Heritage University will require students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University will require students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. announced today that all students, faculty and staff will be required to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester.

Sund said the decision by Heritage administrators to require vaccinations was made after much thought, research, and analysis. “This decision follows vaccination recommendations by the Yakima County Health District, the State of Washington, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Sund. “Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that vaccines are effective and safe, and failure to require vaccinations would legally and ethically constitute a direct threat to the safety of staff, faculty, and students.”

Exceptions to the vaccination requirement will be made for people who have medical conditions, religious beliefs, or extenuating circumstances that prevent them from being vaccinated.  President Sund also said reasonable accommodations would be made for people who fall into those categories. The university will collect vaccination information and proceed with enforcement of the vaccination policy.

Pandemic-era precautions, including mask-wearing inside buildings, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols, will continue in the fall. “The biggest responsibility we have as an administration is to assure that we can provide a safe environment for everyone to work and study at Heritage,” said Sund.

To assist those who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, Heritage University will host a vaccination clinic that is open to students, employees and any family members that are 12 years or older living in the same household on Friday, July 9, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) will be providing the Pfizer and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The clinic will be held in the Martha B. Yallup Health Sciences Building at Heritage. Participants can choose which vaccine to receive, and those who require a second dose for full vaccination will have the opportunity to schedule that appointment with Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic at any of their various locations three weeks from July 9. Heritage University will also host a second vaccination clinic on Friday, July 30, same time and location.  The July 30 clinic will be for people that need the booster (second dose) or missed the first date and would like to get the Janssen vaccine, which is a single dose.

For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@heritage.edu.

 

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K-12 students encouraged to enroll for summer school during Saturday registration event in Sunnyside

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

K-12 students encouraged to enroll for summer school during Saturday registration event in Sunnyside

Toppenish, Wash. – Lower Yakima Valley students in grades kindergarten through 12 will have the opportunity to register for summer school during the “Community Fair for Summer Enrollment” on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at the Sunnyside Fiesta Foods. Students and their families will be greeted by representatives from the Mabton, Sunnyside and Grandview school districts who will help students enroll or receive information about their respective summer school programs.

This summer school registration event is hosted by Yakima Valley Partners for Education (YVPE) and its partners Save the Children, United Family Center, and Fiesta Foods. Suzy Diaz, the director of Collective Impact at Heritage University says summer school is a chance for children to maintain academic accomplishments year-round.  “Gaps in studying during the summer months lead to knowledge loss,” said Diaz. “By attending summer school, students can receive additional learning time, socialize with their peers, and take part in experiential activities.”

During the fair, Save the Children and United Family Center will enroll kids in the “100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge,” and Fiesta Foods will launch their “Reading Is Growing” reading program. Kids who take on the challenge can earn prizes throughout the summer.

“Community Fair for Summer Enrollment” will be held on Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the #7 parking lot of Sunnyside Fiesta Foods located at 2010 Yakima Valley Highway in Sunnyside, Wash. Students will have the opportunity to register for, or obtain more information on the following summer programs:

Sunnyside: Ignite Summer School Program June 28-July 22
Class schedule: M-Th 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Grandview: SPARK Summer School Program June 23-July 29
Class schedule: M-Th 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (elementary) and 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (middle and high school).

Mabton: K-12 Summer Program June 21-July 29
Class schedule: M-Th 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Families are asked to check directly with the district for openings.

For more information, contact Suzy Diaz at (509) 480-9354 or Diaz_S@heritage.edu or Micaela Araguz at (509) 975-0046 or Micaela@fiesta-foods.com.

 

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Heritage University announces return to full in-person instruction for fall 2021 semester

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University announces return to full in-person instruction for fall 2021 semester

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University has announced plans to return to full in-person instruction for the upcoming fall 2021 semester. The plan takes into account the progress Yakima County has made towards preventing the spread of Covid-19 and the increasing number of vaccinated residents in the county. “These trends have boosted our confidence that we can fully reopen campus in time for fall,” said Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. “We will continue to rely on the Yakima County Health District, as well as State and Federal authorities, to ensure our plans are consistent with their guidance regarding current Covid-19 protocols.”

Sund applauded the efforts by Heritage University’s employees to support student learning in the face of the challenges created by the pandemic. “I am proud of how our faculty and staff rallied to provide a safe and quality educational experience for the students who chose to learn on campus, while also delivering the tools necessary to students who chose to attend classes remotely,” said Sund.

