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Mujeres en CIELO

By Julio Rios

Hispanic heritage month went through, and at CIELO, we celebrated it the best way we know. We continued to serve our wonderful community in these desperate times. Living amid this pandemic really leaves us with little time for meditation and deep thought. So I had to force myself to sit down and meditate on how the CIELO fundamentals have sustained this organization throughout the years.

My history at CIELO is only two months old, and one of my priorities is permeating my mind with the history of the people who started CIELO. Also, comprehend their worldview and the theory of change so our Mission would be successful. After digging into files and conversations with people that have been impacted by CIELO, I have found one common denominator in our history as a community-based organization, that is, visionary women.

Eight women founded CIELO in 1996, beautiful people with an enormous desire for change. Lety Fernandez, Sue Cook, Anita Neal, Alicia Cardenas, Angela Bartly, Mariana Heredia, Eunice Santiago, and Griselda Perretz.

Our agency, was the shared belief that society must honor all people; that through support, every individual can become an asset to his/her community. "From passion to policy" by Griselda Perretz, May 2013)

Bright Present, better future

In the midst of 2020, we have other women of courage and great value who have been working for the betterment of the Latino community in the South Sound for years.

Charo Garcia de Portaro, Industrial Engineer, was born in Lima-Peru and moved to Washington in 2008, bringing her the passion for building a beloved community with more social justice, equity, peace, and advocacy for human rights. She is the Director of Education at CIELO, where she develops all educational services and connections with educational stakeholders. Charo has an immovable desire to bring our founder's vision to reality; the following is what she has shared with us:

-"CIELO it is not only the acrostic, but it is the word (Cielo is heaven in Spanish), to make heaven on earth, where we share as brothers and among all, love and fellowship.

Since our Mission is to promote community, self-sufficiency, and leadership, then for me, it is essential to be part of building more equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice, and generosity to see a more loving world; where we all know that what we do is for the benefit of all. I see a world where everyone can develop their potentials and decide which way to go in life, but there must be the tools and resources for this to happen. Thus, to be able to reduce the existing gap in education. Barriers with language, academic support, with the necessary resources that allow us to carry out this work." -

CIELO is and will continue to be the fruition of outstanding women who are part of the brighter future of our Latino community in the South Sound and the State. For that I am personally thankful and receive the challenge to raise my own children to be that courageous, caring, and committed to the future.

We will continue to post more about the history of "Mujeres en CIELO."

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