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2 posts from September 2016


La Luz’s “Noche de Luz” a Success For Sonoma

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Click here to see photos of the event

“Noche de La Luz,” held this year on Saturday August 6th at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, was a glow-in-the-dark extravaganza of light (“la luz” in Spanish). It was also a great success raising $470,000 for the La Luz Center, funding programs to educate and assist Valley families in need. The event was sold out to 330 lucky guests who came decked out in neon colors and LED lights.

A beautiful young couple clothed in florescent paint posed for souvenir photos with guests during the cocktail hour. Watermelon martinis with Skyy vodka and Highway 12 wines flowed freely. Caterer Elaine Bell’s multi-colored hors d’oeuvres included mini bahn mi, quesadillas, and green cardamom shrimp along with a trio of colorful soups.

Guests were wowed as they entered the dining area that was magically transformed into a psychedelic dream experience. Glow-stick jewelry, flashing top hats of committee members, tables set with black cloths and blue LED lights added to the magic.

Sheila Whitney Stanford sang “Being Alive”, and Marcelo Defreitas, the event’s creator, producer and current La Luz Board President, joined in and welcomed the crowd. “I stand in this room filled with the most caring and generous people of this community,” he said. “Once again, year after year, I plead that you continue to join me in this effort to make our community more diverse and more inclusive. One where every resident feels like he or she belongs.”

Raffle winners were Mike and Mary Schuh of Glen Ellen who have graciously and generously donated their $5,000 prize back to La Luz to support our Information and Referral programs. What a bonus!

Dinner was served family style and included peach crostini starters, char grilled hangar steak and grilled cod, plates of vegetables and an extraordinary crowd-pleasing brown butter corn polenta. The grand finale was a parade of Glowing White Chocolate Splendor adorned with blinking LED lights.

Juan Hernandez, ED of La Luz, introduced 11 year old Fernanda Alvarez, daughter of La Luz clients, whose “dream is to be a singer.” Fernanda wowed the crowd with her rendition of Miley Cyrus’ The“Climb” then broke into tears as she hugged Marcelo, “the man with the biggest heart in Sonoma.”

When the Fund a Need followed Fernanda’s performance, guests opened their hearts and wallets. Major supporters jumped right in and nearly every guest raised a paddle. When Marcelo was joined by three supporters (John Story, Bill Hake and Tom Perkins) who offered to match every $100 donation, donors raised their paddles a second time!

A highlight of the evening’s entertainment was an extraordinary performance by Lightwire Theater based in New Orleans.  They are internationally recognized and have performed on America’s Got Talent. Guests were captivated by the performance of dancers and puppets lit up in a darkened room appeared as flying birds or oversized mythical animals. As has become tradition, as the finale to the party, guests took the stage for dancing to the music of DJ Jefferson Espinosa. 

La Luz is grateful to all supporters (Noche attendees, those who couldn’t get tickets because the event was sold out, raffle ticket buyers) who share our mission –to ensure that Sonoma Valley residents facing all types of challenges have the opportunity to improve their lives.

Click here to see photos of the event

La Luz Center Opens the Doors for the New Community Services Center

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