Be A Voice Have A Heart Gala

Voices For Children Foundation Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

Gala Committee - Yolanda Berkowitz, Jennifer Hegaard, Marjorie Gouraige, Aimee Owens, Beth Tasca, Sonia Gibson
Voices For Children celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the annual Be A Voice Have A Heart Gala, held at Mandarin Oriental, Miami. Despite the current financial crisis, over 300 guests showed their support at this year’s gala, proving that child abuse prevention is still deeply rooted in our community. The event, Co-Chaired by Aimee and Stephen Owens and Veena and Ramesh Panjabi, raised much needed funds and awareness for the 11th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program and Miami-Dade’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children.

As guests arrived, they were welcomed with an impressive array of silent auction items, including travel and leisure, beauty, pop and sports memorabilia, and exclusive jewelry items. Once in the ballroom, exquisitely decorated for the occasion, attendees were greeted by Laurie Jennings, the evening’s emcee and longtime friend of the organization, who graciously thanked the gala’s presenting sponsors, Machado Garcia-Sierra Communications; Mandarin Oriental, Miami; Rose Realty and Associates; and Southern Wine and Spirits, and kicked off the celebration.

Alan Drecksler, Rhonda Rose-Drecksler, Lewis Swezy
Every year, the gala presents a testimonial showcasing the work of Voices For Children. This time, Sergio Martinez moved the audience to tears when he talked about his and his wife’s adoption of eight children, seven from foster care, and the importance of their Guardian Ad Litem, the children’s voice when nobody else would listen. As the evening progressed, one lucky guest won a raffle for a Voyage to a “Jewel of the Orient,” courtesy of Cathay Pacific Airways. Shortly after, a drawing for a custom portrait by Romero Britto valued at $45,000, reserved only for the twenty-five guests who joined Voices’ Angel Society that night, closed the evening’s program. Be A Voice, visit

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