Page 1

WINTER 2017

Celebrating Success

SPRING 2014

Celebrating

Success

Michael Santos VISUALIZE. PLAN. EXECUTE.


In a world full of attractions we are lost searching for identity. In a distant border village, a forgotten ancient nation will embrace you with its everlasting generosity and pure kindness.

OUR TEA UNFOLDS AN AMAZING STORY.

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VISIĂ“N | WINTER 2017


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“EDUCATION  IS  OUR  FREEDOM  A ND  F REEDOM  SHOULD  BE  EVERYBODY’S  BUSINESS”  

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VISIÓN | contents 

VISION

Celebrating Success contents M

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DEPARTMENTS From the Publishers...........................9 Welcome.........................................10 Legal Insights..................................26 Education........................................32

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Medical............................................34 People and Events...........................42 Meet Our Writers.............................48

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contents | VISIÓN

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FEATURE STORY From Vision to Reality: A Look Through the Years.........................................12 CULTURE Compassion Has No Political Affiliation........................18 TRIBUTE A Tribute to Sonia Garcia Jimenez......................20 AUTHOR Make your Empanada and eat it too!..................................24 BUSINESS Rainforest Ancient Chinese Tea.....................................28 ARTS Central California’s Cultural Casa de Arte......................38

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The Community Hospice Difference... Our medical team includes a Medical Director experienced in hospice and palliative care and multiple Associate Medical Directors Comprehensive support for patients and families Admissions 7 days a week, 365 days a year Alexander Cohen Hospice House, a 16-bed hospice inpatient facility Attend a free seminar to gain resources and practical information for yourself or to help you become a better caregiver. To register, visit hospiceheart.org or call 209.578.6300.

Planning Financially for the Future February 8 - MODESTO February 9 - STOCKTON

March 8 - TRACY March 9 - TURLOCK

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2431 W. March Lane • Suite 100 Stockton, CA 95207 209.477.6300

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visión staff PUBLISHERS

Fred Bigler and Christine S. Schweininger

DESIGN & LAYOUT

SALES

Delvisa DiDomenico

Sally Serrano

HEALTH & WELLNESS Joseph Hernandez, Ph.D.

LEGAL INSIGHTS Janell Freeman Somera

EDUCATION Eddie Garcia

MEDICAL Kimberley Cockerham MD

4368 Spyres Way Modesto, CA 95356 209.578.6300

Z

PHOTOGRAPHERS Genevieve Baltierra-Einwalter Dave Barrios Miguel Buenrostro Jennifer Hidalgo Jose Posadas Vaun Schweininger Tim Tafolla

INTERNS Elizabeth Ramirez Vaun Schweininger

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Xavier Huerta Matthew Harrington Rodney Cordova Venus E. Whitted David Fauria Arlene Galindo Esmeralda Gomez-Cruz Jennifer Hidalgo Jennifer Ramirez Rangel Vanessa Parra Jose Posadas Rochelle Marapao

DESIGNER Virgil Madrid

DISTRIBUTION Dieter Schweininger Linda Sandoval Sally Serrano

Visión Magazine is published four times a year.

VISIÓN MAGAZINE 4120 Dale Road, Suite J8-175 • Modesto, CA 95356 Comments: cschweininger@ourvisionmagazine.com www.visionmagazine.us

Visión Magazine assumes no responsibility and makes no recommendation for claims made by advertisers and shall not be liable for any damages incurred. © Copyright 2012-2015. Visión Magazine All rights reserved. Cover and content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the Publisher.

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from the publishers | VISIÓN

Spirit, Integrity, and Inspiration VISIÓN MAGAZINE IS CELEBRATING five years of publication. This anniversary issue highlights some of the stories that we have published, as we look back on some of our favorite stories and articles. We hope that we have been true to our mission statement, that of sharing inspirational stories in education, business, community leadership and the arts, along with celebrating the rich heritage and culture. This anniversary issue also serves the opportunity to share with you the special

Photo by Diana Hansen

news that this will be our concluding issue of Visión magazine. We have been honored to have had the privilege of sharing good news of what has been going on in the Latino community these past years. We believe we have accomplished the goal of our mission statement and have begun a good work that may inspire others to take up the challenge and continue where Visión magazine left off. One of Visión magazine’s main themes has been to emphasize the need to bring people of all backgrounds together and to encourage everyone to aspire to exemplary character and contribute to the best interest of others. This theme was also echoed at the El Concilio Gala event at the Del Rio Country Club on October 7, where our CEO Christine Schweininger, received the 2016, Amiga of the Year award. It was written of Christine in the El Concilio brochure that “With a keen understanding of people and a spirit based upon respect, Christine has always found her strength in the forces that bring us together, and eschewing those that seek to divide.” It is hoped that Visión magazine has had a part in bringing us together and encouraging all of us to see the

in making Visión magazine a community success. A big thanks to all for their support and contribution. Also, we must recognize our dynamic CEO/ publication Director, Christine Schweininger, for her vision, energy and creativity that has made this magazine the success that it has been. Fortunately, we will continue to see Christine as she will continue to lead the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as President; be sure to greet her with a friendly hello and thank her for her hard work. Also, this issue will feature the story about her exciting trip to China and the new business opportunity she is engaged in. A big thanks to our advertisers who have make this magazine possible. Without their help this magazine would not have been possible. In closing, we would be remiss if we failed to thank you, our Visión magazine readers, who have faithfully supported our efforts to bring forth a magazine of integrity, dedicated to the Latino community; we salute you. Sincerely,

best in others. Visión magazine has been blessed with many outstanding

FRED BIGLER

CHRISTINE SCHWEININGER

Publisher

Publication Director/CEO

staff members, writers, photographers, and board members, who have volunteered their time and talent VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

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VISIÓN | welcome

Welcome

Dr. Ellen N. Junn Visión magazine welcomes Dr. Ellen Junn as the 11th president of California State University, Stanislaus. Dr. Junn succeeds Dr. Joseph F. Sheley who retired in June of 2016. Dr. Junn is widely published and has written professional articles on topics such as the success of underserved students, especially women and minorities. Visión magazine believes Junn is the ideal choice to lead Stanislaus State in supporting all students in achieving a higher education and successful employment in the Central Valley. Junn understands the challenges of minority students as she is of Asian background and is only one of four Asians to serve as President in the California State University system. “I look forward to coming back to the Central Valley and am honored to have the opportunity to work alongside the many dedicated

CSU, serving for the last 25 years in various teaching and

faculty and staff who guide students along that journey and

leadership positions at five CSU campuses. Prior to her

prepare them for achievements beyond the classroom.”

appointment as President she served as provost and vice

California State Trustee Hugo N. Morales, chairman of the selection committee, said Junn’s visionary leadership and experience made her an ideal candidate. “As a higher

president for Academic Affairs at CSU Dominguez Hills, where she was responsible for five academic colleges and six Academic Affairs units with more than 835 faculty.

education veteran who has held leadership positions at

Our new Stan State President has earned a reputation

multiple CSU campuses, Dr. Junn is an accomplished

for supporting the success of minority students, women

and visionary leader who understands the importance of

and other under-served students. She was instrumental in

partnering with faculty, the campus community and external

establishing the African American Student Success program,

stakeholders to bolster educational opportunities for

the Hispanic Student Success task force, the Women’s

students. She has a long history of always putting students

Campus Connection and the Asian Faculty and Staff

first, and has expertise in working to increase academic

Association in the CSU system. The appointment of Dr. Junn

achievement among students from minority communities.

reflects Chancellor Timothy P. White’s interest in hiring more

She is skilled at connecting campus, organizational and

diverse personnel in the CSU system .

political leaders to higher education.”

Visión magazine congratulates the CSU trustees for their

Ellen Junn holds a bachelor’s degree in experimental and

excellent choice of Dr. Junn for president of Stanislaus State.

cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan, where

Stan State has over 48 percent enrollment of Latinos, of

she graduated cum laude. She earned both a master’s and

which the majority are first generation students. Dr. Junn’s

Ph. D. in cognitive and developmental psychology from

appointment is a recognition of the importance of educating

Princeton University. Junn built her academic career at the

all students. 

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


Medi-Cal at 50 + HPSJ at 20 As Doors Swing Open, HPSJ & Partners Still Team Up to Walk Through Since our 1996 founding, Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ) – staff and governing commission together – have been having a 20-year conversation with our community. During these eventful 20 years, HPSJ has delivered access to hands-on, high-touch, quality health care for our diverse Central Valley communities.

with each of the members who have selected HPSJ as their “plan of choice” in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. We may be in uncertain times, but of this we absolutely are confident: Our mission and community-anchored values will continue to guide us. Last year, we celebrated Medicaid’s 50th anniversary, the groundbreaking federal idea from President Lyndon Johnson that all Americans should have access to quality health care. Every real game-change starts with a vision, and there it was. A year later, in 1966, California was among the first ten states to implement Medicaid, what we call Medi-Cal. Happy 50th Medi-Cal!

This two-way conversation has made it possible for HPSJ to go beyond access to quality health care. We continue to create special programs that address conditions increasingly troubling our community. Here are two examples where HPSJ-organized programs can help patients with confusing and hard to manage conditions: • Living With Diabetes – where our health care team supports self-management through timely tests (such as vision and blood readings), information and encouragement.

