At an early age, Jose Dans learned that unfortunate events can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye, forever changing the course of their lives.
Dans remembers a trying time his family experienced when he was 16 years old that, if not for the support of extended family, could have easily found them with no place to live.
That harrowing experience of uncertainty made him realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a support system to help in times of trouble and served as the catalyst for his lifelong commitment to helping displaced families and transforming lives.
A Life-Changing Perspective
“Sometimes people experience homelessness because of one misfortune,” Dans said in a recent interview. “If you are living paycheck to paycheck, it only takes a small challenge to affect your living condition and the effects can be long lasting. People often think homelessness is due to someone’s purposeful actions when in reality it is often just one small act that devolves into a difficult situation.”
Now, almost 40 years later, helping families without a permanent home has become a life mission for Dans, who is known to family and friends as “Pepe,” and is the founder and president of one of the leading marketing agencies in Florida, WOW MKTG in Coral Gables.
For the fourth consecutive year, Dans and his wife of 29 years Heide will chair Chapman Partnership’s Illuminations Gala.
“Our family has been dedicated to Chapman Partnership for many years,” Dans explained.
“When my family went through a difficult time, it left an indelible mark on my life. That is why I connect so much with the families that are helped by Chapman on a daily basis.”
“We know how much being involved with Chapman means to Pepe,” said his wife, Heide.
“He introduced us to the incredible work they do and the entire family wanted to share in his journey. We wanted our kids to know that anyone can be dealt a bad hand in life and we all volunteer. It was important to us that our kids see firsthand the importance of being present in the lives of those who may be suffering. It’s what we are called to do as Christians.”
Chapman Partnership: A Beacon of Hope
Chapman Partnership is a ray of light for families experiencing homelessness in Miami-Dade County. Each day, they provide service to more than 800 men, women and children in their downtown Miami and Homestead centers.
Together with Miami-Dade County’s Homeless Trust, Chapman Partnership provides wrap-around services that include food, housing, education, vocational skills, medical and dental attention, psychiatric counseling and much more. They help parents find jobs. They enroll children in schools. It’s part of an ambitious effort to get every family off the streets through their cradle-to-career programs and pathway to self-sufficiency.
The Illuminations Gala is Chapman Partnership’s biggest fundraiser of the year. It’s where most of the funds that sustain the nonprofit organization are collected. Last year’s gala raised $1 million dollars and this year the goal is even greater.
“The theme is ‘Under the Big Top: A Million Dollars for a Million Dreams’ But, we can only do as much as our budget allows,” said Dans. “So, we want to surpass the million dollars by an ample margin. The more we raise, the more we can help a community in desperate need.”
Dans’ faith and being personally impacted at a young age has propelled him on his quest to help others. Aside from Chapman Partnership, Dans is also on the Board of Directors of Dolphins Challenge Cancer and Nicklaus Children’s Health System.
The Illuminations Gala will be held Saturday, November 11th at 7:00 p.m. at JW Marriott Marquis Miami.
For information on how you can get involved, be a sponsor, donate or buy individual tickets, contact Chapman Partnership at 305-329-3000 or visit www.chapmanpartnership.org.
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