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Celebrating Success

“The real consequences of the drought in California are under our feet.� Samuel Sandoval-Solis, Ph.D. Water Resource Management Expert and Professor University of California, Davis

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contents | VISIÓN


Celebrating Success M









From the Publishers...........................8 Feedback..........................................9 Graduates.......................................10 Tribute.............................................11 Legal Insights..................................26 Family Matters.................................32 Meet Our Writers.............................42 People and Events...........................44

12 Photo by Miguel Buenrostro


FEATURE STORY Samuel Sandoval-Solis, Ph.D. Changing the Way We Live..............12 SPORTS Monarcas Academy Bearing fruit through the lives of our Latino youth....................................18 COLLEGE BOUND Get Ready: Your Child Is Going to College.........22

Photo provided by Ben Gonzalez


Cover photo by Miguel Buenrostro


VISIÓN | contents 



ARTS Anthony Morin A French Connection.......................28 TRANSITION Charlene Cuellar Young Woman in STEM Field...........34 LEADERSHIP A Boss says GO! A Leader says LET’S GO!................36 EDUCATION Let's have a Courageous Conversation...............38


COMMUNITY Education Partnership.....................40

22 6










To advertise in Visión Magazine, call 209.402.1365 Visión Magazine is published four times a year. VISIÓN MAGAZINE

visión staff PUBLISHERS Fred Bigler and Christine S. Schweininger



Delvisa DiDomenico

Letty Balderas Dave Barrios Miguel Buenrostro Jennifer Hidalgo Tim Tafolla

HEALTH & WELLNESS Joseph Hernandez, Ph.D.

LEGAL INSIGHTS Janell Freeman Somera

1231 8th Street, Suite 150-A • Modesto, CA 95354



Eddie Garcia 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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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Xavier Huerta Matthew Harrington Rodney Cordova Venus Esparza-Zavala David Fauria Arlene Galindo Esmeralda Gomez-Cruz Rev. Craig Hunnel Jennifer Ramirez Rangel Vanessa Parra Jose Posadas

SALES Sally Serrano

MARKETING ASSISTANT Pedro Urena Priscilla Zapien



VISIÓN | from the publishers

Building a better community SUMMER IS HERE AND THE big story in the central valley is water. Our beautiful San Joaquin Valley is in a water crisis. Both farmers and urban dwellers are concerned; our life-style is in danger. Less water may mean the end of our lush green lawns which adorn our pleasant homes. More importantly farmers are concerned about having enough water to meet the demands to water their crops and care for their trees and vineyards. Samuel Sandoval Solis, professor of Water Resource Management at the University of California, Davis, is our Visión magazine cover story. Mr. Sandoval-Solis began his career in Michoacan, Mexico, where he distinguished himself in solving water management challenges. Due to his expertise he was hired at UC Davis as an associate professor in water management and is presently leading the way to better practices for water management in California. Characteristics of a Good Leader, written by Rodney Cordova, speaks to the importance of character maturity for community leadership. Today, our public schools are increasing their emphasis on character education. Many educators are realizing that a complete education is not possible without character training. Visión magazine is dedicated to publishing stories of leaders who model the very best in character maturity and leadership. This spring I had the privilege to speak to a group of Latino educators at the regional AMAE (Association of Mexican American Educators) convention in Madera. My theme was the Latino Legacy of Character development. The Latino Legacy details the history of emphasizing respect, specifically, respect for self, others and authority. This emphasis of respect is the catalyst for building both individual dignity and the strength of the community. A culture of respect calls for the individual to first show


respect to others and in return receives honor, which results in gaining personal dignity. Hence, the formula for success is simple: show respect, receive honor and grow in dignity. As we look at certain communities, who are violating this time honored code of conduct, we see the tragic results of social and personal confusion and criminality. The need for internal strength, that comes with mature character development, is a must if society is to maintain its balance and strength. Your subscription to our magazine helps us realize how important Visión magazine is to you and is an indication of your loyalty to our effort to inform our communities of the importance of Latino leadership. As always, we are grateful to our advertisers for their support. Please let them know of your support and thank them for their confidence in Visión magazine. As we work together, we will build better lives for ourselves, our families and our communities.




VISIÓN MAGAZINE I had the pleasure of recently meeting Josie Guitierrez, featured in your Winter Edition cover story, and reconnected with Dr. Soco Casta 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.


Christine, I’ve just finished looking through the Spring 2015 Visión Magazine. It is very impressive to see the elegance and sophistication of this magazine. The Hispanic population should be very proud to see the excellence of accomplishments they have provided to Modesto and Stanislaus County.

Fabian Valdiva Program Manager San Francisco

This is the first time I have seen this magazine which I found in the rack at the Village Baking Company this morning Keep up the good work!

Congratulations on the great success of Visión Magazine! What a great publication & local resource, you’ve provided our Latino Market. Regards, Grace Paget Tracy Hispanic Business Group - 2015 Group Co-Chair & Events Committee Member Children At Risk Resources Foundation - Activities Coordinator City of Tracy Arts Commissioner 2010-2015 Owner/Event Director - Captivating Moments Event Planning & Management Christine & Visión Magazine Staff; Thank you for all your support and recognition over the years. Keep up the great work!

Best Wishes, Don Risen

I totally appreciate the work of Visión Magazine. It’s very energizing to see this resource for our community. Lieutenant Colonel Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, who broke barriers and set records during her 20 year military career as the highest ranking Latina officer, loves reading Vision Magazine in between delivering inspirational speaking gigs, publishing books and earning prestigious awards and medals!

Visión Magazine has become a great source of information regarding the community. It is a reliable source of upcoming events, and it provides information on events that occur in the area. I always feel that reading Visión allows me to be further engaged in the happenings in our community, and gives focus on many of businesses and personalities in the area. Mani Grewal

John Griston The First Tee of Central Valley



VISIÓN | graduates


on your graduation and best wishes for your next adventure

June 14, 2015, A day that will go down in history as a signature event in which my daughter Savannah Maria Williams graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration and a minor in sports medicine. This journey took her more than 5 years to complete. Yes there are times in which she felt like giving up and there were long nights of loneliness no doubt. It was never easy for her mother and I to have our daughter 14 hours away in another State. Savannah is one of 44 cousins in which only a handful have been able to successfully complete a college degree. She has always been a bright student. She graduated the top of her class at Modesto Central Academy high school as class salutatorian. She has always been involved and active in sports with no organized sports experience. While attending Modesto Junior College she was able to secure a spot on the women’s basketball team then later playing for the a Green Rivers Junior College in Washington before finally completing her education at Central Washington University. We are so proud knowing there’s nothing she can’t accomplish with perseverance, dedication, hard work and most of all love from her family. 10

Carlos & Gabi attended Merrill F. West High School in Tracy Unified School District. Carlos Ocampo received his Bachelor’s Degree in film & digital media from UC Santa Cruz, and Gabriella Herrera received her Bachelor’s Degree in neurobiology from Harvard University. We are especially proud of our children, Carlos and Gabi. They represent what is true about Latino culture, “Trabajadores duros, inteligentes, y servidores a nuestra comunidad.” We are proud Carlos will pursue a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree in Education to serve as an elementary school teacher. We are proud Gabriella will be attending Medical School to pursue a career as a Neurosurgeon with a practice focused on underserved (Latino and Native American) populations. – Dr. Arturo E. Ocampo & Roxanne Ocampo


Luis Rafael Hernandez is the son of Larry Hernandez and the late Stockton USD Trustee Sara L. Cazares. We are so proud of our son, Luis. He has been a tremendously studious student all of his academic years. Throughout his school years, he was a straight A student. He attended SUSD Franklin High School’s IB Program and was one of two valedictorians in 2011, with a GPA of 4.91. He chose to attend Stanford University. He majored in Mechanical Engineering and completed the major while studying Japanese for 3 years. He studied abroad in Kyoto, Japan and completed an engineering internship in Akashi his Junior year. All the while, he participated in MEChA and the Ballet Folklorico de Stanford. Congratulations Luis! We love you!