• HPSJ Collaborative Asthma Control Improvement Plan – where HPSJ medical and pharmacy staff team up with local pharmacists and doctors to make sure HPSJ patients are getting their prescriptions filled consistently and on time – before there’s a crisis! HPSJ reaches out with culturally sensitive materials and resources, including our multilingual website, https://miembros.hpsj.com/. Our Outreach and Customer Service teams support our members in area languages such as Spanish and Khmer. We regularly sponsoring community events, such as Binational Health Fairs and Cinco de Mayo . Our staff and many of our doctors mirror of our rich cultural diversity. Our just-published Community Report highlights HPSJ’s recent efforts in the pursuit of our mission, and serves as a reminder of our commitment to those we serve. Our achievements in these past 20 years reflect the partnerships that have been built and nurtured with area physicians, hospitals and health care leaders, community stakeholders, and especially

By 1996, the people of San Joaquin County were ready to support accelerated local progress. So that our residents would be in a stronger position to take full advantage of Medi-Cal expansions, so that we could strengthen our health care infrastructure, and so that we could leverage limited resources to improve the overall viability of our region – 20 years ago, HPSJ was founded by county leaders as a managed care, not-forprofit Medi-Cal plan. Today, with implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, one in three Californians participates in Medi-Cal; nearly one-third of San Joaquin County residents are HPSJ members; and over one-in-four Stanislaus County residents are covered by HPSJ. Medi-Cal, and all of its innovations and enrollment expan-sions over the decades are how it became possible for HPSJ to provide growing access to quality care, and to keep making gains. There now are over 345,000 HPSJ members in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. Thanks to the latest innovation by California’s elected leaders, all children in economic need are now eligible for Medi-Cal coverage. Whether taking note of the 50th anniversary of Medi-Cal, or HPSJ’s 20th, we are heading in the right direction, toward health care justice. Because we are in very good company, we are far more likely to achieve our mission: To provide health care value and advance wellness through community partnerships. ......................................................................................................................

Amy Y. Shin is the chief executive officer of Health Plan of San Joaquin. To see the new HPSJ Community Report, visit their website at https://www.hpsj.com/about-us/.

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

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VISIÓN | feature

From Vision to Reality:

A Look Through the Years BY JENNIFER HIDALGO

IN THE MIDST OF GREAT DIVIDE IN OUR COUNTRY AND THE HATE WE’VE SEEN COME forth in the past few years, more and more individuals are looking for that beacon of light shining through the negativity. Five years ago, Visión Magazine sought to be that beacon. By focusing on inspirational stories featuring Latinos in business, education, community leadership and the arts, Visión’s mission has been to present the community articles that highlight positive, inspiring stories of individuals and organizations making a difference in our communities. The magazine’s inaugural issue included a note from Visión’s publisher, Fred Bigler, highlighting Visión’s purpose: “Living in a society daily barraged by news emphasizing human failure, Visión Magazine will shed light on the pathway to success and inspire us to see and believe the best in ourselves and in others. Visión Magazine will report events, activities and the achievements of Latinos, who through perseverance and faith, have achieved success in both big and small ways, and have inspired all of us to a better life.” Visión Magazine set out to inspire the community with articles which focused on the positive aspects of humanity, and the community promptly took notice. George Eliot, once wrote that, “It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.” Visión then decided to begin planting “roses” for the past five years, and continues to spread positivity within our communities. Looking back through past issues really solidifies Visión’s place within our communities. Let’s look back through some of our most memorable stories. 12

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


From our inaugural issue Winter of 2013

From Hardship to Success This story looks at the life of Arturo “Art” Lewin. A poor Chilean immigrant who through immense drive and hard work became one of the most famous clothiers in the United States. After immigrating to reunite with his parents, Lewin had to learn English and acclimate to a new culture. Following his parent’s divorce, he decided to drop out of college to help his family make ends meet, which is when he discovered he was very talented at sales. By the age of 20, he was the top producer nationwide for a Fortune 500 company. At age 22, he was introduced to the custom clothing business and has not looked back since. Arturo Lewin founded Executive Clothiers, one of the leading custom clothiers in the country, 20 years after immigrating from Chile; proving that discovering and nurturing your given gifts, coupled with a strong work ethic, produces success. Summer 2013

A Survivor and True Warrior by Julianne Bigler Winter 2013 - Art Lewin

This amazing story about the resiliency of the human spirit and the will to succeed looks at the incredible life of Tamara Mena. A Mexican immigrant from Leon Guanajuato, Mena arrived in the United States at the age of 13 with her mother. After working hard to achieve scholastic success, she planned to attend San Diego State to major in international business and hotel management. It wasn’t until October 2005 that Mena’s life would suffer a heartbreaking blow. What was supposed to be a fun night out turned into a nightmare as a car accident killed the cab driver and her boyfriend instantly, and rendered her a paraplegic. How she handled her life after this accident is nothing short of remarkable. Calling herself a survivor, positivist, enthusiast, and an eternal optimist, Tamara Mena turned a horrific tragedy into an “incredible journey of honor, inspiration, and immeasurable value.” Mena is now a motivational speaker, host, model, and representative for the innovative company Ekso Bionics. Mena’s life journey is certainly a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and of what can be achieved if we can only believe. VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

Summer 2013 - Tamara Mena Photo provided by Mark Verschelden Photography

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VISIÓN | feature Summer 2014

Building Homes, Strengthening Communities by Matthew Harrington This story focuses on Carol Ornelas, the CEO of Visionary Home Builders, a wonderful organization focusing on affordable housing within our community. Ornelas, a 30-year veteran of the construction and development industry transformed Visionary Home Builders from a grassroots organization to a corporation seeking to help those who most need it. She grew up watching her mother, a single parent, experience the difficulties in Summer 2013 - The Language Institute

Photos provided by Language Institute

finding safe, affordable housing. This left a lasting impression on her, and coupled with

Summer 2013

her love of construction and building, led her down the path

Making a Difference

of housing development. A self-taught student, Ornelas

by Julianne Bigler

learned how to read blue prints and finance properties on

This story highlights Modesto City School’s Language

her own. She not only learned, but excelled. This in spite of

Institute (LI), “an English immersion program for 7th through

growing up experiencing many challenges, including one

12th graders new to U.S. schools.” Beginning in 2009, this

stemming from traditional gender roles within the Hispanic

amazing program was instituted to help underperforming

Community. Today, Carol Ornelas continues to fight for

English learners succeed academically. This diverse

affordable housing, and although there is tough road ahead,

program educates around 150 students from 26 countries

she believes she has changed the face of what affordable

speaking fourteen different languages. Since its inception,

housing should look like, and will continue to fight for those

test scores have improved, graduation rates have risen,

who often have no voice.

and program graduates are pursuing post-secondary education. The program model is now being shared with other school districts. “Modesto City Schools truly have undertaken its motto to present “a diploma in every hand,” but the opportunities the LI opens for its students go far beyond graduating from high school.” With amazing programs such as these, we can help educate our youth, and in turn, uplift our communities.

“Just picked up my copy today. Very nice to see so many positive Latinos and Latinas celebrated in our community. Wonderful magazine. Thank you.” — Zenet Negron Summer 2014 - Carol Ornelas

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


job at IBM and subsequently earned a Master’s Degree.” She raised her children with a passion and thirst to succeed. Her four children were exposed to her activist involvement in the Latino Community, which in turn influenced their career choices. All four children earned bachelor’s and graduate degrees from top tiered universities and now contribute to the advancement of their communities. This story truly highlights that we’re able to overcome naysayers and break cycles of negativity in order to succeed. Winter 2015

Faith and Hope Photo by Miguel Buenrostro

Winter 2015 - Gutierrez family

by Eddie Garcia This story takes us through Professor Socorro

Winter 2015

“Soco” Castañeda-Liles’ journey. As a young girl living in

Super Mom. Super Family. This story takes us through the life of Josie Gutierrez and the amazing family she raised. Gutierrez grew up during the Leave to Beaver era, which meant she often heard a college education was a waste of time for a woman and her only purpose should be to marry and have children. “Instead of succumbing to the expectations for women back then, she defied the odds and…landed a plumb

Juarez Mexico, which continues to be ground zero for the drug cartel wars, her future was filled with uncertainty. It was with great sorrow and dreams of a better future for their daughters that Socorro’s parents made the “heartwrenching decision to send…Soco and her…sister Lorena with an aunt and uncle” to the United States. After arriving in San Jose, Soco “found a home in the church community.” And through this community and Father Mateo, its leader, she rose to become an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at SCU. Through faith and hard work she showed the world that circumstances can be overcome.

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read Visión magazine. What a great magazine! The stories were so touching and well done. I just wanted to say how proud I am of you.” — Christine Nutting Deputy Director of Business Services, HR and Organizational Development Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board Photo by Roberto Castañeda Jr.

Winter 2015 - Socorro “Soco” Castañeda-Liles

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

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VISIÓN | feature Fall 2015

Let Them Go Away to College by Eddie Garcia This story chronicles Eddie’s experience with his daughter, Erica, and her college dreams. Education was always at the forefront of Eddie’s family and his daughters were told their hard work would be coupled with their support to attend any college they wanted. Eddie and his wife Sandra have spent their careers encouraging Latino students and their families to get a college education. “Latino parents are reluctant to allow their kids to stray far from home, especially girls.” Eddie thought this was “hogwash.” It wasn’t until Erica disclosed she was debating between attending school in L.A. or New York that the resistance began. It was difficult for Eddie and Sandra to realize they were afraid of the unknown, but in the end decided to “walk

Fall 2015 - Eddie Garcia

Photo provided by Eddie Garcia

the talk” and they supported their daughter’s decision to

Autobiography, From Stilettos to the Stock Exchange: Inside

attend school in New York. Eddie and Sandra “will continue

the Life of a Serial Entrepreneur, Aldatz shares how she took

to encourage other Latino parents to allow their children to

a personal tragedy and turned it into her destiny. During her

follow their dreams, even if that means going afar to study.

interview, she shared one big takeaway: “The main thing I like

We can now do so with the compassion that only a parent

to say is that regret is a killer. Taking a chance and failing is

can understand.” Because education is important, and so

better than never taking a chance. At the end of the day, what

is family support.

do you really have to lose?”

