‘Wild About Kids’ gala raises more than $115K for Boys & Girls Clubs

Pictured (l-r) are Olga Guilarte, Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade events chair; Eris Thomas, gala co-chair;
Lana DeSimone, gala co-chair; Danell Leyva, Bronze Medal Olympic Gymnast, and Irene Korge, gala co-chair.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade hosted its sixth annual “Wild About Kids” blacktie optional gala on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Four Seasons Hotel Brickell.

Net proceeds from the gala, totaling more than $115,000, will benefit Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and its many positive programs for 10,000 area children who need them the most.

Danell Leyva, who earned a bronze medal for men’s gymnastics at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, was honored with Boys and Girls Clubs’ Hometown Hero award during the event.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Youth of the Year, Ahbria Marshall, was honored and spoke as an alumna of the organization about what she accomplished thanks to Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade.

The gala was emceed by Lynn Martinez of WSVN’s Deco Drive and celebrity chef Ralph Pagano. Guests enjoyed a unique “live” red carpet welcome (a model was attached to the end of the red carpet) as they entered the cocktail reception and silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items. The gala included a dinner program, live music, dancing and much more.

Miami’s own South Florida celebrity artist David “LEBO” Le Batard, who previously created a “Wall of Art” for Kendall Boys and Girls Club with LeBron James, donated a piece of his original artwork inspired by the organization’s mission statement to the silent auction.

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Elias — Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade alumna and singer, dancer and model — sang the National Anthem to begin the dinner program and wowed attendees with her vocals following the official program. Children from the Hank Kline Club performed a choreographed dance routine to Celebration.

Attendees, including South Florida’s top community leaders, had the opportunity at the event to sponsor a child through donations.

For the first time, Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade held an after party at the Four Seasons Hotel Brickell, which included music, dancing, a full bar, tapas-style food and entertainment by a Frank Sinatra impersonator who “jazzed up” the wee hours. The party continued until 3 a.m. Members of Club Blue, Young Professionals for Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, enjoyed the after party and encouraged other young people to participate.

“The sixth annual gala was the best we have hosted yet,” said Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade Board of Directors chair Barry Stein. “We are very thankful to all attendees for raising a great amount of funds to support our programs.”

The gala was chaired by Lana DeSimone, Irene Korge and Eris Thomas, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade chair of special events Olga Guilarte. Sponsors included: Presenting Sponsor Miami Marlins; Gold Sponsor Carmen Rebozo Foundation Inc.; Silver Sponsors DeSimone and Academica, and Bronze Sponsors James T. Bernhardt, Irene Korge, Bermont Advisory Group/Raymond James/Morgan Keegan, Comcast, Matty’s Sports, Ocean Bank, Coral Gables Executive Physicians, Jorge Luis Lopez Law Firm, and Discovery Latin America.

For more information, visit online at www.bgcmia.org

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