The Heritage University campus has been partially open since the fall 2020 semester to accommodate students who do not have the conditions in their homes to conduct significant academic work. In being present on campus, students have access to reliable high-speed Internet and plenty of space for studying. A full reopening will allow students to develop camaraderie with other students and interact with faculty and staff. “We are anxious to re-establish our sense of community at Heritage,” said Sund. “The majority of students that choose Heritage University to fulfill their higher education do so because they believe in the value that participating in a campus environment brings.”

For the fall 2021 semester at Heritage University, graduate classes will begin August 2, 2021, and undergraduate classes will begin August 23, 2021. For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@heritage.edu.

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Heritage University EAGLES scholars selected for prestigious internships nationwide. Application for the coming year’s scholarships close May 3.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University EAGLES scholars selected for prestigious internships nationwide.  Application for the coming year’s scholarships close May 3.  

Toppenish, Wash. – Recipients of the EAGLES STEM scholarship program at Heritage University have accepted summer internships at prestigious institutions nationwide.

Each year twenty EAGLES scholars not only receive a full-tuition scholarship but also can apply for prestigious internships, research experiences and enhanced learning opportunities through annual career panels at both Heritage and Portland State University. Applications for the EAGLES Scholarship are now being accepted: the deadline to apply is Monday, May 3, 2021.  The application and complete scholarship details can be found at heritage.edu/eagles.

The EAGLES Scholarship program is funded through a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) received by Heritage University and Portland State University (PSU) and supports students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields as well as environmental science, biology and computer science at Heritage and PSU. The scholarship will ultimately be awarded to at least 116 students at Heritage and PSU over the next three years.

Last fall, twenty students joined the EAGLES Scholarship program at Heritage, an initiative to increase enrollment and retention of low-income and under-represented groups in the STEM fields, among others. Heritage Associate Professor Alexander Alexiades, Ph.D. is pleased how this first cohort of EAGLES scholars has embraced the opportunities the scholarship has created for them. “We are very proud of every one of our students, especially those who have shown their potential by earning a lucrative summer internship. It’s a testament to their hard work, and to the EAGLES program, which put these talented students on the path to their current success.”

Alexiades further explained that the opportunities associated with this scholarship can be life-changing. “Earning your college degree is always a significant achievement and opens doors to so much in life. And when you can have your tuition fully paid by a scholarship and complete internships at some of the most prestigious research universities in the country it will open doors not only of opportunity but of possibility.  Once completed, graduates could go anywhere and do anything they have their hearts set on. Every student in the valley intent on earning a STEM degree should be applying for this scholarship.”

The Heritage EAGLES scholars who have secured summer internships so far include:

Angeles Marin, a biology major, will participate in two summer programs. The first is with the Heritage University and Pacific Northwest Partnerships National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (HU PNW NSF REU) under Heritage Associate Professor Dr. Robert Kao, for which Marin will receive a $6,000 stipend. Her research will focus on cell biology and phenotypic analysis of Tetrahymena thermophila. For the second program, she will attend the 6-week Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) at the University of Washington. The UW SHPEP encourages scholars to consider, from the cellular to the global level, factors that influence health. Marin will receive a $1,200 stipend for participating in this program.

Colton Maybee, a computer science major, will spend this summer on an internship with Portland State University’s Teuscher Lab, where he will work on a project titled “Computational Modeling Serving the City.” This internship includes two weeks of training in computational modeling, followed by eight weeks of online research overseen by a mentor. Maybee will earn a $6,000 stipend from this internship.

Gustavo Mendez-Soto, an environmental science major, will participate in a Washington State University research program titled “Stakeholder-Informed Innovations in the Food-Energy-Water Nexus.” Students in this program will develop complex systems thinking and system dynamics simulation skills, work with data wrangling workshops, and engage in professional development and team-based exercises through shared activities. Mendez-Soto will receive a $5,400 stipend for this nine-week program.

Anna Diaz, a mathematics major, has been accepted into the Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) at Brown University in Providence, R.I. and will work with Dr. George Karniadakas, who is leading a team to develop cost-effective methods to monitor and forecast ocean acidification using mathematics, physics and machine learning. The program includes activities directed by her faculty mentor, participation in weekly meetings, and a variety of professional development activities sponsored by the Leadership Alliance and the Brown community. Diaz will also attend the Leadership Alliance National Symposium (virtual in 2021) and present her research to faculty and peers. The nine-week program comes with a $4,500 stipend.

Anthony Brooks, a biology major, will support Portland State University’s Department of Environmental Science and Management with a project titled “Determining salt marsh restoration success using focus groups of managers and the public, and past data.” Brooks will receive a $4,300 stipend for this eight-week internship.

