The University of Toledo will host this year’s Diamante Awards Thursday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center.
The awards honor Latino leadership and achievements in northwest Ohio and take place right before the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
Founded in 1989 by IMAGE of Northwest Ohio, a local chapter of a national Latino nonprofit organization, the Diamante Awards recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement and service to the Latino and greater Toledo community.
The event, a collaboration between Bowling Green State University, Herzing University, Lourdes University, Owens Community College and The University of Toledo, also serves to raise scholarship funds for Latino youth seeking advanced degrees.
The 2015 award recipients are:
• Latino/Latina Youth Leadership: Benjamin Quintanilla became involved in helping others at the Sofia Quintero Center and the Toledo Area Metroparks when he was in middle school. In high school at Toledo Technology Academy, he worked with Youth to Youth, assisting community members in need. Quintanilla continues his service to others as a civic ambassador at Owens Community College, where he works in the Office of Service Learning, Civic Engagement and Leadership.
• Latino/Latina Adult Leadership: Josh Flores is a founding member of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc., Espsilon Alpha chapter at The University of Toledo. He mentored several at-risk youth through the YWCA-Incentives for Excellence Program. A Spanish teacher at Waite High School, Flores serves as the president of UT’s Latino Alumni Affiliate and is a member of the mayor’s Hispanic Affairs Commission.
• Latino/Latina Adult Professional: Mark Urrutia has been active in the Latino community for decades. He was very involved with the Midwest Hispanic Unity Conference when it was held in Toledo. He is a member of Latinos United, the Latino Alliance, the Spanish American Organization and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Urrutia helped initiate UT’s Latino Alumni Affiliate TIOS Mentoring Program, which helps guide upperclassmen to graduation and beyond. He received an associate’s degree in marketing and sales technology from the University in 1988. He is program adviser at the UT Minority Business Assistance Center.
• Corporation/Community Agency: The Spanish American Organization aims to support the Hispanic community and its youth by providing positive role models, stressing family bonds, morals and the values of the Hispanic culture. The organization was founded in 1994 with the focus of education for Hispanic youth and stopping the decline of those bound for college.
Visit DiamanteToledo.org for more information and to register for the event.