Valley women rock the night


EL CENTRO- When young individuals achieve above and beyond in efforts towards the community, acknowledgement is not always given.  The El Centro Chamber Foundation has changed that with its annual Imperial Valley Girl’s ROCK awards.

Women who went above and beyond in the Imperial Valley community were honored Thursday evening by the El Centro Chamber Foundation at the second annual Imperial Valley Girls’ ROCK awards ceremony and scholarship fundraiser at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse in El Centro.

The award was created last year as a way to honor the younger members of the community whose work is often overlooked.  According to the El Centro Chamber Foundation the requirements include striving towards the highest levels of personal, academic, and professional accomplishments, devoting time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and serving as a role model for others.  Nominees as young as five years-old can be considered.

“We are look for someone who is giving back to the communities, someone who is making a difference above and beyond selfish reasons,” said Darletta Willis, El Centro Chamber president and CEO.

The nominations come from within the community from friends, family, teachers, and others who best know the women.

This year 12 women were nominated for the award with six winners chosen from six categories: Shot Caller, Community Change Agent, Social Humanitarian, Rock Star, Star Power, and Trailblazer. All were considered exceptional women for their work in supporting the community through outreach, humanitarian work, youth services, and the individual “star power” that makes them shine.

“A lot of people do things in the community and they are never recognized. To be honored because someone would think of me is wonderful,” said Justice Campbell-Rodriguez, one of the nominees of the “Shot Caller” award.

Hailey Contreras, a 2016 nominee, was chosen as the winner for both her work in the church and as an advocate for social service improvements in the Valley.  She said she plans to continue her service to her community.

“This just means I can give back more and continue to help,” said Contreras.

The winner of the “Star Power” award, 16-year-old Kiana Nava of El Centro, said she was honored to receive the nomination.  Nava ran for an elected state position at Girls’ State and is involved in many educational endeavors.

“It was very satisfying to know that I was considered for this award,” said Nava, “It’s really good for our community, not only does it emphasize people who make up our community, but it lets people know what others are doing and how others want to impact where we live.”

“It makes me proud of our youth in the community as well as the female population,” said Willis, “It’s good to see that there are good girls and women in the Valley that care about their community and others.”

All money raised from Thursday night’s dinner and raffle ticket sales go towards spring scholarships.  Last year the El Centro Chamber Foundation gave 16 scholarships to high school and college students in the Valley.

Willis stated that the El Centro Chamber Foundation is currently accepting nominations for next year’s awards.