Casa Familiar ABRAZO Awardees Honored at 25th Annual Awards Gala

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This year’s honorees were actor/comedian and activist Paul Rodriguez for his exemplary work as chairman of the California Latino Water Coalition; Mr. Howard Holman, a long time community organizer and co-founder of Union del Barrio; Ramesh R. Rao, Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California, San Diego; Vanessa Galaviz and the Healthy Borders Project Team; and Ana Molina, Chief of Staff to California State Assemblyman Ben Hueso. The Dolores Adame Community Involvement Award was given to Bertha Alicia Gonzalez, a long time San Ysidro community organizer.

Casa Familiar, a leading community-based development organization in San Diego, celebrated its 25th Annual ABRAZO Awards Gala on Friday, August 19th, 2011, at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

The ABRAZO Awards honored select individuals and organizations that have helped the community of San Ysidro and the Latino community in extraordinary ways.

This year’s honorees were actor/comedian and activist Paul Rodriguez for his exemplary work as chairman of the California Latino Water Coalition; Mr. Howard Holman, a long time community organizer and co-founder of Union del Barrio; Ramesh R. Rao, Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California, San Diego; Vanessa Galaviz and the Healthy Borders Project Team; and Ana Molina, Chief of Staff to California State Assemblyman Ben Hueso. The Dolores Adame Community Involvement Award was given to Bertha Alicia Gonzalez, a long time San Ysidro community organizer.

Casa Familiar also celebrated a year of great accomplishments, such as an unprecedented success with the program it unveiled at last year’s ABRAZO,” Casa Azteca it’s college recruitment and retention collaboration with the San Ysidro , Sweetwater School Districts and San Diego State University as well as its participation in the New York MoMA exhibit. Small Scale Big Change. New Architectures of Social Engagement, and subsequently, its own smaller scale version, the highly acclaimed Momita, on exhibit currently in its very own community of San Ysidro.

This year’s continuation of the Opportunity for Investment in the agency’s programs, allowed donors to underwrite a number of specific endeavors that the agency has designated. In the 2011 funding year, Casa’s reliance on government funding has dropped to 1.6%.

“Today, we are over 98% privately and self funded through our own revenue generating endeavors. We have embraced the notion that by being entrepreneurial in our approach to sustainability, our impact has grown by leaps and bounds,” stated Fred Sotelo, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Exciting new investments to Casa Familiar included the presentation of a $50,000 grant from Walmart.

“Walmart is committed to helping people live better through addressing community needs and enhancing opportunities in education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. Reflecting our founder Sam Walton’s vision, we strive to reach beyond the walls of our stores to positively impact the communities we serve. The grant provided to Casa Familiar through the Walmart Foundation is an example of this philosophy in action,” stated Aaron Rios, Senior Manager of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “This donation will allow Casa Familiar to offer a technology and computer-literacy curriculum, specifically designed to expand job applicants’ knowledge base in these crucial areas. The grant will also support continuation of job placement skills, including resume building and interviewing. In these difficult economic times, it is essential that applicants be adequately prepared to enter the workforce. Walmart is proud to contribute to this worthwhile program.”

Also, providing a long term 7-year investment commitment was Stellar Partners in the sum of 1% of gross revenue from its concession business at the new Terminal 2 of the San Diego Airport.

Casa Familiar continuously works to supplement its operating budget to continue providing much needed services and programming in education, advocacy, service provision, health related projects, housing, and community development as well as arts and culture in the south Bay area of san Diego county. Casa familiar serves more than 20,000 low to very-low income residents annually and that number continues to grow each year.

For a tour of Casa Familiar or more info please contact COO Lisa Cuestas at (619) 428-1115. http://www.casafamiliar.org

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Leticia Gomez
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