In loving memory Guillermo Ochoa BY DAVID FAURIA & CHILDREN

Guillermo Ochoa served. He served on the Latino Community Roundtable and Hispanic Leadership Council. He served as Ceres’ first Latino council member from 2005-2011. He served customers along side his mother and sister at the Garcia’s Market. He served not just the Latino community, but advocated for groups who often went unheard. But of all those he served, his family was always his first priority, his wife Martha and children Kimberly and Christian. The Central Valley lost a ground-breaking leader when Mr. Ochoa passed away this spring. His children lost a father—but his memory lives on in their hearts and his mission will live on through how he taught them to live. Guillermo, Christian, Kimberly and Martha. Photo provided by the family.

Kimberly Ochoa: My father was and always will be my hero, my inspiration, my best friend, the greatest man I have ever known. As I was growing up, he taught me how to ride a bike without training wheels, he taught me the basics of business administration, he taught me how to drive, and most importantly he taught me how to chase my dreams and attain them. I remember calling him one night as I was having a mental breakdown because I had received my first F on an exam. Most kids would have hid bad grades from their parents, but I needed someone to brighten my mood—I knew that I could count on my father. Instead of scolding me, he motivated me to try harder and reminded me that I was, as he would always say, “Daddy’s pride and joy.”

day that I wake up is another day to continue to make my father proud. He truly was and forever will be my King. Christian Ochoa: An honest man, minority group activist, community leader, and loving father; this is Guillermo Ochoa. My name is Christian, and I am Guillermo’s oldest son 21 years of age. There are so many illustrated memories and vivid characteristics I will always cherish of my father. I have been able to accept his death because I can say my father left all of the talent God gave him on this Earth. There was never a moment or day my dad would let pass by without letting my sister, mother, and I know how he felt about us.

My father was a man of his word, integrity, and loyalty. Right before I moved away for college in the Bay Area, he vowed that

My father was always very clear about the legacy he would

he would never go more than two weeks without visiting me.

leave behind and I know that my sister and I will continue to

Every other weekend he would drive three hours to take me out

live it on. Higher education, prosperity, representation, and

to lunch and catch up—those were my favorite weekends. And

humility are amongst my father’s biggest priorities. I write

every night he would call me just to simply say, “Good night, I

about him in present tense because he remains alive in my

love you honey bunny.” Even though we were over a hundred

thoughts and heart. He will always continue to live in the minds

miles away, he continued to be my protector and my rock. I

and hearts of all the people he has affected throughout his

always feared losing him and now here I am without him. Every

physical existence. 



VISIÓN | feature



Photo by Miguel Buenrostro


the Way We Live The real consequences of the drought in California are under our feet. BY VANESSA PARRA


While pursuing his bachelor’s degree, Samuel was fortunate

as the land of opportunities. Many people move to the

enough to be part of many jobs and internships where he

U.S. for a better life for themselves and their families, to

explored many areas of Civil Engineering. In one of these

improve their economic means and to make a name for

internships he was exposed to water supply systems

themselves. Others see the U.S. mistakenly as a gold

by his college professor Carlos Malpica. This particular

mine, a way to escape all negativity and challenges faced

focus really excited Samuel, for this would enable him the

in their own countries. However, as Latinos in the U.S., we

opportunity to learn and grow in his career while helping

have to work hard to stand out and overcome language

rural communities acquire running water and helping them

and cultural barriers. We do not always get the respect or

create job opportunities among themselves. This type of

credit that we deserve. We are usually stereotyped: working

work was really fulfilling.

in certain jobs, uneducated and lacking leadership. One man by the name of Samuel Sandoval came to the U.S.

Once Samuel graduated – like many newly graduated

for the opportunity to receive his graduate education and

college students – he felt ready to get a job but insecure

change these stereotypes. Samuel shares his expertise

of his abilities. Samuel kept helping his father with his

and passion for water resource management with a nation

family business; however, Samuel felt like he wasn’t on the

where Latinos are the main group that operate, distribute

right path to success. At that time, Samuel met the owner

and use water for bringing food to everyone’s table.

of a consulting firm that was looking to hire a potential candidate to engage community development in a rural

Samuel Sandoval was born in Mexico City. Like many

community of 300. Samuel gave advice on skill sets and

young Latinos, Samuel came from a low middle class family

qualifications to look for when hiring this ideal person,

and had been working since the age of thirteen. His first job

and without realizing it, he was interviewing for the job

was as a bagger for a grocery store in his home town. His

that would ultimately mark his career. At first, Samuel was

father had a construction company, and like many working

shocked but excited about working in water resource

families Samuel spent most of his time working with his

management, helping a community to manage their water

father learning the family business. Samuel was very good

and creating jobs. Like many new graduates, however,

in math and his father – like many parents – encouraged

especially those who may be the first in their families to

him to further his education in Civil Engineering.

ever be put in a position like this one, Samuel doubted his VISIÓN | SUMMER 2015


VISIÓN | feature abilities. Up to now, he had only learned about theory of

eloquently, it can be a disadvantage for them. Samuel

water supply systems; now, he would test his knowledge

also had to learn about the Geography of the United

to actual life experiences. However, like many hardworking

States. He was very knowledgeable with water systems

Latinos, Samuel put his fear and doubts to the side, and

in Mexico, but in the U.S. it was very different. The way a

decided to pursue this great opportunity. This prospect

water system may work in a rural community in Mexico

made Samuel see all the good he would be able to do with

would be completely different than a city like Fresno or

his career. Luckily, for him it was the best decision he could

Monterey, California. Samuel also found difficulty interacting

have made.

with people from different nationalities, personalities and backgrounds. Samuel realized that communication is key

After gaining experience and receiving his Master’s, Samuel

for success. Many times he expected certain behavior of

decided to apply to graduate school in Texas. Although

people because that was the norm in Mexico and he was

Samuel was real bright and had much experience, he

disappointed because people do not operate the same

struggled with the English language. Samuel’s language

here in the United States. Very soon he understood that

barrier caused him to take an English test three times.

clear communication makes a huge difference.

Many first generation Latinos can relate with this experience. English may not be their first language and

Even after being a respected expert in water resources

if they are not around people who can speak English

management, Samuel still experienced additional

Photo by Miguel Buenrostro



challenges. He did his research in the Rio Grande a shared

challenged him to become extraordinary. He wanted to

river between the U.S. and Mexico. “I was under friendly

change lives and improve society. All of his drive could be

fire from people of both nations. Because I was doing my

attributed to mentors he had throughout his life: his college

research in the Rio Grande/Bravo while living in Texas,

professor, Carlos Malpica Flores; his Master’s advisor, Dr.

people from the U.S. thought that I was a spy and people

Juan Manuel Navaro Pineda; and his Ph.D. advisor, Dr.

from Mexico thought that I was a traitor,” he said. He

Daene C. McKinney – who all influenced his career.

had to be knowledgeable of both countries and had to represent them both in a very professional matter. It’s not

After graduate school, Samuel had the tools, resources and

good enough being ordinary in either country. You have to

skill set to become a successful professional, yet his own

be extraordinary to succeed in this business.

insecurities and fears held him back. Samuel learned that one can be their very own worst enemy. He learned this

After all his graduate education, Master’s degree in

when he applied for a position at the “Young Professionals

Hydraulics and Ph.D. in Environmental and Water

Program” in the World Bank. Samuel interviewed against

Resources Engineering, and after many fulfilling internships,

5,000 candidates. He then made the cut to 100 and then

Samuel still did not feel satisfied in his career. Financially,

he was down to the top five. Samuel was really nervous but

he and his wife were not content, and Samuel knew it was

excited for the opportunity in front of him. He felt like finally

time for something bigger. He yearned for a position that

he was going to be a given a chance to really be part of


Photo by Miguel Buenrostro


VISIÓN | feature something big. Reflecting on his interview he remembers

asset for UC Davis and his colleagues. Samuel's Spanish

being interviewed by a panel of five. Samuel remembers

speaking abilities enabled him to speak to farmers on a

being so nervous and over excited that his mind went blank

more personal level. With this powerful skill he was able

and was unable to answer many questions he knew very

to acquire unknown knowledge from farmers. In the past,

well because of his former experience in previous jobs

no one was able to communicate with these farmers, nor

and internships. However, he allowed his insecurities, fear

were they seen as a valuable resource. Samuel feels very

and anxiety take over. Unfortunately, he did not receive the

proud and honored to work side by side with other Latinos

position and was devastated. He blamed himself for this

who are water resources managers and farmers throughout

failure. Samuel felt like his career was over. All of his hard

California, “We are taking good care of the two most

work would go unnoticed and he would not get the chance

precious resources of the state: people and water.” As a

to really help others the way he knew best.

smart business person, Samuel knew that people on the frontline are probably the most knowledgeable about the

However, “when one door closes a window opens,”

business. All this was useful information that Samuel was

Samuel thought. Immediately after, he was given the

able to use in the issue of our current water drought.

opportunity to interview with University of California Davis for a faculty member position. Even though this seemed


like a great opportunity, Samuel was not completely sure

I tell them, The drought in California is very bad, SEVERE!

if it was the right job for him. He only liked doing research.

