Our United Way honors five exceptional community volunteers

United Way Board Chair Carlos Migoya and President and CEO Maria C. Alonso celebrated the extraordinary contributions of five outstanding volunteers at the United Way of Miami-Dade Annual Meeting & Volunteer Awards on June 18, 2019.

Meet our honorees:


State Representative Holly Raschein

Holly Raschein is a member of the Florida House of Representatives, elected in 2012 to represent Florida’s 120th district, which includes Monroe County and southern Miami-Dade County. Originally from Alaska, Holly attended Florida State University, where she graduated with a degree in political science in 2003. She then moved to the Keys, where she worked as a district aide and then legislative aide for Representatives Mark Sorensen and Ron Saunders. Holly serves on six committees in the Florida House, including chairing the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

In 2017, Holly received her master’s in public administration from Florida International University. She is also active in numerous organizations, including the Florida Defense Support Task Force, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Foundation of Women Legislators.

Dorothy Shula Outstanding Volunteerism Award

James E. Morgan III

A native of West Palm Beach, James E. Morgan III made Miami his home 35 years ago, where he and his wife Missy raised their two daughters. With a passion for service to others, Jim has worked with numerous charitable organizations, both locally and abroad. He is a graduate of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Leadership Miami Program, he is current vice chairman of the board of Branches, and has been actively involved with the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and the St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School Board. At United Way of Miami-Dade, Jim served as a trustee and ex-officio member of the board, and chairman of United Way Young Leaders. He led many mission trips to Haiti in the years before and after the devastating earthquake of 2010. He was recently selected by Ronald McDonald House Charities as one of its Twelve Good Men of 2019.

Jim is a partner with Squire Patton Boggs and has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America since 2006. He is included in Florida Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters, a distinction recognizing the top five percent of lawyers in the state. A member of both The Florida Bar and Dade County Bar Association, Jim earned his bachelor’s in economics from Vanderbilt University and his J.D. from Nova Southeastern University.

Monsignor Walsh Outstanding Human Services Professional Award

Brent McLaughlin

With an extensive background in nonprofit management as well as experience in grassroots community development work, Brent McLaughlin has led Branches as executive director since 2001. He served on the executive team of South Side Mission serving homeless women and children as well as providing youth programs for neighborhood children in Peoria, IL. In 1993, Brent accepted an assignment to serve in rural Haiti and with his wife Karen, became members of a remote village in the mountains and focused their efforts on health and agricultural community development work over the next three years. Five years after relocating to South Florida, he took on his new role in Branches, where under his tenure the organization has grown more than 40x to include children and youth development services, asset-building services for families and an emphasis on creating a transformational culture. Each year more than 10,000 children and adults experience life-changing opportunities at Branches.

In addition to leading Branches, Brent serves on the board of Chapman Partnership for the Homeless and is board chair of the Miami-Dade Emergency Food and Shelter Program and long-term disaster recovery organization (FRIEND) for Miami-Dade County. Brent holds a bachelor’s in English literature from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Master of Business Administration from Barry University.

Essie Silva Community Builder Award

Thema Campbell

Thema Campbell is the president and chief executive officer of the World Literacy Council (WLC) of Florida, a nonprofit, literacy program – through which she founded Girl Power, an alternative-to-suspension and after-school social change program structured to reduce the suspension/arrest rates of adolescent girls. Since Girl Power’s inception, the suspension rate of its participants has dropped by 85 percent and the arrest rate by a staggering 90 percent. Thema’s involvement in “the greater good” for young women began, in part, when she started encountering the abuse, neglect, assault and abandonment of young girls. She is an expert on children’s issues and a true champion and advocate for girls.

In addition to her Girl Power duties, Thema is also the executive producer of the annual “It Takes A Village Conference;” she serves as executive board member of the Miami-Dade Youth Crime Task Force; she is a member of the Liberty City Community Action Agency; and a member of the Sojourner Truth Book Club. She is the former co-host of WMBM’s talk show, For Women by Women; former state director of the Miss Black Florida USA Pageant; former chair and co-chair of the Juvenile Justice Board – Circuit 11; and former member of the Miami Commission on the Status of Women. Also, in 1989 she co-founded Concerned African Women and the New Dimensions in Community Educations Program.

Outstanding Youth Award

Jazmin Neadle
South Miami Senior High School, Class of 2019

Jazmin Neadle had a difficult childhood – she lived in foster care until being adopted by a loving family that taught her all about being a Quinceañera. Inspired and recognizing how fortunate she was to have celebrated her quinces, Jazmin founded A Sweet Chance – a nonprofit that provides young girls in foster care with their very own quinces or Sweet 16 celebration, as well as a photo shoot. Through her organization, Jazmin finds professional stylists, make-up artists, and photographers to donate their time and manages a team of volunteers to organize drives to collect dresses, shoes, accessories, make-up, and all that make the celebration a memorable occasion. Following three years of increasingly successful events, Jazmin hopes to expand across Miami-Dade and into Broward.

2019-07-11T08:58:36-04:00 June 17th, 2019|