Celebrating Milestones in Hard Places

By Kalis Parra, Dominican Republic Field Communications Specialist   |  Photos by Rescatando A los Niños Hope Center

Hope Centers are intended to bring hope in dark places, but they also help make dreams come true. Read how Child Champions helped a 15-year-old girl celebrate a big milestone, despite being surrounded by poverty.

With help from her Child Champion, Nicaury was able to celebrate a very special birthday.

Nicaury has been part of the Rescatando a los Niños Hope Center in the Dominican Republic for 10 years. She recently turned 15, which is an important milestone in Latin culture. At 15, girls are presented to society in a celebration with family and friends known as a quinceañera, or quinces for short. Most Latinas dream of this day their entire lives. It is a special moment that girls share with their moms since their moms do most of the preparation work.

But this is also a celebration that not every girl can have because it is expensive, and not all parents, especially those living in poverty, can afford it. Sadly, Nicaury’s dream of having and sharing this important day with her mom took a different course when her mom, who spent years battling respiratory problems, passed away in 2013.

From the day Nicaury’s mother died, her father, Teodoro, who is a carpenter, became fully responsible for her and her older sister Nicole, who was also a sponsored child for more than 10 years and now serves as a Child Champion at their Hope Center. But Teodoro barely made enough income to meet his family’s basic needs, let alone pay for a quinceañera celebration.

At OneChild Hope Centers, Child Champions pay attention not only to children’s developmental needs, but also their dreams.

They are always willing to work together to fulfill the dreams of sponsored children. When Child Champion Ruth Portalatin (pictured at top of page) heard about Nicaury’s situation, she immediately took action.

“Nicole, her big sister, contacted me and told me Nicaury’s dream for her quinces,” says Ruth. “She wanted a big dress and cute pictures, and immediately I talked with the director of the Hope Center.”

“We know what she’s been through, so we wanted her to have an unforgettable birthday.”

The Hope Center rented a quinceañera dress, did her makeup, and held a photoshoot for her big day. They also helped her dad with what he needed for the celebration. It was a beautiful day, filled with hope and possibilities, and Nicaury saw her dream come true after all.

Nicaury with her sister Niccole

“I feel so grateful with my Hope Center and my sponsors for always supporting me and helping me make my dreams come through,” says Nicaury.

Her sister Nicole adds, “I am so grateful with my Hope Center, because even now years after graduating from the program they continue taking care of me and my sister. I feel privilege by knowing that my sister is part of this, too. My Hope Center has always been there for us and the only thing I can say is ‘thank you.’”

Thanks to the support of OneChild sponsors and donors, important moments like these can be celebrated all around the country in Hope Centers. And girls like Nicaury and Nicole, who at a young age lost their mom, can have wise women in their lives who love them, take care of them, and watch over them.

Help us meet the needs of more kids in poverty and open more Hope Centers by giving to the OneChild Partners Fund.


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