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International Women's Month
Photo Credit: Michelle Obama: Getty Images, Mother Teresa: Baker: Getty Images, Dolores Huerta: Angela L. Torres
In honor of International Women's Month, our team spent time reflecting on the legacies of several women who inspire us in our work to educate, engage and empower low-income families and families of color to RISE as change agents and lead the movement for educational equity. From top left, clockwise: Michelle Obama, Mother Teresa, Ella Baker, and Dolores Huerta.  Thanks to these powerful women for paving the way and being incredible activists for positive change in our world!

This month we're also honoring some of our amazing RISE members who are fierce women, wives and mothers in Aurora Public Schools.  Paty Zalamanca and Hedrine Tamajong shared with us some of the inspirational women in their lives and how those women cultivated their love of education which they're now passing down to their children. 
Outstanding Women: Meet Paty

Soy Paty Zalamanca y tengo cuatro hijos.  Asisten a las escuelas Creative Options, Kenton, y St. Mary’s en Aurora.

My name is Paty Zalamanca and I have four children.  They attend Creative Options, Kenton, and St. Mary’s in Aurora.

¿Hay alguna mujer que le haya inspirado en su educación?
Mi madre y la madre de mi esposo siempre nos motivaron con la educación.  Para ellas la educación siempre fue lo mas importante. Ellas son mujeres muy impresionantes. Su forma de vivir y de hacer las cosas siempre fue enfocada a la educación. ¿Sin educación cómo empezamos una carrera? Te dicen que necesitas experiencia pero como vas a tener experiencia cuando empiezas? Por eso hace falta tener una buena educación.

Who is a woman that inspired you in your education?
My mother and my husband’s mother have always really motivated us in education. For them education was always the most important.  They are really amazing women.  Their way of living and of doing things was always focused on education. Without education how do we get our start at a career?  They say you need experience, but how do you get experience when you are first starting?  That is why you need an education.

¿Por qué es la educación tan importante para usted y su familia?
La educación es la base de todo.  Con educación podemos hacer mil cosas.  Es una de las herramientas más importantes para avanzar en la vida y para tener un futuro mejor y una vida mejor.

Why is education so important to you and your family?
Education is the base of everything.  With education we can do a thousand things. It is one of the most important tools to advance in life and to have a better future and a better life.

¿Por qué usted es miembro de RISE?
Me gusta RISE porque nos dan información que la escuela no nos da.  Ahora entiendo como funciona el distrito. Yo siempre quiero luchar por un mundo mejor y eso es lo que hace RISE. Luchamos para que los niños tengan la mejor educación y para que nuestro distrito sea igual a los otros distritos.

Why are you a RISE member?
I like RISE because they give parents information that the school doesn’t provide us. Now, I understand how the school district works.  I always want to fight for a better world and that is what RISE does.  We fight for the children to have the best education and for our district to be equal to other districts.

¿Hay otras mujeres que le hayan influido en su vida?
La Madre Teresa es una de las mujeres que me parecen más interesantes.  Ella hizo muchas cosas increíbles para ayudar a la gente. 

Are there any other Influential women that inspire you?
Hay muchas mujeres que hacen mucho y es muy importante honrarlas.
Mother Theresa is one of my favorite women. She did so many amazing things to help others.  There are many women that do so much and it is really beautiful to honor these women.

Outstanding Women: Meet Hedrine

My name is Hedrine Tamajong and I have three children ages 9,7, and 3. They attend Laredo Elementary and Laredo Child Development Center.

Who is a woman that inspired you in your education?
My mom has been a role model for me. She did her best to make sure we went to school even when my dad passed away.  She never gave up even when it was hard. She gave us the best education she could. She did everything as a single mom. She taught me to appreciate one day at a time and live in a positive way.

Why is education so important to you and your family?
When I look at the world today, if you are not educated then you feel like something is not right. In most cases you won’t feel comfortable being with others who are educated.  Education makes you learn more about yourself and understand your society and be able to interact with your society.  

Why are you a RISE member?
I like the goals of RISE.  They help immigrants like us to understand more about the education of our children and to see how we can help our children succeed in education  and take advantage of the opportunities available to them. It has been a challenge for me to make sure my children have the right education and I feel excited and honored to be in contact with RISE.  Even when I’m very tired, the goal and mission of RISE gives me energy to participate more and go to more events. I have learned a lot.

Are there any other Influential women that inspire you?
Ellen Johnson, the president of Liberia. She motivates me to see that even though African women have been suppressed, this suppression is coming to an end with the help of education. Her success shows me not to give up the dream keep fighting for the goals you have.

RISE Impact
Family Leadership In Action
The Colorado Preschool Program Advisory Council for Aurora Public Schools held its final meeting for the 2015-2016 school year. We are so happy to have ended this year on an amazing note with three of our RISE members, Diana Castro, Hedrine Tamajong, and Paty Zalamanca, making incredibly valuable contributions to the Council's work!
Spring College Visits
RISE Colorado and New Legacy Charter High School partnered with Community College of Aurora to bring high school students to the CentreTech Campus this month. Students were able to gain important information about the journey to college.  We toured the campus, attended an admissions presentation with Sarah Jiter, and saw first hand many of the opportunities that CCA offers its students!
Families Working Together
The Nepali Community continues to come together to share ideas on how to support their students' education. Their coalition grows and strengthens and we are so excited to continue to support them in their work. 
Aurora Innovation Zone
Innovation Zone plans are a top priority for parents in Aurora! RISE is supporting families to learn about the details of the plans at each school in the new Innovation Zone, and what the changes will mean for their schools and their children's education. 
School Partner Milestones
Jamaica CDC completed the RISE school-wide workshop series for the 2015-2016 school year!  We are so happy to announce another successful Family Learning Night thanks to their dedicated staff, students, and parents. Teachers continue to engage families with practical and fun strategies to support education at home. Parents agree that seeing their children interact with teachers is a highlight of the evening and the take home resources to support Kindergarten readiness is of great value!  This marks the end of our third year partnering with Jamaica CDC and we can't wait to see what else is possible as we continue to work with such an amazing school team. Thank you, Jamaica CDC!
University of Denver Student Volunteers
University of Denver students, Daniel, Katie, Nura, and Evan, shared a poster presentation about their time spent volunteering with RISE Colorado during their end-of-quarter event.  We look forward to their continued support as they stay on to volunteer with us through the end of the semester!
Community Connections
Last month we were able to spend some quality time with Teach For America Corps Members and Staff from South Dakota.  We sat down over dinner to pick each other's brains about the work we are doing in different areas of the country.  There is nothing like learning from other passionate individuals! 
RISE In the News
This month RISE Colorado's work was featured in:

The U.S. Department of Education, Instagram: Voices Across America: 
Veronica Palmer shares why those most impacted by educational inequity, low-income families and families of color, must lead the movement for educational equity.
The Colorado Trust, After Resettlement: Our RISE Community Organizer, Hari Uprety, along with other refugees, discussed  the challenges and successes that come with immigrating to a new country.
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