The National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. (NPRDP), the not-for-profit cultural organization that produces the annual Parade along Fifth Avenue, and American Airlines, the major carrier celebrating 40 years of service to Puerto Rico, joined forces to support Covenant House, the leading Homeless Youth Shelter and Charitable Organization in the United States.
In celebration of the 16th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade (54th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade since its inception as a local organization), NPRDP and American Airlines, have recruited three Puerto Rican women who have held the Miss Universe title to march in this year's celebration, scheduled for Sunday, June 12th. Marisol Malaret (Miss Universe 1970), Dayanara Torres (1993) and Zuleyka Rivera
(2006) will appear on the American Airlines float and serve as spokespersons for homeless youth issues. American Airlines, Official Airline of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, has committed to raising awareness of the Covenant House by visiting the Manhattan location, bringing donated items to those living there and partnering on fundraising opportunities.
Marisol Malaret, Miss Universe 1970
"Each year, Covenant House serves over 50 thousand at-risk youth in the nation and throughout the hemisphere," said Madelyn Lugo, president of NPRDP. "We are thrilled to partner with American Airlines to ensure that our commitment remains strong, and that Covenant House continues to cover the basic needs of homeless children and safely lead them to independent adulthood."
Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993
"For over 30 years, American Airlines has proudly collaborated with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade to support causes that are important to our customers and align with our corporate values," said Art Torno, American Airlines Vice President - New York. "For the second year in a row, we are expanding our partnership to include a charity whose pioneering work touches the lives of thousands. We are pleased to make Covenant House our 2011 honoree as we recognize its vital role as a sanctuary for youth and children in crisis."
Malaret, the first Puerto Rican woman to hold the Miss Universe title, became a beloved icon in Puerto Rico first as a television host, and then as an entrepreneurial magazine publisher. She devotes her time to many charitable causes, such as public health and homelessness, and it was her work with Covenant House that led to the partnership with American Airlines.
Torres, the third Puerto Rican woman elected Ms. Universe, is an author and an actress and also has a long history of public service. She previously served as a UNICEF Ambassador, and her foundation provides scholarships to children in Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Zuleyka Rivera, Miss Universe 2006
Rivera, the fifth Puerto Rican woman elected Miss Universe, is an actress who has also served as a spokesperson to raise awareness of many issues, including HIV, Heart Disease, Children's Immunization and the impact of Drunk Driving, among others.
"The National Puerto Rican Day Parade welcomes these role models who have inspired generations to make a contribution and make the world a better place. I invite everyone to join us on June 12th along Fifth Avenue as we hear their messages of hope. It would be our way of saying "gracias/thank you" to these remarkable women," Lugo added.
Founded 38 years ago with the mission to assist homeless children, Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care, and essential services to homeless, throwaway and runaway kids. The organization operates facilities in 21 cities across the United States, Canada and Central America, including a shelter in New York City that serves over 6,000 youth and children every year (over 400 per day).
In 2010, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade and American Airlines launched their first Annual Charity Support Initiative by recruiting Puerto Rican actress Karla Monroig to appear on the American Airlines float, raising awareness of breast cancer and the work of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
source: National Puerto Rican Day Parade