And the problem with the drought is that the real

Sometimes in life, people should take chances and explore

consequences are under our feet and not all of us have seen

different alternatives. Samuel believed that teaching was

it. We are tapping on our groundwater resources (aquifers)

not for him; life, however, has a funny way of making us do

and it seems they are showing signs of being affected (there

things we had no idea we were good at. This position not

is a large land subsidence throughout California) while there

only allowed him to keep doing research – like he originally

is no large increase in many of the produce we buy or eat

wanted – but it enabled him to pass along his knowledge

(the reason for this is globalization). This is a silent/unseen

and expertise to others as well.

problem it is very alarming because we have limited water resources, and the trajectory of the recent past has been to

Moreover, the language and culture barrier he once

use these resources as much as possible. This is a wake-

perceived as negative made him a very resourceful tool and

up call: Don’t wait for someone else to change, start the



Photo by Miguel Buenrostro

change with yourself. This will make things happen. This is

Finally, only use the amount of water you really need and

the tipping point to change the way we see and use water.

not a drop more. If we all do our part to reduce water

The decision is within us,” said Samuel.

consumption as a whole it will make a difference and it will benefit our communities and daily lives.

Samuel is using his expertise to help individuals, irrigation district and water management agencies to optimize the use of water in the complex California water landscape. He takes a holistic approach, balancing human and environmental needs. California is currently in a severe drought and has been enduring it for the past four years. Not only is it affecting communities by forcing them to reduce water consumption, but is also hurting many farmers in their agricultural businesses. Samuel’s research group focuses on water planning and management. “We develop methods for finding strategies to better distribute water, ensuring adequate quality

Our goal is to improve California’s water management through cooperation, shared vision, and sciencebased solutions.”

and the right timing. We consider the scientific, social, environmental, and economic aspects of basins. Our goal is to improve California’s water management through cooperation, shared vision, and science-based solutions.”

Overall, besides water management and conservation Samuel’s key point is to share his story and to teach Latinos to “First, find your passion. You will not find it in the first trial (perhaps) but eventually you will find it, and the

Current projects: • Integrated water supply and flood control management in the Russian River • C  alifornia river classification to support environmental flows • E  conomic feasibility of groundwater banking in California • Irrigation efficiency for the state of California • P  otential water savings on the California central coast

best thing of this is that sometimes you may get paid for doing what you love. Second, never give up. There may be times when you simply cannot move ahead, but just do it, find a way. Third, learn from your mistakes. I’ve learned much more from my mistakes than from my successes, so do not think too much of your successes, but spend some time asking yourself what went wrong when you make a mistake. Finally, BE HAPPY. That is the main objective of this life. I’ve found it with my wife, family and a fulfilling job; share your happiness with your family and friends.”

• Resilience for water systems As Latinos and professionals it is our duty to make a name

• Hydrology and climate change 101

for our people and disprove any negative stereotypes. Samuel has suggestions on how we as citizens of California

Overcome obstacles that we most likely will encounter

can do our part to save on water. We should really only

while keeping our integrity and giving back to the

take 5 to 7 minute showers. Consider having a different

community. Sometimes we have a bad habit of second

type of landscaping for our homes like native landscape,

guessing our abilities and allow fear to take over. Fear of

faux grass or rocks or granite and fixing leakages. He also

the unknown is normal but we have to let our passion for a

suggests we use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes

better life to kick in so we can push that fear to the side in

by hand. One might think using a dishwasher may not

order to take a risk and see how far we can go. It is better

make a big difference but in the long run it actually does.

to try and fail than to fail to try. 



VISIÓN | sports

MONARCAS ACADEMY Bearing fruit through the lives of our Latino youth BY JOSE POSADAS

LIFE IN THE NATION’S BREAD BASKET, THE AREA KNOWN AS CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL VALLEY, IS WHERE most of the country gets its produce, everything from peaches, plums, tomatoes or apricots to name a few, but it is also a place of extreme unemployment, a land of high rates of poverty and malnutrition despite all the fruits and vegetables being shipped out to a hungry nation. In the North San Joaquin Valley lies the city of Stockton where according to the most recent 2010 Census Latinos comprise 40% of the population and those under the age of 18 make up the majority of the populace at nearly 30%. In Stockton, as in other parts of the Central Valley, the scourge of gangs and a sedentary lifestyle is commonplace. High School graduation rates for Latinos in this region are the second lowest of all ethnic groups at 52% for boys and 62% for girls. 18


Yet, out of this same sun-drenched valley, from where

oldest currently serves as a Military Police Officer in the

the rich soil grows its bounty of food, there are the seeds

US Army. When not coaching or running the business of

of hope bringing change to young Latino boys and girl,

the Monarcas Academy he works full time as a Sales and

offering them an alternative to gangs, to poverty, developing

Marketing Executive for Smart Manufacturing a Printed

not just healthier bodies but also expanding their minds

Circuit Board Design and Manufacturing company.

and introducing them to a world of possibilities that only education can open.

The Monarcas Academy unofficially began over a decade ago when he formed a single team in the late 1990s, a

Founded in 2004 and a 501c3 non-profit, the Central Valley

team on which his oldest son would end up playing for

Monarcas Academy, based out of Stockton, is not just

many years before moving on to serve in the Armed Forces.

a soccer club but also a vehicle to help the youth of the

Early on the team played locally in various local recreational

Central Valley develop an interest in higher education and

leagues for a few years but Benjamin wanted to provide his

aspire to reach their potential in the classroom as well as on

players something more than just a pick up soccer game

the field. Its founder and President is Benjamin Gonzalez,

each weekend.

42, who began the organization for the purpose of providing student-athletes with the ability to play soccer at a


competitive level while maintaining their sights on a college

and by then Benjamin had a vision to create a program that

education and using soccer as a means to get to college.

would benefit all players and their families in many areas. This included the ability to receive college scholarships

Benjamin came to the USA from Guatemala at the young

for excelling in soccer as well as in academics. His vision

age of 12. Like many Latino immigrants his parents

was to create a place where the youth of the Central Valley

dreamed of a better life for him and his siblings- an older

could play, stay out of trouble and be healthy in mind and

brother and two younger sisters. The family lived in the

body and be rewarded with the opportunity to play college

Bay Area before moving to Modesto and eventually

soccer and have the sport of soccer help pay for their

settling in Stockton in 1996. Married, Benjamin is a father

education. He also saw it as a place where those youth

of three young men ages 14, 17 and 22 of which the

that wanted to pursue professional opportunities could get

City Hall with Alex Gonzalez

Photo provided by Ben Gonzalez



VISIÓN | sports a chance to try out for a professional club by showcasing

Under-13 team which qualified it to attend the West Coast

their talent to professional coaches at elite events that are

Championships in Idaho where they advanced to the

held around the Nation each year.

Championship game before eventually losing in overtime. The team then earned a spot to the National Championship

I had a vision to create a place where all soccer playing youth could enjoy the benefits of an elite program like other programs I had seen in the Bay Area, Southern California and other major cities.”

– Benjamin Gonzalez

As this first team got started in the competitive soccer world they enjoyed much success and won multiple regional tournaments including the first ever State Championship for a Stockton team in 2006. That Championship game was won in Santa Clara with his oldest son playing in the

games in North Carolina in the summer of 2007. This team put Monarcas Academy on track to a bright future. Several of those players went on to College and a few others combined college and joined the Military including Benjamin’s son. The Monarcas Academy now boasts hundreds of players, boys and girls, 90% of which are Latinos, from all parts of the Central Valley including some that travel to Stockton from as far away as Merced and the Bay Area. While the Academy’s success on the field is indisputable Benjamin did not lose sight of the off-the-field goals of the Academy. Graduating from High School is a priority and each year Monarcas graduates at least one team when they reach the age of 18. Their High School graduation rates for these teams is above 90 percent.

