Noche de Gala was nothing short of a resounding success! Corazon de Vida and the San Diego Chapter held its annual fundraising event at the beautiful Coronado Island Marriott on November 3rd, 2018. The event was made more enchanting by the enthusiasm of the guests who came together in support of the children and with everyone’s wonderful and generous participation we were able to raise over $120,000!
Nearly 300 guests took in the beautiful panoramic view of downtown San Diego while enjoying delicious tastings of Baja wines and artisan mezcals. The silent auction was amazing and included many prizes like exotic vacations, unforgettable experiences and much more. It was exciting to see so many new faces at the event that were eager to learn more about Corazon de Vida.
The evening's program was led by Tim Altbaum as Master of Ceremonies and included heartwarming presentations that our guests enjoyed over a candle-lit dinner. Founder Hilda Pacheco-Taylor called university students up on stage during her presentation. It was a very emotional moment for everyone in the room. Their stories of overcoming adversity and their noteworthy academic achievements brought to life the meaning of our cause, and serve as inspiration and hope for the future of hundreds of children living at the orphanages supported by CDV.
This event was made possible thanks to our generous sponsors: Aeromexico, Bird Rock Systems and Warren & Burstein. Thank you to product sponsors Casta Tribal Mezcal and Baja United Wines for sponsoring the tastings, Harumi Takata and Harumi Takata Floral Designs for the beautiful floral arrangements, Ortega’s A Mexican Bistro for donating the food and refreshments for our volunteers, and to all the companies and individuals that contributed items to our silent auction.
We’d like to thank our incredible San Diego Chapter for your hard work, your love of the children and unwavering commitment to our cause as well as give special recognition and thanks to Noche de Gala’s Host Committee: Carolina and Larry Katz, Carrin and Michael Goldstein, Mayra and James Matteo, Mandy and Devin Burstein, Debra and Larry Poteet, Tami and Bill Sandke and Lisa and James Littman.
And finally, we would like to thank our wonderful and hardworking Volunteer Committee and volunteers, your presence and support is what made Noche de Gala so special!
Visit our GALLERY to view all the photos of the evening
La Noche Blanca 2018 had an overwhelmingly successful outcome this year! Corazon de Vida hosted the all-white fundraising gala on July 21, 2018 at the serene and breathtakingly beautiful Santiago Vineyards in Orange County. The evening began as guests arrived in their beautiful summer whites and were greeted with smiling faces. At the reception, they enjoyed delicious tastings of Mezcal sponsored by Casta Tribal and the best wines from the Baja, Mexico region sponsored by CDV Mission partner, Baja United. As everyone settled in their seats for a delightful dinner, they were surprised with a serenade by Mariachi Nueva Generacion.
Excitement grew throughout the evening as the attendees checked out the many impressive silent auction items available. There were items such as culinary experiences, incredible vacation stays, and so much more! There was also a lot of eagerness revolving around the highly-anticipated live auction that included incredible items like a trip to Fiji, a full day on a luxury speedboat, a stay at a beautiful villa in Cabo, and a VIP experience with a racing team.
The evening's program was led by Bob Miller who was the Master of Ceremonies. He introduced our founder, Hilda Pacheco- Taylor, and some of the university students that have gone through Corazon de Vida’s program. The students gave heartwarming testimonials about how drastically Corazon de Vida has impacted their lives - there was not one dry eye in the crowd. Their inspiring words touched the attendees’ hearts and reminded us that everything we do to help the kids and students really does make a difference.
Thanks to everyone’s participation, generous bidding and big-hearted donations, we were able to break our fundraising records and raised over $220,000 in support of the children! Thanks to your endless support, this year’s Noche Blanca exceeded all expectations!
We would also like to give a very special thank you to all of the amazing companies and individuals that helped make our event successful: Apogee Electronics for generously sponsoring our event and for their unwavering, long-standing support. To Bob Miller for being an incredible Master of Ceremonies, to our amazing Host Committee for working very hard for months to help make our event a success: Emilia and Darren Sugiyama, Alex Dastmalchi, Parisa and Chuck Horning, Andrea Bittick, Angelina and Quan Ha, Sonya Bella, Shannon and Mike Mancini, Setareh and Majid Kashanian, and Todd Vande Hei. Thank you to Casta Tribal Mezcal and Baja United for sponsoring the tastings. Harumi Takata and Harumi Takata Floral Designs for the beautiful floral arrangements. Thank you to all the companies and individuals that contributed with product donations and to our silent auction with an item donation.
