ESTRELLAS started the New Year off by hosting Senator Jerry Sonnenberg at the Rural Communities Resource Center on January 3, 2018. The young women’s leadership group has always had a strong interest in getting to know their elected officials and educating them on their experiences and the needs of the community. Although they were on a break from school the young women in ESTRELLAS are never on a break from being involved in the community!

Senator Sonnenberg took a tour of the RCRC and met with staff and board as well. The Senator learned about the programs the center provides and the needs staff are seeing in Yuma and Washington Counties. He was able to see the food bank and hear about food insecurity and other needs families and individuals have. Staff member Margo Ebersole said, “It is great to have elected officials visit us here at the RCRC because it gives us a chance to let them know what is happening in our community. The work non-profit organizations provide is vital to our community and it is important for people in elected positions to know what we do and how we are serving the community. It is also important for us to know what they are working on.”

Pictured above with Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg are Margo Ebersole of the RCRC, and ESTRELLAS members Masiel Tena, Anney Orona, Nayelyy Olivas, and Evely Valenzuela. (Courtesy Photo)

The young women of ESTRELLAS shared about their group and what ESTRELLAS does. They shared the things they see as young Latinas living, working, and going to high school in Yuma. Senator Sonnenberg remembered some of the girls visiting the Capitol in Denver last year and the group commented that they intend to visit the Capitol again soon.

ESTRELLAS members discussed many pieces of legislation with the Senator and also learned about the committees he serves on. He spoke about the district he represents and what area of the state it covers. Senator Sonnenberg educated the group briefly on water and talked about how important of an issue that is to rural areas. He also spoke about broadband internet access and rural hospitals. ESTRELLAS members spoke at length about SB 251 driver’s licenses and how difficult it is for people to access appointments to get one. They shared stories of people from Yuma having to travel to Grand Junction for appointments to access these licenses and how many barriers people face.

There was also much discussion about the many positive things happening in the community such as community service projects done by the ESTRELLAS and their participation in the Yuma Unified Making Advances community resident team working with the Colorado Trust.

ESTRELLAS are looking forward a new year full of learning, advocacy and skill building.