Winter 2016

Spring 2016

Woman of Passion and Determination

Myla’s Story by Jose Posadas

by Venus Esparza

This story takes us on a journey through a family’s tragedy

This wonderful story

and their fight through adversity. We follow Myla, who was 6

of overcoming cyclic

months old when she, “suffered a rare form of asphyxia that

family circumstances

left her without oxygen to her brain for nearly 40 minutes.”

attests to the power

Myla survived thanks to her mom’s quick response and

of determination.

many acts of kindness that followed. She was resuscitated

A self-made Latina

at the hospital but suffered permanent damage to her brain

entrepreneur, Tina

and was later diagnosed with a severe case of cerebral

Aldatz, “first made her

palsy. “Life for the Carbajal family, who would later welcome

mark on the world as

a third daughter…into the fold, is that of a family that has

the founder of Foot

experienced great hardship but also great love and support

Petals, a revolutionary

from their community as they deal with caring for Myla.”

line of designer insole

Although it is challenging to care for special needs children,

cushions for women’s

“The Carbajals have found their strength not in spite of but

high heels.” Although Aldatz grew up in a volatile and unstable

rather as a result of this unexpected challenge…For Molly

home, she decided her circumstances would not define her.

and Frank, it has meant a new life as mentors to other

She took her love of fashion and turned it into a career. In her

families who also have special needs children.”

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


As we look back through past issues, it becomes apparent why the community embraced Visión. Currently, Visión’s Facebook Fan Page has over 2,500 likes, and that number continues to rise as the magazine’s reach continues to expand. Visión receives great community feedback regularly, like that of Fabian Valdivia through Facebook:

Spring 2016 - The Carbajals family

Photo provided by the Carbajal family

Summer 2016

A Tribute to Joe Hernandez by Craig Hunnel This tribute to one of Visión’s own advisory board members,

“I had the pleasure of recently meeting Josie Gutierrez, featured in your Winter Edition cover story, and reconnected with Dr. Soco Castañeda-Liles, also featured, and I truly loved reading about their paths to success. Thank you Visión Magazine for finding those stories which show the whole picture of our communities. I look forward to reading the next edition.”

chronicled Joe Hernandez’ legacy. Joe embraced his life with the dignity and honor that even casual acquaintances would sense that this was Summer 2016 - Dr. Joe

more than just a contact

or colleague; he was a man who could and did make

As we come to celebrate Visión Magazine and its place in our communities, we cannot forget to recognize and thank all the individuals involved in making this magazine a reality. Without the team members, designers, contributing writers, editors, interns and photographers; this magazine would not exist. Thank you to all who contribute to this magazine, as it is a labor of love for all those involved.

a difference whenever possible. Growing up as part of

Finally, we must thank Fred Bigler and Christine Schweininger

an itinerant farming family, Joe grew up to earn PhD in

for their vision of a more joyful and positive community. In

psychology where he worked with many in the mental

Visión’s inaugural issue, Fred outlined his and Christine’s

health and family health industry. Joe and his wife spent the

hopes for the magazine: “Our hope is that as you read the

last 20 years training others in the Family Wellness Program.

stories of people possessing personal vision you will be

He was well respected in the community and touched many

inspired to reach for a vision for your life; that you will discover

lives. As his wife Michelle put it, “Joe will be missed by

a grander purpose in your daily activities, transforming the

everyone who knew him. We were fortunate to have him in

humdrum to a better day every day…and encouragement to

our lives for so many years. He was a very special person.”

accept the challenge of fulfilling your dreams.”

The author of this tribute highlighted Joe’s amazing life, “There is so much more to say that this is a mere glimpse into the life and legacy of Joe Hernandez, who left at the

Thank you Visión Magazine for making a difference in our communities... and highlighting so many wonderful and

age of sixty-seven.” Joe was a valued member of the

positive stories.  .............................................................................................

community and will be missed, may he rest in peace.

*If you’re interested in reading past issues, please visit www.visionmagazine.us

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

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VISIÓN | culture

Compassion Has No Political Affiliation BY XAVIER HUERTA

THE DEFINITION OF A REFUGEE WAS DEVELOPED

According to current statistics from the State Department,

by the United Nations in 1951 following World War II. It

the U.S. government accepts thousands of refugees

is as follows: “a person, owing to well-founded fear of

each year and provides cash, medical and housing rental

being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality,

assistance to them through nonprofit resettlement agencies.

membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former

The number of refugees accepted (which is set annually by the president) reached a peak of 142,000 during the Balkan wars in 1993. It was 80,000 between 2008 and 2011, dropped to 76,000 in 2012 and has been at 70,000 since 2013.

habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or,

During the current fiscal year, the U.S. plans to accept

owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.” In brief, it is

110,000 refugees, with only a small portion of that number

a person who fears for their personal safety based on the

coming from Syria, hardly scratching the surface of the more

condition of their home country. Often the misconception

than four million Syrians displaced by war since 2011. There

has been that a refugee is merely an immigrant looking for

are currently 20 million people classified as refugees out of

opportunity in a “free” country. A refugee is, in fact, seeking

65 million people who have been displaced by violence in

to stay alive.

their home country. It is often believed that those who enter the United States under these conditions present a threat to our nation’s security. It might then surprising to some to know that since 2001, 800 thousand refugees have been

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resettled in the U.S. and NONE of this number has been

Lori Aderholt, Executive Director of Modesto World Relief,

convicted of an act of terrorism.

emphasizes the struggle of displacing one’s own family.

The screening process: which involves the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the

“Who would voluntarily leave their home country and take their family to another country merely to start over? Many would choose not to leave, but are leaving for the chance

State Department and Defense Department, is rigorous,

to save themselves, as well as their immediate family. They

screening the millions of foreign visitors and thousands of

often leave extended family behind.” She goes on to say that

foreign students who come to the U.S. each year (most

we must consider what is being given up, and help nurture a

refugees are referred to the U.S. by the United Nations High

culture of “welcoming the stranger.” “We must put ourselves

Commissioner for Refugees).

in their shoes and show true empathy.” World Relief works

The World Relief organization, which has local offices in Modesto, has resettled more than a quarter of a million refugees over the last 40 years. World Relief is an Evangelical Charity that works with local

with local churches to develop housing, employment and education. World Relief also helps provide legal help to assist with U.S. citizenship. It is worth noting again that World Relief works with refugees once they have gone through the extensive governmental screening process and they do not have a political agenda.

churches to assist refugees and not only give them a place

With the completion of the presidential election and the

to live, but give them a place to belong. The motivations of

appointment of a new president, there might be concerns,

World Relief are to apply biblical principles to the cause of

but there is also a confidence that those who are screened

humanity. “Do unto others as you would have done unto

will get the chance to live free from fear of an oppressive

you.” There is no political agenda, but an agenda of helping a

life in their home country. World Relief is set on continuing

fellow human beings who are in need of living a life free from fear, for them, as well as their families. While the resettlement process might take from 18 to 24 months, the involvement of World Relief to place individuals, or families, with local churches can take as little as several months, and often the personal connections with World Relief staff can continue through the familial bonds, which are often established.

its efforts with recognition of governmental realities, and will continue to work to help as many people as the government will allow. According to World Relief, “We have a government with a system of checks and balances. There is not a single branch of government which can act independently without majority agreement, and while the numbers of overall refugees could possibly be reduced; it is very unlikely that refugee assistance will stop.” The mission of an organization like World Relief is compassion. It is becoming increasingly challenging in our current world climate to maintain optimism for a world where we trust, give to, and love our “fellow man.” As refugees arrive, they rarely have more than the clothes on their backs and possibly a bag or two. World Relief relies on public donations to help provide basic necessities as well as provide furnishings for homes. It is good to know that the love for humanity will motivate some to open their hearts, as well as their wallets, to give refugees (men, women, and children) a chance to live with many of the same freedoms we take for granted.  ............................................................................................ For more information and to give to Modesto World Relief, visit worldreliefmodesto.org.

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VISIÓN | tribute

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


Tribute to

Sonia Garcia Jimenez BY JENNIFER RAMIREZ RANGEL

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WHO STAND OUT

devoted to raising funds for scholarships and one that was

among the rest. Every one of us knows someone or

very influential in her life.

has met someone who for whatever reason has made an imprint on our lives. For some individuals, it may be a family member, friend or mentor, and yet for others it may even be a stranger; who may later become an acquaintance. Sometimes, it is someone you have never even had the opportunity to meet, someone you just learned about and something they said or something about how they lived their life just resonates with you. There are

Her passion for this organization was ignited back in high school as a long time member Teresa Guerrero invested her time in Sonia and had been her mentor since she as a student at Downey. While in high school she began attending the MLS annual education and career conference geared towards young women, especially Latinas. The conference made an impact in young Sonia’s life as well as

individuals who come into our lives during different seasons

her peers, it inspired them to pursue a higher education and

and no matter what you believe or whom you believe in, it is

empowered them to identify and build on their strengths as

safe to say that with every step we take there is a purpose

young Latinas. It was as a result of the influence MLS and

and a lesson to be learned. We may not always see

Teresa had, had in her life that Sonia later became a part of

this clearly, and we often do not realize we have learned

MLS and eventually became President for a few years.

something until we come to a point and are able to take a look back and reflect. This was the type of person Sonia Garcia Jimenez was, one who deserves to be remembered.

In 2014, after a hiatus MLS under Sonia’s leadership brought back the conference and held it at Modesto Junior College. If Sonia could have had her way, she would have

Sonia’s story began on September 13, 1979, the day she

wanted the conference to continue to be an annual event

was born in Fresno, California. She grew up in Modesto,

for young women every year. Because Sonia always gave

California. Like many students growing up in South

110% of herself in everything she did, she knew she would

Modesto, Sonia attended Hanshaw Middle School and

not be able to devote the time she needed to MLS as she

continued on to Downey High School, graduating in 1997.

was a newly wed and was anticipating the upcoming arrival

Sonia’s college career began at Modesto Junior College,

of her second son Elias, she also had a very bright 6 year

which led her to San Diego State where she earned a

old son, Emiliano, who kept her busy with all of his activities

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences International

and had just started a new position at E & J Gallo Winery

Business. She then continued on to earn a degree from La

as their Technical Manager on their new products team.

Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in International

Therefore, she encouraged one of her closest friends since

Studies and a Masters Degree in Business Administration

middle school Ms. Debbie Avila to run for President.

from St. Mary’s College. It is no surprise that Sonia valued

Sonia met her late husband Carlos Jimenez when she was

education, it was for this reason as well as her desire to

in high school. They shared a great friendship that turned

give back to her community that led her to become a part

into young love. They went to prom together and continued

of Mujeres Latinas de Stanislaus (MLS). An organization

dating while both at MJC. However, they decided to go

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

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their separate ways when Sonia left to obtain her Bachelors

As fate would have it, Sonia and Fausto’s paths would cross

degree at San Diego State. While there, she decided on an

again about two years ago. They became friends again and

International Business degree and therefore attended La

the love Sonia had once had Fausto blossomed into a new

Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. It was here that

stronger love than before. Debbie Avila, on of her core group

Sonia met her second husband Fausto Vargas Morales. For

of close knits friends said. “I can still remember the day she

Fausto, as his best man so vividly described on his wedding

and Fausto started their friendship over at first I was a little

day, it was love at first sight. He came home telling him

apprehensive because I did not know him. However, It did not

“Omar, today, I met an Angel in a white dress.” According

take long to realize why she loved him so. He is kind, fun and

to one of Sonia’s best friends (Erica Gonzalez) for her it

in many ways shared the same values that she did. Fausto

was more of a Looney Tunes characters Pepé Le Pew and

is a ‘fly from the seat of your pants’ kind of guy. Sonia, was

Penelope Pussycat romance. Luckily for him, after 100 or

definitely a planner and somehow they were perfect for each

so failed attempts he finally won her over and they dated for

other. Her face would light up whenever he walked into the

a few years. After graduation she eventually came back to

room or when she talked about him. Sonia once sent me a

Modesto. It is possible that the distance between her and

text in which she talked about how much she loved Carlos

Fausto proved to be too much and their relationship ended.

and how much she missed him especially when people talked

At some point she and Carlos became friends again and they eventually married in 2007 and welcomed their son Emiliano (Emi) in 2010. It was then that they decided they would become sports fans, specifically 49er fans as neither had been sports fans. They had talked about becoming season ticket holders and taking Emi to the games and together cheering them onto victory. They also talked about him learning more than one language. This was important for both, as Carlos was a teacher in a dual immersion program where he taught his students English along with Spanish. Emi now attends a school that is also a dual immersion school like the one his dad worked at. Sadly, at the age of 34, Carlos lost his battle to cancer in 2012, and a few months later his sister Teresa Mendoza also lost her battle to cancer. Sonia was true to her word, when Levi stadium opened she and Emi became season ticket holders and she paid tribute to both Carlos and Tere with a commemorative brick in the floor leading to the escalators at the entrance of Levi Stadium. This experience was something they wanted to do together as a family and Sonia kept up her end by taking her son and friends to games, which included selfies with Steve Young. Sonia became a die-hard 49er fan. This came as a surprise to many, especially her friends, since Sonia did not grow up being a sports fan and knew nothing about football. However, she learned the game and grew to love it. Well, except when her boys were losing and especially if they were losing to the Dallas Cowboys. Although, she hated losing she still enjoyed every moment of the game. 22

about him. She felt so blessed that he was a part of her life and most importantly that she had his son. She said she felt the same about Fausto too. However, in a different capacity for him to have come back into her life and protect her and Emi as well as give them his unconditional love. She was so grateful to have his son too and could not believe how fortunate she was to be loved by two awesome men and give life to two wonderful boys. She ended the text with one of her favorite phrases: God is good!” Sonia realized in life there were no mistakes, only lessons and life experiences. She believed that everything she encountered had a purpose. Sonia had a strong faith and no matter what life brought her she was never angry but remained understanding and forgiving. She knew life was a journey and one must cherish every minute of it regardless of how hard it may be. Sonia always chose to focus on the positive, not to say it was always easy. However, she had learned in her short life to always be grateful. She truly lived every day as if it was her last. She never gave up on people. Sonia had a core group of friends she made in elementary, Jr. High, High School and college. Although there were some years they would only see each other a handful of times, in the last few years she made it a point to see them more frequently. If you asked them today, they would tell you it was Sonia who kept them all united through their adult years. These women were Sonia’s strength during hard times and many times she was their cheerleader and encourager, she was their “Soni.” They went on road trips to San Diego, took

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


trips to San Francisco, the beach and to Murphy’s. They

make sure to do it with joy and gratefulness. I will move

spent countless hours on the phone, watched movies and

forward into 2016 with my faith in God and live with purpose,

enjoyed every moment they all spent together. Sonia loved

humility and joy.”

to be surrounded by her friends. One of the last things she

Sonia would not want us to be sad; instead, she would

said to them was “we need to take every opportunity to be together, even if just for a little bit.” She had a desire to grow closer to God as well as to get healthier. She wanted these things for her friends as well. Therefore, they started with a once a month bible study at Sonia’s house and decided to start with the book of Romans. However, after their very first gathering they knew it needed to be more than once a month and moved to weekly gatherings. When they finished the book of Romans they each shared a scripture or a passage that stood out the most for them. Sonia shared how Romans 8 was impactful as it spoke of present sufferings and future glory. With tears in her eyes she told her friends she finally understood what their friend Debbie meant when she would say and at times have them repeat “I’ve already won!” As for the getting healthier part… she encouraged them to start running 5k’s with her about 3 years ago. This

want us to look towards the future, to keep our faith in God. She would ask that we keep her husband Fausto, her sons Emiliano and Elias, and her parents Mr. and Mrs. Garcias as well as all of her loved ones in prayer. Most importantly, ask that we never let Emi grow up without knowing who his Mom and Dad were and how much love and pride they had for him. As for her son Elias, she would want us to share our memories of her with him, as he will never have any memories of his own. Dearest Sonia, may we always remember the love, laughter, silliness and joy you exuded everywhere you went. May we remember one of your favorite verses 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Until we meet again may we always be “Soniastrong.” 

December her friends will be running/walking in their first 5k without her. They have decided to name their team #Soniastrong in her honor. Sonia once posted the following on Facebook: “New year marks the hope for new resolutions, goals and change for the better. Change is inevitable and sometimes forced upon you. It can be so much that it clearly steers you off your course and can reset you onto another path. I loved the path I was on, but God had other plans for me and Emi. Resetting my life to a new path has been the hardest thing by far in my life. It has been with lots of tears, prayers, and support from family, friends and my faith in God that kept me strong and hopeful of my new path. One of the hardest things is to let go of control and let things be. It’s funny because as a woman of Faith you know that God is in control and his plans are far better than ours even if we can’t understand. As I enter the New Year I will “Live and be Joyful with ease.” This has not been easy it has been a struggle to do this but when I do I cherish those moments. I will live and let live probably not without its moments of sadness and mistakes but I will VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

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VISIÓN | author

Make your Empanada and eat it too! BY VENUS WHITTED

FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE AND FINANCIAL WEALTH

example of a strong work

are important but as children or as young adults it can be

ethic and he taught me

the furthest from our minds, much less something that we

that working hard was a

remember while we were growing up or something we

pathway to a successful

remembered or valued as young adults. Some of my fondest

future. While this is true,

memories are of my family’s get togethers, especially during

there is much more one

the Thanksgiving holiday. My father would take pride in

needs to sustain wealth

having a surplus of different food items to cook. He would

and for that wealth to

baste and cook a turkey, a ham, have all of us spreading

stay with one’s family. In

the “masa” for an extravagant amount of tamales, and on

addition, the times have

one occasion he even added menudo to the menu for the

changed. While it was

day after, just in case anyone was still hungry or needed to

learned that hard work

replenish their soul. Yes, those days were special; our house

was needed, the new generation of millennials now want

was the headquarters for relatives and friends to congregate.

to work less, build wealth and enjoy the money and their

As we grew older, my cousins would all come over and we would sit by the fireplace and sip wine and enjoy each other’s company and the festive banter throughout the house. We lived in a middle class neighborhood and while

financial freedom all at the same time. It is time for change and I have come to realize that when it comes to money it is no longer the generation of our fathers. I am glad Visión Magazine came across Aquiles Larrea!

we didn’t have an infinite

According to Aquiles, author of YOUR

amount of wealth, we lived

MONEY AND YOU, the Ultimate Wealth Guide

in a purchased home, had

for Latino Entrepreneurs and Executives

several vehicles, and lived

Create Your “Empanada of Success,” Latino

very comfortably. At that time

households are enjoying greater success than

my family was the greatest

ever before. Back in 2000, Latino households

wealth I had! Today as an

who earned $75,000 or more, grew by 152%

adult with a family of my own I

in 2012 and by the year 2017 (now), there will

wish I would have been taught

be an estimated 4.3 million affluent Latinos.

about finances and wealth

He goes on to indicate that entrepreneurs

in a different perspective, in

and senior executives of Latino descent

order to have greater financial

are increasingly a driving force in the United

independence for myself and

States economy. The share of Latino business

for my family for generations

owners in the U.S now stands at 22.1%-more

to come. My father was an

than double of the 10% rate in 1996… and

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


Latina Businesses have grown over 86% versus a year ago.

today there is a new generation of Latinos. We speak and

Furthermore, revenue for Latino-owned firms is expected to

understand English, there is a new energy, a synergy, an

reach $661 billion, which is a 28% increase since 2012. While

attitude of “Let’s get it done!”

this seems like a dynamic increase there are still challenges that must be overcome. Aquiles has utilized his knowledge to

Aquiles provides information of what one needs to know

enhance the lives of others in the financial world.

and do in order to achieve financial wealth and freedom. In

Aquiles was born in the United States to an Ecuadorian

Successful Latinos and Their Family,” Challenge #1: A Lack

father and a Honduran mother. His parents met at a party in

of financial know how… consider this fact, he indicates

Queens, New York. They married shortly after their meeting

that “nearly all Latino investors polled in one study (92

and were married for 40 plus years. As most immigrants,

percent) say their parents talked “a lot” or “sometimes”

his parents wanted different opportunities for their children,

about the value and importance of hard work when they

after all they were in the United States of America, “The

were growing up (similar to 89 percent of investors overall).

