In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers recognize and celebrate individuals who are making a positive impact in the Hispanic community in Detroit. In partnership with Comerica Bank, the Game Changers series honors one community member per week throughout the month who is making a profound difference in the areas of youth education, youth wellness or sport participation. Each honoree receives a $1,000 grant dedicated to the charity of their choice from the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and Comerica Bank.
Kevin Brown, Director of Community Impact for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment, expressed the organization’s appreciation for the honorees, stating, “These Game Changers exemplify the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month through their tireless dedication to our community. Their contributions have touched countless lives, and we are honored to recognize their extraordinary efforts.”
This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month Game Changers are:
Dr. Sonia Acosta: Cultivating Cultural Competence
Dr. Sonia Acosta, PhD, serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Centro Multicultural La Familia (CMLF), a Pontiac-based organization dedicated to providing culturally sensitive support services to families. With a 30-year tenure in the fields of mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence, Dr. Acosta, a fully licensed bilingual/bicultural psychologist, has been instrumental in expanding the organization. Under her leadership, Centro La Familia grew from its inception to encompass 35 bilingual/bicultural staff members, reflecting the growing needs of the Latino community.
Laura Chavez-Wazeerud-Din: A Champion of Southwest Detroit
Laura L. Chavez-Wazeerud-Din‘s deep-rooted connection to Southwest Detroit fuels her commitment to fostering positive change. As President & CEO of the Southwest Detroit Business Association, she brings leadership skills to the forefront. Her analytical skills, adept problem-solving abilities, and forward-thinking approach have propelled the organization toward greater operational efficiency and ensured its ability to meet present and future needs. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Laura actively engages in a variety of community roles, including President of Prospanica – Detroit Chapter, Board Member of National Black MBA Association Detroit, Executive Board Member of Chamber Music of Detroit, and Board Member of Bound Together.
Jane C. Garcia: A Lifetime of Community Activism
A native Detroiter and licensed social worker, Jane C. Garcia‘s legacy of volunteerism spans over five decades. With positions held in the Detroit Public Schools, various local Hispanic nonprofits, and over 25 years of service with the U.S. Federal Government, she stands as a force for positive change. Currently serving as Chairman of Latin Americans for Social & Economic Development (LA SED), Garcia is instrumental in the agency’s mission to promote social and economic development for the diverse ethnic groups residing in the community it serves.
Elizabeth Orozco-Vasquez: Nurturing Hope and Stability
Born in Mexico, Elizabeth Orozco-Vasquez immigrated to the United States at two-years-old, growing up in Southwest Detroit. As Freedom House Detroit’s inaugural Chief Operating Officer, Elizabeth demonstrates exceptional financial acumen, increasing fundraising efforts and diversifying revenue streams while ensuring competitive salaries for staff. Her leadership during the pandemic was instrumental in keeping Freedom House’s doors open. Additionally, she spearheaded the agency’s relocation, securing a new home and completing the move in under six months.