Shannon Del Prado is running for the Pinecrest Village Council third seat position this upcoming November 3 election. A resident for 16 years, parent and local law firm partner, her deep-rooted connection with the community and her desire to serve are stronger than ever.
Over the summer, mask-donning Shannon has pounded the sweltering pavement to knock on doors (at a safe distance) of the 6,100 homes in Pinecrest. A people person at heart, she made quick friends, and lent a natural ear to hear what the residents had to say. “Residents are universally happy to live in Pinecrest. When pressed about any concerns, they mention trees and power loss, speeding and cut-through traffic, break-ins and canal cleanup and water.”
The Village of Pinecrest Council is run by five volunteers. The mayor and councilmembers are unsung heroes who work to ensure that our neighborhood is hurricane ready, COVID safe, environmentally responsible, school centric and in general, resident-focused. This, among others, is why lifelong volunteer and service-minded Del Prado is a natural fit.
A Life of Service
“Volunteering has always been a part of my and my husband’s (Skip Pita) life. It’s just something we’ve always done,” says Shannon. Perhaps though, Shannon’s story as an avid volunteer started before birth. With a Peruvian father in the US Foreign Service, and a Peace Corps mother working with USAID, her parents’ lives and legacies have a service-minded common thread. Del Prado’s apple didn’t fall far from that tree.
Shannon has served our community since the day she arrived. Raising her three children in local schools, she was a fierce advocate and strong leader for their respective PTA, EESAC, ACT and other school committees.
“One of my favorite efforts was at Palmetto Elementary,” Shannon recalls. “I was a parent on the EESAC Committee, and our student’s science scores were not on par with our other scores. Skip, myself and two other parents formed a task force with the school’s support and excellent science teachers like Aileen Bogert, Janice Ennis, Yoly McCarthy and Principal Eric Torres. We asked community scientists, including UM Astrophysicist Josh Gunderson, NASA Engineer Cindy Gunderson, cardiologist Dr. Dean Heller, surgeon Dr. Danny Sleeman, the oncology and cardiovascular team of Drs. Pearl and David Seo, and others. Ultimately, we raised money through ACT to hire a science aid to bring hands-on science lab experiments into the classroom. “True to the adage, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,’ our science scores, indeed, improved,” Del Prado confirms.
Most recently Shannon has served on the Pinecrest Zoning Board for the past two years.
In 2007, Shannon’s service experience was drawn beyond Pinecrest borders. Miami was ranked second to last in a national survey on volunteerism. That was not the Miami that Shannon and her husband knew, so they decided to challenge that survey.
“We posted announcements in local Miami hospitals looking for volunteers to participate in a medical humanitarian trip to Peru. We called it Project Peru. By 2008, we formed the first of six medical teams we took to Peru to a clinic run by my parents called Kausay Wasi (House of Health in the Quechua). The clinic is in a remote area of the Andes where electricity is scarce. Families often heat their homes and cook with kerosene and fire. One of our Project Peru patients was a little girl who had burned her hand so severely that her fingers were seared together. Miami plastic surgeons, Pat Pazmino and Gabe Salloum, were able to release the scar tissue so that the girl now had a functioning hand. She could now hold a pencil in school. Life changing. We saw women in their sixties and seventies with severe vaginal prolapses. Urogynecological surgeon Tony Cardella surgically repaired these prolapses. The women no longer had to live with organs protruding from their bodies. Life changing. We saw Dr. Dan Kalbac surgically repair mangled and deformed feet caused by traversing up and down the treacherous terrain in sandals. Patients could walk normally again. Life changing. Project Peru has been life changing for all team members,” attests Del Prado.
Leadership in the Legal Community
Shannon served as president of the Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association in 2016-17, and was the first woman to hold that position in over 30 years. During her tenure, Shannon emphasized the need for lawyers to give back. She initiated a program with His House, a shelter for at-risk children where lawyers spent quality time with the children. Shannon also expanded the organization’s role with Chapman Partnership for the Homeless, and this year has led a fundraising drive for lawyers to help feed the homeless during the pandemic. The incoming Florida Bar President has also recognized Shannon’s leadership and appointed her to the committee on continuing legal education.
Growing up as the child of a foreign service officer, young Shannon attended 12 different schools before graduating from high school. “Because we moved so often when I was growing up, I appreciated the sense of community in Pinecrest…and it’s probably why I value it so much now,” Shannon tells us. “What Pinecrest has has to offer is priceless. Our three children shared the same kindergarten teacher and high school teachers. Their teachers sometimes even came to watch their extracurricular and sporting events. Pinecrest mothers and women sometimes banded together and went to collaborate on Women Build projects for another mother in Habitat for Humanity Women Build campaigns. Pinecrest is truly special. We are so blessed to be part of this community.”
For over twenty years, Del Prado’s office has been honored to represent over 2,000 families in Florida. A key component to success has been understanding clients’ needs—to listen. “I see the position on council in a similar light,” says Shannon. Volunteers, especially at this high level, must be accessible, receptive and responsive. Shannon shines with these qualities. Fully supportive of the excellent work being produced by the Village of Pinecrest, Del Prado is eager to lend her ear, her energy, and her efforts to giving back to our community.
To learn more about Shannon, please visit shannonforpinecrest.com. This article is a paid political advertisement