Be Strong International Hosts Their Summer Charity Event on Zoom and Sees Upwards of 130 Participants
Be Strong International, during their Summer Charity event that took place on June 17th, from 10:00 to 11:15 AM, set a goal of raising one million dollars within a year to apply its mission of creating healthy relationships, thriving families, and stronger communities nationwide.
Be Strong International (BSI) held its Summer Charity Event, hosted by Kerry Black, CEO, and president of the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, on Wed., June 17th.
Albeit a difficult time to host a charity event, BSI persevered and lifted the attendee's spirits by demonstrating the community-driven and love-oriented work that is being done throughout South Florida. Over 130 people attended the virtual event hosted via Zoom and witnessed the great change BSI has brought to underserved communities.
Michelle Shirley, president of Be Strong International, announced during the virtual event a fundraising goal of $1 million. When the goal is met, BSI will focus on introducing its practices nationwide. During the event, which began at 10 a.m. until 11:15 a.m., BSI also detailed the goals they have met for providing services to under-served communities, parents, and students throughout the 28 years of operation and more recently, after the onset of COVID-19.
Among the attendees were several dignitaries of the community: State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, president of the Jose Milton Foundation, Ana Veiga Milton, State Representative Dotie Joseph, State Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez, mayor of Palmetto Bay, Karyn Cunningham, CEO of The Children’s Trust, James Haj, and candidate for District 8, Danielle Cohen Higgins are a few of the esteemed guests present in Wednesday’s event, sponsored by Joe Vigo from REMAX and CenterState Bank.
To create healthy relationships, BSI began their Project Hope program which has served over 3,000 students throughout Miami-Dade and Broward County schools. In addition to teaching social-emotional learning to at-promise youth, BSI’s Project Hope program nurtures artistic expression during its afterschool program, the Be Strong Club (BSC). The BSC operates in Cutler Manor Community Center and Richmond Heights Middle School. In the Summer Charity Event, participants got to see the long-awaited Be Strong Documentary which featured the Cutler Manor site. The club teaches students a variety of art forms, including rap, photography, painting, and cooking, while also maintaining the SEL curriculum. Through BSI’s Be Strong Champions internship program, made possible by Miami-Dade County Public Schools, high school juniors and seniors get the chance to influence and serve the youth in the BSC. During the Summer Charity Event, Tabriya Joseph and Aidan Cespedes were awarded $500 each for their internship work at the BSC. MDCPS’ Alina Llevat congratulated the students, who, following graduation, will attend Florida universities, and use their money towards their education. During the course of the pandemic, the BSC began servicing students through Zoom.
Families were forced into a new normal after the education system went online for the last few months of the school year, and Be Strong International was ready to aid parents who were struggling to adjust by providing online parenting workshops, in partnership with The Children’s Trust, through Zoom. BSI hosted over 167 parent workshops nationwide. James R. Haj, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust, received BSI’s “Making Our Community Stronger” award, along with seven other recipients, during their Summer Charity Event, for his work providing South Florida’s parents with the tools they need to raise their children. Before the pandemic, BSI hosted parent workshops at various locations throughout Miami-Dade and Broward.
Be Strong International gave the “Making Our Community Stronger” award to 8 community leaders for the work they did, some of it done in collaboration with BSI, such as the food drives at Cutler Manor which were facilitated by the honorable Ana Maria Rodriguez, State Representative of District 105, and Jason Jenkins, Miami Dolphins Senior VP of Communications & Community Affairs. Others in pursuit of the same mission as BSI, such as Ana Veiga Milton, president of the Jose Milton Foundation, a nonprofit that provides innovative programs to schools that cannot afford them, were also awarded. In addition to the aforementioned award recipients, the honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the honorable Dotie Joseph, State Representative of District 108, Joe Vigo, REMAX Real Estate Professional, and Margie Toledo, World Fuel Services Human Resources Director, received the award.
Be Strong International’s aim is to create healthy relationships, thriving families, and stronger communities, and for that reason,
The basis of the nonprofit is encapsulated in the defining statement given by the president of Be Strong International during the Summer Charity event: “Just like how hate and racial biases can be passed down from one generation to the next, love and truth can be passed down too.”
To culminate the event, Kerry Black asked all those participating to take a selfie and post it on social media with the hashtag #StrongerTogether. Be Strong’s pithy adage holds true throughout the world, and it is a mantra to which they turn for their source of strength.
To View a Recording of Be Strong’s Summer Charity Event, please visit https://youtu.be/oM-W-iESM0g.
About Be Strong International
Be Strong International is a leading non-profit that educates young people and parents through positive practices. For more than a quarter-century, they have provided teens and young adults in South Florida with tools to make better decisions about relationships, money, work, and family life. The organization uses an evidence-based curriculum to teach adolescents and parents about strategies for building healthy relationships. Be Strong International was nominated for best practices in addressing risky behaviors, and they deliver educational programming to students and parents online, and physically throughout Miami-Dade and Broward County.