MIAMI, Fla. (January 20, 2019)
On Saturday, January 19th, 2019, Voices For Children kicked off the winter gala season with the 23rd edition of their “Make Magic” 2019 Be A Voice Gala hosted at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami on Brickell Key. 500 of Miami’s most philanthropic and influential community leaders and business professionals such as City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Anai Urquidi Ceredia news presenter from Univision and Elize Held, joined chairs Brad and Suzanne Meltzer to support the foster care youth of Miami-Dade County.
The black-tie affair raised over $630,000 to benefit Miami-Dade’s abused, abandoned and neglected children to help ensure they have a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and that financial assistance and other resources are available for their health, educational, and social needs.
Guests enjoyed an elegant cocktail reception featuring strolling magicians and entertainers before entering the ballroom for a seated 3-course dinner. During the program, Voices Chairman of the Board of Directors, Jay Shapiro, welcomed the guests and VIP’s before speaking about Voices accomplishments during the past year. Event chairs recognized Guardians ad Litem present in the audience including Mirta Fuentes who has been a devoted volunteer Guardian for over 25 years.
Guests then bid on exciting travel packages during the live auction and afterward listened to the courageous testimonial of a 15-year-old youth who endured tumultuous and challenging family hardships that thrust him into the foster care system when he was only two years old. Accompanied by his Guardian ad Litem, Khalid Allahar, the young man’s testimonial proved by how by earning our youths trust, the healing process can start, and lives can be transformed.
An emotional moment occurred during a moving tribute to Jeffrey C. Samas, Voices For Children board member who passed away in 2018 and to whom the evening was dedicated. “Jeff believed that Voices gave a fighting chance to vulnerable children who found themselves in a world they never asked to be a part of” said Susan Samas, widow of Jeffrey C. Samas. Nelson Hincapie, Voices President and CEO of the organization described the support that Voices provides as “a magic that brings healing, magic that creates a future, magic that inspires love”. Following the evening’s program, dinner was served, and guests then danced the night away to DJ Kucha’s high-energy beats.
The gala is made possible by Presenting Sponsor Susan and Alex Samas in loving memory of Jeffrey C. Samas; Golden Fan Guardian Sponsors Jeff and Yolanda Berkowitz; Jay and Susan Shapiro, Stearns Weaver Miller and Dynasty Guardian Sponsors John Moriarty & Associates of Florida, Kaufman Rossin, P.A., PricewaterhouseCooper, LLP and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. The media sponsors are Brickell Magazine, Key Biscayne and Selecta Magazine. The PR sponsor is Tara, Ink, the design Sponsor Jacober Creative, décor sponsor is Be Social Events, and host sponsor is Mandarin Oriental, Miami.
About Voices For Children Foundation
Voices For Children Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that raises funds 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. Guardians ad Litem are trained, court-appointed adults who serve as their representative voices in dependency court proceedings. Currently, approximately 2,000 children are in Miami-Dade County’s Foster Care system and 92% of children are represented by Guardians ad Litem. For more information, please visit www.BeAVoice.org.