david_lawrence.jpgOne of the most vital and pressing issues facing the community and the nation will likely receive much light from a most enlightened source when Coconut Grove’s venerable Helen B. Bentley Family Health Center Inc., a Miami icon for more than four decades, presents its fundraising gala with David Lawrence Jr. as the keynote speaker.

The event, on the theme “Through the Eyes of Children,” will include the center’s 13th annual meeting and second fundraising gala, slated for 6 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 3300 SW 27th Ave., in Coconut Grove. A center statement said few investments in the the community and nation’s future well-being are more crucial than the health and education of children, particularly in their early years.

Lawrence has extensive experience and a stellar track record in support of young people, making him one of the most informed and inspiring leaders in the field. Lawrence is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and also leads The Children’s Movement of Florida, whose mission is “building an enduring, sustainable movement to make all children the state’s number one priority.”

Lawrence also serves as University Scholar for Early Childhood Development and Readiness at the University of Florida.

He rose from humble beginnings as one of nine children on a family farm to a career in journalism that ended as publisher of The Miami Herald; during his tenure, the paper won five Pulitzer prizes. His background instilled in Lawrence an ardent and compassionate belief in the rights of all children to achieve their potential and the responsibility of all adults to ensure that those rights are protected.

“Do not let anyone tell you that the future of children needs to await better economic times,” Lawrence has been known to say. “Making children the number one priority in this nation is a matter of decency, wisdom, smart investment and economic development. The very future of our nation is tied to how we invest in our children today.”

He is expected to expand on his belief and his mission when he gives the keynote address focusing on health care for children at the gala. Tax-deductible tickets for the event are $125 per person ($1,250 for corporate tables of 10), and will benefit the non-profit HHBBFHC Building Fund.

For more information or to make reservations, call 305-351-1315.