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May 19, 2013 - Centro San Juan Diego Las Madrinas 9th Annual Tribute

What: Honoring individuals and organizations integral to the Centro San Juan Diego Bienestar program

Where: Centro San Juan Diego, 2830 Lawrence St., Denver

When: Sunday, May 19, 2013

Time: 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $75 per person

Beneficiary: Bienestar Family Services program at Centro San Juan Diego

Host(s): Executive Director Luis Soto & Director of Bienestar Family Services program, Sister Alicia Cuaron

Mistress of Ceremonies: Ana Cabrera / KMGH/ The Denver Channel 7NEWS anchor

Honoree(s): Diana Chavez: La Madrina Award; Martha Ruschival: El Corazon Award; KDEN/Telemundo: El Rebozo Award; Christian Legal Society of Metro Denver: La Estrella Award

Gala Chairperson(s): Chair: Danita Vigil & Co-Chair: Marisol Villagomez

Executive Director: Luis H. Soto

Invocation: Monsignor Jorge De los Santos

Welcome: Luis H. Soto

Catering: Paxia Authentic Mexican Cuisine

Entertainment: El Sistema Colorado

Sponsors: Title Sponsor: State Farm, Media Sponsor: Telemundo Denver, First Bank, Wells Fargo, The Colorado Trust, Sisters of St. Francis, AARP, Aguilar PR, Bank of Colorado, DRG Construction, ECONCITY.NET, The Powder Room, Sienna National Title Agency, Solera National Bank, Denver Health

Auctioneer: Jesse Ogas, Vice President of Social Responsibility for Firefly Autism

Quote of the evening: "We are not a problem to solve; we are an asset to the community." - Luis Soto

Menu: Broiled chicken breast topped with rajas, caramelized onion and crema de poblano with garlic mashed potatoes

Attendance: 250

Attire: Business casual

Special Thanks: Artists Clarissa Fierro and Francisco Romero

Donors: Colorado Rockies, Investment Property Exchange Services, Society for the Mutual Protection of United Workers (SPMDTU), City & County of Denver Office on Aging

Planning Committee: Luci Aandahl, Timi Aguilar, Alexis Anderten, Dana Frerich, Rita Flores de Wallace, Ray Garcia, Sr, Esther Luben, Loretta Martinez, Jordan McGregor, Patty Mejia, Laura Morales, Romaine Pacheco, Dora Valdez

Steering Committee: Angela Davidson, Jim Davidson, Maria Gonzales, Elizabeth Muñoz, Djamilia Ricciardi

Blacktie Photos by: Lorenzo Chavez

 Centro San Juan Diego Executive Director Luis Soto with award winner Martha Ruschiva
Centro San Juan Diego Executive Director Luis Soto with award winner Martha Ruschiva

Nearly 250 guests gathered at Centro San Juan Diego for the 9th Annual Las Madrinas Tribute honoring four outstanding community leaders that have contributed to the safety and enrichment of the Hispanic community through Denver Catholic Archdiocese programs. The event of Las Madrinas (The Godmothers) honors an individual's personal dedication and devotion "to nurture and ensure the personal and spiritual development of another individual."
For Sister Alicia Cuarón, Director of the Centro's Bienestar Family Services, it's an acknowledgement of Centro's work year-round, which includes help for low-income, Spanish-speaking individuals and families through education, legal services, leadership and small business skills.

Present were several generations of movers and shakers including long-time Hispanic community advocates Dora Valdez, Flo Lovato, Patricia Barela Rivera; as well as Juana Bordas of the Circle of Latina Leadership; Yolanda Quezada, director of the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado; and local artists Rita Wallace de Flores and Clarissa Fierro. Kudos went to Centro San Juan Diego staff Jennie Marquez and Wendy Feliz; Event Chair Danita Vigil and Co-Chair Marisol Villagomez; and planning committee members Timi Aguilar, Alexis Anderten, Dana Frerich, Jordan McGregor, Laura Morales and many other hardworking volunteers who ensured the event's success.

After the invocation by Monsignor Jorge De los Santos, Mistress of Ceremonies 7News anchor/reporter Ana Cabrera guided the luncheon program while Cuarón and Centro Director Luis Soto presented awards featuring a visit by Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez.

In his presentation Soto drew laughter for reciting a popular Hispanic nursery rhyme emphasizing health and a better tomorrow. Centro, he said, provides education, small business training, and spiritual care support to some 30,000 people every year.

"Latinos are not a problem to be solved or a challenge," Soto said. "We are an asset to the community."

The silent auction--dubbed "Lena’s Mercadito Auction"-- was named in honor of the late Lena Archuleta, Denver community activist, a founding member of Las Madrinas Tribute, and long-time Denver Public Schools educator. The live auction was a spirited success thanks to Jesse Ogas, Vice President of Social Responsibility for Firefly Autism. Children musicians from La Sistema de Colorado entertained the crowd with unique musical numbers.

Diana Chavez was honored with The Madrina Award for more than 14 years of service to the Bienestar program, including volunteerism for the annual toy drives, fundraisers and Senior Health Fair. Currently a student at the University of Denver Women's College, she has also served as interim director of the Latina Safehouse.

Martha Ruschival, RN, BSN, executive director of The Urology Center of Colorado / TUCC Foundation, was honored for devoting her energies to the annual Senior Health Fair, including free blood screenings to detect diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cancer.

Maria Valdez accepted the Estrella Award on behalf of the Christian Legal Society of Metro Denver, while the Rebozo Award was presented to Adrianna Muro and Andres Chaparro of KDEN/ Telemundo.

"The Las Madrinas Tribute was a wonderful success," said Centro San Juan Diego Director of Operations Jennie Marquez. "We were especially happy to acknowledge four wonderful individuals and organizations for the continuous support and encouragement to bring services and provide tremendous educational opportunities to the adult Spanish speaking community, from learning to read and write to acquiring a bachelor’s degree."

Next year Las Madrinas Tribute will celebrate its 10th anniversary. For more info visit

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