Fifteen-year-old Dezmarie Martinez displays the dress she wore for her quinceañera during the 16th annual Soy Unica Soy Latina rally April 28 at Monroe Community College. Fifteen-year-old Dezmarie Martinez displays the dress she wore for her quinceañera during the 16th annual Soy Unica Soy Latina rally April 28 at Monroe Community College.

Rally for Latinas focuses on the power of kindness

BRIGHTON — Stephanie Paredes reminded the young Latinas gathered before her that kindness begins with them.

“Don’t get caught up in the crowd,” she said as the madrina (godmother) of the 16th-annual “Soy Única! Soy Latina!” rally held April 28. “The power of kindness is within you first. Share it with other people.”

Paredes, assistant director of multicultural programs at Rochester Institute of Technology, offered her words of wisdom to the more than 150 girls ages 7 to 18 who attended the daylong event at Monroe Community College.

Photo Gallery: Rally for Latinas focuses on the power of kindness

The rally, whose them was “The Power of Kindness,” also included workshops for the girls and their parents, an agency fair and a quinceañera fashion show. During the day’s finale, Elena Goldfeder, a longtime advocate of the arts, received the annual Heart Award, and Cassandra López, a senior at School of the Arts in Rochester, was awarded a $500 college scholarship.

The day’s theme carried over into all of the rally workshops. Girls in grades 3 to 5 talked about the characteristics of a “superheroina” as they created and drew their versions of female super hero characters. In addition to kindness, other traits the girls mentioned included bravery, helpfulness and thoughtfulness. One super hero was named “The Kindanator”

Marianna Cruz, 8, chose to focus her super woman on her favorite season of winter.

She attended the rally for a second year, and said she liked the winning prizes. She hopes to be her own kind of super hero when she grows up, Marianna added.

“I want to be a nurse or a vet,” she said. “I get to help people.”

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