Alfredo D. Balarin Assistant Director of Student Life Hudson Valley Community College
Alfredo D. Balarin was born in New York City to Peruvian immigrant parents and he moved to the Capital District to attend college. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and his Master’s degree in Education Administration from the State University at Albany. Mr. Balarin currently works at Hudson Valley Community College as Assistant Director of Student Life and EOP. Before joining HVCC he served as Program Director for the North Albany YMCA. Mr. Balarin’s commitment to youth development has been a part of his career from day one and he continues to be an advocate for families within his community. In November of 2017, Mr. Balarin was the first Latino elected to the City of Albany Common Council and is currently serving his first term. In January of 2018 Alfredo was selected to join the inaugural class of Fellows at SUNY's Hispanic Leadership Institute which is charged with developing and supporting the next generation of executive-level Hispanic/LatinX leaders across the SUNY system. Mr. Balarin is a proud resident of the City of Albany, where he lives with his wife and two dogs.
Raquel Gonzalez Deputy Commissioner for Administration NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets
How did you get to where you are today? Growing up in one of the poorest counties in New Jersey, Raquel’s community struggled with high student drop-out rates and rampant crime. Most women in her family were single teen mothers working retail jobs. With dim prospects, Raquel acted out and ended up in the juvenile detention center, with a potential for life in prison. Through the support of family, friends, and community mentors, Raquel emerged from the darkest days with a renewed sense of purpose and hope. She dedicated her life to public service to help families and communities like her own and to pay forward her profound second chance. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from George Mason University, Raquel learned her personal motto of “Respect.Empower.Include.” while working as a Field Organizer in Indiana for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign. She spent the next two years serving as an appointee in Obama’s Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy and Confidential Assistant in the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. During a one-year intensive dual degree program, Raquel lived overseas and earned a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security from the University of Malta and a Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. Shortly after returning to the United States, Raquel worked on President Obama’s re-election campaign as a Regional Field Director in Ohio, and then became an Associate Director for Volunteer Operations during the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee. During the second term of Obama’s Administration, Raquel served in various roles, including: Special Assistant to the Director of Peace Corps; Economics Director for Presidential Personnel at the White House; and Deputy White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Raquel currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner for Administration, and previously served as Director of Policy, at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. In her current capacity, Raquel acts as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and directs human resources, personnel, emergency management, internal controls, and IT services for 450 employees across the state. Outside of work, Raquel looks for opportunities to use her experience to support upcoming progressive leaders, communities of color, and young public servants to build a better future for the next generation. She serves as the Marketing Chair for the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy for Public Administration, which promotes excellence in public service and provides professional development and networking for public administrators. Raquel is also a 2018 Fellow with the New Leaders Council, Capital District Chapter and a Class 17 Fellow with the Empire State Agriculture Leadership Institute (LEAD NY). She previously served as the Membership Liaison for the Board of Directors of Latinos44, a professional development association for former Latino-appointees of the Obama Administration. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? My aunt Angie. My mother and I had a falling out when I was in high school and Angie served as my mother-figure after that until she died from Leukemia-related illness in 2009. I had moved away from home for college and my uncle George, his wife, Angie, and their two daughters were the closest relatives at nearly one hour away. They had me over for dinner, game nights, movie nights, and holiday parties. They helped me get an apartment by co-signing as my financial guarantors. But more importantly, they had the longest marriage in my family at 28 years, and they showed me what true love looks like. They were true partners in life and the perfect complements. Angie was strong-willed, opinionated, disciplined, ambitious, and highly organized in her professional life. She was kind, compassionate, empathetic, loving, thoughtful, and optimistic in her personal life. She taught me to go out of your way to support and help those you love and to work hard at keeping meaningful relationships strong, no matter the distance. I try to live my life in a way that would make her proud and let her best qualities live on in me and my cousins. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? I decided at a young age to embrace civic engagement as the vehicle for positive change and I led student volunteer efforts for several political campaigns while in high school. