Teens organize ASPIRA benefit gala

Youth leadership evident in 12th annual event
By T Martin

From her opening remarks to her conversation with friends and associates at the VIP Reception, Lydia Hernández-Vélez made no secret about her love for ASPIRA and its students that helped put together the 35-year-old organization’s 12th Annual Benefit Gala held Saturday, February 7th.

Aspirantes Ezequiel López and Lynette Corsini talk about their work and love for ASPIRA during the VIP reception.
Lydia, ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania’s Board of Directors Chairperson, stood before hundreds of sponsors, politicians, and private contributors during the VIP reception preceding the dance gala held at Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel that night to introduce the organization, its contributors and sponsors, its staff and most importantly its students – tomorrow’s leaders!

“ASPIRA is very dear to my heart,” she told VIP’s gathered to help ASPIRA celebrate its 35th anniversary. She added that the staff and students that keep the organization alive are what continue to endear ASPIRA to her.

Executive Director Alfredo Calderón and Gala Chairperson Maria Pajil-Battle expressed like sentiments before introducing students Lynette Corsini and Ezequiel López who described their experiences as Aspirantes in North Philadelphia.

“Tonight is a very special occasion,” said Calderón.

“Tonight we will pause to reflect on last year’s successes, as we prepare to face more challenges ahead.”

ASPIRA club officers and members introduce themselves to VIP guests and tell about their role at ASPIRA.
Despite the challenges, ASPIRA has done a great job with students already. Well trained for this kind of event, students made an impressive show of leadership as they walked from table to table, introducing themselves to VIP’s and describing their role at ASPIRA and in the event’s implementation.

ASPIRA was also the recipient of several awards and City citations during the general gala later in the evening. City Councilman-at-large Juan Ramos presented the citations, Calderón accepting them on behalf of the organization.

Calderón promised a memorable evening for attendees, and they got nothing less. A buffet of Spanish and American dishes were available during the VIP reception, and live entertainment with DJ Jose Rodriguez, Orquesta Del Barrio, and El Gran Combo. (Read our article on the live entertainment from that evening.)

ASPIRA promotes the empowerment of the Puerto Rican and Latino community by developing and nurturing leadership, intellectual and cultural potential of its youth so that they may contribute their skills and dedication to the fullest development of the Puerto Rican and Latino community everywhere.

ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania was founded in 1969 by a group of concerned leaders who believed that the most effective way to combat the socio-economic ills that afflict the Puerto Rican community is to educate our youth.

Join ASPIRA in celebrating 35 years of “leadership through education.”