“Dancing with the Stars” winner Jose Rene “J.R.” Martinez will serve as keynote speaker during the Ibero American Action League’s “50th Annual Gala and Hispanic Scholarship Recognition Awards” on Saturday, June 9, at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
The signature fundraiser will also recognize 74 high school scholarship recipients, while highlighting the agency’s accomplishments through its programs, officials from the organization stated.
“When Ibero was established in 1968, it was to serve the growing Latino community in Rochester,” Ibero president and CEO Hilda Rosario Escher said. “Programs from back then paved the way for so many Latino leaders today. Since then, we have evolved to an agency that serves people of all ethnic backgrounds; yet, we maintain our unique ability to target Latino families. Our programs take a holistic approach to helping families address their needs and challenges. By working with the entire family, we are able to guide every individual toward their goals, while strengthening the family unit. Ibero is the only full-service dual-language human services agency in the Greater Rochester region that is able to target the Latino community at all levels.”
According to Escher, some of the agency’s significant accomplishments include:
- Creating an award-winning Early Childhood Center that serves as a national model;
- Holding the highest attendance among children under five in all of Monroe County;
- Developing youth programs with a 92 percent improvement rate in behaviors and knowledge related to prevention of substance/drug abuse;
- and providing bilingual programs in the division of Developmental Disabilities.
“IBERO was founded 50 years ago by passionate people who saw the need to fill a gap in helping a culture that was looking for understanding and representation,” board of directors president and RTS chief operating officer Miguel Velazquez stated. “Fifty years later, IBERO still consists of passionate people who want to help all those in need through all stages in life. Over the last 50 years, IBERO has become the largest Latino agency in New York State outside of New York City. It has built a wide range of services, an excellent track record, and a unique understanding that being aware and supportive of people’s background and culture is a key aspect of helping people achieve their maximum potential.”
Ibero will continue to mark its 50-year anniversary with a number of events and recognitions throughout 2018.
In February, the organization also renamed its main office building at 817 E. Main St. the “Laurence Tracy Administration Building,” as a way to recognize Father Tracy as one of Ibero’s founders, and for his advocacy for the Latino community for the past five decades.