Making A Difference

Beloved Sesame Street star captivates crowd at "Making a Difference" luncheon

Former Sesame Street star captivates crowd at benefit luncheon

El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Sonia Manzano, Leila Perrin
Leisa Holland-Nelson, Sonia Manzano, Leila Perrin. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Steve Lasher, Janiece Longoria
Steve Lasher, Janiece Longoria. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Diane Englet, Marcie Mir
Diane Englet, Marcie Mir. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Dr. Julie Boom, Dr. Marc Boom
Dr. Julie Boom, Dr. Marc Boom. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Nereyda Espinoza, Crystal  Moya, Caroline Cisneros
 Nereyda Espinoza, Crystal Moya, Caroline Cisneros. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Roxann Neumann, Cyndy Garza Roberts
 Roxann Neumann, Cyndy Garza Roberts. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Mary Ann Wilkins, Karen Love
Mary Ann Wilkins, Karen Love. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Miriam Zatarain, Jan Mendenhall
Miriam Zatarain, Jan Mendenhall. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Ryane Jackson, Kavon Young, Shannon Hart
Ryane Jackson, Kavon Young, Shannon Hart. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Marcie Mir, Emily Mir, Cyndy Garza Roberts
Marcie Mir, Emily Mir, Cyndy Garza Roberts. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Sonia Manzano, Leila Perrin
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Steve Lasher, Janiece Longoria
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Diane Englet, Marcie Mir
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Dr. Julie Boom, Dr. Marc Boom
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Nereyda Espinoza, Crystal  Moya, Caroline Cisneros
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Roxann Neumann, Cyndy Garza Roberts
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Mary Ann Wilkins, Karen Love
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Miriam Zatarain, Jan Mendenhall
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Ryane Jackson, Kavon Young, Shannon Hart
El Centro luncheon, Feb. 2016, Marcie Mir, Emily Mir, Cyndy Garza Roberts

What: El Centro de Corazón "Making a Difference" luncheon.

Where: Hotel ZaZa.

The scoop: Formerly Maria on Sesame Street, Sonia Manzano, one of the first Latinas on television, captivated the gathering of 300 as she spoke about her life and the importance of El Centro. (Manzano played the iconic role on the hit PBS series from 1971 until her retirement in 2015.) Leisa Holland Nelson and Leila Perrin chaired the luncheon, while Philamena and Arthur Baird served as honorary chairs.

The event that honored Janiece Longoria, Port of Houston Authority chair, raised more than $160,000 for programs assisting low-income residents in the East End.

Who: El Centro CEO Marcie Mir, Roxann Neumann, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Margaret and Joel Shannon, Drs. Julie and Marc Boom, Beckie and Gasper Mir, Tracy Janda, Mary Ann Wilkins, Karen Love, and Diane Englet.