-changing services to hundreds of homeless and/or troubled kids and teens in our county.”

The event’s top-tier sponsors included Coastal Construction; PepsiCo; TD Bank; Albert and Mayra Santiago; Diageo; and presenting sponsor, Ryder System Inc.

Miami Bridge board members, friends of the organization, and local dignitaries including Public Defender Carlos Martinez and former U.S. Rep. and Board Member, Patrick Murphy, also were in attendance. Event co-chairs, Joseph Cantrell and Dagmar Llaudy, Esq., and president of the board of directors, Marlene Quintana, Esq., led a 20-member gala committee whose combined efforts helped to bring Poseidon’s lost underwater city to life for a fun-filled evening.

Miami Bridge is much more than an emergency shelter for kids and teens. The organization’s residential/community behavioral services help local families, at-risk LGBTQ youth, and truant students in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system by making free counseling, case management, and mentoring services readily available. Through these preventive care services, Miami Bridge works to strengthen families and prevent juvenile crime and child abuse.

Miami Bridge was established in 1985 and serves as Miami-Dade County’s only 24-hour emergency shelter for children and teens in crisis ages 10-17. For more than 33 years, the non-profit organization has worked to rescue youth in the community from lives of victimization and crime by providing refuge, protection and specialized care in a nurturing, stable environment. Annually, Miami Bridge shelters more than 600 children and teens, providing over 10,000 care days for those individuals, as well as counseling to more than 550 families with children ages 6-17.

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