Postponing its annual Big Dreams Gala this year due to vaccination activities was a hard one for The Concilio. The original plan was to use it as the kickoff for the organization’s 40th anniversary. Instead they decided to celebrate with a birthday party on Saturday, October 16, at Kiest Park. In addition to dancing, treats and creating a mural for The Concilio office, there was a surprise, courtesy of the Dallas Mayor’s office. Here’s a report from the field:
The Concilio originally planned the kickoff of its 40th anniversary year with its annual Big Dreams Gala this month. But with its team busy in the field doing vaccine outreach, President/CEO Florencia Velasco Fortner and her team decided to put off a formal celebration to next spring. Instead, an outdoor celebration seemed the right approach, so a new 40th birthday party was born.
On a perfect Saturday, with cool weather and sunshine, The Concilio gathered families and community members at Kiest Park in Oak Cliff. “Juntos Podemos” (“Together We Can”), was the theme for the day commemorating the 40-year history of this nonprofit organization that unlocks opportunities for Latino and other diverse families in North Texas.
Florencia spoke about the importance of Latino families to the strength of the North Texas community and The Concilio’s promise to continue championing them: “Today, 41% of the population in Dallas-Fort Worth is Latino. The strength of the Latino community is critical to the health of our region. And the foundation of the Latino community is families. We know Latino families are ready for opportunity. We all want our children to have even more opportunity in the next generation. We share your dreams, and that’s why, as the Latino community has grown, The Concilio has too.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson ‘s Chief of Staff Mary Elbanna then took her place on the stage to announcing that the mayor had officially proclaimed October 16, 2021, as “The Concilio for Latino Equity Day.”
Sponsored by Atmos Energy, the event featured something for everyone. Families enjoyed scrumptious tacos from Taco Deli, music, live performances by Grupo Juvenil de Ballet Folklórico Hispano de Dallas and family portraits. Children were treated to popsicles from Encanto Pops, balloon animals and a chance to decorate a mural that will be displayed at The Concilio. And, after singing “Las Mañanitas,” the traditional Latino version of “Happy Birthday,” Helpful North Texas Honda Dealers presented families served by The Concilio with a “birthday present” of groceries and gift cards in honor of the occasion.
Among those who helped The Concilio kick off its 40th anniversary year were Dallas City Plan Commission from District 1 Enrique MacGregor representing Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Chad West, Helpful North Texas Honda Dealers’ Jorge Romero, Texas Rangers Community Relations Director Ray Casas, State Farm’s Princella McNair, MoneyGram’s Prisma Garcia, Dallas ISD Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova, The Concilio Board Chair Prentis Murphy, board members Michelle Hicks, Matthew Michalak, Gaston Sirito and a very special canine friend accompanied by board member Michael Broder.
The Concilio has served 250,000 people since its founding in 1981 and is proud to be a trusted resource for Latino and other diverse families seeking to build a better life for themselves and their children.
It’s not too late to get in on helping The Concilio celebrate their anniversary. Mark your calendars for the Big Dreams Gala at The Virgin Hotels on Thursday, April 7, 2022.
* Photo credit: The Concilio/Simon Luna