People that "echo"

Inspiring Future Generations-Liza Montiel

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This month Border Eco selected Liza Montiel for people who “echo” in Santa Cruz County. A woman from humble beginnings who has dedicated herself to public service and inspiring future generations. 

Liza Montiel was born and raised in Nogales. She attended our public schools and left for a couple of years to attend college and travel. 

“Nogales has always been my home to me and my family. It provided the public education and resources I needed to excel and prosper in other areas of my life. Nogales afforded both my husband, Roberto Montiel, Retired Superior Court Judge,  a place to retire peacefully. As a retired administrator and teacher, I have the skills,  experience, and preparation to advocate for working families to have better access to economic opportunity for everyone. This experience, along with my concern for the people of our city, is primarily what is inspiring me to run for office,” said Liza Montiel.  

We want to see dynamic, sustainable changes and much-needed collaboration; we can accomplish much more if we collectively work together and continue to form productive relationships for the benefit of the citizens of Nogales.

“Serving on the City Council would be for me an ultimate act of service. I have the time to commit, and the passion to bring significant value to the position. I am one to keep the vision in mind and work towards it as a team member who is confident in my voice while listening to and respecting others’ perspectives,” said City Council Candidate Montiel.

She also had the opportunity to learn first-hand about the City Hall's government as an administrative assistant to the Mayor’s office. “I observed in-depth the immense challenges our leaders face, but I also learned that the involvement and input of the business industry are vital to the success of our city. I am ready and willing to strongly advocate for the employees and the entire community of Nogales,” said City Council Candidate Montiel.

As Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States once said, “I stand on the shoulders of countless people.” I stood there and stood on the shoulders of many people too. Everyone has that one person(s) in their life that we look up to but some people are more apparent in our lives. Both my husband and daughter have been the 2 people that have inspired me the most. Both have been there for me since day one, well actually even before that! My daughter, Greta is a medical doctor, (pediatric neurologist), who has encouraged me to continue to serve my community in spite of the challenges one faces in politics. She inspires me to have the courage and serve others. And my husband, Roberto, is my pillar; his enthusiasm and immense energy gave me the determination to run for the City Council. He is my driving force and repeatedly reminds me to “keep above the small petty stuff” and to always give a part of yourself to others without expecting nothing in return.

“My goal is to inspire our young people in Santa Cruz County to get involved in our democracy. We need to inspire future generations if we really want to see a change,” said City Council Candidate Montiel. 

I am trusting and I’m positive our community will get involved in our local democracy. It is vital that people have a say in what happens and what is decided at City Hall. I am also hopeful for our citizens including our young people, our future leaders, want to see different faces with innovative ideas to move Nogales forward. We all listen on a daily basis about the needs and concerns of our community so voting is one way to make our leaders accountable. The decisions we make today will affect our everyday life. I am working hard along with our committee (Montiel for City Council ) to actively involve our community to vote and participate in our government system.

I am hopeful the City of Nogales will allow me the humble opportunity to serve them. If interested in being a part of our campaign please contact me directly at 520.371.8159

The Legacy of Anna Maria Coppola-People that "echo"

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This month Border Eco Magazine pays tribute to the legacy of Anna Maria Coppola for her lasting contributions to serving children and adults with disabilities in Santa Cruz County. 

Anna Maria Coppola lived her life in such a way that she will be remembered for her advocacy, kindness, and compassion towards individuals with disabilities. She found her purpose in life.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, services were held for Anna Maria Coppola at Sacred Heart Church at 2 p.m. followed by a celebration of her life at the Santa Cruz Training Programs.

Relentlessly driven by love and compassion for a then underserved group in our community, Anna Maria and a handful of determined women established the Santa Cruz Training Programs “La Escuelita” in 1968 for people with disabilities. She was 43 at the time.

By then, she and her husband had brought eight children into this world, one of them was diagnosed with a learning disability. That sweet beady-eyed boy, “Nayito,” inspired her mission to ensure special needs people in Ambos Nogales would have a safe and warm place to be active and become productive members of society to the best of their abilities.

Forty-three years later that ongoing mission earned her a spot on prestigious Arizona’s 48 “Most Intriguing Women” list as part of the Arizona Centennial Legacy Project. While flattered she was not one to lavish in special recognition for what became her life’s passion. She didn’t attend the awards ceremony. She sent her eight very proud children instead.

Anna Maria or “Baby” as she was endearingly nicknamed, died on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. She was 94.

We remain “intrigued” by mom, especially now as people from all walks of life have come forth to express how she helped them on a personal level in a multitude of ways, materially, emotionally and spiritually. To say she was giving is an understatement.