Great Land of Opportunity.” His parents worked hard,

But fewer than half said their parents talked as much

sometimes one to two jobs each at a time… “In our

about financial issues. Wow, even before I read the book,

household there was no idleness, we were always doing

Aquiles described what my experience has been growing

something… we all worked through high school.” Although

up in a home with a strong work ethic. This is a book that

Aquiles, nor his two other brothers had to help his parents

can answer all the questions relating to what is needed

the first chapter, Aquiles’ discusses the “Key Challenges of

to support the family, they did know that they had to take advantage of all opportunities offered to them.

to provide financial stability and the planning needed to sustain that wealth. Minorities pay 32% higher than those

As a young adult, Aquiles managed his brothers’ martial

of their white peers, as Latinos as seen as a higher risk,

arts studio and was able to pay his way through college

not just for growth opportunities even when the lending

and graduate from St. John’s University debt free! He also

sources are available, the interest rates can block the ability

learned the pride that comes with building, growing and

to grow. Latinos are much more conservative, will keep a

operating a small business. He realized that he was really

lot more cash in the bank or look at smaller scale insurance

good at helping people make smart decisions about their

to protect loved ones versus preserving wealth with much

finances. He began working at a Wall Street brokerage

more of an emotional involvement.

firm and worked his way up through the ranks at two of the world’s biggest financial services firms. While there he learned a great deal but knew there had to be a better way to help people manage their money, as there is no one size fits all approach. He wanted to educate people to make smart decisions about their money, to be more successful and not to rely on stereotypes.

When Aquiles isn’t working he is often lending his time to the community. He does workshops for non profits organizations. Communicating that “making smarter decisions or having the confidence to managing money, or when building a successful business, everybody wins, people have opportunities and if you have the power to do so, take it to the next level, don’t be like everybody else, become the

In March of 2002, he launched his own firm, Larrea Wealth

pillar!” Latino Organizations are taking the reins and taking

Management and has put together a world-class group of

the frontline, they understand the concept of “it takes a

experts from various business disciplines that could help

village.” This is just a tidbit in what Aquiles Larrea has to say

his clients live the life they imagined. Together they created

about Your Money and You! While our lives may not be filled

“Empanadas of Success” (you will need to read the book

continuously with foods such as tamales or menudo, our lives

to find out more about this). “In New York, there are Puerto

can be accentuated with empanadas of success! 

Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans …small microcosms’ of

............................................................................................

Latinos here, and so many different Latino Cultures. Twenty years ago they may not have liked working together, but

For more information and to get your copy, go to awww.yourmoneyandyou.com or www.larreawealth.com

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

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VISIÓN | legal insight

The Obligations and Potential Liabilities of Serving on a Nonprofit Board BY JANELL FREEMAN SOMERA

Serving on a board of

corporation they serve. Volunteer directors should be familiar

directors of a nonprofit

with the mission statement, Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation,

corporation can be a

tax forms, website, financial statements, tax returns, and

rewarding experience that

any insurance policies. This information should give the

allows for a meaningful

volunteer directors a basic understanding of the structure

contribution to the

and purpose of the nonprofit corporation, which will in turn,

community. State law

allow the volunteers to better carry out their duties. Volunteer

sets out which type

directors are required to perform their duties in good faith,

of management and

with ordinary care, and in the best interest of the nonprofit.

governing structure is acceptable for nonprofits.

Every volunteer director must act in good faith as is

In California, most

relates to the corporation

nonprofits are 501(c)(3) corporations, which means they are

Good faith is shown through honesty and faithfulness to the

formed for charitable purposes and are eligible for federal

volunteer director’s duties and obligations. The duty of care

and state tax exemptions. Every nonprofit corporation is

standard is set forth in the California Corporations Code. The

required to have a board of directors. Board members are

code requires a volunteer director to exercise reasonable

the legal, governing body of a nonprofit corporation as

care whenever he or she makes a decision. For example, in

the volunteer directors collectively represent the nonprofit

one case, the volunteer directors of a charitable organization

corporation and its interests. Volunteer directors of a

sold an old building that had previously housed the poor

nonprofit corporation donate their expertise and time to

and used the proceeds to buy a newer, better equipped

serve a good cause, but also potentially assume a certain

building. The volunteer directors were subsequently sued for

level of personal liability.

wasting the assets of the nonprofit as the plaintiffs viewed the directors actions as unreasonable and wasteful.

Most non-profit corporations can’t afford to pay for a board of directors, therefore most nonprofit corporations rely solely

The duty of loyalty

on volunteers who serve without pay. It is important to note

The duty of loyalty is a standard of faithfulness requiring

that sometimes, a board of directors will elect to set up an

a volunteer director to give undivided commitment when

“advisory board.” While this advisory board may appear very

making decisions that affect the corporation.

similar to the board of directors, an advisory board is not the

The duty of loyalty requires a corporate officer or director

legal governing body of the organization and does not carry

to always act in the corporation’s best interest, and forbids

the same legal responsibilities and fiduciary duties as the

the volunteer director from engaging in “self-dealing.”

board of directors.

Self-dealing is conduct by a volunteer director that involves taking advantage of a position in the corporation to benefit

Every volunteer director of a nonprofit is a fiduciary

his or her interests rather than those of the corporation. This

The term fiduciary includes anyone who holds a position of

standard essentially means that a volunteer director can

trust or confidence within the corporation. As a fiduciary,

never make a decision for personal gain, but must act in the

volunteer directors owe certain primary fiduciary duties to the

best interests of the corporation.

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


Directors must act in a manner that they believe would be in

nonprofit corporation may be unable to pay taxes, and

the best interest of the corporation. In most cases, the duty

possibly even close as a result. In these cases, the IRS may

of loyalty encompasses confidentiality. Ultimately, the duty

look to the volunteer directors for payment. Therefore, it is a

of loyalty is about putting the interests of the corporation

good idea for nonprofit corporations to have insurance.

before the director‘s own interests. Liability insurance for volunteer directors The duty of obedience

Many volunteer directors don’t think about insurance until

The duty of obedience requires the voluntary director to

something unfortunate happens. Not every non-profit

ensure that the directors’ activities are in furtherance of

corporation carries insurance and even if they do, there is

the nonprofit’s mission, and that the organization is in

no guarantee that the policy covers the liability of volunteer

compliance with applicable laws, regulations, bylaws, and

directors. Each insurance policy is different, so it is important

internal policies.

to confirm whom and what is included on the insurance

Obligation to make a reasonable inquiry Every volunteer director also has an obligation to make a reasonable inquiry into the activity and decisions of the board. This duty provides that directors cannot ignore activity if they are put on notice by the presence of suspicious circumstances. Every director is required to make a reasonable inquiry as an ordinarily prudent person would make under

policy. Due to the fact that volunteer directors can technically

similar circumstances.

be held personally liable under certain circumstances,

In certain situations, volunteer directors who commit gross negligence or act in wanton or reckless ways

insurance that protects the volunteer directors’ from personal liability is a good idea.

can be held personally liable. A volunteer director of a

Liability is manageable. Provided that certain principles are

nonprofit corporation can be held personally liable if they

followed, nonprofit corporations should be able to protect

do something intentionally fraudulent, illegal, or blatantly

the great and dedicated volunteer directors who donate

wrong. For example, a volunteer director who co-mingles

their time to a wonderful cause. 

nonprofit and personal funds or who directly injures someone can be held personally liable for those acts. Volunteer directors can also be held personally liable if they personally guarantee nonprofit debt or fail to ensure that the nonprofit pays taxes or files tax returns. Unpaid taxes often raise the biggest risk for volunteer directors. A failing

........................................................................................ *This advise is intended only as general information and does not constitute legal advice in any particular case. Janell Freeman Somera practices Immigration and Business law with the Somera Law Group in Stockton, California. Janell is a member of the State Bar of California and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is fluent in Spanish and has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, India, Europe, and the Middle East. Janell sits on several boards, volunteers with multiple organizations, and is very active in her community.

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VISIÓN | business

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


Rainforest Ancient

Chinese Tea BY VERONICA JACUINDE

CHINA IS A WONDROUS AND MAJESTIC COUNTRY

is also in charge of the Minority Tea Growers Coalition. He

with a rich culture and robust economy. In October of 2016,

escorted us to the highest reaches of the tea mountain

a women-owned business, “Rainforest Ancient Chinese

where we found trees dating back nearly 1000 years.

