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Pridelines to honor former board chair Josue Santiago and Miami Foundation at Aug. 10 gala

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Josue Santiago, a former Pridelines Youth Services member and board chairman, will be honored Saturday at the organization's eighth annual gala.

"Pridelines has made a significant impact in my life by helping me become a better leader and establish lifelong connections," said Santiago, now a senior communications specialist for FPL. "It was through their regular programing that I learned a lot about the LBGT community and the issues we face."

At the gala, themed "A Night in Havana," Pridelines will honor Santiago as the PYS Rainbow Circle Award recipient.

"I met great friends and interacted with outstanding mentors that I still keep in touch with today, over a decade after aging out of the program," he said. "It was an experience that I have carried with me throughout the years in all facets of my life. What I gained from Pridelines continues to impact me today. I feel extremely humbled by this special recognition and I am incredibly proud that Pridelines continues to provide its critical services to the LGBTQ youth of South Florida."

Pridelines will also honor The Miami Foundation at the gala, to be held at The Westin Colonnade Coral Gables. Tickets are still available. Here are details from Pridelines:

Pridelines Youth Services, South Florida’s oldest LGBTQ service agency, is proud to announce its 8th annual gala to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth on August 10th. One of the most anticipated themed parties of the year will take attendees back to the excitement and allure of A Night in Havana during the 1950s. This year’s honorees, The Miami Foundation and Josue Santiago, have been selected as a result of their unparalleled dedication to both the LGBTQ community and the youth served by Pridelines throughout South Florida.
 
“We’re thrilled about this year’s honorees,” said Victor Diaz-Herman, executive director of Pridelines Youth Services. “The Miami Foundation and Josue Santiago are both essential parts of Pridelines’ history. They are two of the main reasons that we’re still operating today and are the perfect honorees to follow last year’s founding honoree members.”
 
The Miami Foundation has been a source of consistent and considerable support for South Florida’s LGBTQ youth for many years. Established in 1967, The Miami Foundation has helped hundreds of people create personal, permanent and powerful legacies by establishing customized charitable funds. With foundation expertise, fund holders have fostered the arts, awarded scholarships, championed diversity, taught kids to read, and provided food and shelter for the hungry and homeless. Additionally, the Foundation has ensured that LGBTQ youth continue to have safe, supportive, and educational environments throughout Miami-Dade County by supporting organizations such as Pridelines, YES Institute, and Safe Schools South Florida. Pridelines will honor The Miami Foundation as this year’s recipient of the LGBT Youth Community Sentinel Award.
 
“We are privileged to support organizations like Pridelines that are so dedicated to creating safe and equitable communities for LGBTQ youth and adults,” said Charisse Grant, senior vice president for programs at The Miami Foundation. “We are honored to receive this year’s LGBT Youth Community Sentinel Award.”
 
Josue Santiago was a former youth member and became the youngest board chair in Pridelines’ history. Under his leadership and vision, Santiago helped keep the organization’s doors open throughout its most trying times.  For his leadership at Pridelines and his dedication to the South Florida community through his work with other organizations, Pridelines will honor him this year as the PYS Rainbow Circle Award recipient.
 
“It is an honor and a privilege to be named the recipient of the Rainbow Circle Award from an organization that holds such a special place in my heart. My experiences with the organization, both as a youth member and then board chair, left a positive imprint that I’ll carry with me forever. I humbly accept this award on behalf of the great people that provided their unconditional support, served as my mentors and worked so diligently with me to ensure Pridelines’ continuity,” said Santiago.
 
This year’s gala will be hosted at The Westin Colonnade Coral Gables on Saturday, August 10th from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm in the hotel’s historic Rotunda. Tickets are $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP and are available online at www.pridelines.org. VIP admission includes a private bar, casino gaming and special giveaways. Special entertainment for the evening will be a performance by the fabulous Marytrini.
 
Sponsorship and table hosting opportunities are also available. For more information, contact Bob Gramatges (bob@pridelines.org) or Victor Diaz-Herman (victor@pridelines.org) at 305-571-9601.
 
Pridelines Youth Services is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by gay youth for gay youth and their allies in the wake of Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign.  Pridelines’ mission is to support, educate and empower South Florida’s LGBTQ youth in a safe and diverse environment as well as to foster dialogue and cultivate social change.  For 30 years, Pridelines has provided safe space, social support, skills building, leadership development and referrals to mental health, health care and support services for LGBTQ youth and their straight allies between the ages of 13 and 24.
 
Pridelines is located at 9526 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 104, in Miami Shores.  For more information about Pridelines, call (305) 571-9601, or visit www.pridelines.org.

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