Until the end, Anna Maria remained on the board of directors of the Santa Cruz Training Programs, a pillar of wisdom and a guiding light to keep the course of serving SCTP participants whom, she was convinced, earned their angel wings the moment they were conceived. What a noble mission indeed for those who carry on her legacy.

Anna Maria was an active member of the Catholic Daughters of America, the Altrusa Club, and was a member of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church Finance Committee. Among her other jobs, she worked for U.S. Customs Service and Citizens Utilities Co.

She was born Anna Maria Bonorand on Oct. 21, 1924, in Nogales to Arcelia and Manuel Bonorand, who was a local customs broker.

She was predeceased in 2005 by her husband of 59 years, Leonardo B. Coppola. She is survived by her daughters Ana Patricia (David) Kemp; Michele Cecilia (Fred) Mahler; Maria Elena (Miguel) Dominguez and Marina Berta (Thomas) Galhouse; sons Leonardo Manuel Coppola; Jose Antonio (Cheri) Coppola; Ygnacio Arturo (Jane) Coppola and Manuel C. Coppola (Irene); brother Manuel Ernesto Bonorand; 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.  

People that “echo” Nisa Talavera

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This month’s editorial for the people that “echo” in Santa Cruz County selected Nisa Talavera Last month, she was one of the key players that helped to bring the Jessie Lewis Choose Love Enrichment Program to Santa Cruz County. Nisa Talavera and Heidi Pottinger both founded the local non-profit organization CHARM (Child Health and Resilience Mastery). The mission of the non-profit is to empower children and families to strengthen their resilience in health-promoting ways.

CHARM has partnered with the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Enrichment Program.

The “ Choose Love” movement was introduced to the community by CHARM (Child Health and Resilience Mastery). The “Choose Love” global movement started after Scarlett’s 6-year-old son Jesse was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary. Scarlett Lewis is nationally recognized for her global movement teaching “Nurturing, Healing, Love” to help create safer schools and communities. This global movement is in all 50 states and in DC, as well as 80 plus countries worldwide. 

“We were excited to bring the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Enrichment Program to Arizona! It has been by far one of my most treasured accomplishments.  We are now the Arizona Ambassadors for Choose Love and I could not be more thrilled about all of the progress we have made here in Santa Cruz County. As a resident, mother and business owner in Santa Cruz County, I'm so pleased to know that our community was able to receive this amazing gift,” said Nisa Talavera Co-founder and Vice Chairman of CHARM.

This unique program was introduced to Superintendent Kathy Romero at Little Red School House. Ms. Romero immediately was on board with the program. She was a key factor in implementing the program across the entire school (K-8). Little Red School was the first pilot school in Arizona for the program.

Nisa, Heidi, and Kathy spent a lot of time presenting the program to county officials, Nogales Rotary Club, Lions Club,  and the Mariposa Community Health Centers. “The old saying It takes a village to raise a child”, nothing could be more accurate.  Every child belongs to us as a community.  The responsibility to help and teach our children to be resilient belongs to each of us,” said Nisa.

“Everyone has been amazed and excited about the program and have been looking for ways to implement it. The County Superintendent Alfredo Velasquez was one of our first stops. He has been instrumental in assisting us to spread the word with all the county educators. We were invited to and spoke at the monthly SI meeting hosted at the county building.  From that meeting, we have received several requests from other schools to come and present specifically to their own district teachers. The response has been amazing! I truly believe this is a gift for our community.  The Choose Love Enrichment Program is a comprehensive, NO COST, program that we all can learn and benefit from.  It is like no other that I have seen before. Our goal is to hopefully have EACH and EVERY school in Santa Cruz County CHOOSING LOVE,” said Nisa.

About 5 years ago, Nisa Talavera and her daughters moved to Nogales, so she could be close to her parents who were battling cancer. After her parents passed away, she made the decision to take over her parent’s business the Hacienda Corona B&B. It is a thriving bed & breakfast and event venue inside the Guevavi Ranch.  Nisa Talavera found a place of peace and happiness for herself and children that they share with the community.

“ It has not always been easy, and it still presents its challenges each day, but it is by far one the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made.  I’m working harder now in my life than I ever have before, but it’s worth it when it is yours.

I have love in my life and a wonderful support system around here,” said Nisa Talavera.

“I am deeply grateful to our community for their overwhelming support.  I’ve never experienced anything like it before. A special thank you to Alfredo Velasquez Santa Cruz County Superintendent and his office for their unwavering support.  I would also like to thank Kathy Romero Superintendent and everyone at Little Red School.  The teachers work tirelessly to create a loving and safe place where children can thrive and learn.  

Thank you to my beautiful family, Mina, Rayne, and Jeffrey for always showing love.  Thank you, Heidi Pottinger, for being my partner in crime,” said Talavera.

February Echoes

People that "echo" features community members who make a difference in Santa Cruz County