TELLURIDE, Colo. (October 3, 2022) – This year, as nominations for the “Volunteer of the Year” (previously known as “Citizen of the Year”) rolled in, a clear theme emerged – Latino leaders advocating for the Latino community. What’s more, these leaders are not just volunteering during their free time, they are engaged 24 hours a day in a tireless effort to advocate, educate, advise, comfort, and support the welfare of the region’s burgeoning Latino community. It is with gratitude and admiration, that the Telluride Foundation awards the 2022 Volunteers of the Year to a team of exceptional leaders made up of Claudia Garcia Curzio, Julia Millan Avila, and Andres Jacinto Alonzo for their exemplary leadership in the community. The Telluride Foundation will hold a community celebration on October 11th at the Transfer Warehouse from 4-6pm. The event will be bilingual, and the entire community is encouraged to attend.
“The Telluride Foundation created its Volunteer of the Year award to honor individuals who unselfishly make extraordinary contributions to the region’s quality of life,” said Jason Corzine, President & CEO of the Telluride Foundation. “This year’s recipients work tirelessly to include the Latino community in the programs and opportunities this community has to offer, as well as to advocate for their needs and representation.”
This advocacy team was nominated by their community and peers for exemplary service and volunteerism to the community, with the Telluride Foundation selecting the ultimate recipients. Although each of this year’s recipients stand out on their own, together they are committed to increasing equity and inclusion of the immigrant population in the Telluride region, and thereby improving the quality of life of all community members.
Outside of her work with Tri-County Health Network’s Communities That Care, Julia Millan Avila advocates for and models a healthy lifestyle. She organized the first women’s Hispanic/Latina softball team, which has been a source for mental and emotional support, as well as providing greater common ground and inclusivity within Telluride’s long standing softball tradition. “It is a great honor for me to receive this recognition in the community,” said Julia. “I want to thank everyone who supported my nomination, for me it was a great surprise that I was nominated and that I also won as well as my two amazing companions Claudia and Andrés! I am very happy to be able to help the Hispanic community in telluride! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Andres Jacinto Alonzo started volunteering during the COVID pandemic to support the region’s Latino population, and in particular the Guatemalan population, whose first language is not Spanish. While continuing his day job as a baker and caring for his family, Andres worked countless hours identifying and meeting the needs of the immigrant community. Currently, Andres represents and advocates for the Latino population with multiple organizations, including San Miguel County Public Health, the Collaborative Action Immigrants, Behavioral Health Solutions, and the Latinx Affairs Committee. “I would like to express my gratitude to the people who selected me for this award. I feel very happy,” said Andres. “This award is a very important step so that in the future those people or activists who have been fighting for years in defense of Latino/immigrant rights and well-being are recognized. What I do is part of my principles and values that were cultivated in me at the “De La Salle” Christian school in Guatemala,” said Andres. “As a Lasallian my commitment is to promote Faith, Fraternity and Service in society, and I am completely happy to contribute, with the others involved, to gradually building a more just, integrated, and inclusive community.”
Many people know Claudia Garcia Curzió as the Telluride Wilkinson Public Library’s Latinx Outreach Specialist; however, Claudia’s tireless efforts serving on local boards and commissions, volunteering with nonprofits, providing translation and interpretation services, and advocating for the Latino community goes above and beyond her day-job. Claudia serves on the board of the Commission for Community Assistance, Arts and Special Events (CCASE), Communities That Care, Progressive Women’s Caucus, San Miguel Resource Center, and is a mentor for Telluride Academy and a founding member of the Collaborative Action For Immigrants. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive this Volunteers of the Year award with Julia and Andres, two amazing Latino community leaders,” said Claudia. “It brings me joy to be recognized, as a young undocumented Latina I have always done this work to support my family and now I get to do the same for my Latina community here.”
As the 2022 Volunteers of the Year, Garcia Curzio, Millan Avila and Jacinto Alonzo will receive a commemorative plaque and a grant of $2,000 each, to be given in their name to the local nonprofit(s) of their choice. They are considering starting a special fund with their grant funding to better support the varied needs of their fellow Latino community members. These individuals share this honor with Terry Tice (2003), Lissa Margetts (2004), John Micetic (2005), Bill Carstens (2006), John Pryor and Jane Hickcox (2007), Kathy Green (2008), Marilyn Branch (2009), Dan and Greer Garner and Andrea Benda (2010) and Billy “Senior” Mahoney (2011), Anne Brady (2012), Dean Rolley (2013), Kristin Holbrook (2014), Gary Freedman (2015), Elaine Fischer (2016), Wendy Brooks (2017), and Susan Rice (2018), and Barb Gross (2019), San Miguel County Search & Rescue (2020) and Ouray County Response Fund Founders: Lictenbelt’s & O’Leary’s (2020), Mental Health Advocates: Corinne Cavender, Lollie Lavercombe & Cara Wilder (2021).
The Telluride Foundation is committed to enriching the quality of life of the residents, workforce, and visitors of the Telluride region. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that makes grants and runs programs in arts, education, health and human services, community development, and social enterprises. The Foundation strives to achieve excellence for the community through its mission and core values of inclusion, self-reliance, and innovation. Our work is funded through the generous support of hundreds of donors as well as grants from state and national foundations. Please visit www.telluridefoundation.org.