Union Bank & KPBS Honor Hispanic Heritage Month Local Heroes

Editor’s Note: I couldn’t embed the videos, but you can watch them here: http://www.kpbs.org/cultural-diversity-project. They are good!

As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Union Bank, N.A., has partnered with KPBS to celebrate local heroes who are making a difference to enrich the lives of others. The honorees are announced as part of the ongoing 2011 Cultural Diversity Partnership, which recognizes and pays tribute to 16 local heroes from eight diverse areas who are making a difference by improving their workplace, profession, neighborhood, community, region, and the world. The 2011 Hispanic Heritage Month honorees are Richard Nares and Rachel Ortiz.

The 2011 honorees for Hispanic Heritage Month are:

Richard Nares is the executive director of the Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF), which he founded along with his wife Diane in 2003 after losing their son Emilio to leukemia. Mr. Nares turned the tragic experience into a program that assists children fighting cancer throughout Southern California. Under his direction, the Emilio Nares Foundation serves as a resource center providing various community services including transportation, healthy meals, financial assistance and staffing for two Family Resource Centers at Rady Children’s Hospital. The foundation has received numerous awards, including the 2009 Charitable Partner of the Year by the Ronald McDonald Charities of San Diego, and the E. Lee Walker Imagination Award sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Rachel Ortiz is the founder and director of Barrio Station, a youth program that saves the lives of thousands of troubled young people by offering them alternatives to delinquency. Ms. Ortiz lives her life with a passion for justice and a commitment to youth advocacy. After working with the United Farm Workers, she became a counselor for an in-school youth program and in 1970 she founded Barrio Station, which has been widely recognized by the community and by local government as a powerful advocate and safe haven for youth. Ms. Ortiz is a recipient of numerous awards, including the César Chávez Humanitarian Award, California Legislature’s Women of the Year and the Aztec Achievement Award.

Honorees have been identified during Black History Month (February); Women’s History Month (March); Jewish American Heritage Month (May); Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month (June); and will also be identified during Disability Awareness Month (October) and Native American Heritage Month (November). The year-long celebration of diversity will culminate in February 2012, at an event where recipients will be formally recognized as part of the 14th Annual Local Heroes Awards, which Union Bank sponsors.

Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KPBS will air video profiles of the honorees, highlighting how they made a difference in their community. The spots can also be viewed on the Web at www.kpbs.org/heroes. For more information on the Local Heroes Awards, please also visit unionbank.com/heroes.