Supporter Spotlight

chefs @ chAn Interview with Luz-Velez Cardamone

When did you get involved with Children’s Harbor?

We become involved with Children’s Harbor approximately 5 years ago. My spouse, Dan and three children, Nicholas, Daniel and Sofia. Also, as Principal Owner of Keller Williams Realty Partners SW, our company and agents became involved with the programs.

What inspired you to become a supporter of Children’s Harbor?

The quality of programs and the outreach to children in our local area where we worked, went to school and lived moved us to be involved. Our children also inspired us to get more and more involved. As youngsters they could only imagine the distress and trauma that the resident children were experiencing going through foster care; being separated from their families. They were moved by also seeing young teens and their babies. Nicholas, Daniel and Sofia felt compelled to reach out and help provide the same opportunities and infrastructure available in their day-to-day lives such as sports facility, study area, beautified outdoor spaces, etc.

Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement and provide you inspiration?

My parents were great proponent of supporting children in Colombia, South America. My spouse, Dan, has always been a cheerleader so that as a family, and also as an organization (Keller Williams Realty Partners SW), we could run with an idea no matter how simple.

JPG_2734What are your activities with the organization? What do they involve?

Activities have included remodeling spaces, painting the homes, reupholstering furniture, building a library/study area, creating a gym, mulching and beautifully the outdoor spaces, securing furniture for the young ladies in transition turning 18 y ears old and moving out. Most recently the planning and securing financial resources and implementation of the soccer field.

What motivates you to stay involved?

As a child, my parents and grandparents were always supporting infants, children and schools; providing food, clothing and education. You could say it’s in my DNA. As a parent, I recognize the needs of the young and defenseless even more. The Staff at Children’s Harbor has welcomed us with open arms. They have made the logistics of getting involved possible. Children’s Harbor is in our backyard and this creates a very special opportunity. Our children pass it each day on the way to school and my associates can reach out within minute from their homes and work environment. Knowing that we can help financially, emotionally and physically fuels us to keep going.

When you think of CH what key words or phrases come to your mind?

A loving environment, a place to call home, a refuge, a nurturing place where kids of all ages can have a fair chance to develop without trauma and adult pressures; a safe haven for children and teens to recover form dysfunctional circumstances. A home environment that fosters positive energy, hope and support to children, teens and their families.

In your opinion what is the most important work that CH does?

Children’s Harbor reassures children and teens that the opportunity exists to have a grounded, balanced, happy life with the same road to success regardless of socio-economic circumstances. This is reinforced through therapy (one on one and family counseling) provided by the organization.

Do you have an anecdote about Children’s Harbor that really moved you?

Our first project at CH was so moving to our children, Nicholas, Daniel and Sofia. Daniel was 12 and with his siblings wanted to provide shade for the resident children to play. He creatively sought out donations from nurseries to obtain trees for planting. In doing so, sixty trees were obtained and planted. That day, resident children came out to plant and each child wanted to claim a tree of their own. Nicholas, Daniel and Sofia gave the kids ribbons so they could tie a ribbon around their tree. The resident kids were so excited about the beautification. This small gesture moved Nicholas, Daniela and Sofia profoundly. Each tree gave the resident children a sense of ownership, belong; a being a part of something grater. This experience provided the fuel and ignited our family to participate in any humble way possible. We will never forget the joy, the smiles and the laughter that came for the resident children on that special day. Also Daniel, who was 12 at the time, will never forget that children can make dreams come true; having motivation, a plan and commitment. We have received so much more that we could ever give.

1981841_10152305186318832_319105013_nWhat impact do you hope to have?

A greater awareness and support from the immediate community that surrounds Children’s Harbor (Pembroke Pines, SW Ranches, Weston, Miramar). These areas, primarily with residential families and professional have a pool of talent and resources that could compliment CH. If we can have youth nurture other youth, the rewards for both sides would be greater than any classroom experience. It would be the launching pad for future generations of committed individuals, families and organizations to help CH Blossom.

Do you have a message to share?

As individuals, we can change the world by impacting one person at a time. A kind gesture, a sweet smile, a soft embrace, a word of encouragement. These actions leave lasting memories that chant help the resident children and teens become inspired and believe that the world has many adventures, opportunities and choices. As members of the community, we need to take hold of a gem …Children’s Harbor…and help with our talents and resources to build a brighter future for the kids and teens. Let’s be a part of the solution and leave a legacy for the next generation by “paying it forward” We all started somewhere.