Four finalists have been chosen this year, and each will be honored in their own pregame, onfield ceremony in September. On Saturday, September 26, all four finalists will be recognized prior to the game, followed by the announcement of the overall award winner. Among other benefits, the award winner will receive 2016 Rockies Season Tickets. On behalf of the Colorado Rockies multicultural committee as well as all of the Colorado Rockies department heads, officers and former award winners who participate in this award process each year, we view all four of these finalists as winners and we are indebted to each of them for their tireless work in the Hispanic community.
Laura was raised in Colorado, and currently works as an Assistant Branch Supervisor for FirstBank after holding the position of Hispanic Market Representative for several years. FirstBank is actively involved in the Hispanic community and Laura has expanded that involvement; and even when it is through work, she gets her family involved. As current Board Treasurer for Hispanic Annual Salute, Laura recruited 20-30 family members to support. On her own time and using her 20 years of experience in the financial industry, Laura is a volunteer teacher of financial literacy classes to Spanish speaking adults at Centro San Juan Diego and she is continually inspired by students who finish the classes with the confidence and ability to buy their family's first home. Also at Centro, Laura has been a volunteer instructor since 2012 for ¡Arriba Mi Negocio!, a 10-week program for Hispanic small business owners or prospective owners. Additionally, she is actively involved with Junior Achievement, Las Madrinas, Latinas Honoring Latinas and Family Tree Inc. Over the past two years, Laura has focused much of her spare time on leading a complete overhaul of the Latina Safehouse in order to make it a financially sustainable refuge for victims of domestic violence. Once she was appointed Chair of the Board, she immediately revamped a struggling and disjointed board, grew their fundraising efforts and moved the organization to an improved location and facility, all resulting in being able to help more victims-over 260 women and children last year alone. She is widely credited with leading the way in turning around this important resource for families in the Hispanic community.
Gianina ("Gia") works for The Office of the Independent Monitor, the independent civilian oversight agency for the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments. As the Community Relations Ombudsman, Gia is responsible for community outreach and started a program called "Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops" which aims to proactively improve relationships between youth and law enforcement in Denver by educating officers about adolescent development and de-escalation techniques with youth and educates youth on their rights and responsibilities when in contact with law enforcement. The program, though new, was submitted by the City and county of Denver to President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" Initiative as a program with capacity to provide more opportunities to young men of color. Community outreach at work is just the beginning for Gia. For the past ten years, she has been active in her community in West Denver, participating in electoral politics and building capacity in the Latino community around public policy issues like education and public safety. As a single mother of three adult children, her passion has always been to actively promote local policies that ensure safe neighborhoods and equitable education. To that end, Gia has served on several boards of organizations over the years, including the YESS Institute's peer mentoring program for youth at risk of dropping out of school and the ACCESO Spanish Language Voter Advisory Board.
Tony grew up in Las Animas, a small farm community in southeastern Colorado, and was the first in his family to graduate from high school, going on to obtain his Master's degree. Tony started his 30-year career in Colorado higher education as a custodian, rising to Assistant Vice President at the University of Northern Colorado and holding many other leadership roles at universities in Pueblo and Denver. But it was while he was earning his own degree that a friend asked him to help at a community event and Tony discovered what would become his lifelong passion for community involvement, and he continues to credit other community leaders as his mentors throughout the years. Of the countless events and programs he has volunteered for over the course of his 30-plus years of outreach, two bookends stand out: Tony's 20-year involvement with IMAGE de Denver (Incorporation of Mexican-American Government Employees) was highlighted by chairing the 1997 National Conference for 3,000 attendees, and his nine-year commitment to MYLIFE (Multicultural Youth Leadership Initiative for Excellence) in Pueblo continues to inspire him as he helps engage eighth graders before they make important education and life decisions and his continual effort to assist in raising scholarship funds to support students as they enter higher education. Now living in Pueblo with his wife of 29 years while his two older daughters and eight grandchildren remain in Denver, Tony has been retired from education for two years and he continues to spend his spare time traveling between Pueblo and Denver, volunteering and attending events to support the Hispanic community.
Judge Arguello was born and raised in Colorado and is the mother of four, three of which were adopted. As the eldest daughter of a railroad foreman and barbershop owner, she came from very humble beginnings, but she rose to accomplish many firsts: first Latina from Colorado to attend Harvard Law School, first Hispanic to be named partner at one of the "big four" Colorado law firms and ultimately, first Hispanic judge of the U.S. District Court of Colorado, among other firsts. Arguello has always had a passion for imparting the importance of education to achieve dreams no matter your situation, and after years of speaking engagements at schools and mentoring youth in her spare time, she realized it was not enough. And along with continuously hearing Colorado law firms complain about the difficulty of finding diverse talent in the state, Arguello was inspired to create "Law School, Sí Se Puede" two years ago to provide real-world guidance to underserved high school and college-bound students that are mostly Latino, but all youth in need of a more level playing field are welcome. Arguello enlisted more than 80 local lawyers at various points in their careers as well as various non-profits to help find and mentor mostly first-generation high school and college students, requiring them to commit to four years of active participation in the program, including taking bimonthly classes on everything from study habits to networking to law school admissions. In only its second year, the program has almost 30 fellows and 100 mentors, and as the first of its kind in the country, "Law School, Sí Se Puede" is elevating the state's diverse talent pool and taking substantial steps toward changing the face of the Colorado bar.
Come out and support the finalists on Saturday, September 26, 2015 with this great ticket special
If you have any questions, please contact Erin Shneider at (303) 292-0200 or Erin.Shneider@rockies.com