Work and Economic Opportunities – Monica Reyes to Receive ‘Saginaw Hero’ Award at the 50th Saginaw NAACP Freedom Fund Event


Monica Reyes to receive ‘Saginaw Hero’ Award at the 50th Saginaw NAACP Freedom Fund Event

For 40 years, Monica Reyes has been a local and national champion of education and leadership within the Hispanic community and has helped develop Michigan’s future leaders.

Reyes, a married mother of three with 11 grandchildren and a brand new great-grandson, was reappointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to Michigan’s Latin American Hispanic Commission in December 2019, which aims to help Hispanics of Michigan to struggle in education. Reyes currently sits on several boards of the Saginaw community, including the Great Lakes Bay Health Center Board of Directors, the Michigan Latin Hispanic Commission, the Hispanic Latino Covid Task Force, and the Governors Protect Michigan Committee. LatinX for Access and Fairness.

She will be honored as a local hero for her service to the community, receiving the Saginaw NAACP Saginaw Hero 2021 at the 50th Saginaw NAACP Freedom Fund event on Sunday, September 26.

“I grew up in a Mexican family, living and running things in a fully English speaking community, which brought many challenges that our parents worked hard to help us navigate while retaining our Latino culture and values.” , Reyes said. “My father had a third grade education and my mother a sixth grade education. We had to work in the fields picking cherries, pickles, tomatoes, sugar beets, anywhere my dad could put the kids to work while school was over, but my parents made sure we went to the school every year and we have graduated from high school. “

The first in his family to graduate from college, Reyes’ father learned that with his education comes great responsibility.

“He always reminded me that I had to speak up for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. This is how my advocacy and community service work began,” Reyes said.

She started with the Salvation Army Christmas program with her father and children. She then worked with Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of America, Tri-City SER and many more over the years. Reyes’ most recent work took place when she founded the Great Lakes Bay Hispanic Leadership Institute over 12 years ago.

“One of the goals is to train people in the leadership skills they already have and to improve their skills. The program was designed to help individuals build their careers, family life, and help them find their passion while becoming community activists, ”Reyes said. “There are many examples of community engagement and career advancement following program completion. “

She said she was extremely honored and touched to receive such an important award.

“I am grateful for the recognition the NAACP will honor me with. I am sure there are so many more who deserve it just as much, but in honor of my parents, my husband, my family and of my children, I accept this honor, said Reyes.

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