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Bi-National Celebrates Certification Ceremony

By Jennifer Torres
On February 11, 2011

Achievement, chatter, and charity filled IBC's annex building during the Bi-National Center's Certification Ceremony for the Program for Nonprofit Excellence on Tuesday, Jan. 18th. Program participants were recognized for completing their sessions that focus on community, leadership, management, and training.

The program allows participants who work in the nonprofit area the opportunity to learn about topics that range from law and financials to networking and other important topics, so they can better serve the Laredo community.

"TAMIU has a lot of resources. We really need to share this with the community," stated Alheyda Guerra, Associate Director for Binational Programs.

Some local, nonprofit agency employees recognized at the event were South Texas Food Bank's Councilwoman Cindy Liendo, Boys and Girls Club of Laredo's Assistant Executive Director Kevin Lopez, Children's Advocacy's Executive Director Sylvia Bruni, Literacy Volunteers of Laredo's Executive Director Gloria Vasquez,Boys Scouts of America's Scout Leader Abraham Reyna, and numerous others.

At Tuesday night's event, Texas A&M International University's President Dr Ray Keck delivered the keynote speech and expressed gratitude towards those giving back to the community. Keck applauded those receiving the achievement of completing either level one or level two of the program.

Amongst those recognized for completing level one was Gigi Ramos, founder and Director of Volunteers Serving the Need, which benefits veterans and surviving spouses.

"Through [the program's] help, I've been able to reduce my work week from 75 hours to 45 hours," said Ramos. Ramos expressed her gratitude toward the program and gave thanks to the staff involved.

In a video presented at the ceremony, Jaime Arispe from Health and Human Services Commission Border Affairs, who completed level two, stated, "It's been very helpful in several ways...I've been very successful in obtaining different projects for the rural community."

Arispe explained how his agency received thousands of dollars in grants thanks to the the Program for Nonprofit Excellence grant writing sessions. Through the monies received, Health and Human Services was able to provide 30 Laredo families with a home.

"He was so excited and this makes me feel that everything we do is for a reason," expressed Guerra about Arispe's achievement.

When asked where she sees the program in five years, Guerra stated, "we're looking forward to getting Laredo programs aware and to expand to [other communities] in the South Texas area."

For more information about the Binational Center and their programs, contact 956-326-3067.

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