2021 Women of Distinction Ceremony and Winners Announced
Miami Lakes, FL - The Town of Miami Lakes and its Cultural Affairs Committee, will host the 2021 Women’s Distinction Awards Ceremony in honor of Women’s History Month. On Saturday, March 6th, 2021 at 10:00 AM the 2021 Women of Distinction Awards will celebrate some of the most extraordinary local women to celebrate their work in the arts, business, civic affairs, educational sphere, government, health services, humanitarian aid, and volunteer services.
The award recipients are the following:
- Arts Category: Ms. Sara Cino, Music Director, Miami Lakes K-8 Center
Ms. Sara Cino inspires her students to bring the magic of music to the community through public performance such as the Superintendent's Honors Music Festival, Miami Lakes Festival of Lights, Holiday Shows, and Fine Arts Night. She was honored with the Rookie Teacher of the Year Award in 2005 and Teacher of the Year Award in 2015. She is a member of the Florida Orchestra Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, and the Florida Music Educators Association.
- Business Category: Ms. Annette Sanchez, Attorney, Annette Sanchez Law, P.A.
Ms. Annette Sanchez started her career working with the Department of Children and Families Children’s Legal Services where she helped countless children in at-risk family situations. Five years ago, she took the brave leap and opened her own law practice, Annette Sanchez Law, P.A., in Miami Lakes where she focuses on family law, juvenile law, real estate law, and general civil litigation. Ms. Sanchez has dedicated herself to help children and families to prosper in the community. She is a voice for children to ensure they are in a safe and loving home and assisted women in getting the protection they need from an unfit environment.
- Community and Civic Affairs Category: Ms. Ibis Mendoza, Media Specialist, Miami Lakes K-8
Ms. Ibis Mendoza has successfully led community fundraisers and awareness campaigns such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Teens for Jeans, Give a Ball, Spread the Love, and Reading Under the Stars in Miami Lakes. Ms. Mendoza, a media specialist at Miami Lakes K-8 Center, is always ready to support programs and community involvement that will help make Miami Lakes a better place to live. She uses her influences to strive to make the community a safe and inclusive town. Ms. Mendoza is pursuing her Doctorate degree in School Psychology and hopes to continue making a difference.
- Education Category: Ms. Virnalis Martinez Arvelo, Language Arts Teacher, Miami Lakes K-8 Center
Ms. Virnalis Martinez Arvelo grew up in Miami Lakes, she attended Miami Lakes Elementary, Miami Lakes Middle School and graduated from Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School. When she graduated from Florida International University, Ms. Arvelo was determined to return to Miami Lakes K-8 Center. She reached her goal and is now a middle school Language Arts teacher at Miami Lakes K-8 Center. Ms. Arvelo seeks ways to teach Language Arts beyond the classroom through field trips on and off-campus. Ms. Arvelo’s love for teaching goes further than that of instructional education she also teaches Zumba as an elective in the school and at Shula’s Athletic Club.
- Government Category: Honorable Carmen Cabarga, The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Having been on both sides as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Miami Lakes resident Judge Carmen Cabarga’ s, passion for the rule of law is evident. She has a proven history of always approaching clients and cases fairly, without prejudgment, and abiding within the applicable laws and policies. In August of 2020, she won election for Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, her legal experience expands over 20 years. Judge Cabarga has served underprivileged communities throughout her career working as a defense attorney with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Council, advocating on behalf of children and parents. Judge Cabarga has a passion for being the voice of law and has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the judicial branch.
- Health Services Category: Dr. Carmen Crespi, Orthodontist, Lakes Orthodontics
Dr. Carmen Crespi is a board-certified orthodontic specialist and owner of Lakes Orthodontics in Miami Lakes She is passionate about early interceptive orthodontic treatment which has resulted in significant increase in self-esteem among all ages. Dr. Crespi graduated number one in her class at the University of Florida College of Dentistry and received the Milo Hellman Research Award, Excellence in Academic Achievement, Scholastic Achievement Award, Dental Student Award, and Omicron Kappa Upsilon for excellence in orthodontics. Lakes Orthodontics specializes in helping children, teens, and adults smile with confidence using the latest technologies. July 20, 2018 is Proclaimed as Lakes Orthodontics Day in Miami Lakes and in the same year Lakes Orthodontics was a Best of Miami Lakes finalist in the Health Category.
- Humanitarian Category: Ms. Marianela Alvarez, Hope for Autism
Ms. Marianela Alvarez is founder of Hope for Autism in Miami Lakes. A mother with the courage and vision to not accept a diagnosis of autism without making the commitment to help move forward her then- 2-year-old son, Gabriel. Ms. Alvarez founded the Hope for Autism organization to educate parents with autistic children, advocate for the children’s rights, and create activities to include our special children into society to ensure their future is full of potential possibilities. Ms. Alvarez has advocated for continued education in the community through parent/sibling support groups and promoting awareness and inclusion in Miami Lakes.
- Volunteer: Ms. Elsa Reus, Community Relations and Alumni Director, Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church
For almost 30 years Ms. Elsa Reus has served Miami Lakes with her heart and soul. She is a member of the Town’s Cultural Affairs Committee and member of the Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce and has dedicated thousands of hours to the community. She also organized the Miami Lakes Virtual Unity Prayer during a difficult time in the nation. This event left a powerful footprint and response within the community and its leaders. Ms. Reus never hesitates to help and volunteer wherever she is needed whether it is for Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church, the Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce, or the Town of Miami Lakes. Ms. Reus brings a positive message in the community through her active volunteer work.
- Education Honorary Award: Reta Lee
The ceremony will be streamed live on Saturday, March 6th at 10:00 AM live on the Town’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/townofmiamilakes).
For more information about the Cultural Affairs Committee and their events, please visit www.miamilakes-fl.gov/cac or contact:
William Sanchez, Committees and Special Events Coordinator
Tel: (305) 364-6100 or Email: email@example.com