Celebrations abound with arrival of the new year

Celebrations abound as South Florida ushers in a new year. The BCS National Championship football game at Dolphin Stadium on Jan. 8, brings with it other events for visitors and fans. In fact, on Wednesday, Jan. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the University of Florida Alumni Association will be hosting Gator Day at Jungle Island.

As a prelude to the championship game the following day, the Gator Nation will be coming together for a pre-game pep rally at Jungle Island.come enjoy the orange and blue sights and sounds of the Fightin’ Gator Marching Band, Gator Cheerleaders, Mr. Two Bits, Albert and Alberta, and so much more. Wear orange and blue Florida Gators gear and admission to Jungle Island and the festivities will be only $15 per person.

For more information, check out <www.ufalumni.ufl.edu > or call Jungle Island at 305-400-7000.

Closing out 2008, December was a busy month for non-profits.

The Junior Orange Bowl Committee (JOBC) welcomed young athletes from around the world to Miami to participate in the JOBC’s world class international tennis tournament and golf invitational while bands from across the nation joined the lineup for the Junior Orange Bowl Parade on Dec. 30, and several outof- state girls and boys basketball teams also made the trip to Miami to play in the JOBC Basketball Tournament. Under the leadership of event chair, Chuck Little, this event has grown in prominence and national recognition as well.

On Dec. 13, the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club conducted its annual holiday party for disadvantaged children served by the club’s May Van Sickle Children’s (free) Dental Clinic. Some 30 children enjoyed a great party with lots of food, gifts and entertainment organized by Dental Clinic director Dr. Iris Torres.

Gifts were donated by club members as well as the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation. Santa came along with Santa’s helper “Lulu” – Carmen Suarez’s cute puppy, which was a huge hit with the children.

Among the others making the day a hit for the children were Debra Adam, Melinda Crawley, Rachel Crawley, Teri Cook, Nancy Desmangles, Linda Hartwell, Barbara Lapsley, Teri Nuin, Cynthia Phelan, Pam Schaefer, Claire Frances Whitehurst and Debi Wilborn.

The Villagers Home Tour was another outstanding December affair as several Gables residents opened their homes for viewing during this annual fundraiser that draws 800-plus and benefits the many historic preservation-related projects of The Villagers organization.

Kendell Turner was delighted to once again have homeowners willing to open up their magnificent homes to help in this fundraising effort.

Congratulations to Martin Rosen who received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award signed by President George W. Bush for his work during the past decades for the Employers Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

ESGR was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and their civilian employers, and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.

Today, ESGR operates through a network of thousands of volunteers throughout the nation and Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with a mission of gaining and maintaining employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through mediation.

Coral Gables Rotarians continued their outreach with two recent events, one for seniors and another for children. On Dec. 15, the group treated approximately 50 from AARP to a matinee performance of Guttenberg the Musical followed by a reception with coffee and holiday cookies at Actors’ Playhouse. Organizing that effort were Susan Guttmann, Carol Brock and Dick Golden.

A few days later, Gables Rotarians partnered with a new non-profit organization, Empowered Youth, to bring holiday cheer to 35 kids at Miami-Dade’s Juvenile Detention Center. Led by Clark Ainsworth, J. Guarch, Sally Baungartner, Yoli Woodbridge, Carol Brock, Vivian Miller, Bram Fiebelkorn and Susan Guttmann, the group sang Christmas carols with the kids, had discussions on the meaning of Christmas and served holiday refreshments. The thanks and appreciation from the children came in the form of their own improvised version of a Christmas carol rap song performed for the volunteers.

The event was a great success as it not only brought awareness to the real needs of these young people and the organization striving to help keep them out of the system, but it also opened the hearts of participants to what the holiday season is really about — spreading peace, goodwill and cheer to all, especially the needy.

Speaking of the Gables Rotarians, the club’s president-elect, Wiley Hicks, recently announced his appointed directors for his 2009-10 term. They are Phil Boswell, J. Guarch, Catarina Jimenez, Judy Pantoja, Frank Sexton, Debbie Swain, Yoli Woodbridge and sergeant-atarms Keith Blazek.

South Miami Rotarians, while preparing for their big art festival in February, continue other outreach as well. The club teams with Take Stock in Children to mentor a South Miami Middle School eighth grader throughout his/her high school years. D’Varius Wright of South Miami Middle School was selected as this year’s participant. Through combined funding, D’Varius will receive scholarships for two years at Miami Dade College or other community college plus two years at a university. This is a great program that can change a life dramatically.

Congratulations to University of Miami alumna Carolyn B. Lamm, who will become the first UM Law School graduate to be president of the American Bar Association. She will begin her term in August. Lamm currently is a partner at White & Case LLP, based in Washington, DC, and is a member of the American Bar Association Partners Committee. Lamm specializes in international arbitration, litigation matters, and trade.

Previous to her role as president-elect of the American Bar Association, Lamm was chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and was chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. The School of Law and the Law Alumni Association celebrated the appointment of Lamm, JD ’73, as president- elect of the American Bar Association during a ceremony at the Lowe Art Museum on Nov. 14. During the ceremony, the Law Alumni Association presented her with its Distinguished Alumni Award.

Finally, congratulations go out to Cocoplum resident Rudy Stern who has a lot to celebrate this holiday season. Not only did he win the Deering Golf Tournament but, even better than that, he and his wife, Tania, were blessed with the birth of granddaughter Sabrina Zoe Stern, born to their son, Ricky, and his wife, Lauren, on Dec.15.

May you all have a Happy New Year! 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 gloria@communitynewspapers.com

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