Women Of Tomorrow 8th Annual Gala

Marisa Toccin, Lola Jacobson, Ferne & Danny Toccin

Latin actor and singer JenCarlos Canela, was so inspired by the group of at-risk young women who visited Telemundo last year that he composed a song, “Start Living Your Life” in their honor, and in a surprise for Women of Tomorrow supporters, performed it live during the organization’s sold out 8th annual gala held at the Mandarin Oriental.

Canela, who in addition to his recording career, stars in the Telemundo soap opera Pecados Ajenos, says he wrote the song after encountering a group of Women of Tomorrow mentees who were touring Telemundo’s studios as part of the program’s career-focused field trips and was amazed by their drive and willingness to overcome life’s challenges.

Despite the difficult economic climate, the event was sold out and one generous donor even threw in a surprise ride on his private plane to benefit the organization. That helped push total fundraising efforts to almost $3 million dollars for Women of Tomorrow, considered by many to be one of the nation’s most unique mentoring and scholarship programs for at-risk young women.

Maria & Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Jennifer Valoppi, Pam Giganti & Alfred Bunge

The Black & White-themed event chaired by Marisa Toccin, honored Robyn Perlman as Mentor of the Year for her unique mentoring approach and years of outstanding service to the organization. Others honored for outstanding commitment included Honorary Chairmen Serena and Leon Simkins in honor of their Women of Tomorrow daughters and granddaughters, Humanitarian Chairs Swanee and Paul DeMare, Excellence Honorees Jorge Gonzalez and Leslie Lott , Legacy Builder Honoree Arlene Chaplin and Empowerment Award Honoree Dr. Krista Rosenberg.

Women of Tomorrow was founded by television journalist Jennifer Valoppi and Telemundo Network President Don Browne in 1997. The organization currently mentors close to 2000 at-risk young women in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach public high schools, and each year provides scholarships to help enhance and enrich their lives through education. The program’s mentors include more than 250 of South Florida’s most accomplished professional women. For more information on Women of Tomorrow call 305-371-3330 or visit womenoftomorrow.org .