Helping Hands in Miami Lakes: The Cultural Affairs Committee

Featured By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Helping Hands column focuses on the town’s 12 volunteer committees that promote various causes in Miami Lakes and help the town government serve the community. 

Committee activities are funded by the town budget and by ticket sales from some events. 

Committee: Cultural Affairs Committee

Founded: Aug. 14, 2001 Chair: Neill Robinson 

Vice Chair: Suzanne Choopani

Members: Elsa Reus; Karla Acosta; Mirelis Castilla; Esther Colon; Herminia Ibarra; Charles James; Madelin Santana; Felicia Salazar and Trinette Zarran.

Purpose: The Cultural Affairs Committee was established to create a cultural identity in Miami Lakes, according to the town website. Its goal is to further develop art, music, theater and other family-friendly activities for residents. 

The colorful cows statues, fireworks on the Fourth of July and Jazz in the Park are some of the projects presented by the committee. 

It also is supporting the second annual Culinary Bike Tour on Sept. 17, and events that feature authors and musicians.

Vice Chair Suzanne Choopani loved the committee’s events that she attended with her young children. After she retired from teaching in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, she decided to join. 

“I’ve always been very excited and tried to attend a lot of the cultural affairs events,” Choopani said. 

Once she retired it was an opportunity to give back and continue having the events in town that her family has enjoyed for years. 

The group meets monthly to discuss upcoming happenings. Like other committees it has subcommittees to divide duties for events, including the upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration of Venezuela. 

Lawyer Trinette Zarran and president of the Miami Lakes Bar Association is overseeing the planning. 

While she is busy with her career and the bar association, being part of the committee is just another way she helps the community. 

“I was always very involved in the town, and I really enjoyed the events they put on, I was always participating with them as an attendee,” Zarran said. 

Once a position opened, she decided to join the committee so she could continue to be involved. 

While Zarran has a full plate, she finds that scheduling helps her manage doing as much as she does. 

“Your board members make it happen as well,” Zarran said. “It’s teamwork. It’s the collaborative effort between the board members that make everything happen and the events come to life.” 

To Join:  File a form with Miami Lakes Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo and attend two committee meetings before a councilmember will recommend the applicant. Committee members must live or work in town. 

Some committees require a background check. 

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