Summer activities bring non-profits together

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Members of the Cocoplum Woman’s Club, Coral Gables Rotary, and the Coral Gables Men’s Club were among those joining the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club on July 20 to create their own hand-painted wine glasses while enjoying food and drinks.

Yvonne Elejalde, a very talented artist and assistant club secretary, directed the class that attracted more than 25 participants while helping raise several hundred dollars for the club’s free children’s dental clinic. The event served as a great opportunity for the clubs to interact and support a worthy cause.

The crowd also took a break from painting to sing happy birthday and present Dr. Randy Groh with his own birthday cake. Among the many enjoying the night were CGWC president Debi Van Stone Moore, Arely Ruiz, Luis Estrada, Nisette Calderon, Iris Segui, Yoli Woodbridge, Arely Ruiz, Valerie Valenzuela, Ruth Martinez, Marti Bueso, Maryann Etkin, Jannettte Melo, Kristy Fueyo, Anita Jenkins, Ed Morris, Alma Soto, Chloe Sio, and Regina Smit-Sio.

On July 21, members and guests of the Junior Orange Bowl Committee gathered at the Westin Colonnade for a triple unveiling event: new logo, 68th annual parade theme, and gala theme.

Executive director Jessica Cerda welcomed everyone before the various unveilings. Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason was on hand with Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick to unveil this year’s parade theme, “Holiday on the Mile.”

These annual parties are like reunions for many who have chaired multiple events of the years and are not as active as in the past. In fact, these events often serve to reignite one’s passion for the festival and its many events that showcase our youth.

By the way, Natalie Goenaga, Miss Coral Gables USA, who assisted JOBC past president Kathleen Slesnick with the unveiling of the new JOBC logo, recently came back from her first state pageant and did very well coming in 16th out of 66 contestants. Congratulations to our own Miss Coral Gables USA.

In other Westin Colonnade activity, the hotel’s July 13th Scoops of Hope Breakfast fundraiser raised more than $4,000 for Give Kids the World Village and thousands more for local charities who were able to keep half of the money collected from each ticket they sold.

Wsetin’s general manager, Matt Lahiff, was delighted with the record ticket sales this year and Westin’s executive chef, Thomas Russo, made sure everyone enjoyed a beautiful full American breakfast with waffles made on the spot and ice cream sundaes for dessert.

Among the top charity ticket sellers were the Kunru Wasi Foundation, MADD, Coral Gables Woman’s Club, Shine Bright Foundation and Rotary Club of Coral Gables. This annual event is underwritten completely by the Westin Colonnade, so 100 percent of the money raised went to charity.

Charities at the Westin also had a chance to meet Marly Q, of PARK Project, who invited them all to participate in a similar no risk event to raise money. PARK’s annual PARK 5K Festival will take place at Virginia Key Park on Oct. 1. Non-profits may register a team and then promote people to register under their team as Marly later splits the money collected with the charities involved. More on this event in future issues.

Finally, congratulations to JOBC past president Don Slesnick III, the new deputy director for the South Florida Digital Alliance, one of many jobs for this busy man.

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. 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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