Saturday, May 18, 2024

From the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, Feb. 22, 2016: Time is running out to reserve seats at the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers 2017 Awards Gala, to take place April 29 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. The health and social services organization accepts seating reservations until April 21; they can be made in person at the Cambridge Office, 1046 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, by calling (617) 864-7600 or by visiting the organization website. (After April 21, call the office to inquire about available seating.)

The gala begins at 5:30 p.m. April 29 with a red carpet arrival and cocktail reception, with live music and photographers taking portraits as guests arrive. The event will feature an awards ceremony, musical performances from the Portuguese-speaking world, a banquet and dancing. Guests will be able to bid on auction items such as a CR7 Super Fan Experience, which includes a Portugal National Soccer Team jersey signed by Cristiano Ronaldo; round-trip airline tickets to Madeira; and tickets to the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum; as well as prizes such as round-trip airline tickets to Brazil, provided by Copa Airlines; and a dining experience for up to 10 guests of fine Italian and Iberian cuisine from Rocco’s Restaurant & Bar, paired with Portuguese wines provided by M.S. Walker.

Heading the list of honorees this year is MAPS 2017 Person of the Year Lawrence (Larry) K. Fish, founder and chairman of the Fish Family Foundation. Through the foundation, Fish has supported the work of MAPS and other organizations working with immigrant communities, contributing to the empowerment of thousands of Portuguese-speaking immigrants and others. The event will also honor the Rev. Volmar Scaravelli, pastor of St. Tarcisius Church in Framingham; Ana Nava, team leader of the Portuguese Mental Health Clinic at the East Cambridge Health Center; John B. Cruz III, president of Cruz Cos.; and Project Health CV, a nonprofit medical aid group that makes yearly trips to Cabo Verde to provide medical aid and training.

“We look forward to honoring the many successes of our communities in an evening filled with cultural pride and celebration,” said Paulo Pinto, executive director of MAPS. “The people and organizations that we are recognizing this year are incredible role models for community engagement, selfless generosity, hard work and dedication to a greater cause.”

The event is co-chaired by Natalia Fernandes, the organization’s executive assistant, and Antonio Massa Viana, a board member, who will also serve as event co-host alongside Edna Monteiro Leith, a former staffer who now works at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School.

Guests at the gala will hear live musical performances throughout, featuring Brazilian drums with the Grooversity ensemble, Portuguese Fado with Sonia Bettencourt, Cabo Verdean Morna and Koladera with Gutty Duarte and an after-party with DJ Melo, of DNJ Entertainment.

MAPS helped Portuguese-speaking immigrants and others with daily life needs and critical community issues since 1970. The health and social service provider operates six offices in Cambridge, Somerville, Brighton, Dorchester, Framingham and Lowell. For information, call (617) 864-7600 or visit