The Story of Janiia


At 16 years old, Janiia’s single mother completed her application for the Parks Foundation internship program with many dreams for her daughter. Qualifying for the program, Janiia was assigned to work at the office of the District 8 Commissioner, who is now the Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.  It was difficult balancing the responsibilities of caring for her younger sisters and assisting her mom with their small business, interning, and school, but Janiia never gave up.
The internship program taught her many things including instilling leadership qualities, resiliency,  and many job skills.  Through the internship program, she was able to experience a life changing mentorship leading to the Miami Dade Honors College program and on the path to law school to become a defense attorney.
Her time with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade internship program taught her that every member of a team is invaluable and working together makes the team unstoppable. Coming full circle, Janiia now works as an art instructor in the same internship program she was enrolled in many years ago. She now instructs the interns enrolled, guiding, encouraging, and impacting students in the same program she once attended.
Please give now to The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and help make a difference in the life of someone like Janiia.


Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade Honors Past Board Members


Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade Honors Past Board Members 

 MIAMI (September 1, 2021) – The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade honored past board Members Jack Kardys and Lisa Martinez on August 20, 2021 for their years of service to the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade County Parks.  

Dedicating his career to public service, Mr. Jack Kardys has served the parks department for more than 35 years and is past chair of the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA), and President-elect for the FRPA. Devoting most of his career to parks and open spaces, Mr. Kardys joined the Parks Foundation board in November 2018 where he spent most of his efforts advocating for a great park system.  He has worked on numerous publications and various programming to expand parks and programming.   

Ms. Lisa Martinez joined The Parks Foundation board in December 2014 and has been instrumental in assisting to further the mission of the parks. Ms. Martinez worked with the other members of the board to move the foundation forward, working to add new board members, providing guidance on many issues and initiatives, hiring a new Executive Director, and working towards developing a policy manual. Lisa has tirelessly volunteered many hours to ensure the continuity of a great park system in Miami-Dade County. 

Ms. Martinez has been in the field of education for many years, including working as a teacher in Miami Dade County Public Schools. Currently, she is President of her own consulting business, L.M. Genuine Solutions where she works with many organizations in advancing the welfare of children and other marginalized groups. 

Both Ms. Martinez and Mr. Kardys were honored with awards for their years of dedication and service.  

About Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade:
The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade was created in 2004 in support of the Building Better Communities Bond Issue when visionary community leaders acknowledged that the county’s general fund was not adequate to maintain, expand, and sustain the needs of the rapidly growing Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. Today, Miami-Dade has the nation’s 3rd largest county park system, and the Parks Foundation stewards over 278 parks, 6 marinas, 16 miles beaches, 6 golf courses, and 13,769 acres of land. 

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Grace Bracamonte 
[email protected] 


Gibraltar Private Field Study Scholarship Program grants 180 Miami-Dade students a visit to the Deering Estate

As part of its continued effort to provide engaging experiential educational enrichment programs to the community, the Deering Estate welcomed 180 students, along with their teachers, at no cost thanks to the generous donation from Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust. Ninety students (second and third graders) from Dr. Edward Whigham Elementary School were hosted on Friday, October 6, and ninety students (third graders) from Colonial Drive Elementary were hosted on Thursday, October 19.

Earlier this year, Gibraltar Private donated $30,000 ($10,000 per year for three years) to fund the “Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Field Study Scholarship Program at Deering Estate.” The scholarship program provides assistance to under-resourced Miami-Dade County teachers and students allowing them to participate in the Deering Estate’s award winning Environmental Education Enrichment Programs.

“We are delighted to see the first group of students and teachers from our community visit the Deering Estate and experience their hands-on educational and enrichment programs,” said Angel Medina, President and CEO of Gibraltar Private. “The Field Study Programs at Deering Estate are known to expand children’s understanding of the environment, natural resources, humanities and art, as well as science, math and technology through applied practice.”

The bank’s donation provides financial assistance to qualified local Miami-Dade County Title 1 Schools to be used for underwriting the program fees of participating students in the Deering Estate Field Study and/or bus transportation costs transporting students to and from the Deering Estate. Students are required to write a short reflection piece of what was learned during their participation in the field study.

