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A Celebration of Women: We All Need To Know One Good Deed Can Change The World

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

April 13, 2023

Last month there were many events to celebrate Women. Representative Marie Woodson hosted her 2nd Exceptional Women Awards Luncheon here in Hallandale Beach. While the luncheon was to honor others Marie Woodson is worthy of the award herself. She was born in Port-de-Paix, Haiti and moved to the states in 1981. She lives in Hollywood, Florida and is married to Bob and is the mother of two successful children.

Representative Woodson has earned numerous degrees, an A.S. in Public Administration from Miami-Dade College in 1984, a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Florida International University in 1987, and an M.S. in Public Administration/Management from St. Thomas University in 1994. Her career experience includes working as a Public Administrator in Miami-Dade. She is a fierce defender of our Veterans, seniors and the underserved.

The goal she has always embraced is public service. The goal of the event was to recognize women that are the unsung shero’s in her district. All these women have come from different walks of life and are all ages. In Marie’s words, “...I continue to be proud and delighted to have met many individuals who do what is required to impact lives in an exceptional way.” Thank you Marie Woodson for your exceptional service.

Honorees include Dr. Emeline Alexis-Schulz who helped to put together “ Serving All On Thanksgiving.” Sandra Alvarado-Raymond, LMHC, who as Paralegal helped many with counseling and turned this experience into a mentoring nonprofit. Gloria Binns who provides food and outreach for the poor. From Hallandale Beach Laqueshia Brinson who has created an amazing after school club GLOW Girls Leading Our World and DEAL Doing Everything to Achieve Leadership. Erika Rojas, who also does amazing outreach in our city with a focus on domestic violence and helping children every year at our Hepburn Center. Laurie Schecter is an activist who has founded an organization for ethical common good across sectors with a focus on government. Angela Smith hosts an annual tea to raise scholarship funds for needy students and provide food for the homeless. Lynn Smith is the first woman bank chair, Author and Mentor. Nadeige Sterlin, MPA with Degrees in Business and world experience that she applies on many boards that help the underserved. Cynthia Strachan, singer and historian, focused on and preserving the history of Carver Ranches. She wrote and produced “Their Story is Our Story.”

It was such an honor to take part in this event. We all need to know one good deed can change the world. As women leaders we need to continue to encourage future generations that they do have the power to fulfill their dreams. Also as women they can harness the backing of others to reach their goals.

The celebration of women continued the following Friday at Hallandale High School. Assistant Principal Ms. Sherman under the leadership of Principal Howard invited women leaders from all professions to a morning breakfast. The goal for each invitee was to address Women’s Empowerment through EmpowerHER Dialogues. We kicked off with an All Women JROTC Color Guard and a breakfast served by student volunteers. We then had a special presentation of spoken word from Ms. Blake who inspired us all.

After enjoying breakfast, we were escorted to the gymnasium as a team. The gym was set up with approximately one hundred young ladies in discussion circles. Each Leader/Mentor was introduced and then asked to sit with the young students. There were two sessions. Each kicked off with Keynote Speakers who shared their life story. The groups all in round one discussed the obstacles the ladies thought were in their way of achieving their dreams. The second was how can we all unite in helping to build self-confidence. The final few minutes we all held an open discussion.

I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with these young ladies. All in all, they knew what they wanted to do after school. They asked me when I was their age, if I had a plan to be a mayor. I get asked that quite often in these settings. So I told them no, but what I did before being a Mayor and then I decided to commit myself to Public Service. After the discussion I had a chance to make sure they met a mentor for their career goals. One wanted to go into the FBI. Another wanted to go into hairdressing. Another young lady wanted to go to college for technology. Others were college bound but undecided.

Sadly, just like all other teenagers they are struggling with social issues. Having them speak openly without fear of retaliation was very eye opening. Many spoke about social media and pressures of bullying among themselves as girls. Principal Howard was right on point with this event. The mentors all agreed we need more of these types of interactions. Not only to help prevent isolation but to really help bring exposure to various careers and how to attain them.

Our schools are always looking for volunteers and mentors. I encourage our readers to think about helping our young students. It is rewarding and certainly makes a huge impact on our children. We have many schools but our two main campuses are Hallandale High School and Gulfstream Academy K-8. Check them out online.

As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our City a better place. Please feel free to reach out at my office: (954) 457-1318. On my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. Or email at:

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