Oct 02, 2015
|DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, along with members of his community commissions, yesterday honored 10 individuals who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusive excellence, leadership and civic service with Mayor’s Diversity Awards at a celebration hosted by the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission.
“In Denver, we place a high value on diversity,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “These community leaders have demonstrated the tremendous difference an individual or a group dedicated to service to all residents of our city, regardless of where they come from, who they love or their station in life, can make for all of us.”
The 2015 community champions of equality, justice and unity are:
Denver Commission for People With Disabilities
Hal O’Leary, founder of the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) – O’Leary created a whole new system of recreational and therapeutic outlets for people with disabilities. Since the program began in 1970, more than 60,000 people with disabilities have learned to ski and participate in other sports through the NSCD.
Denver Latino Commission
Jim Garcia, founder of Clínica Tepeyac – Garcia founded a clinic for the working poor and for those who had little or no health insurance. With limited financial resources, hundreds of volunteers came together to transform a run-down house into a thriving, and growing, health clinic.
Denver Women’s Commission
CEO Tamra Ryan and the Women’s Bean Project – The Women’s Bean Project employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women in transitional jobs that help them earn the job readiness, interpersonal and life skills necessary for moving to entry-level employment. As CEO for 12 years, Ryan has increased the number of women served by more than 300 percent, grown sales from $300k to $1.7m and boosted the number of stores from 100 to over 1,000 in 40 states including Colorado.
Denver GLBT Commission
Rainbow Alley – Since 1998, Rainbow Alley has provided a safe, welcoming and supportive social alternative for LGBTQ youth and their allies. The organization offers counseling, support groups, health services and adult mentoring, as well as educational and career programs and social activities.
Denver Asian Pacific American Commission
Peggy Lore, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Success at UCD – Lore oversaw six departments and still served as a faculty advisor to student cultural clubs, mentored students and staff, and volunteered in the community. She was a consistent advocate for diversity and personally helped students stay on track to graduate despite discouragement, financial problems, alienation or academic hardship before retiring in June.
Denver American Indian Commission
Dianne A. Van Voorhees – Van Vorhees volunteered her time and resources to moderate the recent renewal of the American Indian Scholars License Plate program, which funds scholarships for American Indian students. She has also organized free legal clinics for American Indians for the past three years.
Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission
Dr. P.J. Parmar, owner of the Mango House – Dr. Parmar founded the Mango House to offer medical, dental and educational services to international political refugees. No appointments are necessary, clients are served on a walk-in basis, and no patients are turned away. Since opening in 2012, Mango House has received 15,000 visits and served 5,000 patients.
Denver Commission on Aging
Patricia Cook – Cook is a retired registered nurse who advocates for older adults who are at risk of losing their public benefits or need housing. She assists those who are navigating through the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems and has done extensive work in the Latino community to ensure that eligible adults are enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.
Denver African American Commission
Center for African American Health – Dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the African American community, the Center for African American Health provides culturally sensitive disease prevention and disease management programs in metro Denver.
Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships Commission
Jeff Hirota – Hirota, who has worked with many local nonprofits that serve a broad spectrum of Denver residents including the Denver Foundation and the Five Points Media Center, is an ordained minister in the Methodist Church who conducted some of the city’s first same-sex weddings.
The ceremony, moderated by Jessica Oh of 9News, was held at the Holiday Event Center and included entertainment from Halau Kalama, Mudra Dance Studio, Denver Taiko and the Hype 303/Academy of Raw. Halau Kalama is made up of authentic Polynesian dancers who have been featured on national television. Mudra Dance Studio performs classical dance forms of India that trace back to 6,000 B.C. Denver Taiko, made up of third-, fourth- and fifth-generation Japanese Americans, honors cultural heritage through the art of drumming. Hype 303, one of the state’s leading urban dance teams, performs hip hop and urban dance as the Academy of Raw.
For additional information, please contact Jessica Jorgensen at Jessica.Jorgensen@Denvergov.org or 720-913-1704.