A Fairytale Night for Girls in the Dominican Republic

02/21/14

It was a night the girls will never forget. All thirteen of them arrived at the party dressed in beautiful evening gowns, tiaras sparkling. Tonight was their quinceañera—a Latin-American tradition that celebrates a girl’s transition into adulthood on her fifteenth birthday. But what made this night so special wasn’t the fancy dresses or the party. It was what the girls were celebrating that night: the way their lives have been transformed, and the bright future they now look forward to.

 
A Venture Team from Redmond, Washington, is responsible for these smiles!
A Venture Team from Redmond, Washington, is responsible for these smiles! On the last night of their trip, the team hosted a quinceañera for thirteen girls in the Dominican Republic.
 
Before being sponsored through Children of the Nations (COTN), life in the Dominican Republic was very hard for these girls. Many live in bateyes—shantytowns originally set up for migrant Haitian workers. Their families could barely afford shelter and food for their children, much less an education or a quinceañera party. 
 
But thanks to their sponsors, the girls attend school and receive daily nutritious meals, medical care, and more. Today they have hope and a future, and, thanks to a Venture Team from Redmond, Washington, they were able to celebrate their quinceañera!
 
For this event, the team traveled all the way to the Dominican Republic
For this event, the team traveled all the way to the Dominican Republic with their luggage stuffed with everything they could think of—decorations, prom dresses, makeup, hair accessories, tiaras, and presents.
 
The team traveled to the Dominican Republic with everything they needed to create an unforgettable evening for the girls and their families. While the girls happily tried on dresses and enjoyed a day of pampering, the team hung pink and white paper lanterns and decorated the tables. They wanted every detail to be perfect. By sunset, the room had been transformed.
 
Using a Polaroid camera, the team was able to send pictures home with each girl
Using a Polaroid camera, the team was able to send pictures home with each girl. It was one of the highlights of the night!
 
“The girls kept telling me they had never seen anything so pretty,” says team leader Jill Sampala. The party was full of music, traditional dances, good food, and reflection. Each girl shared what they dreamed of becoming—a nurse, teacher, accountant. “If you saw their homes, you’d say it’s not possible,” says Jill. But thanks to sponsors like you, their dreams can become reality.
 
The girls spent hours practicing a traditional dance that they performed
The girls spent hours practicing a traditional dance which they performed with their escorts as part of the quinceañera celebration.
 
The team took a few minutes to pray for the girls and share a special message to encourage and inspire them. “This is a crucial moment,” says Jill. “This celebration affirms the girls on the path they are going.” The team is praying that the joy from this night will help carry the girls forward as they enter a new phase in life. 
 
“The girls and their families enjoyed a special moment which will last forever."
“Their dream came true,” says Reymon Lebron, COTN’s communications coordinator in the Dominican Republic. “The girls and their families enjoyed a special moment which will last forever in their lives.”
 
“I hope the girls will remember that they are loved,” says team member Meghan Long, “and I hope they learned to never give up on their dreams.”
 
You can make a child’s dreams come true. Sponsor a child today!