Written by Karen Matamoros
On May 16, 2015, our community came together in a big way for Zoe Kolloras, a local 10-year-old girl who lost her mother, Rebecca, unexpectedly last month. At Enchanting Creations, we were fortunate enough to participate in this effort to support Zoe in the wake of this tragedy.
Residents and local businesses alike banded together to host a block party to benefit a GiveForward campaign created to establish a trust fund for Zoe in order to help secure her future. This event could never have come together without the support of the wonderful people within our community, which is why we have compiled a list acknowledging their many contributions.
Like anything else worthwhile, a community thrives when its members invest themselves in its progress. We feel it is important to acknowledge the many kindnesses which take place all around us, kindnesses which come to the forefront of our attention on days like last Saturday. But they happen daily, and many the people on this list are the same ones who have always shown up for our community; those who have been its constant champions, whose unyielding support sustains it. These are our neighbors, and we would like to take a moment to thank them and recognize their generosity.
These are just the people with whom we worked closely; we realize that there were many others whose support for last Saturday’s event was invaluable. We feel that kindness like this should be met with gratitude and recognition. So, if there is someone whose contributions did not make this list, we ask that you please recognize them here in the comments section of this post so that we may all thank them for kindness.
By day’s end Saturday, we were able to raise an additional $6,000.00 to be added to the fund. The campaign ending in June, which as of May 26 has collected nearly $43,000.00, is just about $1,000.00 shy of its $50,000.00 target. We urge anyone who would like to contribute to visit the site this week in a final push to make this goal. (https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/6vj8/primal-fit-for-zoe)
And, finally, to our friends and neighbors: thank you for all that you do to support our community!
Matt Pack and Grace Mora
Primal Fit Miami
9537 Northeast 2nd Avenue
Mr. Pack, who created the Primal Fit for Zoe campaign, helped in the organizing and planning stages for this event and on the day of helped with set-up, ticket sales, breakdown, and clean up. He even took a turn in the dunk tank :) No stranger to making life-changing impacts, Mr. Pack works to empower Primal Fit’s members to take control of their health and live stronger lives. __________________________________________________________
Regina Vlasek Jolly
Mutt Pet Grooming Salon & Boutique
212 Northeast 98th Street
Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation https://www.facebook.com/savingsagerescue Jolly Mutt owner, Regina Vlasek, helped in the organizing and planning stages for this event. Ms. Vlasek, accompanied by a team of volunteers, including Elisa Pelaez, Fred Matter, Paul Liotti, and Arianna Prieto, operated not one, but two booths on Saturday: one for the Jolly Mutt and the other for Saving Sage, a nonprofit organization established to meet the needs of abused and neglected animals. From hands-on involvement from conception to clean-up, to donating funds to secure a second bounce house, to rallying participation throughout the community, Ms. Vlasek was integral in seeing this event go off without a hitch. The Jolly Mutt has served our community for the past 50 years, and with Ms. Vlasek at the helm, remains valued participant in any local event.
Miss Jane’s Music Studio
211 Northeast 98th Street
Owner of Miss Jane’s Music Studio, Early Childhood Music Specialist at MCDS and the Director of Children’s Music at MSPC, Ms. Spinney was involved in planning and organizing this event and was crucial in raising awareness and rallying support for this cause. She personally contributed to secure entertainment for Saturday, manned our ticket booth, came early to help set up, stayed late to tally donations and did it all with tireless enthusiasm.
Pink Ink Events
Creative powerhouse, Nakia Bowling, of Pink Ink Events brought her unique vision and patience to the planning and coordinating of this block party. She also came through with an excellent vendor referral for our second bounce house. In addition, Ms. Bowling individually donated ten cases of water to the event.
