July 11, 2013
OneLegacy's Sonia Navarro Wins National Award for 'Done Vida Embajadores' Volunteer Program
OneLegacy, the non-profit, federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization serving the seven-county greater Los Angeles area, reported today that Sonia Navarro, the agency's Latino Community Development Coordinator, received a prestigious Pinnacle Award from Donate Life America for her Done Vida Embajadores program, which was considered the nation's best volunteer program to inspire support for organ, eye and tissue donation.
"This is a tremendous honor," she acknowledged. "I am so pleased to receive this recognition from our national organization and on behalf of the many Spanish-language Embajadores, who have worked so hard to inspire our community to register as donors and choose donation to honor family members. Volunteering is not part of the Latino culture, so it has been important to build trust one person at a time."
Ms. Navarro came to OneLegacy in 2005 and served with agency's Family Services group working with grieving donor families. She leveraged that three-year experience into her community development work by doing one-on-one telephone calls with donor families to solicit their support in volunteering. As a result, over the past five years Ms. Navarro has built the nation's largest volunteer program for Spanish-speakers and has successfully collaborated with the University of Claremont on a HRSA grant and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in a five -year National Institute of Health grant.
"I've watched donor mothers who couldn't speak become amazing public speakers," she remarked. "They're not afraid to walk into a new situation and own the room. We go into every event with purpose: to inspire people. We're able to channel their feelings into actions that honor their loved ones."
She has also created strong partnerships with the Mexican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Nicaraguan Consulates in Los Angeles, which now host "Done Vida" (Donate Life) tables staffed by Embajadores in their Ventanilla de Salud (Health Window) programs.
"Developing relationships with the consulates is critical, as these are the places that immigrants trust most," Navarro pointed out. "Trust is a big issue in the Latino community when it comes to donation."
According to Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy, "Sonia's passion for her work and the Latino community is evident in everything she touches. Sonia, her Embajadores, and community partners have helped Latino donor families leave a legacy of life, and improved Latino donation rates in our area to levels that consistently outperform the national average."
Ms. Navarro credits her beloved parents who came to Los Angeles from Mexico with very little and built an apparel manufacturing business through hard work and dedication. "My parents cemented my cultural background and worth ethic," Ms. Navarro acknowledged.
Ms. Navarro lives in Hacienda Heights, Calif., and is the proud mother of two teens, Angel and Albany Turcio. She was also nominated this year for the Women of Excellence award by the National Latina Business Women's Association in Los Angeles.
Donate Life America is a nonprofit alliance of national and local in the United States dedicated to educating the public about organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America is composed of national organizations and 47 local affiliates that coordinate donation related activities at the grassroots level.
With more than 200 hospitals, 11 transplant centers and a diverse population of 19 million, OneLegacy is the largest organ and tissue recovery organization in the world. For more information, call OneLegacy at (800)786-4077 or visit www.onelegacy.org.