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HUF's 2015 Volunteer Leadership

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 9:50am



Pictured are HUF Board Members, Angie Stone, Past-Chair, Jorge DeApodaca and Secretary, Dan Schevis.




HUF is fortunate to have exceptional Volunteer Leadership on its Board of Directors and Committees.
And we'd like to introduce to you the 2015 Executive Committee. 

 Lily Pardo, Chair         Jorge DeApodaca, Past Chair       Yvonne Lopez, Chair-Elect


Jorge Gonzalez, Treasurer                         Dan Schevis, Secretary




A home for the holidays, with help from Hispanic Unity

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 11:15am

It was only early November, but already the Anice family's Christmas tree was glowing in a living room corner of their new home.

The Anices bought their West Park house in July, marking a milestone years in the making. Now, the family is excited to spend their first Yuletide season — and three December birthdays — in their new residence.

"It wasn't easy, but God helped us. We made it," said Yrose Anice, 44, who again will be struggling to buy birthday and holiday gifts for her husband and two sons. "It's really hard for me at Christmas."

Exchanging wrapped presents during the holidays has not always been possible for the family, and this year has been no different. Still, little by little, the Anices were able to realize the American Dream of home ownership — and they're proud of their three-bedroom upgrade. They're also proud that their eldest child, 18-year-old Rose, is now attending a community college in Tallahassee.

About two years ago, Hollywood-based Hispanic Unity of Florida stepped in to offer the family assistance and guidance. Hispanic Unity is supported by the Sun Sentinel Children's Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund, which helps South Florida nonprofit organizations that help local families and children in need.

Hispanic Unity helps immigrants transition into life in the United States with programs that offer career coaching, youth development, citizenship workshops, and more.

To read more of the Sun Sentinel story, click here

Double Your Impact Today: HUF #GivingTuesday

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 8:19pm


Hyram Montero and other donors will donate up to $25,000 in matching gifts to Empower individuals who are determined to succeed. Help HUF provide the tools and guidance so they can become self-sufficient, productive and civically-engaged. 

Click here and change lives.


Thank You for Supporting Our Children!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 1:09pm

Over the past month, we have been sharing educational material to show the impact Hispanic Unity has on our community. Our work with youth would not be possible without the Children's Services Council of Broward County (CSC). The CSC supports 150,000 children annually, through more than 150 programs offered by 100 non-profit agencies. That is 1 in 4 children helped in Broward County.

Thank you for voting and for helping us empower a new generation of Americans!

Hurry: Early Voting Ends November 2nd!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 12:01pm


The Children's Services Council (CSC) ballot question is located on page 2 in the bottom right-hand corner. See ballot language below.

Early voting ends on November 2nd. To view a list of voting locations, click here.

To learn more, check out our blog.

Meet Andrea: From Unity 4Kids Afterschool Program to Physician Assistant in Training

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 8:31am

“The Unity 4Teens program offered by Hispanic Unity was a wonderful experience for me.
It helped me to grow and create lifelong friends.” – Andrea Tovar Sambra


Meet Andrea: From Unity 4Teens Afterschool Program
to Physician Assistant in Training

Andrea Tovar Sambra first came to the United States when she was 11-years old. Leaving her native home in Colombia, she did not know anyone aside from her immediate family. To help Andrea become better acquainted with her new community, and to make new friends, her mother enrolled her in Hispanic Unity’s Unity 4Teens afterschool program.

Through the Unity 4Teens program, Andrea received academic support and had access to enrichment activities. She learned how to play sports, made lifelong friends and fine-tuned her conversational English, which she knew would be helpful in her professional and personal growth.

After several years in the program, Andrea received the ESL Student of the Year from her middle school.

Knowing the impact Hispanic Unity has on the community and on her experience, Andrea wanted to give back to HUF in the way it had given back to her. For ten years, Andrea has volunteered with HUF, dedicating numerous hours during her school breaks, to support HUF efforts. Her mother Norma also became part of the HUF team, supporting our accounting department.

Andrea graduated in May of 2014 with a degree in Biology from Nova Southeastern University – on a full scholarship! She was recently accepted into the Medical Assistant program at Broward College and plans to eventually become a Physician Assistant.

“I just love medicine. Since I can remember, it has always been my dream to help others, whether it was diagnosing their ailments or helping them find solutions to their health-related issues.” – Andrea Tovar Sambra

Meet the CEO: From Business Start-up to Successful Entrepreneur

Monday, October 6, 2014 - 3:28pm


“For me, it is about giving back my experience and knowledge to help others,
so they can re-start their lives and be successful in the U.S. We lived it, we understand it.” – Maria Antonietta Diaz


Meet Maria: From Business Start-up to
Coach Inspiring Other Entrepreneurs

Before moving to the United States, Maria Antonietta Diaz had been an accountant working in Venezuela for more than ten years. A rare opportunity presented itself and Maria accepted a position in the U.S. It was two years, before she could officially make the move from her native Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1997.

Once in the U.S., Maria began to seek ways in which she could assist entrepreneurs. Her experience working in Venezuela provided the foundation for her new business, but she needed to overcome the hurdles every new business owner encounters. She was successful and that led her to the creation of additional services for her clients. 

Maria founded GBS Group and is now its CEO. GBS is a group of consulting companies, which specialize in business start-ups, financial and tax advice, business consulting and talent. They have more than 600 clients, 30+ employees and have been in business for 15 years. Maria is a natural businesswoman and her inspiration and driving force comes from assisting other Latin American entrepreneurs become successful.  She is an active member in the community and has received numerous honors and recognitions for her work.

