350 South Floridians joined Voices For Children Foundation for annual ‘Be A Voice’ Awards Luncheon

Local not-for-profit raised $150,000 and recognized key individuals making a difference for local foster children

MIAMI – Nov. 12, 2014 – Voices For Children Foundation, a Miami not-for-profit organization advocating for children in foster care, and presenting sponsor Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson P.A., served as hosts to approximately 350 South Floridians at the annual “Be A Voice” Awards Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 7. The event also served as the official launch of the not-for-profit organization’s 30th anniversary year. Emceed by local media personality Laurie Jennings and attended by attorneys, judges, elected officials, community leaders, volunteers and supporters, the luncheon took place at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami, Fla. 33125. At the event, Voices For Children Foundation presented awards to individuals who have made significant contributions in the area of child abuse and neglect in Miami-Dade County.

Voices For Children Foundation works to help ensure that abused, abandoned and neglected children in Miami-Dade County each have a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and that financial assistance and other resources are available for their health, educational and social needs. Through this year’s Be A Voice Awards Luncheon, the organization raised approximately $150,000 to support its goals.

“Each day, Guardian ad Litem volunteers help shape the future and create hope for the foster children of South Florida, and this Awards Luncheon is our yearly opportunity to recognize them,” said Nelson F. Hincapie, president and chief executive officer of Voices For Children Foundation. “As we embark upon our thirtieth year serving the community, we thank all those who make what we do possible in advocating for children who need someone to be their voice.”

This year, Voices for Children Foundation presented the inaugural Betsy Gunn Award to volunteer Johan Askowitz, who was one of the longest-serving members of the organization’s board of directors and who has served as a Guardian ad Litem for more than 110 children in Miami-Dade County’s foster system since 1988.

At the Luncheon, one beneficiary of Voices For Children Foundation’s work spoke of his experiences in the foster care system and the positive impact of his Guardians ad Litem and Voices For Children Foundation. “For the first time in my life, I had someone I could trust,” said Victor, now age 27. “I am the product of what happens when someone cares.”

The luncheon was made possible by key supporters including presenting sponsor Stearns Weaver Miller Weisller Alhadeff & Sitterson P.A., which has sponsored the annual Awards Luncheon for eight consecutive years. Media sponsors include Brickell Magazine and Key Biscayne Magazine. Other key sponsors include Miami-Dade County Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman, Comcast and Wells Fargo Insurance.

About Voices For Children Foundation

Miami-Dade County has more than 3,500 children in the dependency system, and currently only 60% of these children have a Guardian ad Litem. Voices For Children Foundation raises funds to support the 11th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program in their efforts to provide abused, abandoned and neglected children in Miami-Dade with a voice in dependency court and achieve 100% representation. Additionally, the Foundation raises funds to ensure that financial assistance and other resources are available to meet the children’s educational, health, and social needs. Visit www.BeAVoice.org for more information.

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Editor’s Notes: Event photographs are available upon request; interviews are available upon request.

Testimonial

Voices For Children is more than just an organization, it's a beacon of hope... Voices is that hand to our future. I'm proof that there is hope.

Ronald L. Smith
Clerk Specialist - Miami-Dade County
Attorney's Office

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