Monday, February 14, 2011

Community Activists Hold Fundraiser for Bronx Youth at Joe's Place on February 15th

I received the following about a fundraiser for a young Bronx Latina. I don't know the individuals or the organizations mentioned, but I do love the pro-activeness, the community self help mentality and the can do attitude of the young lady. I am also impressed the story about the young lady made it to the NY Times. For those interested in helping out please see below. Kudos to Joes Place for helping out as well.

Good Luck

Dear Community Board Members,

Two weeks ago, the New York Times wrote an article about a single mother in the South Bronx who had to choose between paying bills or sponsoring her daughter, Destiny Sanchez, 17 years old, to participate in an exchange program abroad (see, article below).

Moved by her plight, and knowing how educational attainment for Latinos/as is substantially lower in poor urban communities, we decided that we needed to support this rising community star with strong ambitions in furthering her education.

To help this young Latina – who wants nothing else but the opportunity to fulfill her dream of a better future – we are organizing a fundraiser on February 15, 2011 @ Joe’s Place, 1841 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10472 from 6:30 – 8:00pm. At the fundraiser, Joe's Place will donate appetizers and you will have the opportunity to meet Destiny, and her family, in person. She will be there to discuss her dreams, goals and aspiration.

We are counting on those near and dear to support this noble cause. If you would like more information about the People to People exchange program, please visit

If you can’t attend fundraiser but would like to make a personal contribution towards her tuition, you can make a tax-deductible donation by mailing a check, payable to HARLEM RBI (please write Destiny Sanchez in the Memo Line) and send to:

Ken Padilla, Esq.
1332 Metropolitan Avenue, #3G
Bronx, NY 10462

Or we can make arrangements to pick up checks as well. If you want to use a credit card, you are also welcome to donate on-line at and click on Donate Now. When making a general donation, please have them write Destiny Sanchez in the "How did you hear about Harlem RBI" line or Feb 15th dinner.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Also, please don’t’ forget to RSVP at to let us know you are coming!

Thank you in advance for your support!
Charlie Ramos, Ken Padilla, Melba Feliberty-Padilla, Eddie Padilla, Ephraim Cruz

New York Times
January 19, 2011
Ambitions of Going Abroad, but Bills to Pay at Home
There is a special bond between Maria Espada and her teenage daughter, Destiny
“My mom and I are like twins,” said Destiny, 17, who is a catcher in her softball league,
the same position her mother played. “She has also gone through the same problems
and emotions I am going through.”
“But Destiny has a much stronger character than I do,” said Ms. Espada, 38. “When
she’s set on something, she’s more of a go-getter.”
Several days a week they take the nearly hourlong subway ride together from their
apartment in the South Bronx to Lower Manhattan, where Destiny is a junior at Pace
High School and Ms. Espada is a secretary at a company that builds and repairs
wooden water tanks.
Destiny said: “My mom is my best friend. I can go to a party, and I’d bring my
The ambition Ms. Espada has for each of her three children — the others are Roberto
Sanchez, 13, and Mia Sanchez, 4 — is palpable. But right now Ms. Espada seems
especially focused on her eldest child.
“I don’t want to happen to her what happened to me,” said Ms. Espada, a Bronx native
who said she got “sidetracked” at about her daughter’s age. At 21, Ms. Espada gave
birth to Destiny. Referring to her eldest child, she added with finality, “She’s going to
go to college.”
Destiny says she has grown used to her mother’s high expectations. “It just gives me
more strength,” she said. “She’s taught me so much that it would be unfair to her to let
her down.”
For the past four years, Destiny has participated in Harlem R.B.I., a nonprofit youth,
sports and education organization. A shelf in the small, tidy bedroom that Destiny
shares with her sister is filled with the half-dozen or so softball trophies she has won
while participating in the program, where for the past three summers she has also
been an assistant coach. Through Harlem R.B.I., she went to France for two weeks in
Destiny said of that experience: “It was like, ‘Wow, this is what I want in college.’ It’s
like it opened my taste buds to a bunch of new things.”
So in September, when Destiny and her mother received a letter in the mail about an
opportunity to participate in a three-week travel-abroad program from People to
People, an education and exchange organization based in Spokane, Wash., they were
“Destiny would be going to four countries: Austria, Italy and Switzerland, as well as
France,” Ms. Espada said. “And she’d be meeting other kids from those countries.”
Then mother and daughter saw the $400 application fee. That seemed an
insurmountable sum, given Ms. Espada’s monthly net salary of $2,252, which must
support three children, covering, among other things, $260 for their apartment, $160
for utilities, $168 for phones, $550 for food, $80 for transportation and $320 for child
care. (Ms. Espada has a Section 8 housing voucher but receives no other public
So they went to Harlem R.B.I., which directed them to the Federation of Protestant
Welfare Agencies, one of the seven agencies supported by The New York Times
Neediest Cases Fund. The fund provided the $400 People to People application fee.
Destiny passed the interview with a program delegate, received a teacher referral and
met the grade requirements, but she and her mother must come up with an additional
$5,600 by June 1, her mother said.
They said they were applying for scholarships and planning fund-raising activities, like
a Valentine’s Day cake sale. They also plan to set up a Web site for potential sponsors.
“Everything about me is positive,” Destiny said with a certainty that makes one want
to believe her. “It’s not like I don’t go through my sad moments, but I like to think of
the good.”
Asked where she got her can-do attitude, the answer came without hesitation: “From
my mother.”

No comments: