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Amy Scherzer's Diary: Heart Gallery, Crisis Center benefits

Peace Couture chairwoman Sarah Watkins, left, thanks sponsor Russ Smith, CEO of Arbitration Forums and Mindy Murphy, CEO of the Spring of Tampa Bay for their support.
Published Feb. 12, 2014

The Heart Gallery's Night in Foreverland

A Night in Foreverland co-chairs Katina Markowski and Meghan McGuire borrowed Peter Pan's longing for bedtime stories and goodnight kisses to market the Children's Board's Heart Gallery at the second annual Be Mine gala. They even got R.D. Curtis, 15, to wear green tights like the boy from Neverland. His mother, Tammy Curtis, adopted him, she told the sold-out party Feb. 6 at the Straz Center, because she saw his picture in the mobile gallery and website of foster kids seeking "forever families."

"You don't have to be perfect, just loving with solid values," said Tampa police Chief Jane Castor, mother of two adopted boys. After several joyful videos celebrating blended families, she appealed to the 500 guests for donations. "No pressure," Castor quipped, "but I've got a gun."

Heart Gallery director Jesse Miller presented four volunteer awards: Other Side of Awesome to Lindsay Antal; Advocate of the Year Nicole Hubbard; Photographer of the Year Daniel Wallace of the Times; and Lifetime Achievement Freddie Brinson.

Peace Couture gala and New Wave fashions

What do you get when you merge the Spring of Tampa Bay's formal Purple Gala with its colorful Peace Couture fashion show? Dinner in Ferguson Hall's lobby and a new wave-style show in the Morsani Hall lobby at the Straz.

A chic crowd stood Saturday against an ugly issue: domestic violence, hearing from CEO Mindy Murphy about protection and education programs at the certified shelter. The 200-plus guests sipped coconut spiced rum, posed in Crash My Event's photo booth and bid on auction baskets before models appeared in fashions from Juxtapose, Lending Luxury, Poppy Boutique, Disco Dolls and Francesca's. Clothing donated to the Spring's boutiques turned heads, too, as did artistic signs bearing startling crime statistics.

11th annual Cup of Compassion

Child abuse preceded Bernadett Celene's abusive adult relationships, trauma she shared in a video shown at the Crisis Center's annual breakfast, Cup of Compassion. Counseling and financial assistance made her a volunteer advocate for Empowerment, the center's group of sexual assault survivors. The talented guitarist sang her gratitude in a song she wrote called Cup of Compassion. Richard Gonzmart, keynote speaker Feb. 6 at A La Carte Event Pavilion, described some of his own struggles, reminding the 400 guests how valuable the 2-1-1 crisis hotline is for people who are feeling alone and desperate.

Guests drank in the personal stories, pledging more than $300,000 by the time they finished the last drop of coffee.

Citizen of the Year

Mary Lee Farrior thought she heard some familiar attributes as the Tampa Metro Civitan Club announced its 2014 Citizen of the Year during the Governor's Day Luncheon on Feb. 6, opening day of the Florida State Fair.

Children's advocate. Junior Leaguer. Gators fan. Philanthropist. Suddenly, she realized it was her they were describing. Seconds later, Farrior was surrounded by friends, grandchildren and well-wishers honoring her vision to create Mary Lee's House on Armenia Avenue to centralize medical, legal and counseling services for abused and neglected children.


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