VOLUNTEERS AND BOOTH SPONSORS
Officer Leeann Jonchuck
Officer Joshua Koop
Officer Cory Moore
Miami Shores Village Police Department MSV Police department was well-represented by Officers Jonchuck and Koop, who assisted with set-up, donated the dunk tank (in addition to enlisting the help of the fire department to have it filled) and worked quickly to resolve an issue concerning the street barricades for the event. Officer Moore came out in uniform to show his support, while Officer Koop, aided by Officer Johnchuck, spent hours being unmercifully dunked in the tank – great sports all around! __________________________________________________________
Start 2 Finish Events
Longtime resident and owner of local Start 2 Finish Events, Jim Davis immediately offered his support to the cause volunteering to serve as deejay and emcee for Saturday’s block party. As if that weren’t enough, Mr. Davis also donated our first bounce house which spared us the cost of a rental. Always there to support his community, Mr. Davis has served as deejay for both our annual Unity Day and Miami Shores Country Club 4th of July celebrations for the last four years running. __________________________________________________________
Zoe’s former teacher and family friend, Anna, along with Adrianne Pink, Alexandra Gonzalez, Danielle Link, and Diana Grau, spent the afternoon face painting for our children. Ms. Ashley also honored the crowd that afternoon by reading one of her heartfelt poems. __________________________________________________________
Ms. Grace’s Art
Ms. Garcia, who runs the local art program at Ms. Grace’s Art, provided arts and crafts activities for the children on Saturday. She’s currently enrolling students for her summer camp, information for which may be found by following the link above. __________________________________________________________
Ricky Valido and the Hialeah Hillbillies (Band)
Manager, Enrique, invited by family friend, Rafael Madan, arranged for the extremely talented Ricky Valido and his band to perform an awesome set to close out the afternoon. Nothing like a little live country music on a sunny Saturday afternoon :) __________________________________________________________
Miami Shores Recreation Department
Ms. Morris organized our silent auction with donations from local restaurants and shops, helped with set-up, and lent us among other things tables and trash cans for the event.
7030 Biscayne Boulevard
Mr. Villamediana, who took over the reins at Dogma nearly two years ago, donated Philly Cheesesteaks, a popular menu favorite. The cheesesteaks were such a hit that the Dogma crew had to make several trips back and forth to replenish stock. It’s not all about hot dogs and cheesesteaks over at Dogma, however; there are several healthier menu options like the organic bison burger or the blackened Mahi sandwich, in addition to vegetarian options like the veggie dog or the black bean patty burger. __________________________________________________________
Chef Andrea Prado
The Wholly Kitchen
14651 Biscayne Boulevard, #371
First sponsor to RSVP for this event, Chef Prado brought her incredibly flavorful meatballs and sauces to the table. Absolutely bursting with flavor, these were so delicious we couldn’t believe they were healthy. __________________________________________________________
Carlos and Marcela Vigo
9725 NE 2nd Avenue
Mr. and Mrs. Vigo provided appetizers on Saturday along with samples of their fantastic fresh pasta. Beyond staples like fresh fettuccine and ravioli, Mr. Pasta offers a wide variety of homemade sauces, and even desserts. Village pasta lovers and foodies alike are fortunate to have such a great little shop so close to home.
The Village Stand
216 Northeast 98th Street
Ms. Duran, who also donated flyers, sponsored a booth featuring preserves, candles and a fair sampling of the many wonderful items available at the awesome little gem known as The Village Stand. Ms. Duran who began running The Village Stand about a year ago has since added clothing, jewelry and gifts, in addition to coffee which is available for those who wish to sit and chat.
8601 Biscayne Boulevard
New to the scene was Tara Nicosia who recently reopened the Biscayne Diner (more about that here: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/restaurants/biscayne-diner-to-reopen-with-big-name-chef-6604406). Ms. Nicosia donated some excellent zucchini croquettes from the diner, plus some homemade sugar cookies besides. Biscayne Diner boasts attentive service to accompany their outstanding fare – from the fried chicken to arguably the fattest Reuben sandwich in town it’s well worth a visit. __________________________________________________________
595 NW 91st Street
Active in all areas of village life and a constant support to our community, longtime Shores resident John Challenor not only donated the hot dog and popcorn machines (and the popcorn), but he also provided a portable air conditioner to help one of our sponsors keep cool in the grueling Miami heat.
Richard Way III,
3091 Northeast 163rd Street
Mr. Way, whose clientele consists of several village residents, provided the hot dogs for Saturday’s event. __________________________________________________________
Daryl Botwick Gallo
Proud DCS parent and community member, Ms. Gallo delivered donations of soda and water. __________________________________________________________
Andiamo Brick Oven Pizza
5600 Biscayne Boulevard
Ms. Crupi came through in a big way and donated pizzas fresh from Andiamo’s brick oven.
Bounce 4 Kids Party Rental
Not only did this company quote us an excellent price on our second bounce house, but they also contributed $100.00 to the Primal Fit for Zoe fund.