And finally, we would like to thank our wonderful and hardworking Volunteer Committee and volunteers, your presence and support is what made La Noche Blanca 2018 so special!
Visit our GALLERY to view all the photos of the evening
Last January, a group of Corazon de Vida’s University Students visited several schools in Southern California, and spoke about their experiences growing up in an orphanage in Baja. The schools visited included: Washington Elementary School and Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, Edison Elementary School in Santa Monica, Buckley School in Studio City, The Wesley School in Valley Village, and De Toledo High School in West Hills.
With the attention of the students, they described their lives being a former orphan and how Corazon de Vida inspired them to continue on with their education, attend college, and helped fund their finances to do so.
The interaction between the local students and CDV’s University students created, not only an eye-opening experience for the kids, but also an educational experience, as several of the schools visited maintained a Dual-Immersion program. The language barrier was not an issue, as the program’s students attempted to understand and speak in Spanish, which was created a pleasant and fun environment for everybody!
Corazon de Vida and the University student speakers concluded the days answering questions and did not leave empty handed! Handmade “Thank You” cards with special notes and drawings were created by the children and given to the speakers, many mentioning how the their presence made them appreciate their own upbringings and how happy they were that our foundation was able to help them break from the cycle of poverty.
We would like the thank all the schools who welcomed Corazon de Vida to speak about our foundation and our University students who were more than willing to share their stories and success with us!
The NorCal Chapter of Corazon de Vida hit the ground running with its first official event on Sunday, January 21,2018 at Make Westing, a bar in Oakland, California. The fundraising event, entitled "Heart to Heart: Connecting Nor Cal and Baja, Mexico", included amazing Salsa dancing lessons from Araceli Torres, great music by DJ Sonido Androide , and a passionate introduction of Corazon de Vida to Northern California by Kate Krumrei.
Three CDV university students attended the event and the featured guest speaker was our own Maribel Lane. Maribel explained how CDV provided life sustaining support at the two orphanages where she grew up. She went on to describe how the Corazon de Vida Family is the only reason she was able to attend university. Her incredible speech was captured on video and serves as a reminder of what we can do to make a difference in children's lives. Funds were raised at the event through a raffle, live auction, and the sale of merchandise - they will go directly towards sponsoring a university student.
The NorCal chapter is led by Kate Krumrei, teacher and coordinator for the CDV summer English program, and Mariela Guerrero, a tireless advocate and volunteer for Corazon de Vida. Special thanks to the owners of Make Westing for opening their doors to CDV, to Araceli Torres (Speaking from the Heart Founder) and Elena Restrepo for leading the Salsa dance lessons and Oscar Diaz for volunteering his time and talents as the DJ for the event.
If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in future NorCal events - please write to Dan Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Ontiveros is a compassionate and strong willed woman that grew up in Casa Hogar Ebenezer. Her life there began at the age of eleven after her mother could no longer care for them. Ontiveros’ mother struggled to hold together her family of six; when her boyfriend became abusive she knew she had to make a change. She took Elizabeth and one of her sisters to Ebenezer.
The decision of her mother to place two of her daughters in an orphanage troubled Elizabeth for a long time. As time progressed and her mother stopped seeing them, Elizabeth struggled to come to terms with her place. However, Ontiveros made the best of her situation. Her favorite memory at Ebenezer Orphanage is one of a little girl who would run into her arms for a loving hug. It was growing up at Ebenezer that Ontiveros found her passion to work with children.
Her experiences have shaped her career goals and led her to enroll in college where she is now working on a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources. She wants a professional career that can give her the opportunities to give back to children like those that she grew up with. Ultimately, she wants to find a way to help the orphanage that raised her into the intelligent and compassionate young woman she is today.
Ontiveros has always viewed Corazon de Vida as a lending hand of emotional support for the past 15 years of her life. Without a doubt, she says they have been her biggest support through her childhood. They were the motivation she needed as a child to bring her up when she was down. Her message to the children that come to Corazon de Vida is this: think about others before yourself. She stressed that one should remember to be sensitive of others’ situations. Everyone has a different reason for being there but they all want the same thing: a family. Ontiveros thanks God and the organization for the children she has met whose big hearts welcomed her and gave her a family.
