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Voices For Children Foundation Honors Its Most Valuable Protectors

Voices For Children Foundation's 17th Annual Be A Voice Awards Luncheon honors those members of the community that have shown an outstanding commitment to the fight against child abuse.

 
PRLog - Nov. 3, 2011 - (November 3, 2011  Miami, FL ) City officials, community leaders, professionals, and committed child advocates gathered to help Voices For Children Foundation honor its 2011 Most Valuable Protectors at the 17th Annual Be A Voice Awards Luncheon October 20th at Jungle Island. The Most Valuable Protectors are members of the community that have shown an outstanding commitment to the fight against child abuse. The event raised over $100,000 towards the organization’s goal to ensure that every child in the Miami-Dade County foster care system is represented by a Guardian ad Litem.

For the fifth consecutive year, the event was sponsored by Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.  “We are proud to support Voices For Children and applaud the critical role it plays in our community to protect the most vulnerable and the most valuable: our children, our future," partner Jay B. Shapiro commented.

Attendees were given a personal perspective on the importance of the Guardian ad Litem Program through the emotional and candid testimonial of a former foster child, Angelica. Smoking marijuana at age 12 and living on the streets, she quickly became involved in a life of crime dealing drugs and stealing. At 15, with 14 arrests to her name, Angelica met her guardian; the person whose consistent support inspired her to change her life. Now a high school graduate, she looks forward to studying Architecture at Florida International University.  

Local Ten New anchor and event emcee, Laurie Jennings spoke about the need for the community’s support in the fight against child abuse. A mother of two and a 2007 MVP recipient, Jennings explained how the organization’s mission is very close to her heart and was honored to present the four Most Valuable Protector Awards to:

   Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez: Leadership Award
Through his early involvements with Children’s Home Society, Mayor Gimenez cemented his desire to protect children from further abuse, strengthen and stabilize families, and help break young people from the cycle of abuse. preserving funds for the children’s programs in the county’s budget. “Voices For Children and the Guardian ad Litem Program fill a vital role for children in our community. I’m proud to support both of these worthwhile programs and I encourage Miami-Dade County residents with a passion for helping our youngest and neediest citizens to get involved and be a voice for children,” he commented.

Richard Hersch, Esq:. Legal Advocacy Award
Selected annually as one of the top 350 lawyers in South Florida in 2003-2011 by the South Florida Legal Guide, Hersch has donated over 1200 hours of pro bono legal aid for children not represented by a guardian and maintains a passion for serving that Voices For Children Foundation is honored to acknowledge. “My efforts in service to young people so victimized and so in need has only made the effort that much more personally satisfying. My only disappointment is in being unable to do more”, he commented.

American Express Charitable Fund: Philanthropy Award
American Express Charitable Fund has supported Voices and the GAL Program for over a decade providing crucial support to The Advocacy Project and Children’s Needs Program via generous grants and service. Anne Marie Taglienti, a member of the American Express Executive Leadership team accepted the award on the foundation’s behalf.

Office Depot Foundation: Voices For Children Award
The Office Depot Foundation has been an instrumental supporter of the organization’s Children’s Needs program for over eight years. Their involvement has grown over time to now include donating over 200 college bound care packages, over 7500 new school backpacks, and underwriting advertising costs. The Foundation’s President Mary Wong accepted the award said, "The Office Depot Foundation is proud to support Voices for Children in its wide-ranging efforts to assist children in South Florida.  This partnership plays an important role in enabling us to achieve one of our key strategic goals - helping children succeed in school and in life.”

Voices For Children Foundation President and CEO, Nelson Hincapie addressed the audience thanking them for their support commenting, “Without the continued support of our munificent sponsors, the over 3,300 children currently in foster care would go unheard. We are humbled and honored by the generosity and passion of these wonderful philanthropic leaders and companies.”  

The mission of Voices For Children Foundation is to raise funds to ensure that every abused, abandoned, and neglected child in Miami-Dade County has a court appointed Guardian ad Litem to represent their best interests in court and that financial assistance and other resources are available to meet their needs. Be A Voice, visit www.BeAVoice.org.
Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. is a full service law firm with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa.  Over 115 attorneys counsel clients in all areas of commercial law throughout Florida and nationwide.   are privileged to serve a loyal client base that ranges from small businesses and entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies and major financial institutions.  We understand the impact of the law on business and provide highly skilled navigation of the regulatory environment.  A well-honed culture of flexibility and progressive administration allows us to remain nimble, maximize results, and expedite success.  We are proud to operate on a world-class level while serving our clients with impeccable care. While we are proud of the landmark legal victories achieved for our clients, we are equally proud of our pro bono efforts on behalf of those unable to afford counsel.  We are also dedicated to community-based charitable organizations and provide regular contributions of time and financial resources to those in need.
                                                         
With the support of: Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A, sponsors include: Comcast, Honorable Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro, Honorable Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Honorable Commissioner Sally A. Heyman, Flagler Development, Florida Power and Light, Mandarian Oriental Miami, Mercantil Commercebank, Florida Marlins Community Foundation, Main Street Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics.

Voices For Children Foundation
1500 NW 12th Avenue, Suite 1117, Miami, FL 33136
305.342.5678 www.BeAVoice.org
Facebook.com/VoicesForChildrenFoundation twitter.com/Voices4Children

If you know or suspect a child is being abused, please call 1-800-96-ABUSE.

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