Newly-minted non-profit Casa Loto is bringing the LGBTQ Masquerade to town on April 23, and everyone’s invited to sashay the night away in a metallic wonderland! The ballroom fundraiser will be at the AWOL Bar and Axis San Diego, right across from the Hillcrest Pride flag, and will benefit the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s youth programs.
The masked extravaganza will feature music and dancing, raffle prizes, appetizers, a food truck (we’re keeping it classy, girl), and complimentary drinks for all guests. And if you are still wondering, the category is… Metallic! The venue will be transformed to shimmer and shine as attendees strut and dazzle in fabulous shades of gold and silver, and don their polished masks for an unforgettable fun evening for all. And don’t leave home without those dollar bills because Casa Loto is giving away over $1,000 in prizes during our raffle!
And just who is Casa Loto? Never heard of her. That’s because they came together as a new charity just last year and the Masquerade is their grand debut! To borrow, or outright steal, from their bio, “Casa Loto is a binational 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization in San Diego, with a mission to strengthen LGBTQ+ youth programs and establish a community home in Mexico for displaced LGBTQ+ youth.” So not only is the Masquerade an absolutely fun party not to be missed, but it’s all for a good cause. Specifically, it’s for the future generation of our very own community. This is the heart of Casa Loto’s mission, and the reason why founder and president Craig Thomas has brought the Masquerade to San Diego.
“To love a child is the greatest gift. They are our most precious responsibility, for we leave our futures in their custodial hands,” says Thomas. “It is imperative that we facilitate the happiness and well-being of those most in need of our community. While too many LGBTQ youth experience difficulty, we can help them experience life to its fullest.” Prior to relocating to San Diego, Casa Loto’s founder Craig Thomas produced The Masquerade in Kansas City.
The rest of Casa Loto’s volunteer board is composed of advocates and members of San Diego’s diverse LGBTQ community, and combines their experience in community service, sexual and mental health education, and fundraising. In addition, the San Diego chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is partnering for the event.
The Center has multiple programs that support LGBTQ youth. The Sunburst Youth Housing Project is a 23-unit facility in downtown San Diego that provides safe and supportive housing for homeless youth ages 18 through 24, including LGBTQ and youth living with HIV. The program offers critical support services such as case management, health care, mental health services, benefits enrollment, HIV testing, life skills training, and educational and employment support.
The SAFE S.T.A.Y program is an overnight emergency housing for youth, seven nights a week, with case managers providing resources and help in locating permanent housing. And the San Diego’s Hillcrest Youth Center is a drop-in and recreational hub, dedicated to the needs of LGBTQ and nonbinary youth and youth living with HIV. The Youth Center draws about 300 visits from 14 to 18-year-olds monthly. About 80 percent of the visitors are minorities, and most are low-income. A sister youth center in South Bay serves youth and families in Chula Vista.
“The Center truly appreciates the efforts of Casa Loto to help raise critical funds to support LGBTQ youth,” said Ian Johnson, Director of Development at The Center. “Many of the youth who seek our supportive housing at The Center’s Sunburst Youth Housing Project come to us as a result of unacceptance from their families. Today, 40% of all youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ, many with no support system. Community support from organizations like Casa Loto is vital for The Center to continue to help our LGBTQ youth.”
For more information and to get tickets today (tickets not available for purchase at the door), go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-lgbtq-masquerade-tickets-195420587237
All attendees will be expected to be fully vaccinated per CDC guidelines. Attendees have the option of purchasing additional drinks at AWOL’s bar. Food truck menu items are not included with ticket purchases.