MIAMI GARDENS — Several members of the Miami Gardens-based mentoring program, The Embrace Girls Foundation, recently visited New York City for a weekend adventure.


They opened their tour of the Big Apple on March 25 with a visit to the American Doll Place where a White House Associate, Candiace Dillard, joined them in recognition of Women’s History Month for a tour and tea party.


“I am so impressed with this group and their work with young girls,” Dillard said in a statement released by Embrace.


The statement said Dillard was so impressed that she is coordinating the opening of a chapter of the organization in Washington.


The next day, the girls made an early morning visit to NBC’s Today Show for a chance at a live shot, which they got, along with an interview.


“It was so cold we could barely stand it,” said Myla Smith, 8, adding the interview made up for it. “When the cameras came over to my sign, I knew they would talk to me.”


Kamie Crawford, Miss Teen USA, joined the group later in the day for a two-hour tour of  Manhattan that included a stop at Ground Zero, the site where the Twin Towers stood before they were brought down in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


“That was a really sad part of the day. I didn’t want to think much about it but it was something we needed to see and to remember,” said Sydney Mortimer, 14.  “This is an educational field trip and there is a lesson in everything we will do and see.”


Next, seated in prime seats at the Shubert Theater, the girls saw the Tony Award Winning Best Play of The Year, MEMPHIS, a musical about the birth of rock & roll in the turbulent 1950s, followed by a meet-and-greet session with the cast.


“That was the best play I’ve ever seen. I will never, ever, forget that play or this weekend,” said Dahlia Miles, 11, an aspiring singer.


The visitors stayed at the  Marriott Marquis hotel, where they had American Doll beds for their dolls, American Doll books and magazines and cookies and milk before bedtime. 


*To learn more about the Embrace Girls Foundation and its programs for girls ages 4-14, call 305-270-4099 or visit