Quinceanera.com and the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services helped dreams come true for eight young girls in the foster care system.
March 15, 2016, Los Angeles-
Dressed in blue and visibly apprehensive, Nathalie Rodríguez was the first of eight Quinceañeras to step out onto the dance floor with her escort. “I’m happy about what is happening, but yes, I’m a little nervous,” she said, moments before the start of her Quinceañera ceremony—a very special event made possible by hosts Quinceanera.com and the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.
Like the seven other girls, as wards of the social services system, Rodríguez’s childhood has been unique. However, on Saturday March 12, 2016, she and the others were able to experience a bit of normalcy in a celebration of their lives as the EC Hispanic Media owned company and more than 40 sponsors combined to create a special day for them, and those closest to them, that none will forget.
The event, which also sought to stress the importance of finding permanent families for these young girls, was very emotional and included everything from the blessing of parish priest Luis Estrada to a waltz and a concert by Villa 5, a modern band that plays Mexican regional music.
Surrounded by tables with guests as part of a large party, the eight girls were the center of attention at the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, which donated the space for the event. They also wore dresses from Luna’s Bridal, along with accessories, and carried the dolls symbolizing their journey from a young girl to a woman.
The main organizers, who were just as excited about the importance of the event, offered words of praise and support including Martha de la Torre, Co-founder of EC Hispanic Media and Quinceanera.com, who noted, “It is an honor to make the dreams come true for eight Quinceañeras. Thanks to all of the sponsors, we’ve been able to select eight girls this year, which is an increase from the six we were able to help last year.”
Philip Browning, Director of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, said that “this is an event that is going to change the lives of these eight girls.”
Some of the girls, like Jessica Hernández, have set high goals for themselves. Jessica aspires to be an FBI agent and was thrilled to have been chosen at age 17 for her party. “The truth is that, at this point in my life, I was not expecting to have a Quinceañera, so I am so grateful,” she said. “My ambition now is to become an FBI agent to protect the community and my family.”
Lizbeth, a member of the group Villa 5, said that playing at the party was “an honor.”
“It was such a special day. I spoke with them and all of them were so pretty, a bit nervous, but that’s normal. We are so happy to see their dream come true,” said Lizbeth.
Villa 5 played free of charge, while all of the food was donated by La Huasteca restaurant and the cake and desserts by Marissa’s Cake. In addition, Bergman Public Relations also provided a generous variety of gifts for the girls.
Also present to help the girls celebrate their special day were numerous celebrities including stylist Quique Usales, Mexican actor Fernando Noriega, KIIS FM radio star Freddy Rivera, Stephanie Himonidis, host of Telemundo 52’s “Acceso Total,” and Chiquis Rivera, the older daughter of the legendary Jenny Rivera, who surprised all the guests in her show of support for girls who struggle to achieve their goals.
Quinceanera.com is already looking forward to providing similar experiences for soon-to-be quinces in the future.
The eight girls receiving a quinceañera were Adriana García, Lina Ramos, Henessy Cardenas, Norma Carrillo, Shene Martínez, Valeria Linares, Natalie Rodríguez, Jessica Hernández
Other sponsors for the event, now in its second year, included: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Bergman Public Relations, Luna’s Dresses by Lucy Luna, Marissa’s Cake, Friar Tux, Tony Ynot, Elegance Décor, La Huasteca, Villa 5, Mary Kay, National Honey Board, Goya, Stop Staring!, Diaz de Baile, We Bring the Funk Photo Boot, Natali’s Flowers, Spongelle, luxury bath products, Arbonne, DI snap back, Faux Pas, Hilel, My Saint My Hero, Mahankirn, MD Sun USA, My Pink Kisses, Drink Hint, Telic Footwear, Gerard Cosmetics, Whitening Lightening, Twisted Sliver, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, and last Quinceanera.com and El Clasificado.