Elisea O’Donnell of Holland (Lourdes University Diamante Scholarship),
María Symeou of Toledo (Lourdes University Diamante Scholarship),
Owens Community College
Krystel Castilleja of Toledo (Owens Community College Foundation Diamante Latino Scholarship),
Rajesh Felix of Perrysburg (Owens Community College Foundation Diamante Latino Scholarship),
Sarah Felix of Perrysburg (Owens Community College Foundation Diamante Latino Scholarship),
Esperanza Gonzáles of Toledo (Owens Community College Foundation Diamante Latino Scholarship),
Hanna Guerra of Toledo (Owens Community College Foundation Diamante Latino Scholarship).
Diamante Award scholarship recipients also are:
Nichole Plasensio of Toledo (Lourdes student) (PNC Diamante Latino Scholars Fund),
Larry Sloan of Rossford (UT student) (PNC Diamante Latino Scholars Fund), Gina Voltaire of Findlay (Owens student) (PNC Diamante Latino Scholars Fund), Corina Flores of Leipsic (UT student) (Owens Corning Foundation Diamante Latino Scholars Fund),
Diana Lagunovich of Findlay (Owens student) (Owens Corning Foundation Diamante Latino Scholars Fund),
Amparo Pecina of Toledo (Lourdes student) (Owens Corning Foundation Diamante Latino Scholars Fund),
Samantha Berryhill of Toledo (Owens student) (Spanish American Organization Scholarship) and
Dianna Ysasi of Toledo (Owens student) (Spanish American Organization Scholarship).
Diamante Award Recipients
The Diamante Awards from the sponsoring institutions were first presented in 1990 to: Judge Joseph A. Flores, Dr. Thomas López, Hernan Vásquez, Sandy Barrientos, Jesús Güel, and María Güel. The awards were and are selected by a committee representing the four educational institutions and Margarita De León and María González to individuals and organizations in the local Latino community for their outstanding contributions.
Northwest Ohio community leaders and organizations were honored for their achievements and service to the Latino community on Friday, Sept. 14. Diamante Award recipients are chosen based on recognition of exemplary leadership/achievements within the Latino community or community at large, or demonstrated excellence in their fields; dedication and commitment in an ethical and inclusive fashion, and modeling qualities and behaviors of a mentor for youth and the community.
This year, the Diamante Award recipient in the category of Corporate/Community Agency was Nueva Esperanza Community Credit Union (NECCU). The organization was federally chartered in 2010 to provide access to financial service to the largely underserved Latino population of Toledo.
Alberto Serrano-Chávez received his award in the category of Latino Youth Leadership. Serrano-Chavez was born in Logrono, Spain and moved to Ohio at the age of three. He graduated with honors from Maumee High School in 2012. Serrano-Chávez has been involved in community service and leadership, which began with his acceptance into the 2009-10 class of Youth Leadership Toledo. After graduating from Youth Leadership Toledo, he was a two-year member of YIPEE during his junior and senior years in high school. While in YIPEE, he learned about fundraising, grants and non-profit organizations alongside other Youth Leadership Toledo graduates.
Serrano-Chávez, who plans on studying individualized-business with an emphasis on fundraising and a minor in music at Bowling Green State University, wants to help others with the valuable life lessons he has learned and envisions working for Musicians On Call, which is an organization that brings musicians to hospitals so they can perform for people who are too sick to leave their beds.
The recipient of the Diamante Award in the category of Latina Adult Leadership was Cynthia “Cindy” Geronimo of Toledo. Geronimo serves as the Executive Director of the Lucas County Land Bank, whose mission is to preserve property values and strengthen neighborhoods. She is a dedicated public servant who is passionate about making a positive impact in the surrounding communities.
After graduating from Libbey High School, Geronimo enlisted in the 180th Ohio Air National Guard where she served for nine years and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.
She was honorably discharged in 1995 and received several honors including two medals of Honor for Expeditionary Service and Meritorious Service.
Geronimo has served in the community as a past member of several boards such as the City of Toledo Youth Commission, United Way Steering Committee, Diamante Awards, Latino Vote and the Viva South Community Development Corporation. She currently holds board-level membership with ProMedica Insurance Corporation and is a member of the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commissions, Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities and the City of Toledo Board of Community Relations.
The Diamante Award recipient in the category of Latina Adult Professional was Celeste Taylor of Toledo. Upon arriving at EOPA years ago, Taylor began her advocacy for services within the Latino community to include translating all materials into Spanish to provide self-sufficiency opportunities, facilitating Spanish-speaking workshops and raising funds to help children and families receive new clothing for winter and toys for Christmas.
In her quest to ensure that Latinos are treated fairly, Taylor has instituted several procedures and programs to meet their needs. Such efforts include hiring a Bilingual Family Service Worker that provides services to the Latino families in Spanish, securing multiple grants to enhance the lives of area residents and obtaining school supplies, with the help and support of family and friends, for Latino children. Taylor’s dedication and commitment to EOPA goes above and beyond her regular job duties and has had a profound impact on the Latino community and the organization.
This 23rd awards gala was dedicated to the late Alberto Flores, “a dedicated father, husband, teacher, and active member of the Latino community of Northwest Ohio.” He was also the recipient of a 2008 Diamante Award. The Gaala’s keynote speaker was Ursula Barrera-Richards; entertainment was provided by Michael Verbon.