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Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award

The Chicago Bears were excited to honor Carmen Velásquez as the recipient of the 2013 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award at Bears vs. Vikings game at Soldier Field on September 15th.

The Chicago Bears, the NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) partnered for the third annual NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards presented by Courtyard by Marriott, the official hotel of the NFL, during the 2013 celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The award recognizes the contributions of Hispanic leader who exhibits outstanding leadership characteristics and success in elevating and empowering the local Hispanic community.

Carmen Velásquez is the Founder and Executive Director of Alivio Medical Center, an organization dedicated to providing access to quality, culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate cost effective health care to Chicago, Cicero and Berwyn's underserved and vulnerable communities. As a former community activist, social worker, and bilingual education specialist, Velásquez has spent most of her life advocating for universal health care, comprehensive immigration reform, and workforce development. As a result of a passionate vision, strong partnerships and the crucial need for bilingual bicultural medical providers for the Latino, predominantly Mexican, uninsured and undocumented community, Velásquez founded Alivio Medical Center in 1989. There has been a substantial demand for Alivio's services since the initial opening in 1989 and five additional clinics, including three School-Based Health Centers located inside Chicago Public Schools, have been added to the growing network. Under her leadership, Alivio Medical Center has improved the quality of life for thousands of Latino, predominantly Mexican, working-poor, uninsured and immigrant families.

Courtyard by Marriott values the tremendous contributions of inspiring leaders in the Hispanic community. To honor these strides, Courtyard presented a matching $2,000 check to Ms. Velazquez from Kristine Friend, Senior Director of Marketing, prior to the game on September 15th. In total, Alivio Medical Center received a donation of $4,000. The mission of this bilingual, bicultural organization is expressed through the provision of services, advocacy, education, research and evaluation provided in an environment of caring and respect.

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