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Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education

Jacqueline Weld Drake with the Casita Maria choir . Photo by: John Sanderson for Annie Watt Agency

Jacqueline Weld Drake with the Casita Maria choir 
Photo by:
John Sanderson for Annie Watt Agency


As is her custom, Jacqueline Weld Drake welcomed the children’s choir of the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education to her Park Avenue residence. Beautifully dressed, the students were excited to meet “Miss Jackie” who had presents waiting for them under her Christmas tree and, later, a splendid dinner.  They sang Jingle Bells, Silent Night, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, a spirited Feliz Navidad, as well as a new anthem, Casita María Está de Fiesta.  “This is what Christmas is all about“, declared the hostess, “This evening makes us all so proud.  We need a Christmas now and all throughout the year.” 


Felix Urrutia, Casita’s new Executive Director explained, “Post-Covid, the mission of Casita Maria is needed more than ever. School, tutoring, finding a way to success, in all my years working with students in the Bronx, our work has never been more important.”


The annual William E. Simon Scholarship award, in recognition of academic excellence in a New York Roman Catholic High School, was presented to Jorge Gabriel Neira Jr., who accepted with his mother Maria Jose Chusan-Neira and his sister at his side. His ambition is to become a doctor.

Guests included board members Martha Bograd, George Corton, Sissi Fleitas, Michele Gerber Klein, Alberto Mariaca, as well as Steven Aronson, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Mercedes Levin, Alicia Lubowski-Jahn, Liz and Jeff Peek, Marc Rosen, and Sabrina Wirth.


Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, the oldest Latin charity in New York City, provides high quality arts education to over 1,000 students each day. Located in the country’s poorest zip code, the South Bronx, Casita Maria creates a safe, welcoming community, enriching and uplifting youth and families, and producing well-rounded individuals who go on to fulfill their dreams.


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