dorothy_bendross-mendingall_3.jpgA 10-year-old program dedicated to helping girls develop their educational and social skills received recognition recently from the Miami-Dade County School Board for community service. Board members, led by Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, on Aug. 3 presented an award to Velma R. Lawrence, founder and executive director of the mentoring program The Embrace Girls Foundation.

The honor recognized the service Lawrence and her team have provided over the past decade to young girls in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, including academic tutoring, mentoring, life and social skills training coupled with social experiences.

Bendross-Mindingall said she had been following the program for many years and was impressed with its activities and the academic success of its after-school program at Parkview Elementary School, 17631 NW 20th Ave., Miami Gardens.

“It's simply District 2 needs Embrace Girls Foundation right here,” she said. Referring to Lawrence, she added, “She is small in stature but, my, is she a power house to be reckoned with.  She is my sister and I will do all in my power to make sure this organization has what it needs to serve every child  that comes through their doors.”

Lawrence was delighted the honor came as Embrace Girls is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The Miami native said she and friends began the program to meet the needs of young girls, particularly those living in low-income communities.

“I personally don't know how she does it,” said Tamara Gant, a local radio personality known as Tamara G who is a founding board member of Embrace Girls Foundation. "She is truly passionate about this organization and those little girls. She expects nothing but the best for them, even on a shoe-string budget, and they and their parents simply adore her.’

Embrace Girls is accepting applications for its All Girl All Power! After School Academy, mentoring program and 2012 summer camps. For more information, call 305-270-4099 or visit
Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall