Housing Federation Celebrates Leaders in Affordable Housing Industries

May 4, 2018

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Photo by Kate Auda

When Miguel Figueroa decided to become a volunteer with the Paradise Creek Learning Center, an afterschool program offered for residents of an affordable housing complex in National City, he simply wanted to earn community service hours.

However, his role and interest has grow into more than just earning volunteering hours.

Figueroa has become a role model and leader to the children who attend the learning center at the Paradise Creek apartments, somthing which he said is amazing.

“It’s something that I never expected myself doing,” Figueroa said.

Figueroa, 18, has worked his way up to become a volunteer leader at the Learning Center and he is the first teen to hold that position.

Because of his dedication to the center and the children who attend, Figueroa received the Outstanding Resident Leader award on Thursday, May 3, at the San Diego Housing Federation’s 2018 Ruby Awards.

The Ruby Awards program aims to recognize leaders, innovation, and impacts to affordable housing and community development industries.

The awards were held at the Prado in Balboa Park and along with Figueroa, several community leaders and elected officials were recognized for their work.

The outstanding awardees include: Dennis Dearie for outstanding service to residents; Jackie Camp for outstanding advocate; LISC San Diego for outstanding development partner; and Senator Toni Atkins and Assemblymember Brian Mainschein for outstanding elected official.

Other awards included the Project of the Year award, Housing Champion Award, and the Innovations Award, among others.

According to a press release from the San Diego Housing Federation, over 50 nominations were submitted for the various awards, however, only 12 awards were presented and one of them aimed to celebrate Figueroa’s dedication to the Paradise Creek Learning Center.

Figueroa, a resident of the Paradise Creek Apartments, said seeing how the children trust him and working with them everyday, allows him to learn something new every day.

Currently a senior in highschool, Figueroa plans to pursue a career working with children or possibly criminal justice.

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