An 8-year-old Goes to Prom

Friday was a typical day for eight-year-old Viviana who spends much of her days in her room enjoying YouTube music videos singing to the sounds of Superstars Christina Aguilera and Beyonce
An average eight-year-old in many ways, Viviana enjoys playing with princesses, pretending she’s a famous singer and planning out how she will one day be a pop music superstar. Like many of the residents of Hacienda, Viviana is medically fragile. Viviana is living with a progressive muscle disease known as Congenital Myasthenia Syndrome. The disease presents itself as severe muscle weakness that affects the function of all the muscles in her body. She requires the use of 24-hour respiratory support to ensure adequate breathing, a gastrostomy tube to meet her nutritional needs, and a wheelchair for mobility. Viviana also happens to be a client of Hacienda’s Los Niños Home Medical Services program.

That Friday, Viviana and her nurse decided to take a walk in the neighborhood. Viviana approached the parking lot of Hacienda where she witnessed the construction of a superhero themed extravaganza. There were cardboard cut outs of all of her favorite super heroes, tables draped in red and blue tablecloths, centerpieces with the phrases, “Bam” and “Pow” lined across the parking lot. All of the decorations Viviana was seeing were hand crafted by members of Hacienda’s Technology Implementation Program (TIP). TIP provides young adults living with Autism vocational training in computers and robotics. The TIP program is just one of Hacienda’s more than forty programs. The program also teaches trainees important interpersonal skills.

Viviana was elated at the site of this superhero themed affair but what she didn’t know was that this was a special day at Hacienda. October 7, 2016 was the day of the 12th Annual Prom. The tradition began with the request of a long-time resident, Jibri. Jibri’s idea for a prom at Hacienda stemmed from his own experience at his senior Prom. Jibri shared that his senior Prom was one of the most memorable experiences of his life.


Hacienda’s prom is just one of many extraordinary things that the organization does to provide the best quality of life for its clients and residents.
After witnessing such an extraordinary sight, Viviana insisted that she go home to prepare her ensemble for the festivities that evening. She returned shortly in her prom-esque attire displaying a flower in her hair for added elegance. The first thing that captured Viviana’s eye upon returning to Hacienda’s prom was the face painting booth because what eight-year-old doesn’t like getting their face painted? Viviana hurried off to the booth so she could transform into the amazing Wonder Woman. Thereafter, she was able to enjoy a freshly prepared meal provided by Hacienda’s own culinary staff headed by Chef Mario Montoya.

Viviana and the other clients of Hacienda were able to experience an evening full of music, food, laughter, dancing, and even the infamous crowning of its very own Prom King and Queen. And because of this one extraordinary idea, an eight-year-old got to experience her first Prom.

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