The Public Relations Experience Program students were busy Saturday working one of South Florida’s most anticipated galas of the year. The 10th Annual Diamond Ball is Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation’s signature event to raise money and celebrate MCHF’s mission to help children and their families of the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

As influential philanthropists, community leaders, and celebrities arrived, the PREP students were there to greet them on the red carpet on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the JW Marriot Marquis.

PREP students assisted photographers and videographers, worked as public relations assistants, and worked all aspects of social media. Newcomers to PREP Sarah Brandt, Vivian Heerens, Kara Roberts, and Nathaniel Derrenbacher assisted photographers on the red carpet and then inside the gala. PREP newcomers Sofia Dacharry, Micaela Rooney, and Elyse Waterman worked alongside PREP veterans Mary Bryant Fleming, Cat Coleman, and Brianna Valdivia on MCHF’s social media to provide live feed during the event for Facebook and Periscope and pictures and videos for Instagram and Twitter. Veteran Rizelle Zabate worked as a public relations assistant for an MCHF event PR manager, Erika Mayor. Kaley Surman served as the PREP manager, ensuring all the students were working hard and meeting the expectation of the MCHF staff.  

“This was the 10th anniversary of this event with lots of celebrities and media in attendance. It was so helpful to have some students who know the red carpet flow and those who were learning it for the first time were very professional and quick learners,” said Erika Mayor, a media consultant for MCHF and the manager of all PR efforts for the Diamond Ball. “We are so excited to see the end result with all of PREP’s help at the Diamond Ball.”

The event was a masquered-themed black-tie affair with a silent auction and performance by Jose Feliciano, one of the most prominent Latin-born performers of the pop era.

“I am very impressed with the costumes, decorations, the theme, and how people are so willing to dress up for the event,” said Cat Coleman, a junior majoring in Public Relations. “I really enjoyed how hands-on PREP was for this event.”

PREP has been working with MCHF for many years, giving the students hands-on experience in public relations, as well as a first-hand look into how important and impactful MCHF is on the Miami community. PREP has worked the full spectrum of events for ICHF including run/walks, lady’s day and gentlemen’s evening events, golf tournaments, galas, and much more.