City Hall with the Mayor Anthony Silva


Photo provided by Ben Gonzalez


The Monarcas Academy hosts an annual College Night

so) Benjamin responded, “It means a lot because this is a life

in January which brings to Stockton College coaches

changing thing for not just the player going to college but for

and staff from top universities to give guidance to players

the entire family and even future generations.”

and their families on the college admissions process. As a result many former Monarcas Academy players have

The importance of also getting a scholarship, whether

received scholarships, both athletic as well as academic,

attained through a player’s success on the field, thanks to the

and have also continued their love of soccer at the college

Monarcas Academy, or through its insistence on academic

level at Sacramento State, Harvard, Dominican University,

achievement, cannot not be overstated. As Benjamin

Stanislaus State, and UC Davis.

points out, “Parents take great pride in their child getting a scholarship and it also saves them huge amounts of money

In addition to the success of the annual College Night the

on tuition. Scholarships can range from $5,000 to $10,000

Academy also provides to its players and their families The

per year to up to $30,000 towards their education.”

College Handbook, an online resource which is designed to help them better plan for their academic future in terms of

With the Monarcas Academy solidly behind the belief

knowing what requirements they will need to complete while

that higher education is the path toward a better life there

in high school in order to qualify for higher education as well

is hope for families in the Central Valley and the region

as insights into financial assistance and scholarship availability.

once known primarily as the Bread Basket of the nation

When asked what sending a child to college means to parents of players (many of whom are the first in their family to do

may instead one day be known for the cultivation and advancement of our Latino youth. 

Pictured with Congressman Jerry McNerney

Photo provided by Ben Gonzalez



VISIÓN | college bound

Get Ready:

Your Child Is Going to College


THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILD IS AN education. An education is something that no one can ever take away from them. It is a gift that will last forever. Many of you have kids headed to college. Be prepared. It can be an emotional and financial strain. It’s tough to let your “baby” go. (I was called a “Helicopter Mom,” hovering over my son from afar.)

Encourage your child to get involved with clubs and organizations

Financially, it’s a sacrifice to send your child to college. We all want the best for our children. The best college and the best education come with a hefty price tag. Room and board, tuition, and fees cost upwards of $140,000 for

with like-minded

four years at any of the University of California campuses.


Expect to pay over $200,000 at a private school. California State Colleges run about $100,000 for four years. Attending community college for the first two years is a great option. (If your child lives at home for the first two

Regardless of how much I thought I had saved and planned

years, tuition and books can be between $2,000-5,000

for my son, it was not enough. There were unexpected

a year.)

costs. There always seemed to be something extra. My son worked a part-time job and worked every summer to save

These days it’s rare that a student will get a full scholarship

money for school. You may have to work overtime; or get

for all four years of college. The paperwork and applications

a second job to put your child through college. Believe me,

for financial assistance can be a nightmare. Stay on top of

it’s worth every penny.

your child to meet those deadlines. Your child may need to take out a student loan. Don’t be afraid to borrow money,

Emotionally it’s very hard for parents when our children

but keep in mind that the more they borrow now, the bigger

go to college. One of my proudest moments was when I

debt they will face when they graduate.

helped my son move into his first dorm room. He happily



waved goodbye to me, ready to embark on his new journey,

My friends and family who have children going to college all

while I wiped away the tears as I drove away. Every day I’d

adamantly deny that they will become a “helicopter Mom.”

pass his empty room and his empty bed and wonder if he

One of my young cousins recently attended freshmen

was okay. At night I would stay awake wondering if he was

orientation at San Francisco State University. Her mom

hungry. Did he have enough to eat today? Is he cold? Is he

said: “I am not going to lie, I checked up on her here and

wearing his jacket? I will always be a “Mom” no matter how

there and prayed from beginning to end that she gets

old my son is.

through this first stage of the process.” I can see her Mom’s helicopter engine revving up now.

COLLEGE IS TOUGH. IT WILL CHALLENGE YOUR kids academically. They’ll feel stressed. Term papers, projects,

It’s been a tough four years for my son and I. We cried and

and final exams will push your child to their limit. Unlike my

we struggled. But he made it. He graduated in four years

son’s younger years in school, I couldn’t help him with his

with a Bachelor of Art degree in Film and Digital Media.

homework. Sending encouraging text messages, “Si Se

He plans to continue his education and pursue a Teaching

Puede, Mijo,” (You can do it, son) was the best I could do.

Credential and Masters in Education. To see him walk across the stage was well worth every headache, every

Motivate, encourage, and support your child in their decisions.

tear! It was the happiest day of my life. His education, a gift

Let them feel your unconditional love every day. Give them

he can use forever! “La mejor herencia para nuestros hijos

the latitude to pursue their own dreams and make their

es la educacion.” (The best inheritance we can give our

own choices. You may want your child to become the first

children in an education.)

doctor in your family, but your child may want to pursue their own passion. This is a time of self-discovery for your son or

As they called out my son’s name, Carlos Jose Ocampo,

daughter. Trust that they will make the right decisions.

they read a statement he’d written. “I am everyone who gave me breath, the ancestors who have never spoken

Expect them to make mistakes. They will be in a new

my name, the soil for those who will come after me. I am a reflection of you.”

environment, leaving old friends, feeling different social pressures. You will not be

Yes, Mijo, you are a reflection

around to pick their friends.

of your grandparents,

College can be a lonely

parents, family, friends and

place. Encourage your child

community who want the

to get involved with clubs

best in life for you. You have

and organizations with like-

made us all proud. 

minded classmates. ............................................. Drugs, alcohol, and yes, sex lurk in college dorm rooms

Martha Villarreal, J.D., Professor of Business and Law at San Joaquin Delta College has been teaching at Delta College for 26 years. Her passion is teaching Entrepreneurship. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. Originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in the San Joaquin Valley for over 30 years.

on every college campus. The temptations are there for all kinds of activities that we preached so heavily against when they were in the safety of our homes. I could only pray that my voice would resonate in my son’s head, “Just say No.” VISIÓN | SUMMER 2015




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VISIÓN | legal insight

What you need to know about




Statement of Fact Versus Opinion:

presented with questions

The false statement must be more than embarrassing and

from individuals whose

must be the kind of statement that would deter people from

character has become

associating with a particular individual.

the topic of vicious lies. The area of law that most

A false statement purporting to be fact is not an opinion, but

commonly applies to

is an assertion of fact. People are justified to express their

these situations is called

opinion, but may be found liable if they repeat an opinion as

defamation. A claim for

a fact that is not true. An example of an opinion is, “I can’t

defamation involves a

stand Martha, she is so mean.” An example of a statement

false statement, which

purporting to be a fact is, “Martha yelled at me, pushed me,

causes harm to a person’s

and stole my purse.”

property, business, profession, or occupation. The injured party is called the “plaintiff” while the accused is called

A court may construe an opinion as a statement purporting

the “defendant.” The plaintiff files the lawsuit and if the

to be a fact. For example, “I think Martha stole her purse,”

defendant loses, the defendant has to pay damages to

implies that you think she did and the fact that you are

the plaintiff. Defamation is broken into two categories: libel

repeating the rumor potentially shows your intent to further

(written statements) and slander (spoken statements).

the idea that Martha is untrustworthy. Also, if you repeat a defamatory statement that you hear from someone else,

How to Prove Defamation:

both you and the person who initially informed you of the fact

Merely making a defamatory statement about someone

that caused the harm can be liable. In fact, each slanderous

does not mean that a lawsuit will be successful. The

repetition of a defamatory statement may be considered a

plaintiff has the burden of proof, which means that it is

separate cause of action in a defamation lawsuit.

the plaintiff‘s responsibility to prove that the defamatory statements are false. Proving defamation can be very

Different Standards of Fault:

complicated due to the different standards of proof based

To win a defamation lawsuit, the plaintiff must also prove that

on the plaintiff’s standing.

the defendant acted with a certain level of fault. A private figure plaintiff bringing a defamation lawsuit must prove that

