Jeff Schnaufer | First 5 LA Writer & Editor

January 27, 2021

Among the thousands of hopes dangling from the Wishing Tree at Descanso Gardens in Pasadena in the age of COVID-19, one scrawled in pencil by a child stands out: “We want to see our grandparents!”

The 2021 New Year wishes of children, parents and those who do essential work on their behalf during these challenging times are like those of no previous new year. Yet their desire for positive change in the coming months is a common denominator. We share some of these aspirations below, where Angelenos answer the question: “What do you wish for in 2021?”

“As a mother of young children, my hope for this New Year is harmony, lots of hugs and kisses. Children thrive from affection and sincere love. Now that we are literally spending 24 hours with our children at home, we become exhausted and may forget to hug and kiss our children.”

Yanci Panameno, child development specialist


“For 2021, I wish for the health and safety of my patients, friends, family, our country and our world.  I wish for continued scientific advancements that lead us down the path to beat the coronavirus.”

Dr. Lynne Ellison, former Welcome Baby mom and medical director of the pediatric hospitalists for Antelope Valley Inpatient Pediatric Associates


“What I wish for 2021 is for everyone to learn how to move forward and begin rebuilding their lives. I wish for the parks, beaches, and other family gathering places to open up so that children and families can begin to build positive memories together. For quick vaccine distribution for everyone.”

Elizabeth Nevarez, owner of Nevarez Family Child Care


“2020 was a year full of unimaginable challenges that caused lots of pain, uncertainty and more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is still here, and with it, thousands of families in their homes trying to continue their lives, school and to work virtually. For this year  . . .  my desire is that more and more parents enjoy the love of their children, play more with their children, laugh more with their children, delight in being parents and remember the child they all have inside of them.”

Lorena Gutierrez, home visitor parent educator with Child Care Resource Center’s PAT program


“I wish that for 2021, we are full of PATIENCE because that gives us Peace. Knowing how to wait is a virtue to BUILD strong seeds in our family and community.”

Luz Otero, mother and home visiting client



“I wish that all the children of the world have superpowers to take care of our parents and brothers.”

4-year-old Ariel, son of Luz Otero   




(Learn more about First 5 LA-funded home visiting in this video of Luz, Ariel and their home visitor Lorena, presented by LA Best Babies Network. For more information on free pregnancy and parenting support through Welcome Baby, click here.)

Do you know someone in L.A. County who is pregnant? Tell them to visit to see if their delivery hospital offers the free Welcome Baby program. Welcome Baby is funded entirely by First 5 LA.