The Unity Council Celebrates its Living Legends

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On September 28, staff members gathered to celebrate the anniversaries of nine amazing staff members who have been at The Unity Council for over 20 years. Two of the employees recognized have been at The Unity Council for 30 years.

All nine of the employees celebrated were women, and women make up nearly 75% of The Unity Council’s workforce. Founded by visionary Latina leaders, at the celebratory event our executive staff recognized that strong female warriors continue to be the change makers and anti-poverty advocates building a more equitable future for everyone.

There were a total of nine women receiving what we dubbed the “Golden Star Warrior” Award. Each one of them has made a unique contribution to the organization. Their work supporting our community as Head Start Site Directors, Family Advocates, Head Start cooks, Senior Affordable Housing Administrators, and Fruitvale Business Improvement District Managers has a tremendous impact in the quality of life of low-income and immigrant families in the East Bay.

As each one of them was introduced and handed an award, their passion for service and commitment to the community was highlighted by their respective directors and supervisors. Although each one of our Warriors is unique; they all have three things in common: they are all amazing women of color, they embody the values of passion and service, and their work is the backbone of the organization.

Meet our 2018 Golden Star Warriors:

  • Gabriela Pingarron, Employment Services Manager, 20 years of service
  • Bobbie Carpenter, Foothill Square Site Director, 20 years of service
  • Kedija Ahmed, Thurgood Marshall Site Director, 22 years of service
  • Gloria Benavides, Las Bougainvilleas Senior Housing Administrator, 24 years of service
  • Yazmin Jara, Fruitvale Site Director, 24 years of service
  • Maria Sanchez, Fruitvale Business Improvement District Program Manager, 25 years of service
  • Ana Raiz, Children & Family Services: Family Advocate, 28 years of service
  • Maria Moreno, Children & Family Services: Assistant Cook I / Teacher Assistant, 30 years of service
  • Dimitra Siderakis, Posada de Colores Senior Housing Administrator, 30 years of service

Fun Facts About Our Golden Star Warriors:

  • Each one of them is a proud immigrant
  • Each speaks at least two languages, and some more; Kedija Ahmed speaks four languages!
  • Many of them received services from The Unity Council’s programs before they became staff members.
  • Several have referred their children to a Unity Council program, and some of the children are now also senior staff members.