Easterseals South Florida launches award to honor outstanding employee

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Jacqueline Simeon is a culinary arts and exceptional-student education teacher who has worked more than 13 years for Easterseals South Florida. Many of her students call her Miss Jackie and “the best teacher I ever had.”

Her co-workers praise Simeon and call her a life changing “inspiration.”

For her passionate work at Easterseals, Simeon was recently named first recipient of the Karen Rossman Impact Award. The recognition for an outstanding employee was launched Aug. 24 at the Easterseals Small Miracles Luncheon in honor of the late Karen Rossman.

Rossman’s husband was Stephen Rossman, co-founding partner of the Miami law firm Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier and former local and national Easterseals chairman. Karen Rossman died in May 2009 at age 62 after a career as an elementary schoolteacher, vocational rehabilitation counselor and community volunteer.

More than 250 leaders and corporate sponsors attended the annual fund-raising luncheon at the Coral Gables Country Club. The group received proclamations from Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado (whose granddaughter is enrolled in Easterseals) and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez.

“I know firsthand what Easterseals means to the children and adults we serve. My wife, Karen, was integrally involved with Easterseals and made an impact on so many people throughout her life,” Steve Rossman said at the ceremony. “The award we’ve established will honor a person who made an impact on the lives of others just as Karen did.”

The Rossmans discovered Easterseals in 1983, when their daughter was 6 years old, through Joan Bornstein who then ran the Easterseals demonstration school. Bornstein had a 35-year career with Easterseals and oversaw its South Florida expansion as president and CEO.

As parents, the Rossmans plunged in as volunteers culminating in Steve Rossman’s three terms as national chairman of Easterseals from 2010-13. He is still an active board member of Easterseals South Florida. At the event, he thanked Bornstein, who was in the audience, for inspiring he and his wife to service.

Award-winner Simeon will continue to inspire. Last year, when she won the Heart and Soul Award, Easterseals wrote, “She brings out the best in each one of her students and provides them with an environment full of love and meaningful learning experiences.” Congratulations, Miss Jackie.

Easterseals (formerly Easter Seals) was founded in 1919 as the National Society for Crippled Children and is today “the nation’s largest nonprofit services provider for children and adults with disabilities and its largest health charity.” To learn more about local programs and how to volunteer, visit www.easterseals.com/.

Students practice legal skills

Volunteer attorneys gave of their time recently to engage students from the Overtown Youth Center in a week of legal education and hands-on training. The students began their studies at Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse, at the invitation of U.S. District Senior Judge Paul C. Huck, for a courthouse tour and civics lesson.

They then returned to the Overtown Youth Center and worked with numerous volunteer attorneys to prepare for a mock trial. The weeklong program culminated with the students engaging in a mock trial event at the courthouse overseen by Huck.

“Working alongside some of the best trial lawyers in our community volunteering their time to work with these students was humbling,” said Michal Meiler of Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, one of the volunteer attorneys from the program, in an email. “Seeing how incredibly talented, motivated and well-prepared the students from OYC were was awe-inspiring.”

Fellow volunteer attorney Arya Attari, also of Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, agreed.

“The entire community came together for this event: judges, lawyers, teachers, and students,” Attari said in an email. “The students were committed to learning and displayed confidence in presenting the case. It was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

Woman’s Club tea party

Ann’s 10th annual English Tea Party and Fashion Show by Chico’s will be 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Coco Plum Woman’s Club, 1375 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables. The $35 donation will benefit Hacienda Girls Ranch in Melbourne, a foster-care group home and emergency shelter for up to 14 females, ages 12 to 17, and transitional home for up to eight single females, ages 18 to 23, as well as other community groups the club supports.

The group is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), one of the largest and oldest women’s volunteer organizations in the world, and GFWC Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC Florida). The goal is “to work together in the spirit of friendship and service to better the quality of life in our community.”

Make your reservation by Sept. 22 by calling Kim Schain at 305-322-4626 or write to Nadine712@icloud.com. For more about this group, write to info@gfwccocoplum.org.

Fall bazaars

It’s almost that time of year for bazaars, pumpkin patches, craft festivals and artisan fairs. The Miami Herald Neighbors will publish more about these fun annual community events online and in print on Sunday, Oct. 15. If you would like your group to be included, send information by Oct. 3 to christinammayo@gmail.com.

An early event will be the Brockway Memorial Library’s second-annual Artisan Fair, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 7, at 10021 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. It is free and open to the public, rain or shine.

The fair will feature one-of-a-kind handmade items and homemade treats. Fairgoers will find jewelry, knitted items, paintings, sculptures, greeting cards, ornaments, woodcrafts, baked goods for people and pets, locally made handbags, homemade soaps, botanical products, and suncatchers. Folk band Wagner, Hand and Pflug will play 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

1 Fort Lauderdale

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