“Events Like This Truly Make a Difference”: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Several women in colorful costumes and holding flags pose for a photo

The Isaacs Older Adult Center honored Hispanic Heritage Month with vibrant cultural performances, activities, and traditional clothing.  

Members representing different countries throughout Central and South America entered the dining room one by one to music from their country. They wore elaborate costumes and sashes with the country’s name. 

America Paniagua was participating for her fourth year in a row. She always has a dress specially made in the Dominican Republic for the event: “The show is always amazing, every year. I’m proud to be a part of this.”  

After the parade of nations, attendees lined up to enjoy traditional dishes from various Latin countries, including rice and beans, crispy chicken bites, sweet plaintains and a guava-filled cake. 

Isaacs Center Social Worker Albert Bencosme organizes the annual event along with many volunteers. “It’s about bringing awareness to people in the community about the Hispanic heritage at the Center, and celebrating it,” he said. He added that the event purposely showcases the uniqueness each specific culture while also celebrating their commonalities. 

Amanda Cifuentes, another member of the Isaacs Center, said, “I’m very grateful places like this exist because I haven’t been able to return to Ecuador, my birth country, in 10 years. Events like this truly make a difference and bring nothing but joy and a big smile to my face.”