Thursday, September 20, 2018
These Brookwood elementary students will be performing a traditional Mexican dance at a community dance and fundraiser slated for Oct. 21 at the Norwalk Community Center. They include, standing, from left: Nidia Alcantar (traditional dance coordinator), Eileen Bautista, Jessica Canelo, Jimena Mendoza, Mia Mommaerts, Lucy Tirado, Mily Alcantar, Fernanda Garcia, and Havilton Ramos. Seated: Javier Bautista, Damian Garcia, Brayan Rojas, Marianela Alcantar, Yoselin Silva, Yesenia Ruiz and Cindy Juarez. Contribut

Brookwood students plan community dance to benefit Puerto Rico


Well Youth Ministry Ontario and the Diversity Club of Brookwood High School have teamed up for a community dance/fundraising event that will take place at the Wilton Community Center on Oct. 21. Funds raised at the event will be donated to the hurricane victims of Puerto Rico and the earthquake victims of Mexico.

“The main purpose of the event is to celebrate Hispanic-Latino cultures in our community, and then secondly, to raise funds for Mexico and Puerto Rico,” said Denise Buckbee, Brookwood High School Spanish teacher and Diversity Club advisor. “We have friends and family members who live in Oaxaca, Mexico, and Mexico City. We are concerned for them and want to show we care and to help in any way we can,” Buckbee said.

The Diversity Club is a youth-led social justice group at Brookwood High School. The group promotes awareness, respect and appreciation of human diversity through workshops, leadership training, awareness assemblies and activities that engage students in dialogue and actions, according to Buckbee.

It was at one of the group’s monthly meetings that the students came up with the idea for a community dance and fundraiser.

“We were planning our annual Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month activities and the students wanted a dance with traditional music,” Buckbee said. “We also wanted to partner with other community groups, so we could reach out to the larger community and go beyond the school-age students in our district; and, the students wanted their parents, tios [aunts and uncles], and friends from other schools to be able to come and enjoy the music and help the cause,” she said.

 Thus, the idea of a community dance was born, and Well Youth Ministry — a non-denominational youth group open to all students in grades 7 to 12– gladly offered to cosponsor the event, said Buckbee.

The family-friendly dance will run from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Wilton Community Center located at 400 East Street in Wilton. It will feature DJ Rigo playing dance music and traditional Mexican tunes. Also, Denise Buckbee will play music from her radio show “La Mezcla” on WDRT in Viroqua. 

In addition, 16 students from Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton Elementary School will perform a traditional Mexican dance, or baile folklorico. The students, aged from 5 to12, will wear special Mexican costumes and will be led by Nidia Alcantar, the traditional dance coordinator.

Food served at the event will be prepared by family members of the Diversity Club and will include customary Mexican comfort foods, such as: pozole (hominy), tamales, rice, beans, tortillas, fruit, aguas frescas (natural fruit drinks), and desserts, like tres leches (a sponge cake which is soaked in three types of milk).

In addition to the food, drinks, and entertainment, there will be a piñata —a papier maché figurine filled with small toys and candies– for the children to break open at some point during the night.

Organizers hope to receive as many as 300 people; and in lieu of an entrance fee, a monetary donation, in any amount, is requested. While clothes, shoes, food, and other donations would be generous, organizers are asking for cash donations instead since money is easiest to physically deliver to those in need of the funds.

“At this time, cash is easier to send and to account for when donating. We have a few organizations we are researching who will use the funds for the most good,” Buckbee said.

Buckbee will personally deliver relief funds to a local Oaxaca, Mexico, organization during a scheduled November trip.

One hundred percent of the profits raised from the dance will go to the hurricane and earthquake victims since Well Youth Ministry and the Diversity Club are sponsoring the event and covering all costs associated with the dance.

“We are very thankful that all the funds during this event will be donated directly to the chosen organizations,” Buckbee said, “Everything [we need for the dance] is being donated for the cause.”

For more information or questions, or to make a food or drink donation to the dance, contact Denise Buckbee at or Nidia Alcantar at





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