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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

A Logan Square Teen Wanted To Have A Quinceañera. Her Neighbors Came Together To Make It Happen

"I was just asking to borrow a dress, and to just see the outcome and to see the neighborhood offer so much — it feels like a family," Dennise Melecio said.

Dennise Melecio is organizing a quinceanera for her daughter after receiving hundreds of supportive comments and messages from neighbors.
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LOGAN SQUARE — Dennise Melecio didn’t expect much when she posted on Facebook, asking her Logan Square neighbors to help her find an affordable quinceañera dress so her daughter could have a celebration despite the family’s recent struggles.

But neighbors flooded Melecio’s inbox within minutes, offering to help the family find a dress — and much more — so Melecio’s daughter could have a true party.

“Immediately, it just started taking off,” said Melecio, 44.

Melecio’s daughter, Aliyani, is turning 15 this month and has looked forward to her quinceañera from the moment she turned 14, the two said. A quinceañera is a party to celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday. It has its roots in Mexico and remains an important tradition for many families in Chicago.

But the family didn’t know if they would be able to celebrate due to illnesses and financial struggles.

Aliyani Melecio said she wanted the feeling of trying on a dress even if she couldn’t buy it and have a quinceañera. Her mom turned to a Logan Square Facebook group to ask for help.

Dennise Melecio posted Monday — without telling her daughter — that she was looking to borrow a dress for a couple hours just to take pictures of her daughter wearing it.

The post has received hundreds of reactions and comments, including at least 50 offers to help — and they’re still coming in, Dennise Melecio said. Neighbors offered everything from free photoshoots and dresses to flowers, nail appointments and a DJ, Aliyani Melecio said.

“The response was just amazing,” Dennise Melecio said. “I was in tears for a while, like right now I’m just … It was amazing, just the offers, knowing there were so many people that were interested and caring.”

The Melecios said the quinceañera festivities are now coming together, and they’ve started preparing for a celebration with close friends and family at the end of the month. They’ve accepted a few of the offers from neighbors, including a photoshoot, cake, flowers and a nail appointment.

Dennise Melecio said she’s now just looking for someone to style her daughter’s hair.

“I was just asking to borrow a dress, and to just see the outcome and to see the neighborhood offer so much — it feels like a family,” Dennise Melecio said.

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