In general, to win a case for defamation, the plaintiff must

the defendant was at least negligent in making the defamatory

show four things: 1) a false statement purporting to be

statements. Public officials must prove that the defendant

fact; 2) an unprivileged publication or communication

acted with actual malice. In the U.S. Supreme Court Case,

of that statement to a third person where the person is

New York Times v. Sullivan, a public figure attempted to bring

defamed; 3) fault; and, 4) damages or some harm caused

an action for defamation. The Supreme Court held that the

to the person or entity who is the subject of the defamatory

public figure must prove the defendant acted with “actual


malice.” Actual malice does not require intent to harm. It can be as simple as the defendant knowing that the statements



were false or acting with reckless disregard for the truth. The

v. Catholic Healthcare West, the award for the plaintiff’s

term “public figure” can encompass more than politicians

defamation claim was over $24 million. While these high

or celebrities. A person can become a public figure, even

dollar verdicts are rare, they illustrate that damages in a

though that person did not want or invite public attention. For

defamation lawsuit can be significant.

example, a high profile criminal might be regarded as a public figure even though he or she did not purposefully position

Defamation and Business:

himself or herself into the public eye. Determining whether a

A business may bring an action for defamation if the

person is a private or public figure is not always easy and the

defamatory statement raises doubts about the morality,

categories may overlap.

credit, effectiveness, or prestige of that entity. However, if the statements refer only to corporate officers, the

Defamation And The First Amendment:

corporation cannot litigate on their behalf. Moreover, under

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1964 decision in New York

certain circumstances, a business might be held liable if

Times v. Sullivan, defamation claims have been somewhat

one of their employees commits the act of defamation.

limited by First Amendment concerns. Damages: Common examples of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff include injury to reputation, emotional distress, economic hardship (a loss in business). Punitive damages are available in defamation cases if the defendant acted with malice, oppression, or fraud. Punitive damages are


imposed by the court as a way to punish the defendant.

California recognizes several privileges and defenses for defamation, including truth, consent, and privilege. An

Presumed Damages (meaning you don’t have to present

example of privilege is when a witness, who is called to

evidence of your loss):

court to testify, makes a statement in court. Also, as a

Most jurisdictions have laws which presume damages

general rule, a deceased person cannot be defamed,

(defamation per se) where a person defames an individual’s

meaning their estate cannot sue for damages to the

professional character or standing and when any of the

deceased’s reputation.

following allegations are made: that an unmarried person is unchaste (that a female sleeps around); that a person

If you believe you have been defamed, do not wait to take

is infected with a sexually transmitted disease; or that a

action. The statue of limitations for a defamation lawsuit in

person has committed a crime involving moral turpitude

California is one year. This means that the law requires you to

(theft, fraud, or in some jurisdictions, DUIs).

file your lawsuit within one year of the statement; otherwise, you will be barred from bringing the lawsuit forever. 

High Dollar Damages Awards: While courts do not generally favor defamation lawsuits and the legal requirements are complex, many defamation lawsuits have yielded high dollar awards. In the case of Lennar Corp. v. Briarwood Capital LLC, a San Diego developer was found liable for $1 billion in damages to Lennar Corporation, a large Miami-based home builder. In the case of Choi v. Marciano, a Los Angeles jury awarded a defamation verdict to the plaintiff of $370 million, including $25 million in punitive damages. In the case of Chopourian

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



VISIÓN | arts

A French Connection BY ARLENE GALINDO


also a very conservative place, and religion played a big role

in the Imperial Valley near the border of Mexicali to Rosa

in the sleepy little town. In his teen years he experienced a

and Teofilo Morin, the youngest of four children, and the

lot of self hate and anger, but it also pushed him to work

only boy. He grew up on farms in the Latino community

even harder. “As a young Latino, I didn’t have very many

of Holtville, California where his mother worked as a bank

role models (aside from my parents) that I could say, wow,

teller and his father as a foreman in the fields, working his

they’ve really ‘made it in life’ and any gay Latinos

way up to a technician for the Navy Base in El Centro.

were unimaginable. I believe the Imperial

He was always taught that whatever task he was given in

county has the highest unemployment rate

life is an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. His

in the state, and people there had zero

parents never let him quit at anything, and so he has always

ambition, or at best people could hope to

had that give your all attitude, even when life hands you

work in law enforcement.”

something difficult. It was then that Anthony made the As a gay teen, growing up in a small town of about 5,000

decision to change the focus of his

residents where everyone knows everyone else he has

energy from what he was lacking, into

always had a strong sense of community. However it was

what he could be. Reaching into the



possibilities that kept going through his mind he accepted

His work and colleagues at the International Education

himself for who he was and got involved at the age of 16

Exchange Council at SFSU and the office of International

into study abroad programs that were offered locally. He

Programs nurtured his dreams of studying abroad and

volunteered his junior year in the American Field Service

paved his way to his all time dream of traveling to Paris. In

(AFS) and was a member of the FFA (Future Farmers of

the spring of 2008 with several letters of recommendation,

America) where he raised sheep. In AFS, he made friends

qualifying grades and acceptance at the University in Paris

with foreign exchange students, and eventually ended up

he had to still call his family and soften the blow that their

convincing his parents to host an exchange student from

son was leaving.

Switzerland. During his senior year he hosted Sandra, who he calls his Swiss-sister whom he still sees almost every

He explained that he was awarded with a teaching

year. He realized then after meeting so many students

apprenticeship by the ministry of education, and was

from all parts of the world, that he wanted to experience a

getting paid for his work to help lesson the burden of

different culture. “I already felt like an outsider, why not truly

finances. Their only son was leaving, on his way to living his

become one?”

dream and on the path to many doors opening for him. “I was shocked by what my parents said, as they were in

That same, year in 2005, Anthony was accepted to San

tears and could hardly speak but not because they were

Francisco State University (SFSU) to start in the Fall as a

upset or scared for me, but because they secretly always

Freshman entering their Liberal Arts program. The odds of a

hoped that I would go and live my dreams.” They gave

young Latino from his hometown going to a four-year university

him their blessing, and he headed to Paris, where his year

and actually coming out with a Bachelor’s degree were at

abroad turned into a miraculous and marvelous two year

the time not in his favor and, with good reason, he didn’t feel

journey that changed his life forever.

prepared. It wasn’t until he delved into French and Italian language classes that he realized his talent for languages, history and culture.

Anthony explored all of Paris, and experienced something he had never known before. Being Mexican was a special and exotic thing, and his Mexican identity attracted those

Rester, c’est exister mais voyager, c’est vivre. (To Stay is to exits, but to travel is to live.) – de Gustave Nadaud



VISIÓN | arts most foreign to him. He didn’t make friends with many

educational project. Upon his return to the U.S. in the

other Americans, his friends were basically everything but

summer of 2010, he was fluent in Spanish, English and

American. And after a year in France, the world began to

French, and could get by with Italian. He finished degree at

call, and he traveled to Cyprus, England, Switzerland ,

San Francisco State University and attained a Bachelor’s

Holland, Italy, Germany and Belgium.

degree in French and International Relations and began work as an intern at the French Consulate in San Francisco

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more outspoken about being Mexican

as the only American helping run the cultural services department with the Attaché Culturels of that time. In 2013, he was hired at the Alliance Française of San

than when I was in Paris.”

Francisco as the Cultural Events Coordinator. Founded in

My culture taught me that the little things in life really matter and it opened more doors for me. For example, I was raised to eat home cooked meals and to give of yourself in preparing meals for others with kindness in your heart. Cooking for someone is in a way making them into an extended family, because ultimately your food represents what you wish upon that person and so the more love you put into your meal the bigger the blessing and goodwill you wish upon your friends.

1883 by a group of eminent men, including the scientist Louis Pasteur, the diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, the writers Jules Verne and Ernest Renan, and the publisher Armand Colin, the Alliance Française is the largest network of French language and cultural centers in the world. The past two and a half years at the Alliance have proven a most enriching and rewarding experience for Anthony. More than just coordination he programs different French

“It was also a time, that made me learn more about myself than I ever could in the U.S. I was a student of International relations, of history and then of cultures. I couldn’t get enough of learning from other cultures.” Anthony has taught English to French students where he was awarded with the title of Ambassador to the High School because of project COMENIUS, a European Union



films every week, runs the art gallery, helps to develop the

When asking him what he thought most important about his

expansion of community partners for the Alliance in the San

experience Anthony says that it’s important that the things

Francisco Bay Area, like the LGBT Frameline Film Festival,

he personally experienced and cherished while in France

and the SF Opera and puts on monthly events that explore

he now can share with the public such as the movies that

all aspects of French and French speaking cultures.

touched him or helped him get through difficult times in his life. He educates people on what France is all about, through its language and cultural events, and sometimes he thinks, maybe someone out there has the same dream I had. Maybe someone out there is longing to experience new worlds and at the end of the day. “I am still blown away by how many nice e-mails, and comments I receive on how my events and movie nights helped push someone else to either learn the language, travel to France or just step out of their usual routine.”

