Highlights from the last quarter of 2014:
Holiday Toy Drive 2014
At Our Kids, holiday season means toy drive season! This year marked Bunchy Gertner’s 18th year organizing the toy drive and her 3rd year partnering with Our Kids. Through Bunch’s efforts and the support of thousands of donors in our community, every child in care age 0-17 years old receives a special gift for the holidays. Bunchy also makes sure that young adults who are exiting the foster system receive a special gift to prepare them for independent living: the Good Housekeeping gift includes basic necessities for their first apartments. Currently, there are approximately 4500 children in the dependency system in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. We thank everyone who supports Bunchy’s Toy Drive, with a very special thank you to Bunchy for her tireless efforts!
Miami Walk of Fame Annie Event
On December 9th, Our Kids participated in the Miami Walk of Fame Annie event at Bayside Marketplace. Through our partnership with the City of Miami and Mayor Tomas Regalado, Our Kids was invited to participate in the festivities and raise awareness of the need for more quality foster homes in our community. Several Our Kids families attended the star-studded event, where the film and cast received their own star on the Miami Walk of Fame. Thank you to the City of Miami, the Miami Walk of Fame, and Sony Pictures for your support!
National Adoption Day 2014
On Friday, November 21, 2014, we hosted our annual National Adoption Day event, sponsored by The Children’s Trust. The event took place at the Miami Children’s Museum where exhibits were turned into mock courtrooms and 43 adoptions were finalized, creating 38 Forever Families. Each family received an annual membership to the Miami Children’s Museum so they can return throughout the year and enjoy all that the museum has to offer. Families also received gift cards to Publix and Toys R’ Us, on behalf of the family and friends of Carla Merhige and Lisa Merhige Knight. Thank you to The Children’s Trust and everyone who helped make this day special for our families, it would not be possible without your hard work and dedication.
Meet Our Kids’ newest Board Members and Board Chair
Bringing direction, guidance and oversight to the Our Kids Board of Trustees are Rudy Fernandez and Andrea Nhuch; both joined Our Kids’ Board of Trustees in the last quarter of 2014. Existing board member, Raimundo (Ray) L. Ruga, was named Our Kids’ board chair for 2014-2015. We are positive that their leadership will ensure the continued success of the organization and welfare of our kids.
Ray Ruga, Chair
Ray L. Ruga is a principal of the CVOX Group, LLC, a strategic communications and public affairs firm that specializes in the financial services sector in Latin America. Ray served as both strategic advisor and spokesman for both the Obama-Biden Presidential Campaign as well as for the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign. Ray received both his Bachelor’s degree in International Business and his MBA in Finance from George Washington University.
Rudy Fernandez is the Chief of Staff to the President, and Vice President for Government and Community Relations of the University of Miami. He has been a member of the University’s senior leadership team since 2007. Fernandez has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami.
Andrea Nhuch is a mixed media artist born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nhuch studied Combined Media, Assemblage and Art in Three Dimensions at the Art Students League in NYC with Bruce Dorfman. Andrea has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Ithaca College and a Masters in Cosmetics and Fragrance from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Thank you Ray for your dedication to Our Kids, welcome Rudy and Andrea!