Our Noche de Gala 2017 event was held on November 3rd at the beautiful Coronado Island Marriott in San Diego. As our guests arrived to the reception they were greeted by a champagne welcome, and the magical live piano and trumpet music playing in the background. Artist Gloria Muriel was working on a beautiful piece that was live auctioned at the end of the night. Our guests enjoyed delicious appetizers prepared by featured Celebrity Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, and tastings of Baja wines poured by Baja United Group, and Mezcal by Mezcal Tribal.
The silent auction boasted amazing vacation stays, spa and massage packages, culinary experiences, and so much more!
Emmy Winner Anchor and Reporter Abbey Gibb and TV Show Host and artist Abelardo Rodriguez, were the dynamic Masters of Ceremonies of the night. Our Founder, Hilda Pacheco-Taylor shared with us her experience about living in the orphanage as a child and how her visions of Corazon de Vida came to life. We also had special guests join her on stage, some of the university students currently participating in our Continuing Education program, and Jorge and Ely Fonseca, Directors of Rancho de los Niños orphanage. It was a very emotional moment when the entire ballroom gave a standing ovation to Jorge and Ely for their hard work as directors of the orphanage. Hilda’s and Jorge’s speeches were truly inspirational and also served as a reminder to be grateful for what you have and to give to others who may not have as much. Our Masters of Ceremonies, shared some of their experiences with the children to encourage everybody to participate in the Live Appeal. Before we knew it the room was rowdy and full of eager hands waiting to be called on to shout the amounts they donated. It was astounding to be part of the powerful energy of giving surrounding the moment.
When we give time, money or participate in events and activities that are for a cause, we may forget just how much our actions lead to impact and how with everyone’s help together we CAN make change. Our efforts at Noche de Gala 2017 did in fact make change because we raised over $200,000 for the kids that night. It’s times like these where we feel especially grateful for everyone’s love and support because without your help, it would not be possible to continue with our mission.
We would like to thank the following amazing companies and individuals whom made this event possible: Bird Rock Systems, North County Dental Surgery Center and SmileBuilders Children's Dentistry for generously sponsoring our event; Abbey Gibb and Abelardo Rodriguez for being outstanding Masters of Ceremonies; all the companies and individuals that generously contributed with a donation to make our silent action outstanding; and to all of the beautiful people who attended, donated generously during our special ask and purchased items from our silent auction.
We also would like to send very special heartfelt thank-you to our amazing Host Committee: Carolina and Larry Katz, Carrin and Michael Goldstein, Debra and Larry Poteet, Tami and Bill Sandke, Mayra and Jim Matteo, Vanessa and Eugene Kocherga, and to our dedicated San Diego Chapter because thanks to you, our events in San Diego are growing each year. Thank you for loving the kids so much! Amar Harrag, Sandra Slocum, John Haugland, Amanda (Mandy) Burstein, Brianna Woo, Alina Gordon, Mariann Sanchez, May Nguyen and Angela Aguilar.
Last but not least, thank you to our devoted and hard-working team of volunteers! Thank you for all the hard work you have put into the event to make it a night for everyone to remember.
For more pictures of the evening, please visit our gallery: https://www.corazondevida.org/gallery
Brisa’s childhood was suddenly altered when she witnessed her mother lose her life to a violent death. The death of her mother remains on replay in her head to this day. Eventually, she began to visit a child psychologist to discuss her feelings and thoughts that were linked with the nightmares. Brisa realized how truly fascinating the human brain is! She wanted to understand herself and others. She was inspired by her own psychologist and childhood experiences to embark on a career in psychology.
After her mother died, Brisa was sent to live with a foster family. However, she explains that the family was abusive towards her. Therefore, when she was 15, she was sent to DIF—A social service program in Mexico—DIF ended up referring her to Casa Estrella. Casa Estrella was a house specifically designed for adolescents with the hopes of providing them a temporary home until a more permanent setting was found. The last chapter of her adolescence took place at the one of our supported orphanages; however, Brisa reluctantly admits, “I was rebellious.” She lived there for 2 years.