Tea,” was launched in Beijing. We recently traveled to China in search of the purest organic tea. What we found was a

The Dai and Hani people have a deep love and respect for

true love of tea by the people of China and more importantly,

nature. With this in mind they pick the tea leaves by hand

an opportunity to export and build on the growing demand

much like it was picked by their ancestors many centuries

for tea in the United States and throughout the world.

ago. China has long been considered the tea capital of the world and the tea cultivated by the Minority Tea

Our search led us to the remote and rural village of

Growers Coalition is considered the purest organic tea. No

Xishuangbanna. Home to the Dai and Hani minority groups;

pesticides or chemicals are used in the production of the

Xishuangbanna is located in China’s southwestern Yunnan

tea grown by the Minority Villages.

province bordering Myanmar and Laos. It is known for it’s Dai culture and tropical rainforests. Upon arrival we were

The Minority Village people maintain strong, deep-seeded

warmly greeted by the Dai minority leader Yan-Han who

roots to their culture and maintain some of the same

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practices used by their ancestors. No ladders are used

style mass production of tea and locally grown hand crafted,

when picking the tea leaves because of the delicate nature

organic tea. We toured and researched both. However, after

of the trees and the very rough terrain. Instead they climb

our visit with the Minority Tea Growers Coalition, we felt that

each tree. This is another example of the meticulous

working with the Minority Villages would help to sustain and

detail that goes into the cultivation of the tea with careful

stimulate their local economy while providing us with the

consideration to preserving its authenticity and quality.

premium organic tea we were looking for.

After our tour of the tea mountains the village women

The main difference between pure organic pu-erh tea

prepared a grand feast for us using food grown and raised

and regular pu-erh tea is that the pure one is from those

by them. They slaughtered a pig to celebrate our visit and

ancient tea trees growing in the mountains where there

to mark the importance to the village and to their future.

is no pesticides or fertilizers used. For hundreds of years

We experienced the gratitude of these kind, humble and

those ancient trees absorb nutrients from the rich soil that

hardworking people as they welcomed us into their homes.

are never polluted. The regular pu-erh tea is from branches

Their generosity moved us and confirmed they were exactly

of pure pu-erh tea trees and after human plantation of

the type of tea producer we want as a partner.

those branches, it becomes tea bushes. Those bushes are managed and pesticides and fertilizers are used to ensure a

The feast included a traditional tea ceremony. There is

large quantity of production to meet the market demands.

much preparation and practice involved with this. First the teacups are ceremonially washed using steaming water.

We will not only promote trade between China and the

Then the tea leaves are steeped in the teapot with careful

United States, we will also empower the women of the

attention not to steep the tea too long. In the art of tea

village by providing them with steady work and the respect

ceremonies one must know exactly the right point when the

that comes with providing for their families. As a women-

tea is ready to be served.

owned business we know how crucial this is. With the monies generated, mothers can ensure their children are

The principal reason for our expedition to China was to

provided with an education. Usually village children only

secure a partnership with a tea producer to import tea to

receive an elementary education before they must quit to

the United States. A key goal was to compare large factory

work and contribute to the family.


A trip to China would be incomplete without a visit to the Great Wall. Just a short drive from Beijing, you find yourself at one of the wonders of the world. We thought we would not make the climb and surprised ourselves when we made it to the top. Looking out into the horizon, excitement grew over the business we set out to accomplish knowing that we put in motion what is sure to be a fruitful partnership with the Minority Tea Growers Coalition. Our visit also included meeting with a delegation of Chinese dignitaries and other business owners in the tea industry to exchange ideas and discuss opportunities for collaboration. Embracing a

IMPORTANT STATISTICS: • Tea Sales in the US accounted for $2.7 billion in 2015 +6% in value • Fruit & Herbal Teas grew by 7.7% (US $ 1.1 billion) • Leaf teas represents 15% of Black Tea

women-to-women platform we also met with Ms. Zhang Xiali, a sixgeneration ceramics artist in Beijing that creates unique and beautiful hand-made ceramic art. Her one of a kind vases and ceramic art pieces are exported all over the world. She uses traditional means of production with each vase carefully sculpted and then baked in a wood-burning oven. No two vases are alike which makes them sought after among art collectors. We will partner with Ms. Zuang to create a custom line of teapots for our customers. Apart from business meetings and touring tea plantations, we traveled to nearby Myanmar. There we visited the Peacock Resort located inside a lush and tropical rainforest. Never had we seen more green mountains not too mention distinctive temples, intricate

• As American consumers continue to integrate health and wellness trends into their daily routines, the tea industry has received a boost in both retail volume and value terms. • Tea is particularly appealing to the health-conscious consumer because of its health benefits, low calorie count and medicinal properties.

hand crafted bridges and beautiful waterfalls. In the plaza dancers dressed in colorful garments and performed their traditional dances. It was the perfect way to top our trip to the Orient. The future is bright for trade between the United States and China. With “Rainforest Ancient Chinese Tea” we join the movement for more inter-national business and trade with China. Our hope is to change the negative perception about this through continued dialogue between both countries. We believe healthy trade stimulates economies providing jobs and opportunities for businesses like ours to grow. Stay tuned for our progress as we set out to bring to market and grow “Rainforest Ancient Chinese Tea.” This is our answer to sugary drinks and addresses the lack of healthy drink alternatives. Research shows that there are many benefits to drinking tea and that there is a growing consumer demand for this. “Rainforest Ancient Chinese Tea” will feature a variety of teas grown in the Yunnan Province highlighting teas grown by the minority villages in Xichuanbanna. “Rainforest Ancient Chinese Tea” expects to be a major player in the tea industry both domestically and internationally. We know that with a great team, we will realize our dream.  VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

• Loose leaf tea varieties are also becoming increasingly popular in the US. Loose-leaf teas are perceived as being fresher and more natural than bagged teas and therefore appeal to consumers attracted by artisanal, premium teas and health and wellness trends. • Steadily increasing unit prices will continue to boost value sales over the forecast period as consumers will likely continue to trade up to premium tea varieties. Alongside improving economic conditions, rising incomes are also expected to support overall premium tea sales. 31


VISIÓN | education

An Educational Visión for the Future BY EDDIE GARCIA

THIRTY-TWO YEARS AGO, CÉSAR CHÁVEZ,

formula of

the self-taught Latino civil-rights leader whose formal

education, faith,

education ended after the 7th grade, addressed a large

and hard work to

audience of academics, civic leaders, and prominent

rise from humble beginnings. Professor Soco Castañeda

citizens at the venerable Commonwealth Club in San

Liles pretended to be asleep as her uncle drove across

Francisco. He mesmerized the gathering with his humility

the border on a quiet night to eventually join the faculty

and eloquence when he famously said, “you cannot un-

at Santa Clara University, her alma mater. Raised in a city

educate the person who has learned how to read.”

once dubbed the Homicide Capital of the United States, Gustavo Perez persevered to graduate from Stanford

As I think about Visión Magazine’s 5th anniversary,

University and find success in Silicon Valley.

Chavez’s insightful words are more impactful than ever. That night in San Francisco, he delivered a speech about

These accounts, and many more like them, distinguish

the Latino future in California. As if looking into a crystal

Visión Magazine as a unique publication that brings light to

ball, the civil rights icon correctly predicted that education

a thriving community that is rarely noted in the mainstream

would be the path to success for our community. For

media. My life has been made better by working for such an

the past five years, Visión has been celebrating those

innovative and forward-thinking organization. As I celebrate

successes with education as an underlying theme.

the institution’s anniversary with my colleagues, their stories and analysis about our community’s successes bring to

The magazine is filled with

mind my own family’s educational journey.

stories about Latinas and Latinos who

My parents were born and reared in the American

have used the

southwest, taking their young family to California looking for opportunity in the early 1950s. They worked in the orchards and canneries of Santa Clara Valley before my dad was able to capitalize on his status as a World War II veteran to gain employment with the U.S. Postal Service. My mom complemented his regular paycheck through the years by cleaning houses and holding part-time jobs. My five siblings and I grew up in a working-class east San Jose neighborhood. The ethnically diverse community

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included sheet metal, cannery, and construction workers.

The work is demanding. Professors are demanding. The

Others worked in manufacturing plants at IBM, FMC, and

financial burden is demanding. The rewards for those who

General Electric. During the early 1980s, many of those

persevere are limitless. It changed the quality of life for

companies still operated in the valley and most of the

my family forever. It could do the same for your family. For

neighborhood kids followed their parents into the workforce.

those weighing the pros and cons of embarking on a life driven by education, here are a few thoughts:

By the time I graduated from high school, the economy was in the full throes of change. The electronics manufacturing

Students

jobs that many relied upon were shipped to other parts

Stay in school! Take your classes seriously. Good work and

of the country and overseas. Instead of complaining and

good grades matter. There’s plenty of time to have fun with

waiting for the jobs to come back, my parents insisted we

your friends after school and homework are done. A job or

seek higher education. With not much more than a few

a career might be the last thing on your to mind. You don’t

years of high school between them, they understood that a

have to worry about that now. Just keep working hard in

college degree would be our ticket to a stable future.

school and you will have more opportunities in the future.

By the time my youngest sister completed her college

Parents

studies, the six of us earned a total of nine under-graduate

When your kids start talking about going to college, be

and post-graduate degrees. My brothers and sisters and

open-minded. My oldest daughter graduated from college

I had taken on the economic changes head on. We found

this spring and her younger sister is a sophomore in

work in education, business, politics, and community

college. Their academic interests are different. One went to

service. We opened the door so that our own children

school in Los Angeles and the other studies in New York.

could understand the value education plays in whatever

At first, my wife and I didn’t like the idea of them being

future economy they may face. My parents’ grandchildren

so far away. As Latino parents who went to college in the

are well on their way. They have earned ten college degrees

same town where we grew up, it was hard to let them go.

among themselves.

We supported them anyway. We now realize that allowing them to grow has set them on track to take advantage of

My family’s story is Visión’s story. For five years, the pages

the many opportunities that will come their way.

of this magazine have served to inspire those seeking a better way of life. It’s been an indescribable honor being part

When César Chávez shared his visionary thoughts in San

of this amazing team of writers and publishing executives.