Anthony Morin and Executive Director Pascal Lederman

“We want to encourage more Latinos here at the Alliance Francaise to participate and share in our programs.” Pascal Ledermann, Executive Director Alliance Française de San Francisco

He recently was honored with taking a group of students from different community

colleges throughout the state of California (some confirmed Latinos) with ESA (European Studies Association) Paris where he will be a guide for the month of July this summer, showing them around the city, and educating them on the rich history of Paris. The ESA Paris is in it’s 38th year run by founder Dr. Tom Blair who is the Executive Director of the ESA. He states, “We work with a number of Los Angeles

His work at the

community colleges, and over 80% of our student group is

Alliance has

composed of Latino students. French is a natural language

helped to bring

for them to try as they know English and often Spanish, and

wine tasting

have a head start on French. They even know the gender of

events with

nouns and have that concept already in their heads. Not to

world renown

mention that Paris is a desirable destination for them.”

food critics, lectures and book singing events with New York Times Best Anthony with the President of France, Francois Hollande

Selling Authors,

and music festivals with numerous bands and musical acts. His current line of work has allowed him to meet diplomats including his “selfie” photographic session with the President of France, François Holland.

Anthony often thinks of the Edith Piaf song, called No Regrets, and admits, “I was always an outsider growing up, because I have no regrets and would do it all over again in a second. I believe the times that have been rough helped me realize that I didn’t have to sit there and accept what was being thrown at me, but that If I chose to stand up and walk on, then my path would unveil itself to me.”  ................................................................................................................ Visit these sites for more information about Anthony’s work,,



VISIÓN | family matters

family matters Q

By Joseph L. Hernandez, Ph.D.

Dear Dr. Joe,

existence, or to enhance their perceived sense of personal

A coworker accused me of being a gossip.

worth in the eyes of the “enablers.” Work is not the

I was offended! Sure, I occasionally pass

only place where people gossip, it can occur between

on interesting information about others, but

neighbors, on the golf course, at church, in the family, and

nothing harmful. I’m like a conduit of knowledge. Besides,

in many other places. Also, both men and women engage

my coworkers are right there ready for the next juicy

in the passing on of personal information about others, not

piece of information. If you ask me, I think they’re gossip

necessarily for altruistic reasons.

“enablers.” – Conduit


I suppose the best test of whether a piece of information is Dear Conduit,

gossip or not is to ask yourself if you would say the same

Gossip is defined as, “idle talk or rumor,

thing in the same way if the person about whom you are

especially about the personal or private affairs

talking was in the room. A second way to determine if a

of others.” A gossiper is “a person given to

statement is gossip is whether you would want your friend

tattling or idle talk.” A gossip monger is “a person especially

or acquaintance to pass on the same type of information

fond of, or addicted to, gossiping.”

about you. You can be a conduit of useful information that builds others up, or you can be a conduit like a sewer pipe

While I cannot definitively say whether or not you are a

that stinks to high heaven. Your choice!

gossip, the evidence is leaning in that direction. Usually


people gossip in the workplace to distract themselves from work, to add some interest into an otherwise mundane


Dear Dr. Joe, My child’s teacher told me that she thinks Jason has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. She said that Jason doesn’t pay

attention in class, talks too much, and isn’t learning. She thinks he has a problem and may need medicine. If he likes what he’s doing, Jason can play games or watch TV for hours. I think she doesn’t manage the classroom well. I wonder if she’s just a bad teacher. What do you think? – Perplexed




Dear Perplexed,

and being a drag. I like to have fun like anybody else, but I

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a

think he doesn’t understand the seriousness of life. I wish

real physiological condition. It is, however,

he would tone it down and live in the real world. Life is not

often misdiagnosed, over-diagnosed, and

a bowl of cherries! Who’s got the problem: Is it him, or is it

over-treated with medication. The primary issues include

me? – Grumpy

a persistent pattern of inattention in a variety of settings,

can cause problems with self-esteem, difficulties with


scholastic achievement, and problems in social settings.

to appreciate your husband’s joie de vivre (delight in being

Teachers are often the individuals who first identify this

alive, carefree enjoyment of living). He can teach you how

condition because they see kids who are having difficulty

to relax and have fun while you can help him learn to

in staying focused at school, who are not doing their

take care of business. As a team, you can both enjoy life

homework, or who are experiencing social issues because

together – to the fullest!

hyperactivity (not always present), and impulsivity. These symptoms are more frequent and severe than is usually observed with other kids in the same developmental stage and the symptoms start at a very young age. This condition

Dear Grumpy, Sounds like your husband is having a blast and you’re not. It’s true that being an adult is partly about being responsible. Sadly, the

“worries and woes” of life often rain on our parade. Learn

of their impulsive behaviors. As it turns out, research shows that laughter is great I do not know how well Jason’s teacher does her job.

medicine. A good belly laugh relaxes the body, soothes

Yet, most teachers love what they do. They are often

tension, and releases endorphins (the natural “feel good

very professional in trying to instruct children under

drugs” of the body). Laughter can be a connector between

difficult circumstances. Listen to what Jason’s teacher

you and your husband. Laughter can help you cope with the

is telling you and request a formal assessment of his

sometimes harsh realities of life and can actually improve

condition. This assessment will likely involve the gathering

your immune system. Although some question the validity

of behavioral information from parents, from teacher(s),

of certain laughter research, one of the most consistent

and from the child. A competent formal determination of

and convincing benefits of laughter is how it helps

whether or not your child has ADHD will help in planning

individuals manage their pain. I have found it true in the

for his current and future success in school, in the

Pain Management groups that I lead: When people laugh

community, and at home.

out loud, they distract themselves from their physical pain


conditions and they learn other coping strategies for dealing Dear Dr. Joe,

with pain. The same is true when the pain is emotional. Any

My husband is always happy. He’s the life

way you slice it, laughing improves the quality of life. Life

of the party and often has a huge grin on

is even better when we choose to laugh together with our

his face. He accuses me of being grumpy

spouse, our kids, and with good friends. 

Joseph L. Hernandez, Ph.D., a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist, earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University, and a B.A. in Pastoral Training and Theology. He teaches at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, maintains a private practice in Salida, California, and is a partner with Family Wellness Associates. Dr. Hernandez is the author of a book on family dynamics published by W.W. Norton and Company, “Family Wellness Skills: Quick Assessment and Practical Interventions for the Mental Health Professional.” My answers do not necessarily represent the views of this magazine. They are meant to be taken as opinion and not as psychotherapy. Some issues may require the services of a mental health professional.



VISIÓN | transition

Young woman * in STEM field Photo provided by Charlene Cuellar



she was about to receive in school would be shaping

Not only does she know what she wants, but she set herself

her and providing her with the tools she would later put

up for success by surrounding herself with the positive role

to use as her academics became more rigorous. During

models, mentors and support programs that would lead

middle school and high school, she began participating in

her to where she is now – right from the beginning! Now

a tutoring program aimed at K-12 students called “Metas.”

she is one semester away from graduating from San Jose

(Metas is the Spanish word for goals). Almost all the tutors

State University with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering

there are college students – mostly in the science and

and plans to pursue graduate school to specialize in signal/

engineering fields – and also Latinos. The Metas program

image processing where she can apply her knowledge to

not only assisted her with school work, but it also helped

computer vision applications. What was once just a dream,

expose her to a variety of career opportunities (through the

is now on the cusp of becoming a reality!

tutors). Charlene feels that the support she received from Metas is the reason why she was admitted into one of the

Both of her parents and two older brothers immigrated to

best high schools in the district.

the United States from their home in Guadalajara, to a small apartment in San Francisco, California. After she was born,

Middle College High School, is located at the same

they moved to San Pablo and stayed there until her third

community college as the Metas program. It allows its

year in high school. Little did she know that the support

students to be concurrently enrolled in college courses all *Science, technology, engineering and math



through their four years. By the time she had graduated

research program, she was able to present her work at a

from high school, she also completed almost all her

national conference held by the Society for Advancement

general education courses needed for an undergraduate

of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

degree. For financial reasons, she decided to continue on

Attending this conference was a huge motivator and ignited

at the community college. This also led to her continued

her interest to pursue a graduate degree. She enjoyed the

participation in the Metas program – this time, as one of

conference so much she sought out the SACNAS chapter

their tutors.

at San Jose State.

