Celeste Marion, who graduated from Bothell High in 1998 and the University of Washington in 2003, founded Peru's first special-education school in 2009 and will soon be holding a fund-raiser to benefit the future of the institution and her nonprofit, Manos Unidas, which benefits the education of special-needs students in Peru.
The school, Camino Nuevo (CN), is located in Cusco, Peru, in the Andes Mountains and provides a quality education, as well as training programs for those with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy.
Marion will be hosting the Winter Photo Exhibition at Seattle's Q Cafe on Jan. 21, featuring the silent auction of 10, 16x24 profile photos by Cusco photographer Vanessa Cuneo. The photos will be auctioned for funds to go toward Manos Unidas.
In addition, the night will be alive with dance, music and rhythms of the country of Peru by Seattle-based De Cajon Project, and the New York-based Children of Peru Foundation will offer a matching donation of up to $10,000 for all funds raised at the event and during the month of January.
Student tuition at CN only covers about 55 percent of the budget, according to Marion, and 25 percent of the school's students have been abandoned and live in orphanages, requiring financial assistance to attend.
Q Cafe is located at 3223 15th Ave. in Seattle and the festivities will begin at 6 p.m. An entrance fee of $15 includes drinks and appetizers. For more information or to register, visit www.manosunidasperu.net.