Noche party raises $550k for La Luz Center

La Luz transported more than 300 guests to magical Noche in Mystic India on Aug. 4 and raised more than half a million dollars along the way.

The theme for this year’s fundraising event was Ganesh, the lord of new beginnings, remover of obstacles and bearer of good karma, according to Dorina Parker of La Luz.

Marcelo Defreitas, La Luz board chair, kicked off the evening and welcomed guests at K2 Ranch in Glen Ellen. Defreitas opened the event with group “Om” chants with meditation chimes.

“The wildfires hit our community last October; the work we did at La Luz was the most important and meaningful work we have ever done,” he said. “We took care of people who had nowhere to go and got them to a place they felt safe.”

He noted that from October to Jan. 15, La Luz distributed $1.2 million in emergency donations and fire relief support.

A short film shot at La Luz Center during the fires illustrated the emergency services that were provided by the center’s staff during and after the fires.

Juan Cruz, with his wife Erandy and daughters Kaya, Maya and baby Erandy by his side, came on stage to express his gratitude to La Luz and guests for their help and support to his family. The Cruz-Bravos were one of the many families that survived the October fires, but lost their home and all their belongings. “We are deeply grateful to be part of this community that without knowing us provided my family with shelter, food, love and cheers,” said Cruz. “Thanks to a united community that regardless of race, gender, religion or skin color, came together to bring to families like ours a renewed peace in a new home.”

Juan Hernandez, La Luz executive director, spokes of La Luz also rising to the unique challenges presented by the fires and immigration crisis.

After the fundraising, the fun began and guests were entertained by a colorful Bollywood style dance performance by a troupe from Mela Arts Connect and dancing to DJ Jefferson Espinosa.

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