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AA SMILE Grand Ganesha Gala

Brenda Sexton y Greg Nye

Ezra Clark, Christine Martín, Fernanda Bravo, Sheryl Clark

Janell Merdor y Rachael Satterfield

By Karla Ortiz


On October 4, the seventh annual Spirit of Hope gala was held by Casita Linda,

a nonprofit organization that creates dignified and safe homes for needy families.

This year the gala’s theme was the Hindu god Ganesh, who is represented in Hindu mythology using the body of a human and the head of an elephant. The event took place in Hacienda Los Picachos, which for the event was turned into a true Hindu palace with authentic decor and food. But it was the people in charge of this “ganesha” party who truly made the space feel like part of India, thanks to their outfits: each attendee showed up in traditional outfits in order to compete in a contest for the best Hindu-style outfit.

During dinner, there was a silent auction that raised money by selling the donations of several local artists who had made elephant sculptures for the occasion. Also a dance troupe presented a dance typical of India. Then there was the giveaway to attendees of some package deals to various hotels and restaurants. And finally, the best-dressed winners were crowned.

The organization has worked since 1999 with a team made up of expats and Mexicans who work together to build new homes year after year for needy Mexican families. An important priority for Casita Linda is to keep construction costs to a minimum, at US$10,000–US$12,000 per home, to allow them to build as many homes as possible. They offer workshops to beneficiary communities in order to teach recipients about topics such as goal setting, nutrition, child care, home care, water conservation, organic gardening, herbal remedies, income generation, sexuality, family planning, addiction, and domestic violence prevention. The workshops are intended to make sure that families are armed with information on how to lead healthier lives now that they have begun this new stage in their lives.

Last year, Casita Linda raised money for the construction of five homes. This year, they will be able to build eight more, thanks to the fundraising at the gala.


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