Her life at the orphanage was an improvement from her foster family. Brisa happily explained that she, “[…] loved living at Faro, but she was depressed at first” because she did not know anyone. Towards the end of her time at the orphanage, she admits that she, “Came to love it” and did not want to leave. Her favorite characteristic about the house was their sense of faith.
While at the orphanage, Brisa began to reflect on her life experiences and became passionate about her studies. She is currently enrolled at a university in Baja Mexico studying Psychology with the intentions of becoming a clinical psychologist.
When asked, “Why psychology?” Brisa explains that she, “Saw a lot of people in pain—emotional pain—she felt a need to help”; However, she did not know how. She knew that inside her own feelings, she treasured the feeling of being a part of the reason why someone smiles. It did not take long for her to realize that psychology was the answer to her urge to help people!
CDV is beyond honored to help Brisa with her academic endeavors! To Brisa, CDV means family. She laughs, “I know they are not my biological family. But for me, in my case, they are my Family.” She continued to say, “They never gave up on me. I am thankful for them and God.” To the donors: Brisa thanks you for changing her life claiming, “I have more opportunities; they always inspire me.” According to Brisa, support is contagious! To fellow abandoned children she says, “We have the best opportunities. CDV acts as the voice for us; making sure that orphans are heard.”
Brisa illuminates the beauty and potential that radiates through the human mind. She will continue to expand on her own intellectual capabilities in order to allow others to discover their true potential.
La Noche Blanca 2017 was nothing short of a success! It was held on Saturday, July 15th at the breath-taking Santiago Vineyards located in the rolling hills of Orange County. There was a beautiful scene outside as our guests arrived in their graceful white attire. Attendees embraced the cheerful atmosphere as the sun went down, the DJ's kept many dancing, the bartenders provided cooling beverages and an exquisite dinner was served.
Commotion quickly rose, as excited guests made their way over to the silent auction table. A table lining the whole side of the spacious mansion with goods ranging from Dodger tickets to international vacations were becoming the center of attention! Next door the wine pull was quickly running out of wrapped mystery bottles to sell. Within only two hours, all sixty bottles were sold. One lucky guest took home the prize bottle valued at $60!
The evening's program was led by our dedicated Board Member, Darren Sugiyama, who was our Master of Ceremonies and included heartwarming presentations that our guests enjoyed over a candle-lit dinner. Founder, Hilda Pacheco-Taylor, during her presentation called university students (depicted in photo below from left to right) Antonio, Eliu, Emanuel, Ivette, Flor, Maribel, Damaris, Saralegui and Lupita up on stage. Their noteworthy academic achievements brought to life the meaning of our cause, and served as inspiration and hope for the future of other children who are abandoned or orphaned.
The message of the night was as clear as the summer sky: together we can achieve anything! Emotions were also overflowing when a beautiful tribute video for our Director George Perez was played, honoring his dedication and commitment to improving the lives of orphaned and abandoned children in Baja.
The highlight of the night came with the close of our final fundraising efforts - we raised a record breaking amount of $171,000! Every dollar raised, big or small, is going to improve the quality of life for a child. Congratulations to all attendees and thank you for your generous donations and lively presence.
A very special thank you to Fera Shivaee, of Centaurus Financial who has been a long-standing supporter of Corazon de Vida bringing in thousands of dollars in donations to support our education program, and Alex Dastmalchi, also a long standing supporter and Vice President of the board for kicking off the donations with an amazing $29,000 and $25,000 respectively. Their generosity alone inspired the crowd to surpass our nightly goal. By 9:30 PM, everyone had pulled together to break last year's fundraising record and ended the night with dancing and cheering!
A special Thank You to Apogee Electronics, HOSA Technology, Chilo, and Aurora Capital Partners for sponsoring the event.
To Fera Shivaee and Centaurus Financial, Inc. for generously donating the delicious dinner, Harumi Takata for donating the beautiful flower arrangements, Rockwell Bakery and Enchanted Sweet Shoppe for donating the desserts for the night, and to our Culinary School graduate Antonio Luna for collaborating with Enchanted Sweet Shoppe to make the scrumptious desserts.
