Community organizer, wife, mother and lifelong learner

Posted on April 02, 2018

Melina Valsecia-Monreal: Difference Maker



There are so many strong, dedicated, outspoken people in our community, making a difference one at a time. This month’s Difference Maker was recommended from so many facets of the community: from ERYC, CMP, other nonprofits and within the community. Over and over Melina Valsecia-Monreal’s name came up as a real change maker.

Valsecia-Monreal

Melina, Certified Health Education Specialist and InteGreat! Neighborhood Navigators Team Lead Coordinator, just might be the embodiment of what President John Quincy Adams said, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

As a 15-year-resident of Eagle County, mother of two, wife and Latina, she has varied experience that allows her to advocate to and for her community — to effect real change in the lives of those around her; and to try to do it in less time. She wants to reduce equity gaps with the multicultural community.

“I chose to advocate or become a community leader because from what I experienced and learned in my time living in Eagle County, I have seen slight improvement in all aspect of equity with the immigrant population,” Melina says. “Organizations want to understand us better but it is taking too much time to get to know where to start. I decided to become a leader to facilitate the process and bridge the gaps between all of us.”

As the Lead Coordinator, Melina organizes and prioritizes projects; she develops action plans to benefit residents; she invites community agencies from the private and public sector to work collaboratively in projects with the aim of bringing resources and assistance to residents and helps with trainings to develop leadership skills and promote capacity building.

“As a Latina, I represent the voice of Latinos in diverse settings and meetings advocating for the Latin population when important decisions are made,” she shares. 

While Melina is a passionate leader and advocate, she knows change comes from within us all… some of us just need a little more of a push, more engagement and even education to know how to stand up and be heard. She encourages community members to find courage, start talking — really talking about issues, leading discussions and listening to each other — to begin making a difference. And a difference can be small, leading to a huge change; or just something to makes the home, neighborhood or community a little brighter.

Sometimes doing it alone feels scary or overwhelming — so she invites community members to join Neighborhood Navigators. “I believe that change can take place with time and perseverance. We want to encourage people to start speaking up and taking ownership of their life. Start conversations about what their interests and passions are. It is the only way things can happen for them and their communities, too,” she says.

We can all learn from Melina. She doesn’t sit back and wait for the world to come to her. She reaches out, leans in and creates action and change. How? By continuously searching for opportunities in the community. Because she knows that advocating also comes from learning and listening.

“I am continuous learner. I have enrolled in leadership programs to keep developing my strengths in order to further advance the goals of the community and provide guidance for solutions.”

Learn more about Neighborhood Navigators here.



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Eagle River Youth Coalition - Making Youth a Community Priority
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