...a strong desire to persevere in her field, an unshakable work ethic and resiliency.”

ALTHOUGH CHARLENE HAS ALWAYS HAD THE support of her family, friends, instructors and programs, it has gotten more and more challenging each year. Her first year after transferring to San Jose for example was a tough one. Like many new students, she had to get to know her surroundings and the new level of difficulty in her school work. She says “imposter syndrome” set in. It made her feel as though she didn’t belong there, even if she was qualified. Her third semester she recalls, has been her worst as a result of a demanding course load, extracurricular activities, work, and depression that was


triggered through social circumstances. She failed one of

high school and Charlene's initial interest was in science,

her core engineering classes and she was disappointed

so she declared a major in pharmacy. After taking an

in her performance. This young lady never thought about

organic chemistry class however, she decided it was not

giving up though. She quickly assessed her situation and

her calling and this time, decided to look at what really

after some self-evaluation, she knew she had it in her to

spoke to her. She soon found out that it was engineering.

see her goals through. She implemented a study program,

She had always enjoyed math from a very young age. Later,

took charge of her mental health, prioritized the various

this became a subject she was very passionate about as

demands and activities she was involved in and is now

she learned about the various ways to apply math. Even

seeing the results of such efforts as she is one semester

after picking her major the second time around, she knew

away from graduating!

she had to get even more specific. She did a lot of research to figure out what kind of engineering would be the best fit

Charlene still tutors for Metas and would like to encourage

for her. After much thought she decided her focus would be

other Latinas pursuing science or engendering careers

on electrical engineering. She opted for this because of her

to go out and take advantage of the many opportunities

hobby in digital photography.

and resources to gain information about (paid) research opportunities that they can apply for. She highly

Because of her extensive involvement with the


Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program at her community college, she was exposed to

Although Charlene’s mother had studied to be a teacher

various internship opportunities and encouraged to apply

in Mexico her Father, with only a second grade education

for them. Charlene was fortunate enough to be accepted

and a construction worker for most of his life, gave her the

into a summer research program at UC Santa Barbara

real education; a strong desire to persevere in her field, an

the summer before transferring. This further solidified her

unshakable work ethic and resiliency. Not only did he teach

decision to pursue electrical engineering and reassured

her to gather the tools needed, but to know when to use

her that this is where her passion was. Because of this

the right one. 



VISIÓN | leadership

A Boss says GO! A Leader says LET’S GO! BY RODNEY CORDOVA


development director for a private Christian school.

What are some Characteristics of a good leader?

He was a gifted author and communicator. He would


challenge me to think outside the box as well as question

Is there a formula? ............................................................................................

me about my dreams and goals. He asked me one day if

A recipe of what constitutes a Leader? ............................................................................................

know what he meant but he simply stated that businesses

Throughout history there have been many great leaders in the world. Some of them had natural leadership qualities while others had to work at it. When Steve Jobs passed away, the Apple community was left wondering who was going to be the next tech visionary to lead the company into the new millennium. Who would carry the torch? Was Apple now doomed because Steve was no longer running things? Of course not. In fact Apple is larger than ever. Was Steve Jobs a great leader? Or did he surround himself with the best of the best? To some he was a dictator. To others he was a visionary. And to this author he was an acquaintance that inspired others to seek excellence in everything that they did.

have business plans for their business and they often revisit their plan in an effort to be successful. A business plan for your life is much the same and often needs to be revisited and tweaked on occasion. After hearing what he had to say I realized that I was in the presence of a leader that in many ways was casting pearls before swine. Most of the people that worked for him did not understand half of what he was saying. There are many qualities that I saw in Ken Jones that made him great in my eyes. He had a plan to lead a church and a Christian school. He had a mission statement for his own life as well. And when you think about it, how could he advise instructors on how to invest in the lives of young people if he himself did not have a way to invest in his own. You need a plan.

I started noticing that there are many characteristics that make great leaders. In an effort to unveil them, I thought a list might be a good and easy way for you to identify the characteristics of a leader. It is as follows:

Motivation is key to leadership. When someone takes the lead and begins the charge, it doesn’t come first without some motivation. “Mr. Gorbachev! Tear down that wall!” The words were a simple instruction but the motivation in President Reagan’s voice

Leaders have a Mission Statement. When I first moved to Modesto I had the opportunity to work for an amazingly gifted man by the name of Ken Jones. He was an influential leader to me in so many ways and his unconventional teaching style brought me to an organic state in my new position as a business 36

I had a mission statement for my life. At that time I did not

inflection delivered a resonance that called for action. If Reagan sent a text or an e-mail saying “Tear down that wall!” It would not have the same impact as his ability to stand behind a microphone and let his voice carry an inflection that motivated and inspired us as a nation.





social acumen




Integrity is pivotal in leadership.

and do what is right for the good of the company or

The word integrity is often mistaken for honesty. But

organization. Social acumen becomes easier if you have a

Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is

plan and direction. It makes the decision making process

watching. To follow a leader with integrity means that they

easier because you can see from a different perspective.

will always have your best interest in mind as well because they will always try to do the right thing. Even when nobody


is watching.

While growing up in a private school in the Bay Area I heard it said many times “Without rules...there is chaos!”


Granted there needs to be structure in every organization

You can’t do it all by yourself. You need help to lead. But

but there also needs to be flexibility. You cannot hold your

as the title of this story says, “A Boss says GO! A Leader

hands steady on the steering wheel without making minor

says LETS GO! There is a huge difference between

adjustments while driving. The same is true in leadership.

telling someone to do something as opposed to showing

There are always areas where flexibility can be exercised.

someone how to do something. When I was in business for

Whether it be flexible with rules, order or even with your

myself I looked for employees that where “FAT.” Meaning

time. Sometimes overtime is needed as well as getting


off a little early to spend quality sunlight with loved ones.

employee, you can get a lot accomplished. You know that

Sometimes you need to allow a mental rest day.

they will be there when you need them and they will learn


from their mistakes.

The ability to smile in a tough situation is one of the greatest


characteristics in leadership. It shows confidence, stability

Leaders who instill loyalty within their employees will tend to

and strength. When opposition arises a smile is hard to

have their staff follow them even if they are removed from

fight against. It is hard to be angry at someone when they

their position. It is not uncommon to see a new CEO bring

are smiling at you.

on his former staff to lead the new venture. You need to have the back of your staff and employees because they

I hope that whether you are an entrepreneur, boss, teacher

will have yours if they believe in you.

or manger, that you gained a little something about characteristics of a leader. Who knows? You might even

Social Acumen.

implement some of these characteristics or better yet, fine

Having the ability to act and speak with clear direction.

tune characteristics that you already have. Now go change

Leaders with social acumen are able to see the big picture

the world! 



VISIÓN | education

Let’s Have a

Courageous Conversation I RECENTLY HAD THE

believe that high academic achievement could become a

opportunity to visit a

reality because the school system would be able to do what

kindergarten classroom at

it is designed to do: teach.

a school in a predominately Latino neighborhood in

Unfortunately, that’s just not real life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful

east San Jose. I was able

if everyone was conscientious, organized, and prepared? That

to see an excellent teacher

would eliminate most of the world’s problems for sure. The

at work. Just holding the

reality is that students, like all people, come in different colors,

attention of energetic

cultures, sizes, intellectual abilities, and social classes. Despite

five-year-olds seemed like

this diversity, every student can succeed if school systems

a tall order. The teacher

truly understood and accepted that everyone is different.

was engaging and positive BY EDDIE GARCIA

as she led the students

In their insightful book about equity in education, Courageous

through a math exercise.