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a U.S. Senator and represent disadvantaged populations in my home state of New Jersey. After two summers with a college prep program for at-risk youth, I decided to attend college in Washington, DC, with a Political Science Major. I went to American University my freshman year, community college for my sophomore year, and finished my last two years at George Mason University and changed my major to Integrative Studies, with a concentration in Community Studies, which uses a more holistic approach of empowering marginalized populations. Over time, my focus has become to inform broad policy development and implementation with the community perspective and interests at the core - I even I wrote my Master’s degree thesis on this concept after working as a community organizer and then presidential appointee in the federal executive branch. My additional education, training, and experience has all been in support of this approach. I am humbled every time I visit my family in Southern New Jersey. My mom still works at a hostess at IHOP with no paid time off and no health insurance, making $12 an hour. At work now, I try to imagine how policies and programs would affect my mom. I try to advocate for her perspective and outcomes that would benefit people like her - because even though she does not live in New York, keeping her in mind at work, ensures I never forget why I chose a life of public service and I never lose my motivation to improve lives for those we represent. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? Puerto Rican Best memory of growing up. Family gatherings at my grandmother's house. The house would be bursting with people: kids running around, dogs barking, TVs on, multiple conversations that sounded like yelling, and laughter piercing through everything. So much laughter. Amid scratch cooking that included catching a chicken outside, there was hilarious story after story of my aunts and uncles in their younger years. They laughed about poverty, discrimination, near-death experiences, and failed relationships because they survived. They laughed at embarrassing moments, times they got each other in trouble, and questionable fashion choices because it was a come-as-you-are acceptance of quirks, faults, and lessons learned. To this day, decades years after my grandmother left that house, years after she died, and with the family largely spread out across the country, Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday because it is the rare occasion everyone makes an effort to come together outside of a funeral. And as I get older, the unconditional love and acceptance one finds in their family becomes more and more important to me. Best memory of a day at school or work. See next question. Best day ever. My best day ever was November 4, 2008: Election Day. Ever since I heard Barack Obama deliver his keynote speech at the 2004 DNC Convention, I knew I wanted him to be my president. While in college, I wrote papers explaining why I supported him and I waited in line for 6 hours after getting off the night shift at work to see him speak. Once he announced his candidacy, I took vacation time from work to volunteer in the New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana primaries before quitting my job to work for his campaign full-time. I had fully invested my emotions in the success of this campaign. I had immersed myself in the community and developed lasting friendships with volunteers. Every night of the general election campaign, I had written a name in the sand for a person whose life I was hoping to improve by working to get Barack Obama elected. When Obama was announced as the next president of the United States, I cried a deep, guttural release. It felt like I had been fighting a spiritual war for the morality of our nation - and I had been on the right side of history! I felt vindicated. It was as if every bad thing I ever made was absolved and my decisions to move across the country and quit my job for the campaign were finally understood and appreciated by my friends and family. Most of all, I had promised the people of Gary, Indiana that all of their time, blood, sweat, and tears the past several months of volunteering when they had no time or money to spare...and it had been worth it. The smiles and tears of happiness on their faces made me feel like a good person for the first time in my life. That night, I thought to myself: I can die happy now no matter what else happens. Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? I graduated from George Mason University in 2007 with a B.A in Integrative Studies (concentration in Community Studies). I gradated in 2012 from a intensive one-year dual Masters program overseas with an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University and an M.A. in Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security from the University of Malta. Best book you ever read. This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin Favorite quote? Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. - Mark Twain Favorite sports team. NY Yankees Favorite song The Sunscreen Song, by Baz Lurhmann Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. As a first-generation college student whose family picked crops and worked in factories for generations, I could never have transcended the familial cycle of teen-pregnancy and poverty without a support network of people who saw my potential. I have been fortunate over the years to befriend wise mentors and supportive colleagues who have been generous with their time and counsel – and I am forever grateful. I almost ruined my life when I was young, but I learned from my mistakes and have made the most of my second chance. I absolutely would not be where I am without the emotional, financial, and professional support of others, especially Latinos - even some who helped me without knowing me. We all need help sometimes - and it is healthy to know when and ask for it. But, remember to pay it forward and help someone else when you have the means - in fact seek out those opportunities.
