More than 210 guests gathered at the historic Camino Real Hotel in El Paso to celebrate the Buena Vida Adult Day Center and El Paso’s Foster In Texas (FIT) children and their families. The March 29thevent was an art show, video fest, award show, live auction, and dinner among friends, all rolled into one.
This is the eighth year İCelebre la Buena Vida! has raised funds for the Buena Vida Center and the first year Foster In Texas in El Paso has been included in the event. Buena Vida serves more than 100 low-income elderly and disabled El Paso citizens annually, nearly half of whom have Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related illnesses. FIT parents rely on LSS and community support to help them provide clothing, school supplies, training, and specialized therapy for the area’s children who have been victims of traumatic emotional and physical abuse.
One highlight of İCelebre la Buena Vida! is the auction of wooden “houses” painted and decorated by local artists. This year the 80+ beautiful houses were declared more creative than ever, with some fashioned into mirrors and key holders. Ellie Fenton of El Paso Inc. presented the newspaper’s “Home Sweet El Paso Award” to Enrique Woo for his house, “Coming Back Home.”
Other highlights of the night:
· LSS CEO Dr. Kurt Senske and Buena Vida director Steven Lujan spoke about Buena Vida Adult Day Center, and the difference the Center makes in the lives of participants and their families. Lujan presented a video about the participants “Thanks for keeping us young at heart,” set to the Frank Sinatra song.
· Dr. Senske presented three $500 scholarships to the UTEP Nursing Program to Kristynia Robinson, assistant dean for Graduate Education.
· Jose Alamillo, area director for LSS-FIT in El Paso, spoke about the foster care program and introduced Sam and Martha Ornelas, a Foster In Texas/adoptive family. The Ornelases adopted River, who suffered from shaken baby syndrome (SBS)when he was just a newborn. They showed a video of River’s life story that touched everyone so deeply the couple received a very LONG standing ovation.
· The live auction was run by Gary Warner, a former El Paso newscaster. Included in the auction were: Woo’s award-winning house; a U.S Flag and 9/11 Flag of Honor with the names of all the victims of 9/11; a John Hardy silver and gold cuff bracelet; two round-trip tickets on American Airlines; and “A Dinner to Remember” for six by El Paso celebrity chef Rulis of Rulis International Kitchen.
It was a wonderful night in El Paso, and we want to extend a big THANK YOU to the volunteers, sponsors, committee, and guests who raised $26,000 for Buena Vida and foster care.