At the end of every year, PLN has traditionally celebrated the holidays with a “Felices Fiestas” party. This year, Felices Fiestas will be a multi-day event that is celebrated and hosted by our different departments and charter schools. Follow our page throughout December to see how we are celebrating with our communities, families, youth and students for all their achievements and resilience this past year. We also would love to showcase the continuing generosity of our partnerships and donor base during the holiday season to the children, youth, and families we serve.
What does ‘Felices Fiestas’ mean?
“Felices Fiestas” means “Happy Holidays” in Spanish!
Gratts Primary Center: Winter Wonderland
Over the weekend, GPC celebrated the end of the year with a Winterland-themed joint event with the Education Department Center (EDC). There were Holiday art projects facilitated by teachers, games in the quad facilitated by EDC team, booths with resources (thank you Pathways LA for joining us!), and gifts generously donated by the Casa Bella Foundation. Tacos were provided to all families.
We are so thankful to our passionate staff and our partnering organizations who made this cheer-filled holiday party possible for our children and families.
Charter Elementary School: Festival of Lights
The holidays are such a special time of the year, especially in a city as diverse as Los Angeles! Last Friday night, CES was filled with carols and songs that celebrated the many holidays Los Angelenos celebrate: Diwali, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Kwanza, Christmas and Chinese New Year. This year’s Felices Fiestas felt extra special because students’ families were able to join in person for the first time in two years. Special shout out to Vons/Albertsons for donating their groceries to distribute to our students’ families!
Earlier that day, Officer Leon and the LAPD Booster Club graciously escorted CES staff and students down the street to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA Los Angeles), where Asuka Hisa, ICA LA’s Director of Learning and Engagement, and her team hosted a movie screening of Elf with popcorn, snacks and refreshments.
ICA LA is a contemporary art space that showcases local, national and international contemporary artists with the mission “to [upend] hierarchies of race, class, gender, and culture” and “foster critique of the familiar and empathy with the different.” Regarding ICA LA’s and PLN’s longstanding partnership, Hisa commented, “CES is our neighborhood school. We have been at this location since 2015, and immediately before we opened, we wanted to connect with our community -especially Para Los Niños, which was at walking distance. Since then, we have developed programs for school groups and one of them is called “Mondays for Schools”, where we turn the museum into a classroom for visiting school groups, often from Para Los Niños! It has been so special to see students come back over the years and watch how our exhibitions inspire questions and inquiry about the art’s message. We are really lucky to have the school nearby. We are committed to providing educational resources and experiences to all people and school groups -especially to our neighbor, Para Los Niños.”
Special thanks to the DTLA Police Boosters organization for their unwavering partnership and support to keep PLN sites, staff, students and families safe.
For over forty years, the DTLA Police Boosters organization has served as a liaison between the downtown community and the Los Angeles Police Department. The goal of their efforts is “to foster safer neighborhoods in which to live and work, while nurturing the relationship between LAPD personnel and members of the business and residential community.”
Charter Middle School Posada
On the last day of school before the winter holidays for our charter schools, CMS held their Felices Fiestas Posada event.
Our students’ work was showcased to families, which included a special live music performance. Four of the violists were our very own PLN 7th graders – Xavier Castro, Daniel Cruz, Valerie Cervantes, and Sarah Celidon. With our partnership to Colburn School, they were awarded a scholarship to take private and group violin lessons with this prestigious conservatory for the past four years.
Another incredible partnership CMS students have immensely benefited from is Poietoworks. Poietoworks is a nonprofit organization that “offers students creative entry points to learning and making with technology. Students learn fundamental coding concepts and systems-level thinking all while having fun and making art. Our education modules emphasize sensory experience and creative engagement to further feelings of belonging in tech spaces.” One of the capstone projects featured at CMS’s Posada party -each class creating a book of their artistic illustrations which was then attached to a lightbox that students coded to flash red when the last page was turned- was made possible with Poetoworks’ staff instruction and support.
We are so thankful for the enrichment our students have receive9d from the dedication and love from our partnering organizations!
Project Innovations LA: End of Year Holiday Party and Distribution
On December 19th, our Project Innovations LA (PILA) had a two part Felices Fiestas gathering.
In the morning, PILA held a team holiday party that included a gift exchange, games, and an ‘Ugly Winter Sweater Fashion Show’.
Later that afternoon, the team and our partners at Peace Over Violence held a distribution event of United Way grocery gift cards (to Ralph’s), baby clothes, masks, canned foods and certificates of participation to PILA’s Neighborhood Leadership Group participants, who herald from all across central, south and east Los Angeles. 433 community members either walked in or drove through during the event.
We are so grateful to have partners like United Way who come alongside our participants seeking resources and assistance to access more financial, food and housing stability for themselves, their families and neighbors.
Family and Community Services’ 12th Annual Felices Fiestas Festival
PLN’s Felices Fiestas season ended with Family Services’ 12th annual Felices Fiestas festival. The overwhelming majority of the individuals, children, youth and families PLN serves have a touchpoint with our Family and Community Services division, which is comprised of five branches: our Youth Workforce Services (YWS), Domestic Violence Support Services (DVSS) team, Family Preservation team, Partnerships for Families team, and the Prevention & Aftercare team.
We were overjoyed to see the smiling faces of 80 families -a total of 135 adults and 353 children- and being able to spend the afternoon together, full of hotdogs, cupcakes, crafting activities, games (we can never outgrow Christmas Tree Bowling and Pin the Nose to the Snowman!), pictures with Santa Claus, toy distributions, three family raffle opportunities, music, a COVID/flu vaccine clinic, and a 360 degree camera experience.
This event was made even more special with the presence of ten local agencies and non-profits who distributed information about their services and resources. Collaboration and relationships are truly at the heart of what we do, within and outside of our organization. Thank you to:
Together, we will continue to impact and reach more people in the new year.
Gift cards are a wonderful way to support our families and youth directly throughout the holiday season! We suggest Target, Visa, or Grocery store gift cards given their versatility and practical use. In the past we have given gift card to our most in need families, who then are able to purchase items like sweaters, shoes, blankets, and food.
Gift cards can be mailed to our development office with the attention: Darlene Hernandez- Felices Fiesta.
Mailing address: 849 E 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021
If you would prefer to coordinate a pickup in the greater Los Angeles area, please feel free to reach out and we can assist with coordination.
If you believe in the power of our work to educate and empower families, please consider giving to Para Los Niños this holiday season by clicking the donate button below. Every dollar makes an impact in our ability to continue to be a partner for our communities.