The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition recently recognized seven middle and high school students for going out of their way to help others in the community.
“The generosity of heart, time and energy that we see in the youth in our community is astonishing and, needless to say, heartwarming. We are proud to have the opportunity to tell them how much they are appreciated and reward them for their efforts,” said Eddie Cora, president and CEO of the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition.
Jazmin Neadle from South Miami Senior High School and Joi Turner from Frank C. Martin K-8 Center, were selected to receive the Walter B. Arnold Jr. Youth Hall of Fame Community Service Award. The Youth Fair awarded $1,000 to each of them.
Jazmin, a former child of the foster system, created the nonprofit A Sweet Chance to bring pampering and glamor to teens in foster care as a means to help them get through tough times. Joi is founder, chef and CEO of Delivering Joi, an organization that collects donated food, turns it into meals, and delivers to those in need.
All seven finalists each received $100 at the May 22 dinner ceremony at the Fairgrounds attended by family, school administrators, Miami-Dade County Public School region administrators, school board members, and Youth Fair board members.
Other students honored:
Valentina Gomez, Downtown Doral Charter Upper School — Valentina uses her singing talent to bring comfort and joy to cancer patients at the Ronald McDonald House in Downtown Miami.
Livia Hochman, Miami Palmetto Senior High School — Livia established Jeans for Teens to collect donated jeans for foster care children and give them the ability “to shop” for jeans they want, rather than be marked at school by ill-fitting hand-me-downs.
Susanna Inguanzo, Bob Graham Educational Center — Susanna brought five Feed the Homeless Meters to Miami Lakes to benefit Camillus House, for which she also organized book and clothing drives and helped to set up its library.
Andrea Marron, George Washington Carver Middle School — Andrea is a consistent community volunteer who gives motivational talks to teenage groups on the benefits of volunteering.
Shelsy Vargas, Hialeah Gardens Senior High School — Shelsy founded Project Zeal to raise awareness and funds to provide for the needs of poor adolescents around the world.
The Youth Hall of Fame Community Service Award was created in 2001 in honor of the man who had the vision to take a small 4-H Fair and turn it into one of the most respected fairs in the United States. The late Walter B. Arnold Jr. (1914-2000) had a 41-year history of selflessly leading The Youth Fair, including as general manager and president.
Arnold believed in young people and their potential and wanted to help them achieve their dreams. He created the exhibits category that allows students from across the county to showcase their achievements. In fact, with 63,461 student exhibits, The Youth Fair is home to the largest student exhibits in the USA.
The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition (The Youth Fair) is the largest charity event in South Florida. The not-for-profit association is dedicated to promoting education and agriculture while showcasing and rewarding youth achievement and providing quality family entertainment, all without taxpayer dollars.
The annual Youth Fair exhibits 63,477 student projects to nearly half a million Youth Fair guests and, in 2018, awarded $520,926 in college scholarships, cash premiums and awards to students. To date, The Youth Fair has presented well over $11 million to the Miami-Dade community.