Kara Stearns Sharp and Yaury Jattin talk about their community involvement:
Which organization are you involved in and what is its objective?
We are involved in Camillus House through Junior League of Miami. Junior League volunteers provide women who are homeless with self-esteem building activities, nutritious meals and personal improvement activities. Activities are hosted at the Martha and Mary Wing of the Beckham Hall Emergency Shelter, where the women reside. In addition, Junior League members coordinate drives to include: clothing, underwear, bras, towels, sunglasses, flip-flops and walking shoes, and personal care kits with items such as soap, toothpaste, wash clothes, and deodorant.
Junior League’s vision, mission and focus areas are as follows:
- Our vision: To empower Miami’s women, children and families to conquer tomorrow’s challenges and to build a united community.
- Our mission: The Junior League of Miami, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
- Our focus areas: Families at risk with projects involving homelessness, family violence, children’s and women’s health, early childhood education and foster care. Camillus House is one of our community projects.
What is your role with the organization?
We are both members of the Camillus House Committee, which Kara has co-chaired for the past two years. We have each held other positions in the League during our tenure with the organization, but we both feel that the Camillus Committee has been the most fulfilling.
Why did you decide to get involved?
YAURY: I wanted to make a difference in the community. I realize that most of us are very lucky and take our lives for granted. I feel it is everyone’s responsibility to make our community a better place. Most of all, I wanted to set an example for my daughter. My daughter comes to Camillus House with me to volunteer. I want to teach her to be compassionate and to appreciate what we have. Most importantly, I want her to learn the responsibility of giving back and helping make this world a better place a little bit at the time.
KARA: We chose Camillus as our project as we both feel committed to helping the homeless in our community and our work at Beckham hall allows us that opportunity in an environment we can make a difference. We both have daughters and feel that we need to teach them how important it is to give back to the community they live in, and through the involvement of Junior League in the Camillus House, we are able to teach and share that lesson with our kids.
How has Kaufman, Rossin contributed to your success with this organization?
For the past two years, Kaufman, Rossin has helped the Junior League of Miami raise funds to enable our committee to get extra funding for our shopping day at Camillus. The Shopping Day is for the women of Camillus to get some much needed personal items that they may not have the financial means to obtain, such as undergarments, shoes and toiletry items. Additionally, a toiletry drive for Camillus House is being held. At Thanksgiving, although it was a Junior League event at Camillus, many of our co-workers and clients came out to give a helping hand to feed the entire facility – not just the women residing there but the approximate 70 men as well.
What is your advice for others who are thinking about getting involved in the community?
In the community where you live and put down roots, you get to know the people and hear about areas that need help and change. There are many ways to volunteer your time and energy to help make your community a better place. Furthermore, the satisfaction that comes from helping others is invaluable. When you commit your time and effort to an organization or a cause you feel strongly about, the feeling of fulfillment can be endless.
Kara Stearns Sharp, CPA, CFF, CFE, is a forensic, advisory and valuation services principal in Kaufman, Rossin’s Miami office. Kaufman, Rossin & Co. is one of the top CPA firms in the country. Kara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.