George Lopez Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions College of St. Rose
How did you get to where you are today? George is from Troy, NY and had the privilege of being raised by two hard working, loving parents who believed that he could achieve anything in the world, despite our circumstances. He was also fortunate enough to have a supportive community, through various non-profit organizations that helped him actualize his ambition, dreams, and talent. He had the opportunity to attend Siena College, where he participated in a community engagement program called the Bonner Service Leaders Program. He served at Green Tech High Charter School for four years as a College Access Coordinator. It was there where he honed in on his leadership skills and delved deeper into his community. In his role at The College of Saint Rose, as well as in other initiatives, it is his passion to provide access to education. He wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for the people who provided access to opportunities, ideas, and passion. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? My parents, I believe that there can be a Netflix series on their lives. As I get older, I am more appreciative of the life lessons that emerged through my childhood. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? Service defined my college experience. I spent four years serving at a local high school, earned a Certificate in Community Development, and learned about community organizing, education systems, and much more. I want to utilize this information to pay it forward. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? Puerto Rican Best memory of growing up. Being around friends and family, running around the neighborhood playing sports. Best memory of a day at school or work. College graduation! Best day ever. A day with good music, friends, and food. Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? Siena College, Creative Arts and Certificate in Community Development Best book you ever read. Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It - Charlamagne Tha God Favorite quote? "Whatever Will Be, Will be";"Que Sera, Sera" Favorite sports team. Brooklyn Nets, New York Yankees Favorite song The World is Yours - Nas Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. Make mistakes, recover, and find happiness where you can.
Justin Robert Luna Manufactuer General Electric
How did you get to where you are today? Staten Island born, I relocated to the Capital District at the age of 10 with my mother Lisa, my sister Lisette, and my brother Alex. As the oldest male in the household, my family has always remained the center of my core values. Prioritizing the welfare of my mother and siblings had hindered my educational path for a period of time, but my GED was obtained in 2010. I chose to expand my job experiences in the retail field until an opportunity opened up for me at General Electric as a Manufacturer working overnights. It's this opportunity that has provided me with the time to expand my experience on the very reason I am here today, giving back to my community and those in need. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? The most influential person in my life by far would have to be my sister, Lisette Luna. Since we were children, she has always played the role of mom for my brother and I while my mother worked to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. The amount of good she has continued to provide for our family and friends without asking anything in return is a true testimony of who she is as a woman and what she stands for. A true inspiration in my book always. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? In a time where I only had experience with retail distributors, General Electric provided me with something new to look forward to. My position challenged me, and also assisted me in building camaraderie with those around me on a daily basis. Building off that camaraderie, I have developed relationships with numerous people through my employer and the union who have shared my vision to help others and more importantly, support the mission no matter the cause. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? I am half Dominican, and half Puerto Rican. Best memory of growing up. My best memory would have to be the day my mother came home on 9/11/2001. She was a banker located at a branch a couple of blocks from the World Trade Center at the time of the terrorist attack. My siblings and I had no way of contacting her, and had went hours without hearing if she was ok. The emotion that ran through my veins when she walked in the door was something I will never forget. We continue to respect, mourn, and pray for those who weren't as fortunate as my family was the day our mom came home. Best memory of a day at school or work. In March of 2017, I clocked into what I thought would be a normal night at work. While I was training for this new position, I spotted something faulty with a 400 ton generator that my team and I were working on. The generator was less than an inch away from falling off its platform, but at the end of the night, it was an overwhelming feeling of happiness knowing that what could have been a disaster ended up a night where everyone went home safe and sound. Best day ever. The best day ever would have to be October 10th, 2018; the day I received a notification that I was chosen as one of the top 40 under 40 Rising Latino Stars in NYS. It served as a reminder of the good that was accomplished, and I find those reminders to be one of the most beneficial thoughts in life that really assist in putting circumstances into perspective. The impact that has been made would not have been possible with the assistance of my best friend, David Ocasio. Best book you ever read. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Favorite quote? "There's beauty in the struggle"- J.Cole Favorite sports team. Boxers Miguel Cotto & Mohammed Ali Favorite song Love Yourz by J.Cole Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. The best advice I could give is to always strive to touch someone's heart, even when no one is looking. The impact you make on others during their dark times could turn out to be the light they need to keep going.