Mayra Diaz-Acevedo, a mathematics major, will join the Numerical Analysis research group for the 2021 Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Diaz-Acevedo will receive travel and living expenses as well as a $4,000 stipend for this eight-week internship.

Andrea Mendoza, a biology major, will perform fruit tree pest research with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Moxee, Wash. working with Dr. Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris, research entomologist.

For more information on the EAGLES Scholarship, please contact Julie Conley, EAGLES project coordinator at (509) 654-0297 or conley_j@heritage.edu. To schedule an interview with Alex Alexiades, please contact Davidson Mance, Heritage University media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or mance_d@heritage.edu.

 

EAGLES Scholars top left to right: Anthony Brooks, Anna Diaz, Mayra Diaz-Acevedo, Angeles Marin. Bottom left to right: Colton Maybee, Gustavo Mendez-Soto, and Andrea Mendoza

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Yakima Valley Partners for Education joins United Way of Central Washington to increase access to Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Yakima Valley Partners for Education joins United Way of Central Washington to increase access to Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefit

Toppenish, Wash. – United Way of Central Washington and Yakima Valley Partners for Education (YVPE) will use a grant from the Perigee Fund to help families access Washington state’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit. With help from Grandview-based Taxes-Y-Mas, communities in the Lower Yakima Valley will receive information about the benefit and obtain support through the application process. Almost all Washington workers are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for fathers, mothers and guardians to bond with a newborn.

YVPE is a cradle-to-career initiative in Yakima County supported by Heritage University and funded by Save the Children. Suzy Diaz, director of Collective Impact at Heritage University, believes the grant from Perigee will help spread the word about the importance for parents and guardians to use the Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit to bond with their children. “Quality bonding time is essential in the development of healthy families and healthier communities,” said Diaz. “Time to bond and be present with a loved one includes not missing out on precious developmental milestones.”

United Way of Central Washington has a long-standing relationship with employers throughout Yakima County and believes improving employee access to Paid Family and Medical Leave can benefit a company through worker retention and satisfaction. “It is important for individuals to know and utilize Paid Family and Medical Leave because so many families are forced to make impossible choices between their financial stability and their families. Paid Family and Medical Leave gives working individuals the time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one or recover from one’s serious condition,” said United Way of Central Washington President & CEO Neiri Carrasco.

Olivia Gutierrez and Francisco Vazquez, owners of Taxes Y Mas in Toppenish and Grandview, are long time community and family advocates as well as small business advisors. During this tax season, they will be distributing information about the Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit to thousands of households in the Lower Valley. “Families express relief for the ability to focus on having their newborn, and the excitement they have for the opportunity to bond with their baby,” said Gutierrez.

For more information, contact Jamie Shores at jamie@uwcw.org or Suzy Diaz, director of Collective Impact, at diaz_s@heritage.edu. For complete program information visit www.momentsearned.org.

 

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Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops celebrate completion of CHIEF ACADEMY management training program by front-line employees

Chief Academy organizers from left to right:Monica Sanchez, John Reeves, Steve Carpenter, Salvador Benitez, Charles Wheaton Ph.D, Erica Tait, Howard Allred, Cesar Silva, Ryan Hopkins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops celebrate completion of CHIEF ACADEMY management training program by front-line employees

Yakima, Wash. – Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) are celebrating the completion of the first-ever CHIEF ACADEMY management training program by YCH employees. YCH partnered with Heritage@Work, the university’s workforce training and development division to deliver the program that, when completed, earned 16 full time employees a Management Training certification.

CHIEF ACADEMY at YCH consisted of workshops that covered five essential topics determined to be of high importance to the company. They included:

  1. The Art of Communication – a business writing and communication workshop which offered tips on improving existing skills as well as preparing participants for public speaking.
  2. Putting Humanity into Human Resources – a highly-interactive workshop covering the important basics of human resources with role-playing activities.
  3. Data Science – a workshop that helps those in company leadership roles understand the importance of data analytics by identifying, interpreting and summarizing data.
  4. Business Finance – a workshop to help employees understand financial drivers and strategic objectives and realize the connection between strategy and financial success.
  5. The Book of Leadership – a workshop where employees learn the attributes of a leader, the difference between management skills and leadership skills, and what it means to be a leader at YCH.

