Voices For Children Foundation Gala Inspires Hope

Christian Slater, Brittany Lopez, Nelson F. Hincapie

Voices For Children Foundation, the fundraising organization for the 11th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program, held its 2013 “Be A Voice, Inspire Hope“ Gala at Mandarin Oriental, Miami. Emceed by South Florida’s own CBS Channel 4 News Anchor Shannon Hori, and with Honorary Co-Chairs and Voices Board of Directors Christian Slater & Brittany Lopez, the event raised over $550,000 for the organization.

The evening began with cocktails, a Padron Cigars Lounge and a spectacular silent auction featuring luxury items and unique experiences, including a private dinner with Romero Britto and a day with Hall of Fame race car driver, Bill Adams. Following the cocktail hour, guests were invited into the main ballroom for dinner and dancing to the music of DJ Kucha. A pivotal moment of the evening came when the evening’s speaker, Ronald Smith, stood before nearly 500 guests and told his story of the hardships he endured in the foster care system. Thanks in part to his Guardian ad Litem advocate, Ronald is now a clear success story for advocacy and a productive member of society. “Voices For Children, through the Guardian ad Litem Program, makes a tremendous difference in the lives of children in foster care,” said Nelson F. Hincapie, President & CEO. “I like to think of our donors as investors of our community’s future and tonight, Ronald was the best return on investment that anyone could ask for. I think he said it best when he thanked our guests and said ‘Be blessed, but also, be a blessing to someone else.’”.

Kristin and Matthew Lazenby

As a result of Ronald’s moving testimonial, 62 guests were inspired to Be A Voice for kids in care by making a contribution to the organization’s annual giving group, the Angel Society. The evening’s guests who became Angels were entered to win The Ladies Avenue diamond watch that was generously donated by Harry Winston and valued at $46,200. The evening culminated with guests being treated to a surprise performance by Christian Slater, who was joined by Albert Lopez, his fiance’s father, on the piano, and who with Christian rocked the room to Piano Man, Your Song, Vienna and Let It Be.

A number of community leaders attended the event including Mayor Carlos Gimenez, County Commisioner Sally Heyman, Judge Cindy Lederman, Judge Bronwyn Miller, Judge Jeri Beth Cohen, Judge Rosa Figarola and State Senator Rene Garcia as well as Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens and City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. Special guests included Primer Impacto’s News Anchor Barbara Bermudo, Big 105.9’s “Paul & Young Ron Show” host Paul Castronovo, who along with Jeff Berkowitz served as the evening’s auctioneers. Other notable guests included Channel 23’s Mario Andres Moreno and “The Real Housewives of Miami” Marysol Patton.

Steve and Aimee Owens

This year’s spectacular event was possible thanks to the support from Presenting Sponsor Mandarin Oriental, Miami; Golden Fan Guardian Sponsors Jeff & Yolanda Berkowitz Family Charitable Foundation and Coastal Construction Group; Oriental Guardian Sponsors Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP, Swire Properties, Inc. and Turner Construction Company; and Tai Pan Guardian Sponsors Paul & Swanee Dimare, Florida Power & Light Company, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Harry Winston, Inc., Roberto Isaias, Medina Family Foundation, Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, Alan Potamkin & Brigit Rok, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Jay & Susan Shapiro, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. and Wells Fargo Insurance Services.

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