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2 posts from August 2014

08/13/2014

NOCHE en SOUTH PACIFIC a Great Success!

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View full slideshow here


Thank you to all our supporters who made “Noche en South Pacific” our most successful fundraiser ever.”

On Saturday, August 2, Marcelo Defreitas and his Noche committee presented a fun and memorable party to celebrate and support La Luz Center.  

 According to La Luz board president Anna Pier, “over $400,000

was raised.  “These funds will power the new direction La Luz is taking, collaborating with El Verano School and focusing on the areas of health, education and financial security for our Sonoma Valley Community.”

A sold-out crowd of over 450--white clad sailors and guests in Hawaiian shirts and leis --mingled in the lush gardens at Cline Cellars, enjoying passion fruit bikini cocktails with Skye vodka, champagne and wines from Highway 12 and Cline Cellars.

There were fresh caviar and shrimp ceviche stations, and ahi tuna and pork belly hors d’hoeuvres. Rob, Robin and Lynette Lyons brought their tropical macaws, cockatoos, a New Zealand wallaby and a porcupine.

Dinner by Elaine Bell began with a Kalua pig paraded in by native dancers, a Polynesian conch shell call, and a haunting Hawaiian dance blessing. Tiki torches lined the entrance to the dining area.

A dramatic red Polynesian backdrop and stage were set in the gardens, and colorful aquariums lighted the dining tables.

Master of Ceremonies Defreitas, bare-chested in a grass skirt and henna tattoos, delighted the crowd.  “I love you all and I love La Luz!” he said.  “That’s why we work for nine months to give you this party.  It’s a token of our appreciation for you-- our donors!”

Ligia Booker, founder of La Luz and Director Emeritus told of working through the Catholic church to start helping “the almost invisible Hispanic community” 40 years ago.  “Thanks to the involvement of so many people, this community now has an identity and is proud to take its part in the Sonoma Valley community. 

 “The heart of La Luz is empathy and dedication,” said Juan Hernandez, La Luz Center’s Executive Director.  “Hard work is the soul --and you are the hands.”

In a clever outdoor “Mash” shower Sheila Whitney and “island maidens” -- Susan Lee and Abbey Lee (not related) and Sonoma Valley High School students Mariana Garcia and Sofia Williams—delighted the crowd as they sang and danced  “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa My Hair.”

A rousing performance of Polynesian dancers from Island Breeze entertainment then took over the stage, shaking coconuts and grass skirts.  Defreitas appeared as an intrepid fire dancer, followed by native dancers with swirling fireballs. 

Not a beat was missed as DJ music amped up and the crowd moved its party on to celebrate together on the stage.

La Luz Center envisions a Sonoma Valley community working together where all have equal opportunity to succeed, through support in the areas of health, education and financial security.

The generosity Noche  donors will power this mission.

View full slideshow here

08/12/2014

John Perez Joins La Luz Board

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John Perez has recently been elected to the La Luz Board.

John and his wife Mary moved to Sonoma from the Seattle area in 2011.  John spent 20 years as a senior executive managing turnaround companies in the healthcare and manufacturing markets.    Earlier in his career, he worked for several successful startups in the healthcare industry as a software developer, software architect and product line executive.    John studied architecture and music at the Catholic University of America and enjoyed a peripatetic upbringing as a military dependent, moving around the world and attending 12 different schools before graduating high school.   John currently divides his time between tennis, playing classical guitar and doing community service.  John has served on the Quality Committee for Sonoma Valley Hospital and is currently an active member of Rotary.  

Perez says, “As a second generation Mexican-American I am a direct beneficiary of the opportunities that this country offers immigrants to achieve their dreams.    I am very aware that without the many helping hands opening doors for me as I have gone through life, I might not have had access to these opportunities.   I hope by working with the La Luz Board and staff that I might be able to open some doors for others.”