Francisco on that fall evening in 1984, he had no idea that

With this platform, I have been able to share my thoughts

education would inspire a magazine like Visión to take

on education and hopefully given readers an opportunity to

readers on an exciting journey celebrating the successes

ponder the meaning of education in their lives.

of our community. We need to keep telling the stories that lift up families working toward a better life. We need to hear

Latinos are headed for uncertain times. The divisions in our

and share your stories to pay forward the feelings of hope

nation today have impacted the way we view ourselves

and optimism for a brighter future. I am staying on for the

and others view our community. When the worthiness of

ride. I hope you will join me. 

a distinguished federal judge born in Indiana is questioned because of his Mexican heritage, many in our community may give pause and wonder if pursuing an education is even worth the trials and tribulations that come along for the arduous educational journey. The answer is unequivocally, “yes.” A college education is worth it. Attending and finishing college is a tough road.

............................................................................................. Eddie García is a leadership development coach who has worked with over 80 Silicon Valley education administrators, community leaders, non-profit executives, corporate managers, and elected officials. He is the creator of ESEReport.com, a blog that comments on leadership, education, and politics from a Latino perspective. He served on the Board of Trustees for the East Side Union High School District in San Jose from 2006-2010. His career also includes leadership roles as a corporate executive, political chief of staff, and community advocate.

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

33


VISIÓN | medical

Middle Aged, Middle Weight, Low Energy, and Low Libido? BY MARIE COTTMAN, PHARM.D.

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VISIÓN VISIÓN| |WINTER FALL 2016 2017


DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOU OR A WOMAN YOU KNOW?

estradiol, or both! Symptoms, lifestyle (yes, it does play

They could be experiencing the hormone imbalances of

a role), and hormone levels should be assessed for each

perimenopause which can be subtle or overwhelming,

individual to determine the appropriate course of treatment.

depending on many factors. The good news is, once identified; there are things your provider can do to help you feel more like your normal self.

WHAT TESTING SHOULD BE DONE? Unfortunately, hormone balancing is a tricky process. As most people are aware, women’s hormones fluctuate throughout their menstrual cycle. If testing is to be done,

WHAT IS PERIMENOPAUSE?

it must be done at a specific point of the cycle so that

Perimenopause is the time where a woman’s ovaries begin to change the amounts of sex hormones (progesterone and estrogens) that it produces. It is a transition phase between normal menstrual cycles and absent cycles, or menopause. Perimenopause can start as early as the mid-thirties and can include (but is not limited to) symptoms such as irregular cycles, severe PMS, insomnia, weight gain, mood swings, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and bloating.

the provider interpreting the results knows what “normal” should be. However, there is no lab test that will tell a provider how much hormone to prescribe. Laboratory information is useful in providing guidance about the need for replacement, but does not indicate the dose that a patient will respond to. For all HRT regimens it is important to start at low doses, monitor response to therapy, and communicate to your provider. Sex hormones are most commonly tested in the blood.

Perimenopause will happen in all women, but it doesn’t

However, the hormones are not active in the blood

always feel the same. Some will experience mild symptoms

stream and hence, the levels that we see in blood are not

while others will be severe. Symptoms are often made

necessarily reflective of hormone activity in the tissues.

worse by increased stress level, lack of exercise, unhealthy

Additionally, sex hormones are often transported in the

diet, or poor sleep habits. Many women will be given good

blood attached to a binding protein which interferes with

advice by their provider to improve their lifestyle (exercise,

the total count.

eat better and get some rest!) but the hormone imbalance Alternatively, hormones can be evaluated in a saliva sample.

remains unaddressed.

This better reflects the amount of hormone that is in the What makes perimenopause such a difficult condition to

tissues and able to interact with receptors and send signals

treat is that the balance may be disrupted only during the

in the body. Not all doctors have received training on how

two weeks prior to the period or all the time! The hormone

to interpret saliva tests, so they are not always comfortable

imbalances may include low progesterone, elevated

ordering this mode of testing.

Symptoms of Perimenopause (not inclusive)

hot flashes

insomnia

low libido

irregular cycles

foggy thinking

difficulty with stress

weight gain

breast tenderness

low energy

water retention

mood changes

PMS (new or worsening)

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

35


VISIÓN | medical bioidentical preparations are the only replacement therapy.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

When dosed appropriately, symptoms of perimenopause

There are a variety of treatment options used to address

can be managed with minimal to no side effects.

these symptoms. Most commonly used is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). One option is synthetic hormones. These are drug company products that behave

COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES

like the hormones produced by your body, but are not the

Hormones are not the only therapy for perimenopause

same as what your ovaries produce. Many women find

symptoms. If estrogen excess is the cause of

their doctors treating perimenopause with birth control pills

perimenopausal symptoms, some patients will do well

or progestins (norethindrone or medroxyprogesterone) to

with over the counter products like Diindolylmethane (DIM)

control symptoms, but they also experience some of the

or Indol-3- Carbinol (I3C), both plant based extracts that

side effects associated with these synthetic hormones.

increase estrogen metabolism.

There are also natural remedies that come from plant

Lifestyle choices including activity level, food choices,

sources. Unfortunately, the term “natural” is used to

and sleep habits play a significant role in controlling the

mislead consumers to the conclusion that the remedy is

severity of symptoms due to complicated metabolic and

better for them. However, “natural” is a description that

hormonal influences.

only refers to the source of the chemical, not how similar it is to the chemicals found in your body. Plants are also the source for many phytoestrogens and progestogens that are available at the health food stores as dietary supplements, but there are not sufficient studies to demonstrate that they work without side effects.

Exercise is good for the metabolism of estrogens, stress relief, and bone health. It is important to get the right amount for you which will be influenced by your stress level, dietary habits, and overall hormone balance. Your meal plan should include healthy, protein-rich foods frequently throughout the day! This can improve blood

HRT that is the same as what the human body produces

sugar control which will prevent fatigue, foggy thinking, and

is referred to as bioidentical (biologically the same).

weight gain that is associated with perimenopause. Healthy

Bioidentical hormones include estradiol, progesterone,

sleep habits also minimize symptoms of perimenopause.

and testosterone and there are several available

Good quality sleep can help to restore your system and

manufactured products like estradiol tablet, Vivelle

help you feel rested.

Dot®, and Prometrium® in addition to compounded preparations. It is important to note that bioidentical hormones are synthetically modified natural source (soy

So if you know someone who feels middle aged, middle weight, low energy, and low libido, they can feel better! 

or yam) hormones. Progesterone is the most commonly used for treating perimenopause, but dosing varies widely depending on specific patient factors.

WHICH HORMONE TYPE IS BEST? There is not one HRT type that is right for every woman. Providers and patients should recognize that synthetic and natural hormones are actually hormone substitutes whereas bioidentical hormones provide replacement. All HRT options have the potential to resolve symptoms of menopause, but

36

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


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TO SCHEDULE A TOUR OR ATTEND AN EDUCATIONAL CLASS,

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CALL 866-822-4764 or visit www.DoctorsManteca.com/Beginning

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

37


VISIÓN | arts

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


Central California’s

Cultural Casa de Arte BY RODNEY CORDOVA

Art takes on many forms Some may say that art is Painting or Sculpture. Others may say that it is Dance while others may insist that their music is their Art. A poet with a need for expression may feel that their tamber of expression can only come through verse. But where can you go to find all of the above? Welcome to Arte Americas: Casa De La Cultura at 1630 Van Ness in the heart of the emerging art District of Downtown Fresno. Arte Americas began with humble beginnings on a Fulton Street storefront and through the dedication of thousands of volunteers over the years they have grown to what they are today. In 1995 they purchased and moved into its current building and shortly thereafter acquired an adjoining acre of land which is now known as Las Plazita.

“If people won’t give us gallery space, then we will create our own gallery!” On Friday Nights between the balmy evenings of May through September you may hear the most amazing and eclectic sounds. Summer crowds are treated to many musical genres such as Tejano styles that makes even the most inhibited want to dance. to traditional Mariachi and even Folklorico. All to keep the Latin heritage flourishing in the Central Valley. Arte Americas is currently the Valley’s largest non-profit Latino Cultural Center. As a non profit the Cultural center needs rely on grants, donations and gifts. Memberships are also available for as little as $30.00 a month and a way of keeping informed of all the upcoming events. During the Summer months donations are steady. In the Winter months, the center could use the foot traffic. Photos by Dave Barrios

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

39


VISIÓN | arts

Why it started Originally Arte Américas started in the sense of “if people won’t give us gallery space, then we will create our own gallery!” Thirty years ago when the organization was founded, the social landscape was quite different than it is in 2016. There were still many misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Central Valley’s Latino community – and nearly no visibility for local artists whose work was being recognized elsewhere. Some artists, social activists, and educators created a group called Centro Bellas Artes which would give birth to the groups that created what is now Arte Américas. Some of the founders include Nancy Marquez (who is still a grant-writer for us and the Treasurer on the Board of Directors) Lilia Chavez who is currently Executive Director of the Fresno Arts Council, and Nene Casarez (Chair of the Fresno Women’s Conference and long-time Director of Arte) – and all are still heavily involved.

Community involvement Arte Americas is home to a variety of civic, cultural and community benefit orginizations, including dozens of folklorico

40

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


dance academies, The Cultural Arts Rotary Club of Fresno,

in these class tours are empowered. This is amazing and

the Fresno Chapter of AMAE (Association of Mexican

beautiful to me.”

