Vista nonprofit celebrates a group of women with the quinceañera they never had
This weekend, Las Valientes will celebrate a special group of women who have successfully broken a chain of violence.
The Vista nonprofit's name means "The Brave Ones," and the organization helps men and women through their legal battles, allowing them to leave abusive relationships.
“A lot of the women that we serve, who have been abused, didn't have their quinceañera when they were 15. And it's always been a desire in their heart, something that they wanted,” said Ana Serrano, the founder of Las Valientes.
"We just ask them, ‘Hey, did you ever have your quince when you were 15?’" she said. And if a woman tells them she didn't, they ask, "'Would you like to have one?’
Serrano said there’s no age limit for the women that are selected for the celebration that comes with all of the embellishments a normal quinceañera would: the dresses, the waltz, and the entertainment. And for her, the biggest payment is "the look on their faces, just the joy that they have, having this dream fulfilled."
Maria Isabel Montes is one of the quinceañeras being celebrated this weekend. In Spanish, she said she’s nervous, but she’s been practicing her waltz. And, she said, while at first her family would tease her, now they’re getting ready to buy their tickets.
The community is invited to the event on May 20 at Local Roots Kombucha in Vista, to help celebrate women like Montes — and help others like her.
"We're hoping to raise money this year, last year we broke even, or it was a small profit, not much," Serrano said. "But we're hoping to raise money so we can have more money to continue the work that we do."