2018 American Dream Awards Finalists Announced Eight immigrants are in the running for four $2,000 awards

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2018 American Dream Awards Finalists Announced Eight immigrants are in the running for four $2,000 awards

By Emanuela Palmares

There are those among us in our immigrant community who have overcome great challenges to provide for their families, yet they persevere. There are those among us who are students, immigrants or the children of immigrant parents, who juggle their studies, help at home with translation and hold down a job, all while still in high school. There are men and women willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country before becoming a citizen.

There are those among us who have come to our county many years ago, but whose story of grit, and the desire for a better life, not only for themselves but also for the generations yet to come, resonate and inspire us still today.

All these everyday people are heroes. Some of their own stories, others of all of us, are all driven by a deep sense of gratitude and love for the country they call home.

The New American Dream Foundation Inc. (TNADF), a 501(c)(3) organization, will host and celebrate the 5th anniversary of its Annual American Dream Awards Gala on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 6:00 PM at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury. The gala is a celebration of everyday heroes in our immigrant community whose stories can inspire all of us to serve our community and never give up on our own American Dream.

The event features four award categories – Lifetime, Leadership, Veteran and the American Dream Awards Person and Students of the Year – recognizing community members who promote our nation’s rich immigrant history, highlighting the cultural, social and economic contributions of all immigrants, and the core American values of equal opportunity, progress and freedom in the areas of education and civic engagement.

The New American Dream Foundation Board of directors has selected the honorees for the Lifetime, Leadership and Veteran of the Year categories.

For the two categories of the awards that were open to the public for nomination – the American Dream Person of the Year and the American Dream Students of the Year, the nomination process for the 2018 American Dream Awards began last February and ended on June 25.

Eight finalists in the running for the evening’s top honors, for the Person of the Year and the Students of the Year categories, will receive two tickets to attend the gala. The four winners, revealed at the gala, will receive $2,000 and the American Dream Awards statue, and will have their names permanently displayed on a plaque in Danbury City Hall honoring The New American Dream Foundation’s American Dream Awards.

The 2018 Person of the Year finalists for the $2,000 award are:

Sandy Sanchez (Portugal, Danbury)
Jose Nicolas Barcenas (Mexico, Danbury)

The 2018 Student of the Year finalists for the three $2,000 scholarships are:

Alexandra Charles (Haiti, Danbury)
Christopher Rodriguez (Dominican Republic, Danbury)
Leticia Quintino (Brazil/US, Danbury)
Franklin Illescas (Ecuador, Danbury)
Nary Rath (Cambodia/US, Danbury)
Yago Zoccarato (Brazil, Danbury)

Honorees in the following categories were selected by the New American Dream Foundation:

The American Dream Lifetime Achievement Award – recognizes individuals whose life journey is the embodiment of the American Dream.

2018 American Dream Lifetime Achievement Award recipient:

Mr. Peter Hearty of the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, and Celtic Cross Pipe &

Drum of Danbury, presented by AARPConnecticut.

American Dream Leadership Award – recognizes three individuals and/or organizations that have taken the lead in supporting members of our community in the three The New American Dream Foundation focus areas: health, education and civic engagement.

2018 American Dream Leadership Award recipients:

Honorable Thomas Saadi – Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs

Jessica Coronel – Assistant Director, Danbury High School, Danbury Public Schools Collaborative/Upward Bound Program

Nelson Merchan – Connecticut Small Business Development Center Advisor

Patti Keckeisen – Co-Director of the National Parent Leadership Institute

2018 American Dream Veteran Award – honors individuals who are serving or have served in the military, made the commitment to defend our country before becoming a U.S. citizen and faced many challenges along their journey to achieve their American Dream.

American Dream Veteran Award winner:

Danbury Police Officer Hector Rodriguez – a Colombian native who became a citizen after serving in the U.S. Army following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Tickets to the Gala

Tickets are $100.00 per person and include cocktail hour, followed by a three-course dinner, cash bar, dancing and the American Dream Awards ceremony, filled with inspiring life stories celebrating the contributions that generations of immigrants have made to our region and to our country in the pursuit of their American Dream.

Tickets sales will benefit Mission Health Day – a day of free health screenings and other community services for the uninsured and the income challenged, hosted by Western Connecticut Health Network, Western Connecticut State University and The New American Dream Foundation.

A portion of the ticket cost is tax deductible.

There is still time to buy tickets, tables and ads in the event booklet. Please visit: www.tribunaamericandreamawards.com/shop.

About Mission Health Day

Mission Health Day is a day of free health screenings and other community services for the uninsured and the income challenged, hosted by Western Connecticut Health Network and Western Connecticut State University. It will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 8 am-4 pm at the Bill Williams Gym at the WCSU downtown campus.

If you are interested in signing up to volunteer at Mission Health Day, please sign up at www.danburyhospital.org/missionhealth.

About the Gala and The New American Dream Foundation

On April 19, 2014, in celebration of its 15th anniversary, Tribuna created the American Dream Awards Gala, an annual awards ceremony designed to recognize members of the immigrant community who share in the Tribuna founder’s story.

In 2016, the event’s growth over the years sparked the creation of The New American Dream Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization created to serve as the philanthropic arm of Tribuna Newspaper, to promote our nation’s rich immigrant history, highlighting the cultural, social and economic contributions of all immigrants, and the core American values of equal opportunity, progress and freedom in the areas of education, health and civic engagement.

TNADF aims to provide financial support to organizations that share in those values and focus, and to inspiring members of the community through the American Dream Awards Gala & Scholarship.

 

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September 5, 2018

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