In 2001, a businessman named Andrew Stein founded “The Orphaned Starfish Foundation” to help orphaned children by building and funding computer centers in orphanages and homes for battered and street children.
Since then, Stein has been able to help some of the most needy in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and even as far as Ethiopia.
“Miami is the gateway to North America for Latin America and the Caribbean, where Orphaned Starfish has been helping orphans and at-risk youth for more than twelve years,” Stein said. “There are so many people in South Florida that do not yet know the wonderful work we are doing with more than 4,700 children in 12 countries in the region and we are so thankful to show the amazing children we support and have South Floridians support helping us make a real difference in so many deserving young lives.”
Celebrating their 12th year, the foundation will be hosting their first fundraising event at downtown Miami’s Epic Hotel on March 15 at 8:00 pm. Serving as celebrity host for the evening is actress Judy Reyes.
“Judy Reyes has been a part of Orphaned Starfish for the past several years, hosting our Gala in NY, and as one of our first Global Ambassadors,” Stein explained. “Her Dominican heritage has been invaluable in showing our children how Latinas can succeed. “
Reyes said she is extremely passionate about making a difference in the lives of these children and in helping them build a foundation for their future.
“When I first met Andy, I was touched to learn about his love for the Dominican Republic and his commitment to the orphans there,” Reyes said. “People throughout my career have approached me [about working with various charities] and I didn't want to use my name and attach my celebrity without feeling some sort of connection.”
“Being Dominican and visiting the country as a child and seeing that desperate poverty, as well as knowing that my mother was orphaned by her mother, really helped me understand [Andrew’s] passion,” she added.
Technology will help the children succeed in life, Reyes said.
“With computers being made available through Orphaned Starfish and with the magic of the internet, these kids will learn skills like how to apply for a job or find an apartment. My genuine belief is that education is freedom.”
The Miami Gala, which will feature a red carpet, cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and entertainment by Cuban-American, Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and actress Cucu Diamantes, will also have several children who benefit from the foundation in attendance.
To learn more about the Orphaned Starfish Foundation or to purchase tickets to their Miami Gala, click here.