On February 10, Eternal Anchor rolled out the red carpet to welcome nearly 200 guests to our fourth annual Night to Shine, an event for young people and adults with special needs hosted by Eternal Anchor and sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. From their personal introductions and walk down the red carpet to the tamale dinner and coronation, Night to Shine was a celebratory and fun experience for our honored guests. Held at the Eternal Anchor Ranch in Lazaro Cardenas, this year’s event featured a professional makeup station, sensory room, festive karaoke area, two photo stations including one featuring a “Hereos” theme, dancing, dinner, and much more.
Without the incredible love and devotion of Eternal Anchor’s teachers, Community Outreach team, and ranch staff this event simply could not happen. We are also grateful for those in our communities who partnered with us to make Night to Shine incredibly special. A group of college students from the Universidad de Ensenada Campus San Quintin welcomed guests along the red carpet, joined them for dinner and dancing, and helped throughout the event. A team of maquillistas – makeup artists – from PANDA AC Educación de Belleza volunteered their time and talents to help make Night to Shine more memorable. Servicio de Meseros – Armenta provided excellent meals and service and New Creation Vineyard Church in Michigan City, Indiana provided the goodies for our honored guests’ gift bags.
“We are so proud to be a part of this global movement that is centered on God’s love for people with special needs,” said Leila Xanat Gomez, Eternal Anchor’s director of Community Development and coordinator for Night to Shine. “As one of just two organizations throughout Mexico to be a host this year, we hope to inspire others in our country to consider hosting next year.”
Eternal Anchor’s Community Development team is excited to welcome two physical therapy interns from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. Alyssa Cantu and Victoria Herman – working under the guidance of their professor and Eternal Anchor’s staff volunteer physical therapist, Erin Cottos, will be assisting the Community Development team with in-home assessments, client therapy, mobility equipment construction and modification, and more.
“This internship program is a perfect opportunity for them to experience how physical therapy is delivered in another culture,” said Erin. “They will gain a better understanding and have new perspectives on physical therapy as they graduate and begin practicing on their own.” Alyssa and Victoria, who will graduate in August with their Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees, are the first two of four interns who will spend six-week rotations at Eternal Anchor. “We are very excited to welcome Alyssa and Victoria to the Eternal Anchor family,” said Leila Xanat Gomez, director of Community Development. “We are grateful for the continuation of this partnership between Eternal Anchor and UTMB Health, and we know that experiencing another country and culture will add to each of these intern’s perspectives as they begin their professional careers.”
Deborah Garcia, Eternal Anchor’s co-founder and the person responsible for growing our residential care program over the past eight years begins a new position as Director of Equity and Justice. “Since the beginning of Eternal Anchor, I’ve gained firsthand knowledge of the injustices suffered by those with disabilities,” said Deborah. “As Residential Care Director, I’ve helped defend the rights of the children entrusted to Eternal Anchor and now I will be able to focus my time to advocate for and stand in solidarity with those society has failed. I will be walking alongside these people on behalf of Eternal Anchor in search of hope, solidarity, and community as Jesus taught us to do and focus on addressing the systemic issues that prevent individuals with disabilities from thriving in their communities.” Deborah will continue to be Eternal Anchor’s legal representative, beginning with the adoption cases of children who previously lived in our residential care program.
Earlier this month, Deborah also received her master’s degree in family law from Centro de Estudios Carbonell, one of Mexico’s top law schools. Deborah received her diploma from Justice Juan Luis González Alcántara Carrancá of Mexico’s Supreme Court. “Most of my professors work for the Supreme Court or serve as judges and it’s been an honor to learn from the best,” she said. Deborah has already started classes for a Doctorate in Human Rights and Constitutional Law.