MANA de San Diego received the 2017 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for their work and ability to affect change in the community this past year.
The FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award was formally created in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs, and violence in the United States. Recipients of this award are nominated by each of the FBI’s 56 field offices and are recognized for their service above and beyond the call of duty to help keep the community safe.
Eric S. Birnbaum, the special agent in charge of the San Diego Division, presented the award at MANA’s Holiday Soiree on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
“This is a great honor for us, and it was something we didn’t expect,” said Venus Molina, president of MANA de San Diego, to La Prensa San Diego. “We have been working with the FBI for three years, and they give us classes and workshops through a partnership.”
MANA de San Diego is a non-profit organization which brings Latinas together through common history, culture, language and goals.
MANA, short for “Hermana” which is the Spanish word for sister, was recognized for their commitment to community leadership and support of youth and educational programs.
MANA has and continues to make strong contributions toward the prevention of youth involvement in crime, drugs, gangs, and violence through education, community awareness, investment in people, and its’ youth program, “Hermanitas.” Created in 1987, the Hermanitas Youth Leadership Mentor Program has served over 600 local Latinas, ages to 12 to 18. The program features a curriculum of monthly educational seminars, community service and writing and reading assignments.
“Our community outreach program is about getting out in the community and working with the community, in this particular instance, is working with the Latino community to help prevent crime and keep the youth in the right track,” said FBI special agent, and public affairs coordinator, Davene Butler to La Prensa San Diego.
“MANA de San Diego is an excellent example, one of the particular programs we found very empowering within the organization, was the Hermanitas program were they empower young women to stay in school and to stay away from drugs and gangs, teaching them through education and leadership to bring themselves up and do great things in the community,” Butler closed.