Yessenia Morales Licensed Practical Nurse I Anthem blue Cross Blue Shield and Nurse Connections
How did you get to where you are today? My name is Yessenia Morales and I studied Human Biology at SUNY Albany. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from SUNY Albany my junior year due to medical matters. I am a proud pancreatic cancer survivor and owe my successes to this illness. When I was in the hospital, I realized that the nurses are the ones that guided my recovery. I knew that I wanted to be that day to day support for someone like my nurse once was for me. I enrolled into the Capital Region BOCES adult LPN program. I decided to do the full time accelerated class to guarantee my license in 10 months. I finished that program with high honors. I have worked as an OBGYN/Pediatric nurse at Hometown Health Center. I currently work as a utilization review LPN at Anthem and I work as a traveling LPN through nurse connections. I help facilities all around the capital region who are short staffed. I am currently planning to further my education. The end goal is to be a nurse practitioner. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? The most influential people in my life because I cannot choose just one, are my father Ernesto Morales, my sister Laura Morales and my significant other Luis Gonzalez. They have all succeeded in their career choices and show on an everyday basis what it is to be Latino American. My sister works for Fidelis and she helps poor communities attain affordable health insurance. Most people do not even realize how important it is to have health insurance. She makes sure to educate people on the services that are available to them. My dad own his own business as a jeweler in Amsterdam, NY. He helps sponsors kids sports team in Amsterdam and is well respected within the community. My significant other Luis Gonzalez works at Knoll Atomic Power Plant. He attained his degree from FMCC and SUNY IT. He is originally from Brooklyn, NY. Even though Brooklyn can be a tough environment to grow up in, he has a prime example of succeeding even under the toughest circumstances. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? I always knew I wanted to be in the health care field. I was originally going to school to become a doctor but life had different plans for me. Even though having pancreatic cancer hindered my dream of becoming a doctor, it did not hinder my dream of helping my community. We Latinos need to have access to health care in any language we may speak predominantly. I have helped attain various health education sheets in Spanish for those who do not speak English. I participate in an annual health festival in Schenectady, NY. I am bilingual and use my gifts of two languages to help the community that I live in and neighboring communities as well. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? I am first generation Ecuadorian/Nicaraguan American. My dad is from Cuenca, Ecuador and my mom is from Managua. Nicaragua. Best memory of growing up. One of my best memories growing up has to be when I was in second grade. The school i attended (Elmer Avenue Elementary School) was having a multicultural day. My mom mad papas locas, which is a dish she made frequently at home. Everyone at the school loved the dish and even asked for the recipe. I think it opened my eyes to the possibilities we as Latinos have to educate the world on our beautiful culture. Best memory of a day at school or work. Do I have to choose just one? When you enjoy what you do for a living i think everyday becomes your favorite day. I am blessed to have a career that does not feel like work. I love helping people everyday and I am lucky to fulfilled in that way on a day to day basis. Best day ever. The best day ever comes every year on November 21. That is my anniversary of being cancer-free. I celebrate every year as a rebirth. This year will be my 11th anniversary being cancer free. Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? I attended SUNY Albany with a major in Biology and a minor in anthropology. I attended Capital Region BOCES and was able to get my LPN. As for the rest, to be continued because I am not done yet. Best book you ever read. My favorite book would have to be house of spirits. I had to read it in my Latin American studies class at SUNY Albany and it was such a great book it did not even seem like homework to me. Favorite quote? "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." - Martin Luther King Jr. When I am faced with challenges or when I come across people who do not understand me or my culture i reflect back on this quote. In a world so cruel i choose love always. Favorite sports team. I would have to say any NY team ever!! Favorite song I cannot choose one because my life revolves around music! Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. The message i would share with young Latinos reading my story is no matter what life throws at you, make your dreams come true. You are never too old to make even the youngest of dreams come true. Follow your heart, listen to your elders because they are wise beyond their years and get it done! Si se puede!! :)