Conversations About Race, professors Glenn E. Singleton and

Some kids were attentive, others were restless, and most were

Curtis Linton use meticulous research to demonstrate that

somewhere in between. What impressed me most was that

society, school systems, education leaders, and classroom

the teacher worked hard to involve each student.

teachers more times than not prejudge students based on race, cultural background, and socioeconomic status. This

I witnessed the teacher practicing what educational experts

results in practices that marginalize students of color and sets

call “meeting students where they are.” In other words, the

them on a course that discourages a future college education.

teacher didn’t expect every student to be the same and she made adjustments for each student’s strengths and

In a 2009 report, the California State Superintendent of

weaknesses. On the other hand, as an education blogger

Schools recognized this problem and recommended

and former school trustee, I’ve heard many other educators

culturally relevant professional development as a solution.

express frustration that the problem is that “students don’t

Unfortunately, few school districts have attempted to

come to school ready to learn.”

develop a comprehensive and systematic approach to implement this recommendation.

So what does “ready to learn” mean? Essentially, it describes the model student: conscientious, organized,

Why is this? To even start thinking about implementing a culturally

and prepared to learn every day. This must start at home,

relevant professional development program, school systems must

the argument goes. With that reasoning, some educators

first acknowledge that cultural bias may actually exist.



Singleton and Linton write that talking about these biases is “a

conversation. Questioning people about cultural bias is taken

difficult conversation, one that clearly troubles educators and

as a personal affront to a person’s character and integrity.

can make everyone downright uncomfortable.” School board

Without exploring the prejudice that exists in the world around

members, administrators, and teachers for the most part are

us, it’s impossible to have the bigger discussion about whether

dedicated to making sure that every student succeeds. They

these biases impact the way we interact with school children.

want to believe that they are without preconceived notions, so it’s hard for good people to believe that they hold such

Administrators that confronted the challenges brought on by

biases. That’s what makes the conversation so difficult and so

having community engagement on the delicate dialogue of

courageous for those who engage in the dialogue.

bias found that once people started talking, they began to address the issues. Long-term relationships were tested and

One would think that in a place as diverse as Silicon Valley,

challenged, participants discovered their own preconceived

having this conversation would be easy. But it’s not. I’ve

notions, and the end results were good for students. Test

discussed this issue with school board members and

scores have been steadily rising in those districts, students

superintendents throughout the valley. The response usually

and their families feel good about school, and teachers say

goes like this: “I can see that (cultural bias) happening in

they understand their students better. These factors are the

other places, but not at our school district.” For school

building blocks for school achievement.

leaders who acknowledge the existence of some cultural bias in their institutions, lack of funding, they say, prevent them

We all have biases about everything. These notions are created

from taking any action toward a courageous conversation.

by our environment. It doesn’t mean that we’re bad people.

The short story here is that education policy makers are

The first step is acknowledging these facts. That’s probably

reluctant to even raise the issue.

the hardest part. School leaders may be reluctant to venture into the wilderness of starting that difficult conversation. It will

To find out why this is the case, I reached out to a couple of

take conviction, courage, and commitment. Nevertheless, we

school administrators who have actually implemented culturally

need to have these discussions as a community to ensure that

relevant professional development programs in their districts.

all students have an opportunity to achieve and succeed.

Their experiences were similar. Teachers, staff, and the school communities were skeptical and resistant to even begin the

Let’s be bold and start talking. 



VISIÓN | community

Education Partnership BY FRED BIGLER


Visión magazine lauds this education partnership for

together to provide greater opportunity for underserved

the opportunities that it can provide for the youth of our

youth of our communities. Tom Changnon, Superintendent of

communities. Without question all of us are involved in

Stanislaus County Office of Education, Jill Stearns, President

building our own individual lives and that of our communities.

of Modesto Junior College and Dr. Joseph F. Sheley, California

We realize that without the direct effort of endeavors like

State University, Stanislaus President, have formed the

this education partnership, dedicated to improve the lives

Stanislaus Education Partnership, an educational organization

of our citizenry, our communities will not grow in health and

which will seek to encourage and provide greater opportunity

wealth. As our society becomes increasingly sophisticated

for first generation college students to prepare for college

with technological innovations, we are in need of a more

entrance and achieve a college degree. With a significant

educated workforce. Visión magazine is supporting all

number of Latino students seeking a higher education, this

aspects of educational opportunities to ensure that the

partnership will have a very beneficial impact in encouraging

children of our emerging generation are prepared to meet

more Latino students to seek a college degree and create a

workforce expectations. All of us, parents, employers,

successful life for themselves and their families.

educators, pastors, priest and the common man, must realize our individual responsibility to raise the education level of our populace to ensure that we don’t fall behind and fail to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Visión will continue to support efforts like this educational partnership, which is on the forefront to help our children become the capable and effective community leaders of today and tomorrow. The Stanislaus Education Partnership will develop programs to promote the benefits of a college education to students and their families, with the goal of closing the achievement gap for minority and underserved students completing a

(l to r) Dr. Joseph F. Sheley, Jill Stearns, Tom Changnon

college degree. According to Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County Office of Education Superintendent, the most important part of helping many underserved students complete his/her education is helping them believe in their own ability to compete in the educational arena. “Once they believe they can do it there is no limit what they can achieve.” Mr. Changnon shared several of the Office of Education’s programs, which Students attending Stanislaus Education Partnership event

are encouraging high school graduation. He related that

college graduates in the San Francisco Bay area is 57%

our present generation of youth, who although have many

of the total population, while here in the central valley the

education advantages, are often falling short of achieving

percentage of college graduates is in the teens. He stated

the same level of health and wealth of their parents and

that parents want their children to attend and graduate

grandparents generation.

from college, but many need help in preparing their children for college. CSUS is composed of a 44% Latino

Jill Stearns of the Modesto Junior College (MJC) spoke of

student population, an obvious and positive statement of

the importance of preparing students for the workforce.

the desire of Latinos for a college education. CSUS offers

The MJC program is designed to make higher education

several programs to encourage Latino higher education:

more affordable and accessible to minority and other

The Chicano Latino Youth Conference, The DREAMERS

underserved youth. According to the Public Policy

Committee, STEM, and Outreach.

Institute of California, “If corrective action isn’t taken now, California’s workforce will have a shortage of one

Visión magazine supports the efforts of our education

million college educated workers by 2025.” We, at Visión

institutions to provide a first class education for our Latino

magazine, believe our society is at a critical place and we

students. The high percentage of Latino students attending

must support our educational institutions to ensure that

college and a significant number of Latino teachers and

we meet the goal of an educated populace, able to build a

college professors in our educational institutions, highlights

positive and healthy society for our children.

and demonstrates the importance that Latinos place on a higher education. Organizations like the Stanislaus Education

Dr. Joseph F. Sheley, President of the California State

Partnership demonstrate the importance of achieving a

University Stanislaus (CSUS), shared his concern for the

higher education and are an additional support in assisting

need of more college graduates to fill positions here in the

all of our students to become effective and successful

California central valley. He related that the population of

community members. 

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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.

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.

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/ 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.

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.


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.

Rev. Craig Hunnel moved to Nampa, Idaho to pursue his studies at Northwest Nazarene University. He met his wife of 29 years, Linda and they married in 1984. Having moved to Kansas City, Missouri Craig graduated with a masters degree and began pastoral ministries. Craig is a passionate writer, family wellness and healthy families advocate, teacher and community leader with seasoned years of experience. Craig and Linda have five children. 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.

Venus Esparza-Zavala 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.



VISIÓN | people and events

MARCH 18, 2015

The San Joaquin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held their 14th Annual Latina Business Conference

Photos by Tim Tafolla, Maya Photo Studio



APRIL 25, 2015

The American GI Forum held their 16th Annual Joe Cardenas Black & White Ball in Modesto

Photos by Delvisa DiDomenico



VISIÓN | people and events

MAY 20, 2015

The Latino Community Foundation held their Sacramento Summit INSPIRE EMPOWER TRANSFORM at the Sterling Mansion

See more photos from this and other events on our fan page at 46


MAY 21, 2015

Carmen Milagro and The Payne Mansion Hotel Presented “America Today” an exhibit by America Jimenez De Lara. Wine poured by Napa Valley’s Define Wines. Flowers by Julie Rivera San Francisco



Arlene Galindo

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Inspiring Message on Leadership Motivational speaker, Susan Mazza, is a Leadership Coach with a compelling message on Random Acts of Leadership. This event is hosted by United Way of Stanislaus County Women’s Leadership Council, which exists to mobilize the power of women to strengthen the lives of women and children in our community. The Power of the Purse luncheon is held at the Gallo Center for the Arts in downtown Modesto. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Seating is limited. For information, email


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