Ortega's, A Mexican Bistro and Host Committee member Andrea Bittick for donating wine for the bar and wine pull, Suelo Rojo - Enoteca Itinerante and Valle Wine Life for sponsoring the delicious Baja Wines for tasting. And to photographer Jonathan Paris and Visual Open House for the stunning photos of the night.
Thank you to our Master of Ceremonies, the one and only Darren Sugiyama for your outstanding energy throughout the night. And let's not forget the amazing presentations of Alex Dastmalchi, Amir Mofidi, and Siavash Tabrizy PhD.
To our wonderful host committee Emilia Sugiyama (Committee Chair), Mayumi Martinez, Susie Albin-Najera, Parisa Golafshan, Dana Southworth, Andrea Bittick, and Alex Dastmalchi. Also a big thanks to the sponsors of our silent auction for all the amazing items they donated. Last but not least, thank you to our hardworking Volunteer Committee and volunteers for going the extra mile to organize the event and making sure that everything was in place!
CLICK HERE for the complete gallery of the night.
La Noche Blanca 2017 from Corazon de Vida on Vimeo.
Imagine moving into an orphanage with your family at the age of six--You no longer just have your parents and two brothers; now you have about twenty more brothers and sister to share your parents with. Life as you knew it has suddenly changed when Emanuel's parents decided to move into Casa de Paz orphanage to be the caregivers of the special need children.
Emanuel Moreno Garcia had no idea that his new life at the orphanage would guide him in the direction of his passion. A passion that CDV has supported from the start. Emmanuel saw potential in the children with special needs. He stated, “The world needs to learn love from the kids.” Once he felt the love of the children, Emanuel immediately knew that he wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. With a smile on his face, Moreno-Garcia warmly admitted, “If you were to visit the orphanage, you would understand exactly what I’m saying.”
Emanuel is currently studying sports medicine and is determined to become a physical therapist. When asked, “Why did you choose physical therapy?” He confidently answered, “I chose it because of where I grew up.” He was saddened when he noticed that the mobility of some special needs children was not that great. Emanuel became familiar with their conditions and his heart felt experiences only fueled his career aspirations.
Emanuel became determined to attend a university abroad. He decided to apply for a scholarship and out of 10,000 applicants, he was one of the few selected! However, the scholarship only covered part of his tuition. Still, he did not let the cost of studying abroad scare him from living his dream. When CDV heard about Emanuel’s unique childhood and goals, they offered to help cover some of the expenses if Emanuel could save up to pay the rest. Moreno-Garcia was able to save up the money in only six months by working long hours after school and on weekends. His hard work paid off and he was able to study abroad at the University de Vigo in Galicia, Spain for a semester. He worked while attending school in order to travel around Europe and expand his horizons. He is now back home completing his bachelor's degree at UABC.
Children can impact people in so many ways; Emanuel allowed the children to be the light that guided him to his passion in life. Moreno-Garcia appreciates the support that CDV provided and continues to provide for his education. He enthusiastically explains that CDV has become his family. He feels that there is much love to go around and he can always count on them. Emanuel had one more message to tell: “If you like my story, please continue to support CDV. I have a lot of siblings back at home who will be leaving the orphanage in six months. Their stories are much better.”
We are so excited to announce that Alex Dastmalchi has been appointed as Board Vice President! Alex is a passionate supporter that has dedicated himself to our cause since joining Corazon de Vida in 2009. In the time that he has been with us, Alex has served on our Board of Directors and is now joining the executive committee as vice president.
“I am truly honored and humbled for the appointment, I look forward to serve alongside the other members of the board.” said Alex Dastmalchi about the big news.
Alex is an established entrepreneur and CEO of Dastmalchi, LLC., a successful marketing company developing progressive products and innovative co-op marketing programs which resulted in a unique and fine balancing between company profitability and customer value.
We are fortunate to have an amazing group of caring and compassionate business leaders as part of our board, providing guidance and support to the organization. Alex’s love and dedication to the children we serve is evident in his active participation since he was introduced to Corazon de Vida in 2009. As a member of the board since 2010, Alex has consistently used his leadership expertise and resources to help the board move initiatives forward, this appointment is in recognition of his leadership and commitment to our cause.
Thank you for all that you do Alex, we are confident that you will continue to help us make tremendous advances in our programs for the future of our children in Baja. Congratulations!