Miami Bridge’s “Bridge to the Stars, Notte di Carnevale” Gala

Signature event raises awareness and support for community’s homeless and abused children and teens

Natacha Munilla; Paula Linden and Neil Linden; Marlene Quintana (Event Chair); Bill McCue and CBS Miami’s Lisa Petrillo

The enchantment and mystery of the masquerades and merriment of Venice, Italy served as the backdrop for an important fundraiser in support of South Florida’s abused, neglected and abandoned youth.

Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services, Inc., Miami-Dade County’s only 24-hour emergency shelter for children and teenagers in crisis ages 10 to 17, proudly unveiled its signature fundraiser, Bridge to the Stars, “Notte di Carnevale,” with special program emcee Lisa Petrillo of CBS Miami. Chaired by Marlene Quintana, Labor and Employment Shareholder with GrayRobinson (an event sponsor), the unique gala took place at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami in downtown Miami and transformed the hotel’s NBA-approved indoor basketball court into a scene from St. Mark’s Square.

Hundreds were in attendance including prominent community activists, civic and judicial leaders as well as youth from the shelters who were on-hand to share stories of how Miami Bridge has impacted their lives. Top-tier sponsors of the event included, Bacardi, BenTrust Financial and Coastal Construction. With a theme inspired by the centuries-old Italian Carnival of Venice, the gala helped bolster the outreach of Miami Bridge, which provides critical services to children and teens in great need (many of whom are homeless, runaways or victims of human trafficking and living on the streets).

Provence “Boo” Zamek with Amy Zambrano and Jaime Zambrano

“For a majority of the youth residing at Bridge, some as young as 10 years old, the only other option is the street,” said Quintana, who serves on the organization’s Board of Directors and has chaired the gala for three consecutive years. “Through this event and our supporters in the community, we are giving these children a safe and warm environment, an opportunity to build their lives back together and a chance for a productive and successful future.”

“In times like these, we are reminded of the generosity and spirit of so many who make an event like this one not only extremely special, but possible,” said Mary Andrews, Executive Director, Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services, Inc. “While the gala may have been an evening of fun, it’s even more important to note how significant the fundraiser has been — and will continue to be — not only for Miami Bridge, but for the more than 1,000 youth in crisis we serve annually.”

In addition to whimsical “carnival-inspired” entertainment — such as stilt walkers, tarot card readers and palm readers — guests were able to enjoy a silent auction filled with big-ticket items including a Miami HEAT basketball autographed by every player of the 2013 Championship team.

Fernando Munilla; Alicia Murphy with Michael Murphy, Vice President, Coastal Construction (one of the top event sponsors)

For more information about Miami Bridge visit their website at

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