2014 “Be A Voice, Empower Brilliant Futures” Gala
Benefiting Voices For Children Foundation
Voices For Children Foundation, the fundraising organization for the 11th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program, held its 2014 “Be A Voice, Empower Brilliant Futures Gala,” on Saturday February 15th, at Mandarin Oriental, Miami. Graciously sponsored by Presenting Sponsor Harry Winston, the event raised over $700,000 for Voices For Children Foundation.
The magical evening began with a cocktail reception featuring an elegant Harry Winston salon experience, showcasing spectacular jewels and setting a glamorous tone for the evening – with ten percent of all merchandise sold benefitting Voices For Children Foundation. Guests also had the opportunity to support the cause through a silent and live auction led by Big 105.9’s “Paul & Young Ron Show” host Paul Castronovo and Russ Kodner of Kodner Galleries, featuring an assortment of unique items, such as a one-week African Safari; tickets to the exclusive Stella McCartney Fashion Presentation in New York City; and the opportunity to ride on the world’s most famous aircraft, the Goodyear Blimp, as well as two Cathay Pacific business class tickets to Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur with stays at luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel properties.
Emceed by current television star of The Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, the event gathered over 500 community members in support of children in foster care. Guests listened intently to a powerful testimonial by “Mimi,” a young lady who was born into and aged out of the foster care system. At 22, Mimi is now battling stage III cervical cancer. Amid the hardships she has endured from a young age, she has found unconditional support in her Guardian ad Litem, Marielle Gomez-Kaifer. Mimi said “Marielle, you know you’re not my Guardian ad Litem anymore, you’re like my Guardian Angel.”
Chaired by Alan Drecksler and Rhonda Rose-Drecksler, the evening’s hosts included Honorary Co-Chairs Christian and Brittany Slater, and Jim Ferraro and Alena Gavrikova. To further show support, guests were invited to become members of the Angel Society and one lucky Angel was selected at random to receive a Harry Winston Ocean Sport Ladies Timepiece. Guests enjoyed a fabulous show by International Star of Stage and Screen Valerie Perri, and danced to the music of DJ Kutcha. Wine for the evening was sponsored by Shaw-Ross International Importers. Venue and Haute Living Magazines served as the evening’s media sponsors. This year, Voices For Children partnered with RedCap to provide guests with safe rides home from the Gala.
The Gala welcomed South Florida’s most influential and philanthropic notables including: Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Vice Chairwoman Linda Bell, Senator Rene Garcia, Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, and Judge Cindy Lederman, Judge Bronwyn Miller, and Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens. Special guests included Romero Britto, “Real Housewives of Miami” Marysol Patton, as well as CNN Latino Anchor Maria Elvira Salazar, and multi-Emmy Award winning journalist, Jennifer Valoppi.
In addition to Presenting Sponsor Harry Winston, and Honorary Co-Chairs Christian and Brittany Slater, along with Jim Ferraro and Alena Gavrikova, this event was possible thanks to the support of Golden Fan Guardian Sponsors Jeff and Yolanda Berkowitz, and Paul and Swanee DiMare. Dynasty Guardian Sponsors included Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP. and Swire Properties Inc.; Tai Pan Guardian Sponsors included BenTrust Financial, Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, Citi Private Bank, FirstService Residential, Florida Power Light, Greenberg Traurig, HSBC, Jay and Susan Shapiro, Mandarin Oriental, Miami, Medina Family Foundation, Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP., Roberto Isaias, Rose Realty & Associates Inc., and Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson P.A.
Voices For Children Foundation is a not for profit organization that raises funds to ensure that every abused, abandoned and neglected child in Miami-Dade County has a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and that financial assistance and other resources are available for their accompanying health, educational, and social needs. Through our Children’s Needs Program, direct financial assistance is available to children in Foster Care, for immediate necessities such as food, clothing, and medical and/or psychological care. Voices For Children Foundation raises funds to support the state mandated Guardian ad Litem Program, bringing together individuals in the community to fill a gap left by budget cuts.