Stellar event held at the Country Club for kids in distress

Stellar event held at the Country Club for kids in distress
Chris Leskauskas, CRAVE Dir. Of Operations from Minnesota; CGWC President Mireya Kilmon; and CRAVE Coral Gables
President of Neat Stuff Eric Vainder, Miss Florida Teen Crystal Ruiz, CBS 4’s Lissette Gonzalez and Neat Stuff Executive Director, Franklin Monjarrez.

In an ongoing effort to provide new clothes, accessories, shoes and back packs to meet the basic needs of abused, neglected and other children in distress, Neat Stuff, a 501(c)(3) non profit, held a stellar event at the Country Club of Coral Gables on April 13. With Las Vegas show girls welcoming guests and posing for a souvenir photo, attendees were transported to a casino- atmosphere where music, gaming tables, hors d’oeuvres, buffet dinner and great silent auction items provided a vast array of fun activities. On hand to help, Neat Stuff’s Executive Director Franklin Monjarrez and its President Eric Vainder, was CBS4’s  who emceed the program that included a live auction conducted by auctioneer extraordinaire Jim Gall and a proclamation from Coral Gables’ newly re-elected Mayor Jim Cason on behalf of the city to Neat Stuff for their outstanding work. In addition, Miss Florida Teen, Crystal Raquel Ruiz, was honored for volunteering 350 hours through her own charity, Crystal Care Packages. Crystal’s charity bundles a week’s supply of new clothing and backpack into their donated packages on an ongoing basis for the Neat Stuff organization. Crystal attended the event with her parents, Edwin and Evelyn Ruiz, who are most supportive of their daughter’s community outreach and generous nature, happy that her work helps, Neat Stuff provide these basic needs that enable so many children to dress with pride and dignity, thus inspiring self worth.

Stellar event held at the Country Club for kids in distress
Chris Leskauskas, CRAVE Dir. Of Operations from Minnesota; CGWC President Mireya Kilmon; and CRAVE Coral Gables
Manager, Liz Dolz at mid month party for CRAVE Cares month to benefit the CGWC’s children’s free dental clinic.

Closing out the program and possibly saving the best for last was a testimonial from two sisters, Roxana and Rebecca Céspedes, who benefited from Neat Stuff’s programs. The two, now attending Miami-Dade College, spoke about how the program helped them with tears of gratitude. They shared how children dressed in ill fitting and tattered clothes can become victims of bullying and develop low self esteem.

There were few dry eyes in the house following that presentation. Neat Stuff is an organization that inspires and certainly tugs at the heart of all who hear about the impact their efforts have on the children they help and it is no wonder guests supporting the Casino Night helped the organization raise more than $75,000 that will provide a week’s supply of clothing for 1,250 children. Providing new clothes for children who are in dire need can change their lives and for only $60, donors can buy a week’s supply of new clothes for a child, a small price for such a large return. Amultitude of businessmen were among the 3,000 attending. Among the many were Corporate Sponsors Ignacio Borbolla and Erick Fernandez, of AllState, who donated more than 5,000 new uniforms to Neat Stuff last year. For more information on ways you can help Neat Stuff, visit

Stellar event held at the Country Club for kids in distress
Michael Mondavi, Founder and Coach of Folio Fine
Wine Partners, is seen here with Carlos Rossi,
owner of Angelique Euro Café.

Speaking of helping children in need, CRAVE at the Village of Merrick Park provided CGWC a change of venue for a recent club meeting as a way of promoting their partnership with CRAVE to benefit the Club’s May Van Sickle Children’s Dental Clinic. As a CRAVE Cares partner, this free children’s dental clinic will receive a percentage of the Coral Gables CRAVE sales for the month of April that will help support this dental clinic that provides more than $220,000 on free dental care for children throughout Miami-Dade County.

In other Gables happening, Season’s 52 hosted an after-hours event for the Doral Business Council Forum group on April 16th, to celebrate the end of tax season for many. Guests enjoyed flatbreads and more while enjoying Season 52’s great wine selection.

Speaking of good wines, Michael Mondavi, son of Robert Mondavi, recently lunched at Angelique Euro Café on a recent visit from California, with his Florida Market Manager for Folio Fine Wine Partners, Miguel Pla. Angelique owner, Carlos Rossi, was actually the first local restaurant to carry this selection of fine wines that have become a favorite for diners. Look for Mondavi’s wines at a future Rotary Wine and Dine for Charity event.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel , non profit consulting and management. Before joining Miami's Community Newspapers as a columnist and marketing specialist, Gloria was the Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee (6 yrs.) and first Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation (14 yrs.) and the Pinecrest Community Foundation (1 ½ yrs) . Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist for Community Newspapers writing Gloria’s Gab, that focuses on the non-profit activity, and a host of an online show, Gloria's Gab LIVE. Gloria serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables as Civic and Charity Chair, and is involved in the club's International Committee. She is an active Life Member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee and is Secretary of the Merrick Festival. She serves on the board of directors of the Coral Gables Woman' Club as Publicity Chair and also coordinates the club's monthly fundraiser for various charities with Gringo Bingo at Clutch Burger. In addition, Gloria participates in numerous other charitable events and is a member of the Business Forum Group, Profit Inc., the Greater Miami Festival & Events Association and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. In other volunteer activity, Gloria helps Miami Christian School with fund-raising and PR; is an Ambassador and volunteers for events for A Safe Haven for Newborns. She is an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where she enjoys singing in the choir every weekend.


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