Experts from each field taught the workshops at the company’s Headquarters in Yakima, Wash. from October through December 2020.  Ryan Hopkins, chief executive officer at YCH, said the curriculum developed by himself, Chief Human Resources Officer Lisa Garcia, and Heritage University will equip participants with the training, skills, knowledge, and tools to enhance some already skilled managers and leaders within the company. “As a company that is 100% grower owned, YCH is built on the philosophies of continuous improvement and empowering employees.  The CHIEF ACADEMY is a proud example of hop growers working with a great local university to empower our employees and in turn empower great leaders within our community.”

John Reeves, director of Heritage@Work, said the curriculum developed for CHIEF ACADEMY is the result of a deep and thorough understanding of the company’s needs. “Our team worked with YCH leaders to learn where they wanted to see their employees grow, and tailored specific curriculum designed to teach those skills,” said Reeves. He went on to explain that companies who “grow their own” as Ryan Hopkins referred to the training, have one of the best ways to hold onto great employees. “It is an investment, but businesses who empower their employees to grow their careers, get to hold onto good people.”

For more information, please contact Heritage University Media Relations Coordinator Davidson Mance at (509) 969-6084 or mance_d@heritage.edu or Yakima Chief Hops Global Communications Manager Cait Schut at (916) 690-4379 or cait.schut@yakimachief.com.

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Heritage University names new director of Student Life and Engagement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Heritage University names a new director of Student Life and Engagement

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University is proud to announce the selection of Isaias Guerrero as the university’s new director of Student Life and Engagement. Guerrero, who was already a staff member at Heritage, and who is a graduate of Heritage, moves to Student Life from the TRIO/Student Support Services department following an exhaustive search which determined the best candidate for the role was already close to home.

Isaias Guerrero, director of Student Life and Engagement at Heritage University

As director of Student Life and Engagement, Guerrero will be responsible for providing support services for the campus student community through events and group activities designed to engage students by promoting participation, service and leadership.

Dr. Melissa Hill, vice president for Student Affairs at Heritage, is thrilled with the committee’s selection of Guerrero. “Isaias brings a wealth of knowledge to the Student Life department, not only with his work through TRIO but his firsthand experience as an alumnus,” said Hill. “He’s been there as a student and knows what it takes to engage students and create positive experiences for students during their time at Heritage.”

Guerrero said the mentorship and guidance he received at Heritage University helped him succeed as a first-generation college student. “The guidance I received in navigating college was so important to my success because I had no one to relate to at home,” he said. “Heritage became a sanctuary of learning for me. Every day I stepped onto campus was a new adventure. I was excited to see my friends and challenge myself in the classroom. This was possible through my involvement with various campus activities. I want to provide these same opportunities to other students.”

As a student, Guerrero was selected to participate in the Act Six scholarship and leadership program which prepares students to become community leaders. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the university in 2019 and began working for TRIO at Heritage as a retention specialist that same year. Guerrero started his new role as director of Student Life and Engagement on January 21, 2021. Guerrero is studying for his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with a focus in Student Affairs.

For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator, at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.

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Yakima Valley Partners for Education receive grants to help families impacted by food insecurity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Yakima Valley Partners for Education receives grants to help Lower Valley families struggling with food insecurity

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University’s collective impact initiative known as Yakima Valley Partners for Education (YVPE) has received $34,000 in grants to help Lower Yakima Valley families struggling with food insecurity due to the ongoing pandemic.

Eva Lujan of Latino Community Fund, Forbes Mercy of Washington Broadband and Micaela Razo, also of Latino Community Fund, hold check donations.

YVPE received a $15,000 grant from Save the Children to purchase grocery gift cards for families struggling with food insecurity, and this grant was matched by Latino Community Fund at $15,000. YVPE also partnered with Fiesta Foods which provided $3,000 and grocery cards, with Washington Broadband’s Forbes Mercy also contributing $1,000. These grants allowed YVPE to provide more than 600 grocery gift cards for families in need.

Bryan Ketcham, director of Catholic Charities Housing Services in Yakima, says nearly 90 families living in their housing sites in Wapato and Sunnyside are able to feed their loved ones because of YVPE’s efforts. “During this time of the year and with the current pandemic we have seen a significant increase in the level of need amongst our residents,” said Ketcham. “Paying for their rent, utilities and access to food and other emergency services have been among the highest of priorities and needs that our staff has been helping our residents to access. We are grateful for YVPE’s generosity.”

Luis Alberto Moreno, of Fiesta Foods, Eva Lujan and Micaela Razo of Latino Community Fund, and Alexis Magallon, also of Fiesta Foods, hold grocery gift cards.

