A group of flower children toured the Maravilla retirement community on Tuesday to bring the Fiesta spirit to the residents.
Los Niños de las Flores are children 6 to 12 years old. They shouted, “Viva La Fiesta,” through the Maravilla halls and common areas and passed out flowers to the smiling residents.
“I love helping the community. I felt happy making other people happy that can’t go to the Fiesta,” said flower girl Gray McElroy, 12.
Maxine Nocker, 12, added that she has participated in the event for the past seven years.
“I really love doing this every year and it’s so fun seeing how Fiesta has an impact on the community and how it makes everybody so happy, and it’s something to look forward. It’s so nice making people happy who can’t come out,” she said.
Maravilla resident Mickey McNally met the children in the dining hall during brunch. Her group of friends all smiled as they received their flowers.
“We’re going to take them home and put them in a vase. They’re beautiful and we really appreciated the girls and they did a great job. We thank them,” said Ms. McNally.
The children met another group of residents as they sat for a small piano concert. The pianist played a Latin-inspired tune as the residents received their flowers.
Old Spanish Days Fiesta board member Angie Cisneros said the Los Niños de las Flores program goes back at least 70 years and they have done elder outreach since the beginning.
“It’s our favorite day and a tradition we love. We get to come to the residents’ home and spread gifts and cheer. In this community it’s so nice to be able to have that aspect where the young can meet the old. It’s beautiful to see,” said Ms. Cisneros.
Members of Los Niños de las Flores visited a number of other senior living facilities Tuesday including Vista del Monte, Casa Dorinda and Samarkand.
Fiesta La Presidenta Barbara Carroll said the Maravilla visit is just one example of her focus on volunteerism at this year’s Fiesta.
“I’ve been very on theme with that (volunteerism). There are a ton of volunteers that are required to make Fiesta happen and we get a lot every year. Fiesta is a fundraising platform for other nonprofits. When you visit a mercado all of those booths are either a nonprofit or a restaurant benefiting a nonprofit. And those are all volunteers. There’s a lot of grassroots volunteerism that happens during Fiesta,” she said.