“We are pleased to see Gibraltar Private’s generous gift benefiting the students and teachers from both of these schools,” said Mary Pettit, Executive Director at Deering Estate Foundation. “We are already seeing how these funds are making a difference in the lives of the students in our local community. These kids are the future stewards of our planet and our next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEM+arts) professionals.”

About the Deering Estate
The 450+ acre Deering Estate is an environmental, archaeological and historical preserve. From canoe tours to butterfly walks and guided Historic House & Natural Areas tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Estate is part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department, which manages the Estate on behalf of the State of Florida. Discover More art, culture, history, science, preservation, conservation and ecology at the Deering Estate today!

About the Deering Estate Foundation
Established in 1989, The Deering Estate Foundation is a community-based charitable 501(c) 3 Florida Corporation and the philanthropic arm of the Deering Estate.  Its Board of Directors, members and volunteers are made up of a diverse group of business and community leaders who are dedicated advocates of the Estate and active supporters of education, research, cultural arts, environmental conservation and historic preservation.

About Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust
Gibraltar Private is an integrated private banking and wealth advisory company dedicated, since 1994, to enhancing the wealth and well-being of its clients and their families.  Gibraltar Private offers residential and commercial lending, private banking and wealth management services to professionals and professional service firms, corporate executives, families, entrepreneurs and their businesses.  Gibraltar Private has eight full-service offices with its headquarters in Coral Gables, offices in Fort Lauderdale, Downtown Miami, Miami Beach, South Miami, Naples, Ocean Reef and New York.

ArtCare Conservation Lecture Series at the Deering Estate

The Deering Estate is proud to present the first program in a lecture series on Thursday, November 16th from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with partner ArtCare Miami. The lecture is presented by ArtCare Director Rustin Levenson who will discuss her book, “Seeing Through Paintings” (Yale University Press). The book describes using the materials and techniques of paintings to make art historical assessments. The series is free and open to the public and will be held in the historic Stone House Ballroom. Donations to the Deering Estate’s Artwork Conservation Fund are welcome.

Additional Lectures:
Thursday, January 25, 2018
“Dramatic Conservation: Treatment of Albert Bierstadt’s Domes of Yosemite” with Oliver Watkiss.
Presented by ArtCare, expert Oliver Watkiss will discuss his experience with the structural treatment of paintings. This year ArtCare Conservation undertook the treatment of this large (15′ x 10′) painting from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont.  This work was painted in 1867 and displayed in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York to give viewers a sense of the West.  The treatment included varnish removal and lining. During the treatment new discoveries were made about the working method of the artist and the technical history of the painting.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
“Case Studies in Painting Conservation” with Veronica Romero-Gianoli
Veronica will describe various painting conservation projects carried out in the studio.  Treatments including stabilization, lining, varnish removal, and surface cleaning will be discussed.  The complex decision making process involved in treatments will be explored.

Thursday, May 17, 2018
“Hurricanes: Preparing your Collection and Recovering from a Storm” with Kelly O’Neill
Kelly will illustrate the best methods of protecting a collection during a storm.  She will also discuss the conservation problems encountered at the Deering Estate after Hurricane Irma and describe treatments carried out on the collection.
8 pm to 9:30 pm; Free and open to the public.

Cultural Arts Programming is made possible with support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, The 100 Ladies of Deering, and The Deering Estate Foundation, Inc.

About the ArtCare Conservation Lecture Series
The ArtCare Conservation Lecture Series presents specialized topics in art conservation for art lovers, collectors and arts professionals. ArtCare, Inc., a Rustin Levenson Company that specializes in fine art conservation, shares examples of their decades of art conservation and restoration experiences working on individual and museum collection pieces. Join us to learn about best practices in caring for artworks in South Florida, ask questions of the experts, and see onsite restoration projects that are part of the Deering Estate Permanent Collection. The series is free and open to the public and will be held in the historic Stone House Ballroom.

About the Deering Estate
The 450+ acre Deering Estate is an environmental, archaeological and historical preserve. From canoe tours to bird walks and guided Historic House and Natural Areas Tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Estate is part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department, which manages the Estate on behalf of the State of Florida. Discover More art, culture, history, science, preservation, conservation and ecology at the Deering Estate today!