Micaela Razo, program director at Latino Community Fund says she is humbled to work within the community to be a voice and resource to the most in need during the pandemic. “We continue to hear the need and work effectively to network with multiple organizations, school districts and businesses to bring relief to the families in need,” said Razo, “Our goal is to make sure we can be a beacon of light in time of darkness to our community. Together we can do more for each other.”

Distribution of the grocery gift cards made possible through these grants began last month in time to help families during the holidays, and will wrap up later this month. For more information, contact Suzy Diaz, Heritage University Collective Impact director at diaz_s@heritage.edu or (509) 480-9354.

 

 

Heritage University and Behavior & Law Corp. sign collaboration agreement to deliver behavioral sciences training courses in the United States

Heritage University and Behavior & Law Corp. sign collaboration agreement to deliver behavioral sciences training courses in the United States

 

Heritage University and Behavior & Law Corp., one of the leading online training companies in Europe and Latin America, have signed a collaboration agreement to expand Behavior & Law training courses in the United States.

Heritage, an accredited, private, nonprofit university, located in Toppenish, Washington, was founded in 1982 to improve societal progress through education; empowering a multi-cultural and inclusive student body to overcome the social, cultural, economic, and geographic barriers that limit access to higher education.  Located on the homelands of Yakama Nation, the University embraces transformational student-centered education that cultivates leadership and a commitment to the promotion of a more just society.  Heritage offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and boasts more than 10,000 alumni.

Behavior & Law Corp. was created in 2010 as an entity specializing in the training, scientific research, and dissemination of Behavioral and Forensic Sciences. It offers six master’s programs, five university expert courses, and fourteen university advanced courses, with more than 1,000 students enrolled each year, worldwide.  Behavior & Law utilizes participative and innovative teaching methodology to ensure student learning in a virtual setting.

With headquarters in Clearwater, Florida (USA) and Madrid (Spain), Behavior & Law collaborates with various public and private entities around the world, including universities and different state security forces to develop the most up-to-date curricula and effective teaching methods. They are experts in Behavioral Science Training (Profiling and Forensic Science, Negotiation, Non-Verbal Communication, and Behavioral Economics) and its application. Their goal is to train qualified professionals that lead to improved working conditions and overall job satisfaction in their professional environments.

Behavior & Law, like Heritage, has a marked social justice mission, dedicated to a more just and safe society.  Their work is guided by three main pillars: scientific research, training, and dissemination of behavioral sciences.

Heritage and Behavior & Law are beginning their collaboration to provide training in behavioral sciences. They are currently working on the implementation of online training programs that will be offered in both Spanish and English in the United States through the Heritage Workforce Development unit.

For more information, please contact David Wise at (414) 788-0686 or wise_d@heritage.edu or Silvestre Cabezas, Marketing and Communication Manager at  (786) 533-3069 or cabezas@behaviorandlaw.com

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Washington State Women’s Commission director to lead Empowher, Heritage University celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington State Women’s Commission director to lead Empowher, Heritage University celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage

Toppenish, Wash. – A dynamic panel of women leaders are being featured as part of Empowher, Heritage University’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. Empowher will be held virtually on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Dana Eliason, senior director of Donor Development at Heritage, and Empowher organizer, says recognizing this milestone for women is a natural choice for the institution. “Heritage University is an institution founded by women and where women make up 70% of the student body,” said Eliason. “At Heritage, we are all about empowering women to make an impact in the world.”

Headlining the event is Regina Malveaux, newly appointed director of the Washington State Women’s Commission, who will share how the Commission works to ensure women’s voices are heard in Olympia.  Ms. Malveaux will be interviewed by Reesha Cosby, YWCA of Yakima Board of Directors president. Following her remarks Ms. Malveaux will moderate a panel discussion. The panel is comprised of women in leadership positions across government, business, education and social service agencies. The panel consists of Washington State Representatives Debra Lekanoff (D-Burlington) and Gina Mosbrucker (R-Goldendale); Quinn Dalan, Yakima Volunteer Attorney Services executive director; Magaly Solis, La Casa Hogar citizenship program manager; Cady Padilla, Nuestra Casa executive director; and Virginia Hislop, community activist and volunteer.

People interested in attending Empowher can register at heritage.edu/empowher. For more information, contact Dana Eliason at (509) 865-0441 or eliason_d@heritage.edu.

Empowher is sponsored by Tree Top, and would not be possible without support from the following local organizations:

Washington State Women’s Commission
Junior League of Yakima
La Casa Hogar
League of Women Voters Yakima County
United Way of Central Washington
Yakima County Volunteer Attorney Services
YWCA Yakima
Nuestra Casa

 

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