Although it was a long journey, Maria is proud of her accomplishments and feels a deep connection to her community.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is a great opportunity afforded to us in America to recognize the contributions Hispanics have made - and are making - in the U.S.” she said. “I am a proud U.S. Citizen. I have lived firsthand the opportunities available in this great country. My family and I feel blessed - we are able to contribute to and enjoy a country that offers safe harbor and a bright future.” – Maria Antonietta Diaz

Maria Antonietta and her husband Jorge reside in the City of Weston with their two kids Andreina (19) and Jorge Jr. (23). 

Meet the Monteros: Living and Empowering Others to Live the American Dream

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 8:27am


“Anyone can succeed, they just need the tools and the opportunity. And your job on earth is to help at least one person – just one individual – and make sure she/he has the tools and the opportunity.”

As a kid growing up in Chicago, Hyram Montero believed he had lots of cousins – dozens and dozens of cousins. Weren’t all those kids living with them part of his family? For more than 10 years Hyram’s parents were hosts to more than 15 families. The Monteros were involved with the Refugee Resettlement program in Chicago and families stayed for up to three months. His parents were in charge of finding the families jobs and housing – always close to work. And Hyram was the social director for the children. He taught them to ice skate and how to play American football.

Many of the refugee professionals became teachers – following the lead of Mrs. Montero. (She was a graduate of the University of Havana with degrees in English and education and had spent a year at the University of Miami polishing up on her  English skills. Soon after meeting her future husband, she married and moved from Cuba to Chicago in 1952.) Attorneys, psychologists and accountants became teachers using the teaching profession as their pathway to opportunity and success. Chicago never developed a “Cuban” neighborhood because families lived near work and thus scattered throughout Chicagoland.

The network of support was impressive and at the epicenter was La Unica – the Cuban grocery store where in addition to palomilla steak (beef loin sirloin) and café you also picked up the local “chisme” (gossip.)

Mr. and Mrs. Montero reared their children with a powerful philosophy: “Anyone can succeed, they just need the tools and the opportunity. And your job on earth is to help at least one person – just one individual – and make sure she/he has the tools and the opportunity.”

This family far exceeded their quota in Chicago. 

And now Hyram Montero is living his parent’s philosophy in South Florida.

Hy is a Board Member Emeritus of Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF) and leads the Montero Law Center in Ft Lauderdale. He’s been involved with HUF for more than a dozen years, “it’s an organization dear to me” he says. He has been involved with Take Stock in Children for 20 years mentoring six students. He is waiting to start his seventh mentorship. He remains close to all of his mentees and at times responds to calls at 2am asking for help. He Chairs the Light of the World Clinic, supports Henderson Behavioral Health and is now Vice President of his condo association. And, he takes on pro bono legal cases when he’s asked by HUF.

Hispanic Unity is important to him because he says “we share the same values” – passion for family, commitment, loyalty and respect for others.

He believes that the most important work that HUF does is to give people a sense of worth. “If people do not have confidence, they cannot succeed; confidence is the key to opening doors. HUF provides the foundation an individual needs to make it on his own. You are doing God’s work.”

The Montero Family created HUF in their basement twenty years before HUF incorporated in South Florida.

Yet our missions are the same – to build pathways to opportunity – to provide the tools – to give individuals “permission” to hope and dream and to help them become successful.

One family. One organization. A shared dream – the American dream. 



Meet Edgar: From Unity 4Teens Student to Ph.D. at Stanford

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 10:14am


“We owe Edgar Armando’s –and our family’s success– to hard work and in great measure to Hispanic Unity’s incredible support and services.” – Edgar Peralta Sr.

When Edgar Armando Peralta landed with his family from Colombia as a 12 year old, he probably didn’t imagine that one day he’d be working on cutting-edge technology at one of the world’s premier universities.

In an advance that could dramatically shrink particle accelerators for science and medicine, the September 2013 issue of “Nature” magazine features an article by a team of researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University – which includes Edgar. The team developed a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice.

Because it employs commercial lasers and low-cost, mass-production techniques, the researchers believe it will set the stage for new generations of "tabletop" accelerators.

At its full potential, the new “accelerator on a chip” could match the accelerating power of SLAC’s 2-mile-long linear accelerator in just 100 feet, and deliver a million more electron pulses per second.

Upon they arrival in South Florida, Edgar Armando, together with his parents and sister, availed themselves of practically every HUF service – health care, employment, financial literacy courses and the after-school program.* A dedicated and brilliant student, he decided to pursue his doctoral studies in Applied Physics at Stanford.

* The afterschool program in which Edgar participated - Unity 4Teens - was funded by the Children's Services Council of Broward Council. Learn more about the CSC and the Nov. 4th vote.

Celebrating the Richness of the Hispanic Culture

Monday, September 15, 2014 - 7:21am

Founded more than 30 years ago, Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF) has served as South Florida's Ellis Island for new immigrants arriving in South Florida. Serving 20,000 clients annually from 25 different countries - in three languages - HUF works with the whole family - with different generations simultaneously - to provide each individual needs at their particular stage in life.

Today, HUF clients reflect our community’s diversity with 40% of our clients being non-Hispanic. HUF is located in South Florida, a region that has the highest number of educated immigrants in all of the U.S. The agency provides clients with the tools they need to create a new life, as well as serving as a bridge for them to the larger community.

To read more, click here.

Eugenio R. Torres, Founder of Hispanic Unity
shares HUF’s early years in his:

Click Here

Hispanic Unity of Florida: Client Stories

Hispanic Unity was founded more than 34 years ago by community leaders to ease the acculturation transition for newcomers from other nations. Today this nonprofit provides assistance through 12 programs and 30+ services, in four languages, to Broward's diverse community. Hispanic Unity remains the county's largest agency dedicated to the immigrant population, providing them with the tools they need to build a new life. In 2015, the agency served 17,000+ clients, from toddlers to adults.