Mama Mia! Let's Celebrate Our Magnificent Moms.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, Deborah’s family moved to South Florida when she was 16, and she’s lived in the city of Parkland for 11 years. “It’s been a great spot to live for many reasons,” she said. “I’m only minutes from the Coral Springs Museum of Art where I’m an art instructor.” She also has an art studio connected to her home making it a family affair. Previously working at ad agencies in Miami, Boca Raton and Michigan as an art director, Deborah easily transitioned into teaching art and became a fine artist. She’s a talented Mixed-Media Sculptor and you can see evidence of that at an exhibition of her work opening June 9 at the Coral Springs Museum of Art. Fortunately for Deborah, her passion for art wasn’t something that had to take a backseat when she became a parent, but was easily incorporated into family life. “When I first became a mom, I left my full-time job and worked on a freelance basis, so I could arrange my own schedule,” she explained. “I wanted to be a mom and wanted to experience everything that went with that. My work, community, volunteering and family life are sometimes intertwined, which helps from being pulled in too many directions at once.”
Deborah enjoyed the opportunity to be more involved with her daughters during the day by volunteering at their Temple’s religious school and the elementary school her daughters attended. “Helping others through community service has always been important to me, she said. “It’s led to many fulfilling opportunities my daughters and I can enjoy together.
We’ve exposed our children to the joy of being involved in community service since they were young,” she said. “One experience that stands out is when we spent several summers, once a week, packing lunches for 70 kids in a needy preschool/daycare through the Kiwanis Club, called the Brown Bag Program. We delivered the bags and donated books and games, which we played with the kids. Sasha and Nina also read to them. They were so excited to see us every week, and we formed great relationships with the children as well as the caregivers. It gave our daughters great pride to be involved so closely. Through my work at the art museum, it’s encouraged my children to volunteer there as well, and we’re active members and involved with supporting the museum. Now, they’re both involved in a youth leadership group, thus carrying the community service experience into their own lives.”
Beyond their work in community service, it appears that mom’s love for the arts has also rubbed off on Sasha and Nina. “Sasha will be attending the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in the fall and our youngest, Nina, has a website showcasing her handbag, apparel and accessory designs,” boasted the proud momma.
Although it’s always difficult for a parent when their children begin to “leave the nest,” Deborah says she’s pretty confident that she’s raised some pretty terrific daughters.
“The best part of being a mother has been the journey,” she shared. “We have watched our children grow into confident and independent young adults, as well as kind and generous people. It means the world to me that they have such a close relationship as sisters and friends.”
But no matter how much of a super-mom you are, it’s always nice to have the love and support of family. “I am so lucky to have a husband who shares the same values and has supported me in the decision to be at home and present for every minute. We are also fortunate to have parents who are so involved in our family’s life. My own mother has been a constant influence and inspiration for me.”
Dori Brenes Mirkow Raising a Daughter Leads to Swimming with Sharks for Creek Mom
By Kristan Bond
Coconut Creek resident Dori Brenes Mirkow certainly has a full plate as an Esthetician, Spa Owner, an Independent Consultant for Drs. Rodan & Fields Dermatologists, the President of the PTO for Boca Raton Preparatory School, and a volunteer with the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation where she formerly served as the Board of Directors’ Marketing Committee Chair. But being a mom is the job she loves best. And when it comes to her 16-year-old daughter, Sara, she’ll do anything, including diving with sharks at the request of her daughter! Ok, there’s a logical explanation for this. See, Dori and Sara aren’t just into living on the edge. They’re trying to save ocean life.
When Sara was 15, she founded the Shark Whisperer Organization (www.SharkWhisperer.org) to help spread advocacy, education and awareness about sharks and how many of them are now facing extinction. “Scientists are currently predicting if this happens our oceans will come to a standstill with no life in the year 2038,” explained Dori, who serves as the Vice President and Marketing Manager for her daughter’s charity.
So how did this passion lead to actually swimming with the razor-toothed creatures? “When Sara turned 16 last December I wanted to throw a Sweet 16 party for her,” said Dori. “We love scuba diving together, and in lieu of a birthday party she asked if she could do a shark dive instead. So we went to the Bahamas and dove with sharks.”
Diving has actually led Dori and Sara on many great adventures together. “We love to travel and see the world and learn about other cultures,” she said. “We’ve been to Australia and dove on the Great Barrier Reef, to Fiji, the Bahamas, nine different countries in Europe and this October, Sara will be making her first dive trip without me to go Great White Shark cage diving with Stan Waterman!” You know, Stan Waterman, the pioneer underwater film producer and photographer who’s won five Emmys! Sara is a youth ambassador for Shark Savers (www.sharksavors.org) where Stan Waterman serves on the Board of Directors. Sara is certainly making waves in her mission to save sharks.
With only so many hours in a day, it’s hard to imagine how they accomplish so much. And Dori only half jokes that “no sleep” is their secret. “It’s hard sometimes to fit it all in. Sara and I are constantly on the go. I just try to stay extremely organized …and having good time management skills helps a lot too.”
But all joking aside, the experiences she’s shared with her daughter make sacrificing a little sleep here and there all worth it. “I have so much pride in my daughter,” she said. “She is so focused on her goals and she stops at nothing to achieve them. She’s very focused yes but also very independent, strong and loving. My daughter is happy in her life and seeing her have so many amazing accomplishments is so fulfilling for me as her mom. I know that she’ll pass on many of the things to her own children one day that I taught her, such as good manners, hand written thank you notes and being an involved, caring and loving mom and human being.”
Family Matters to Coral Springs Mother, Grandmother & CEO Barbara Weinstein
By Kristan Bond
When speaking with Barbara Weinstein of Coral Springs, you can’t help but feel how genuine she is and how thankful and proud she is to have such a wonderful family, career, and the opportunity to help others. But with all the amazing work she does for less fortunate families in the community, we feel blessed to have her!
Barbara’s family is kinda accustomed to being in the public eye; her husband of 43 years, Peter, spent 14 years as a Florida State Senator, and now serves as the Chief Judge in Broward County. This has led to amazing opportunities such as meeting the President of the United States and other political figures, but has also brought with it a keen awareness of what’s really happening in our community. This awareness also comes with Barbara’s 25 ½ years of working with Family Central where she’s currently CEO. The agency serves over 100,000 children in the community—from abused and neglected children to low income families needing a hand—with focus on providing high quality early-care and educational programs. “We help families from all walks of life who need our services and the children we have the opportunity to meet are just incredible,” she said. “It’s a labor of love and I feel it’s a way for me to pay it back for being blessed with such a wonderful family. It’s my way of saying ‘thank you.”
In addition to being active in supporting the children and families served by Family Central, Barbara is also involved with the Coral Springs/Parkland Rotary Club. “It’s been a pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful organization that actually cares about human beings, that makes a difference in the lives of others and gives back to the community,” she said.
The Rotary has also been very involved with Family Central, and Barbara is continually impressed by all the volunteers she’s had the opportunity to meet, including local high school students with whom she’s had the pleasure of collecting donations for the less fortunate.