Carolina Motter Catarino Student Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineer
How did you get to where you are today? My name is Carolina motter Catarino and I am from Brazil, south America. I have a bachelor’s degree in Engineer of Bioprocess and Biotechnology from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil and a master’s degree from the University of São Paulo on Development of reconstructed skin models as an alternative platform to animal testing for toxicology and efficacy screening of products. In 2015, with the support from the Science without Borders scholarship program from the Brazillian government, I enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. For the past three years I have been working on the development of physiologically relevant skin models using a 3d bioprinting platform. The challenge of my project has been to create a skin model that better mimics the human skin regarding its composition, through the design and optimization of the bioinks, as well as its structure, exploring for such 3d bioprinting techniques. This model will allow us to expand the range of tests that can be done without the use of animals models. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? I have had people that had been very important in different moments of my life. But my father has always been a source of inspiration. He supports all my dreams and has always taught me to work hard to realize them. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? When I was younger my dream was to become a fashion designer. The fashion world has always fascinated me, but I was equally in love with the sciences. When I went to college I made a choice to follow my second passion and went to study Engineer of Bioprocess and Biotechnology. On my third year of college, I had the opportunity to study abroad. I moved to France where I went to college for 6 months and had the opportunity to do an internship of 6 months in L'Óreal. When I started to work for L`Óreal I realized that I could be a scientist and still be connected to the fashion world through the beauty industry. Beyond this realization, I ended up finding my new passion while working for L'Óreal: human reconstructed skin models. During my internship, I learned about this technology that is used as a replacement for animal testing in the cosmetic industry. I loved the science and technology of being able to recreate a human tissue in the lab and also the impact of the application of these models as an alternative to animal tests. And from there my career was clear for me: I wanted to work on the development and application of reconstructed skin models. My Masters and Ph.D. projects were related to this topic and I will seek to keep working on this area on my next career steps. I think my work has a direct impact on society since it involves the development of new technologies that beyond replacing animal testing can also impact the development of skin graft for wound and burn treatment. Also, I believe that as a woman I have the opportunity to inspire other girls to pursue their dreams to become whatever they want, and maybe even a scientist. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? I am from Brazil. Best memory of growing up. Playing with my cousins during Christmas vacation at my grandparent's house in the countryside. Best memory of a day at school or work. The best day during my school years was when I learned that I had been accepted into college. I will never forget the feeling of relief, anxiety, and happiness that I felt when I saw my name on the list of accepted students. I knew that was the beginning of my career and my journey. Best day ever. My best day ever has been the day I started my internship at L'Óreal in Paris. My dream was finally becoming true: I was going to be a scientist and work to make the world a better and more beautiful place. Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineer Best book you ever read. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo) Favorite quote? "Tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo.” Fernando Pessoa Favorite sports team. São Paulo Favorite song Valerie (Amy Winehouse) Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. I don’t believe that there is a formula for success. But for me, becoming who I am and getting where I am now involved hard work, a lot of sacrifices and doing smart choice. I have always worked to achieve my dreams. Sometimes it involved studying of the weekends instead of going to party or going to the lab on a Sunday to do experiments that couldn’t wait. I believe recognition is only gone come if you work for it. Beyond being willing to work for your dreams you need to be willing to make sacrifices. During my career, I moved a few times, and I have spent a lot of time (months and year) away from my family, friends, and boyfriend. In these moments, you need to be strong to remember why these sacrifices are worthy. The third aspect that has been helping me is doing smart choices. You need to seek the right opportunities and build a pathway for yourself. And most important of all, never give up on your dreams.
