BRAWLEY – When Diane Alvarez’s boys woke her up early Saturday morning, they were not excited about watching cartoons, but eager to get to the Brawley Plaza for the Dia de los Ninos event.
“They were saying ‘We need to go! It starts at 10,’” said Alvarez. “They were excited to come.”
Sponsored by the Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo and the Brawley Dental Clinic, Saturday’s event was the first Dia de los Ninos held by the agencies in three years to celebrate and uplift children and teenagers in the Imperial Valley.
Dia de los Ninos began in Brawley in 1999, according to Leticia Ibarra, director of programs at Clinicas.
“We just really wanted an event to uplift the children,” said Ibarra. “It’s good to see the community coming together to support the kids.”
Ibarra said the group had not held the event for three years since the Brawley Elementary School District started hosting its Spring Fling event. However, this year there will be no school event, so Clinicas decided to bring back its old tradition.
A focus this year was the importance of dental health with a booth to show children how to properly brush their teeth and another with a dentist who was available to make quick examinations. Families could also receive suggestions and referrals for appointments, if needed.
“There are programs here we never knew about,” said Sandy Pereyra. “I didn’t know my little one could go to the dentist already, and now I do.”
The event is meant to coincide with the actual Dia de los Ninos traditionally held April 30, a special day out of the year to honor and celebrate children who represent the hopes and dreams of every community.
It is also in anticipation of the upcoming Red Nose Day on May 25, another day set aside to celebrate children and support programs to end childhood poverty.