City of Kissimmee Commissioners celebrated six different women in honor of Women’s History Month during its commission meeting last week for their dedication, willingness and ambition to better serve the area.
“All of these women have professional careers but also go above and beyond within their community on a personal level and this is why we want to acknowledge them,” said Mayor Olga Gonzalez.
“Let’s take a moment and recognize the hard work and sacrifice of our local women and women everywhere who are leading the charge,” said Deputy City Manager Desiree Matthews. “And at the same time changing other people’s lives in a remarkable way.” Matthews read a proclamation into the record, in honor of Women’s History Month, recognizing Ivette Rodriguez, the Founder and Director of Operations for Beyond Pregnancy Care.
Beyond Pregnancy Care is a non-profit that has been providing services to the community since 2017. Beyond Pregnancy Care is a crisis pregnancy center that focuses on empowering families that face unexpected family crisis and unplanned pregnancies. They help both the mothers and fathers in our community. All of their services are free and they offer: pregnancy tests, a maternity and baby clothes boutique, ultrasounds, parenting classes, abortion recovery, etc. It’s all work that is very near and dear to the heart of Rodriguez, a teen mom herself.
Each commissioner selected a nominee. This year’s honorees include Sylvette Santos, who was nominated by Mayor Olga Gonzalez. Santos is a local realtor but her job goes above and beyond that. Santos is involved in many different organizations, like Mujeres Profesionales de Orlando. Not only does she manage and sell properties but she also helps find homes for those in need, oftentimes even giving away furniture to immigrant families.
Mayra La Paz, was nominated by Commissioner Olga Lucia Castaño. La Paz is a mentor and digital media executive within the Spanish-speaking media. She is the CEO of the digital and printed magazine Portada Latina. La Paz has been using her talent in communications to keep the public informed for nearly 30 years.
Reenie McHarg, was nominated by Commissioner Angela Eady. McHarg believes in standing up for women’s rights. McHarg is a member of Florida Rising, the NAACP and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. She believes the best way to advocate for those who are vulnerable is to be able to learn all that you can about the community’s needs. For years, McHarg has made organizational work and volunteering a priority.
Andrea Ruiz was nominated by Commissioner Carlos Alvarez III. Ruiz is the Director for The Salvation Army Osceola Emergency Service Center. Her goal is to provide resources and services to individuals and families in times of crisis. Specializing in case management, Ruiz uses that experience to meet the needs of community members without discrimination. She strives to help as many families as possible.
Lisandra Roman was nominated by Commissioner Janette Martinez. Roman has been the owner of El Jibarito for a decade now. But being a business woman is one of the many hats she wears. Ramon faced many obstacles growing up, but she has not let that define who she is. Oftentimes she feeds those who don’t have anything to eat or perhaps covers a homeless family’s hotel stay. It’s all part of her drive to assist those around her.
“All of these women have achieved extraordinary things within Kissimmee, they are the epitome of community. Not only are they inspiring us but also propelling our city forward,” Gonzalez added.