La Voz Latina celebrates 35 years at annual banquet

Serrano’s Mexican Kitchen to be honored for years of dedication to Rockford community

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, La Voz Latina will hold its annual banquet Oct. 6. To celebrate its 35th anniversary, La Voz Latina plans to recognize 35 years of progress in the Hispanic community.

This year’s Recognition Banquet will be at Ramada Plaza on Bell School Road. The evening will begin with a social hour and music presented by the Latin Jazz Ensemble from Northern Illinois University. Following dinner and a dessert bar, the program will highlight several individuals and organizations who have contributed to the progress of the Hispanic community.

“We’ve changed the format this year from a guest speaker to a focus on local achievements,” said Executive Director Patricia Gomez. “We want to share the stories of Latinos who have inspired us, because they demonstrate the progress made over the last 35 years.”

One of the individuals to be honored is Sylvia Ramos, Mortgage Loan Originator for AMCORE Bank, who has served as president of Fiesta Hispana and the Rockford Area Affordable Housing Coalition.

Another innovation is a new award honoring Hispanic entrepeneurs. The Hispanic Business of the Year will be presented to the Serrano family, owners of Serrano’s Mexican Kitchen. One of the first Hispanic businesses in town, their restaurant is still operating today under the guidance of the third generation of Serranos. The presentation will touch on the volunteerism and generosity found in family-owned businesses, and how that impacts the community.

Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., and the dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 each; a table of 10 is available for $450. For more information, or to make a reservation, call La Voz Latina at 965-5784.

La Voz Latina is a multi-service community organization providing education, vocational and health promotion to the youth and adults in the Hispanic community.

From the Oct. 4-10, 2006, issue

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