Stefanny Paniagua-Jones Event Manager Prime Business Dinning
How did you get where you are today? I’ve always been a people person and always wanted to work in a restaurant. I happened to get a job with the University Club in Albany, a popular part time spot for those also working for the Albany School District. I knew I loved working restaurants and events right away. While there, I heard through a friend an opportunity at a big event Mazzone Hospitality needed help for in 2012. Immediately after my first event, I was asked if I wanted to join the team part time and I jumped at the opportunity. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? My father changed my outlook on life. No matter what happened in his life, he never got down. He looked to the future and achieved so many things despite adversity. He kept going when so many others would give up. When he calls me it is like we spoke yesterday despite it sometimes being months gone by. No matter what his situation, he never let that stand in between the love he had for me. What is your Latino Hispanic Heritage – Dominican American. Born in America, raised in Dominican Republic and back and forth for the rest of my life. I started school in the U.S. then returned to Dominican Republic to finish high school. Every year I try to get down there to see family. My kid who only knows English hangs out with kids who only speak Spanish, and they always figure out how to communicate and play together. Full-fledged baseball games, don’t ask me how they figure it all out. Best Memory Growing Up – Holidays in the Dominican Republic, especially Christmas. The celebration continues until January 7th as we celebrate the 3 king’s pilgrimage with great food and family. Everyone looked forward to the 7th when we opened presents like most Americans open on Christmas. Being with family, grandma, uncles, aunts, cousins and of course being off of school with tropical weather. What’s Your Best Day of Work Ever? It was a bridal shower where I got to cater to and meet many of Angelo Mazzone’s family. Angelo Aunt was the sweetest person ever. Kept trying to help us clean, trying to make me eat. Everyone was just so nice. Even though I was working that day, I felt the love they have for each other. Favorite Sports Team? The Partriots and New York Yankees Message you would like to share with young latinos reading your story? Never give up. Work Hard and Stay Humble.
Ruthie Belkis Young Organizer 1199SEIU
How did you get to where you are today? Ruthie Belkis Rueda, born in Methuen, MA on June 17, 1982 daught er of Pedro and Belkis Rueda. Ruthie is a mother to three children Taina, Luis and Ariana. Ruthie Graduated high school in 2000 she then relocated to Amsterdam NY to live with her sister she continued her education at Fulton-Montgomery community college to pursuit a career in Nursing. After she graduated she worked at the former Amsterdam Memorial Hospital during her employment at the hospital she meet Ana, Ana was her Union Rep. Ruthie was so empowered by her Union she decided to become an Activist and help all her co-workers understand the importance of sticking together to get the best contract. After the contract Ruthie notice that she had become a leader of her institution and became a delegate. In 2010 she decided that Nursing wasn't her true calling in life she rather be fighting for social Justice and equality for all New Yorkers. During her career with 1199 she has traveled to numerous states during elections to make sure the right politician where elected. She has also worked with many community organizations such as Centro Civico both in Albany and in Amsterdam. She is very proactive when it comes to public Health she believes every American has the right to clean air and water. Ruthie just recently got married to Todd Young who supports her late nights and working almost every weekend, so she can make a difference in her community or other communities that she severs. Ruthie's main focus today is educating 1199's young members through a program called Purple Gold the objective is to empower them professionally, Politically and socially she believes that if in 2002 one women change her life and educated her to be something bigger than herself she can do the same. Ruthie enjoys teaching her kids about social Justices, equality and Unionism; she brings them to rallies and Marches. Ruthie also enjoys being part of her children's sports games and school events. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? Ana Vasquez has been the most influential person in my life throughout the years she has become like a mother to me she made me realize that this world is bigger then just me, she showed me how to be an advocate for other that I eventually found the strength to be an advocate for myself and it made me who I am today. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? My choice to becoming an 1199 organizer has opened my eyes that my community wasn't the only community that was oppressed and needed change, helping all the community's I serve is very important, the opportunity to help these communities are endless. I have meet many community leaders and churches and theirs so much work to do also having a nursing background helps when it comes to the opioid epidemic which is a big issue in almost every community in the capital region. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? Puerto Rican Best memory of growing up. Being at the Shore and Board walk with my six sisters and 2 brothers Best memory of a day at school or work. when I won best looking for the year book Best day ever. July 22, 2017 was the day I got Married it was the best day ever Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? Northern Essex Community collage _ pre Rexs Fulton Montgomery community college Nursing Best book you ever read. A child called it. Favorite quote? Stand up for what is right, even if your standing Alone!!!! Favorite sports team. Red Sox/ New England Patriots Favorite song Marc Anthony -vivir mi vida Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. to all Latinos reading this its so Important for all of us to stick together no matter if you are Dominican or Puerto Rican or Mexican we are the Majority we can't let our children down we have to let our voices be heard by voting and becoming active in our community and in our schools also just in our everyday day to day activities. We are as powerful as them if we stick together.
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