American Educators) As well as groups from Fresno City College and California State University Fresno use and

Notable artists

utilize the Centre’s 10,000 floor space. Executive Director/

Arte Americas has hosted artists like Michael Garcia (

Chief Curator Frank Delgado explained the when he first

https://youtu.be/6VJowg2-JYY) who lived in Japan for

started working with Arte Américas he conducted a very

years and creates work inspired by ancient Asian temples

non-scientific survey. One of the questions was – “what do

with Kanji script in his art. Our U.S. Poet Laureate Juan

you think of when you think of Latino art?” He emphasized

Felipe Herrera is from the Valley and some folks forget

that He wanted the answers to be free-form and for the

about poetry as an artform. Music educator Steve Alcala

person to not self-censor. Sadly, some of the most common

taught Latin Jazz locally and has inspired dozens of

answers were:

musicians that are now internationally famous (a couple

 - Mariachi

are Gilbert Castellanos is a top jazz trumpeter and Richard

 - Knick-knacks

Giddens was part of the Broadway STOMP ensemble):

 - “Guy Sitting Next To Cactus” (which everyone would also

Oscar Castillo, Michael Chearney, Fabian Debora, Raoul

apologize for, and add...”it’s just what comes to mind”

de la Sota, Robert Graham, Chaz Guest, Raoul de la Sota,

 - Serapes

Shepard Fairey, Sophia Gasparian, Danny Greene, Gronk,

 - Frida Kahlo and/or Diego Rivera

Kristina Hagman, George Herms, Ann Le, Jose Ramirez, Sandy Rodriguez, Frank Romero, Sergio Teran, Vincent

Mr Delgado explained to me that many people have

Valdez, Linda Vallejo, The Phantom Street Artist / El Fatom /

a perception in their mind of a Latin Cultural Center is

Joey Krebs, Sharon Weiner, Suzan Woodruff.

supposed to look like and of course they have the traditional Dia de Meurtos workshops as well as their Sugar skull

Future Events

workshops. But these work shops are available as an

Arte Americas posts its current and past events on their

introduction to the thriving world of Latin art. The Center

Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/arteamericas/

is not limited to Mexican Art. In fact it is not uncommon to

This writer plans to take a small group of friends to gallery

see myriad of artist from throughout the Americas. When

openings as well as be treated to the eclectic sounds of

class tours of first, fourth, or seventh graders come to the

the central valley. It will be something that we all will look

center Mr. Delgado explains the following: “It can be mind-

forward to. Get your own group together. Better yet, bring a

blowing for the students to see murals, sculptures, or graffiti

signicant other for a romantic stroll through the center and

art created by women. Through the visual narrative of the

see what inspirations arise. I am confident that you will not

women artists whose work is on view, the young girls

be disappointed. (Children are always welcome!) 

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

41


VISIÓN | people and events

SEPTEMBER 18, 2016

The Carnegie Arts Center and the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center join forces to bring one of the nation’s most acclaimed writers to Turlock for a lecture/reading. Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate. The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers.

Photos by Vaun Schweininger

See more photos from this and other events on our fan page at www.facebook.com/ourvisionmagazine 42

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


SATURDAY OCTOBER 15, 2016

The City of Stockton Arts Commission and the Stockton Arts Foundation announce the 38th Arts Award Celebration “Stars Shine Again,” recognizing the achievements of local artists, arts organizations, and arts supporters.

Photos by Art Gomes

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

43


VISIÓN | people and events

DECEMBER 7, 2017

The Central Valley held their Annual Holiday mixer hosted by Health Plan of San Joaquin.

Photos by Tim Tafolla

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


VISIÓN | WINTER 2017

45


VISIÓN | people and events

OCTOBER 14, 2016

1st World Relief Benefit Dinner celebration of 20 years of resettling our beautiful refugee families held in Modesto.

Photos by World Relief

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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


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www.visionmagazine.us WINTER 2013

Vision

FALL 2013

SPRING 2014

celebrating success

Celebrating

Success

Judge Xapuri Villapudua Inspiring Leadership and Community Service

Juan Carlos Oseguera Filmmaker “The Fight for Water”

Michael Santos VISUALIZE. PLAN. EXECUTE.

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VISIÓN | meet our writers Arlene Galindo, mother of three, is an arts and cultural advocate from the San Joaquin Valley. A former Smithsonian Latino Center fellow and Museum Studies graduate from JFK University, Arlene’s interests lie in developing Latino audiences and inclusion for San Joaquin Valley Arts & Cultural institutions. She is the founder of Amigos for the Artes- Stockton Symphony, the third oldest symphony in California and is a founding Board member of the San Joaquin International Film Festival. In addition to her extensive community work she is also a published poet and excellent cook. David Fauria was raised in Oakdale, California and attended Oakdale High. David attended the University of San Francisco, majoring in history. After receiving his teaching credential, David returned to Oakdale where he served as a classroom teacher, coach and adviser to the Hispanic Youth Leadership Club. Over the last several years he has served on the Board of the American GI Forum using his position to advocate for greater access to education and various other Latino issues. David is currently attending Lewis and Clark College of Law in Portland, Oregon, pursuing a Juris Doctor. Matthew Harrington grew up in Modesto, California and has lived here his whole life. Matthew graduated from CSU Sacramento, with a degree in liberal studies and a concentration in social science. After graduating, he entered and successfully finished the teacher preparation program at CSU Sacramento. Matthew has an extensive background in multi-media, having five and a half years as a college radio DJ at KSSU1580/ KSSU.com and one and a half as a staff writer for the Sacramento State Hornet newspaper, writing over 150 articles, including videos and podcasts. Matthew is an avid sports fan, enjoys most styles of music and enjoys spending time with his family. He is proud of his mixed heritage being Mexican-American, with Dutch, Austrian and Canadian ancestry. Rodney Cordova is a native of the Bay Area but has lived in the Central Valley for the last 20 years. He is an entrepreneur on sabbatical and is known as the first Hispanic CEO in High Tech. He is known for his roots not only in the Apple world but also as a public speaker, Motivational Speaker and Life Coach. He is a graduate of Bethany University and is a member of Who’s Who among American High Schools, Colleges and Universities.

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Vanessa Parra is originally from Visalia, California. This charming, out-going young lady works out of her home office in Monterey, California. But is often at the main King City facility and travels often to the Central Valley to meet with Clients. She comes to the team armed with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Communications, with a concentration in Print Management, from prestigious Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has much experience in management and marketing, having previously worked for two other firms in that capacity. She is fluent in English and Spanish and is in the process of pursuing her MBA. Rochelle Marapao Kuikahi has made a career out of building tech startup companies in the Silicon Valley from the ground up and is currently an Engineering Program Manager for a technology company in Santa Clara. Born and mostly raised in California, her father was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy which afforded her family the opportunity to travel and see the world. Rochelle is active in the community and involved with the Modesto Gospel Mission and holds positions on the boards of: Fitness Without Borders, the Mata’irea Polynesian Culture Preservation, and the Hilton Santa Clara. She enjoys writing and is a freelance writer for a number of mainstream health, fitness, and lifestyle magazines. Rochelle is a graduate of San Francisco State University and Stanford University and enjoys travel, music, wine, community events, and meeting new people. She resides in Modesto with her husband Myles and daughter Selena. Esmeralda Gomez-Cruz was born and raised in Lodi, California. After high school, she moved on to San Joaquin Delta College. Then she applied to University of the Pacific and to her surprise she was awarded a full paid scholarship where she earned a B.A. Degree in sociology and a minor in Spanish. Esmeralda returned back to school. This time, married, working full time and as a new mommy to a beautiful baby girl. With the support of her husband and family she graduated from the University of LaVern with a M.S. degree in counseling education. Jose Posadas was raised in the Santa Clara Valley but was born in Mexico City. He is a graduate of San Jose State University with a background in public policy, journalism and marketing. He has co-founded two publications, Silicon Valley Latino and Downtown Magazine. A creative person at heart he enjoys the outdoors and travels annually to his home in Mexico to write and explore. In San Jose he is the president of two non-profit organizations, a community activist and has worked in local politics and nonprofits. He believes that service to others, lifting the dreams of a people and fighting a just cause are the hallmark of a life well lived.

VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


Xavier Huerta graduated with a degree in English from CSU Stanislaus and is currently an elementary school teacher. A lover of arts and literature, Xavier is an avid reader, writer and dancer. Xavier dances Salsa on a weekly basis and is an occasional performer at dance showcases in the Valley and in the Bay Area. In his spare time, Xavier likes to film and edit video for various projects including: book trailers, music videos and church outreach programs. Xavier is proud of his Puerto Rican/Mexican heritage and encourages everyone to embrace the culture that is uniquely their own. Jennifer Hidalgo was born in Southern California, raised in Tepic Nayarit, MX and has been a Central Valley resident for 17 years. She graduated with a BA in Communications from the University of the Pacific in 2010 and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2013. She’s currently a project coordinator for Imagen Public Relations working on a variety of contracts within the community; the most prominent being the Outreach and Engagement Team for the ACEforward expansion.

Venus E. Whitted Is a graduate of San Jose State University and holds an MSW and an MA in Mexican American studies. She has two sons and lives in Stockton. Her passions include reading, writing, salsa dancing, travel, good conversation and wine! Venus also serves on Visión Magazine Advisory Board. Jennifer Rangel was born and raised in San Pablo, CA. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2001. She moved to the Central Valley in 2004 and graduated with a MA in Criminal Justice from Stanislaus State in 2006. She currently is a Program Coordinator for Center for Humans Services. She manages the Family Resource Center, Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children, in Ceres, California. Since graduating from Berkeley her focus has been on working with families and or individuals strengths and helping them discover how they can be a positive impact. She has always tried to lead by example. She came from a single parent household and grew up in a poor area but her Father’s strong work ethic and her grandmother’s determination lead her to the path of education and social services.


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VISIÓN | WINTER 2017


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Partnering today for a healthier tomorrow The challenges of our community are not unique, but how we come together in unity to support people throughout San Joaquin and Stanislaus communities is something to celebrate.

With over 330,000 members and growing, Health Plan of San Joaquin continues to build relationships with health care providers, community resource agencies and local businesses so that we can deliver on our mission to improve wellness.

Celebrate Health Celebrate H

Strong community partnerships Strong community partne lead to happier, people. lead tohealthier happier, healthie

Vision Winter 2017  
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