POSTED: Friday, July 1, 2011 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 4, 2011 - 10:08am
Quinceañeras are a rite of passage for girls of Hispanic origin turning 15. But those living in foster care often don't have the opportunity to celebrate this special occasion. The Foster Parent Association has held a Quinceañera for the past eight years and they need your help to make the event happen.
"You feel like you're part of something bigger than yourself. It's a great feeling actually," said Marai Williams, who participated in last year'sQuinceañera.
Williams says she didn't want to go at first, but that all changed when she began attending choreography classes.
"Once I started joining in and went to the practices, I got along with all the people there," said Williams. "I was shy before but now I find it easier to open up to people."
Elizabeth Muller, with Child Protective Services, says the Quinceañera gives foster teens the chance to meet other kids in the same situation.
"This is an opportunity for them to see that they're not alone, to interact with children that are in the same situation, so it serves than just like a party," said Muller.
Foster Parent Association president and event organizer Maria Zaragoz says more than 40 teens, including 23 girls, will be taking part in the Quinceañera and they need sponsors for the girl's dresses.
"We usually spend like about $150 per kid and that's how much we're asking," said Zaragoza.
"They're able to do their hair. They get their makeup done. They get a chance to pretty dresses. All of that really helps the self-esteem," said Muller.
Williams hopes people in the community will help support the Quinceañera and give every teen in foster care the chance to experience what she did.
"Every child that's in this event would never have a chance to have a special night like this if it wasn't for those donations," said Williams. "So if anything, I would ask for them to be able to have the same night that I did."
The organization also needs a caterer for the Quinceañera, which will be held on August 5th at Grace Gardens. If you'd like to help out in any way contact Maria Zaragoza with the Foster Parent Association at 328-0808 or Ceci Navarrette with the Foster Parent Association at 204-2162.