9th Annual American Dream Awards Community Hero Award Honorees and Scholarship Recipients Revealed
The New American Dream Foundation (TNADF) will hold its 9th Annual American Dream Awards on Friday, September 15, at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury.
TNADF has significantly impacted the greater Danbury area in 2023, with over 1,000 individuals served. Their initiatives include the senior hot meal program, a community resource center for immigrants called the New American Dream Center in partnership with the Connecticut Institute For Communities, Inc., and various educational programs to inspire immigrant families and youth, collaborating with community organizations, public schools, and state universities with the support of the CT Health Foundation.
The event's theme is "The Power of Education – The Power of Community," presented by Union Savings Bank. It will highlight the contributions of community organizations and individuals in education and social services provided to immigrants and their descendants and bestow three American Dream Award Scholarships of $3,000 to immigrants and children of immigrants who faced many challenges along their journey to achieve their American dreams.
The New American Dream Foundation 2023 Community Hero Award honorees are:
The Lebanon-American Club of Danbury, founded in 1922, celebrated their centennial last year. The Club initially assisted members in becoming American Citizens, learning English, and served, along with the three sister parishes of St. Anthony, St. Ann, and St. George, as a social support system for Lebanese and Syrian immigrants and their descendants. The Club has awarded thousands of dollars to college-bound students of Lebanese and Syrian heritage and their descendants through its annual scholarship program for the past 50 years.
Daily Bread Food Pantry has distributed food free of charge in downtown Danbury, welcoming those in need, whatever their background or circumstances, since 1984. Most recently, Daily Bread Food Pantry has increasingly provided nutritional support to hundreds of immigrant families struggling to provide food for their families and themselves due to job loss, low wages, or personal crises, becoming a vital alternative as most do not qualify for government programs.
The 2023 American Dream Award Scholarship recipients are:
Elvia Fajardo, a Danbury High School graduate, is attending the University of Hartford as a Nursing Major this fall. "I am a proud child of immigrant parents who both migrated from Ecuador. My parent’s journey to the U.S. was indescribable. My American dream is to honor my parents." Fajardo said.
Julia Clara Ferreira, a Danbury High School graduate, is attending the University of New Haven as a Forensic Science Major this fall. "I am a very proud daughter of Brazilian immigrants. I am also the youngest child of two and will be the first person in the family to graduate high school and continue on with my education," Ferreira said.
Daniel Espin is a Computer Science Major at Western Connecticut State University and is the son of Ecuadorian immigrants. "As an immigrant, I have faced countless challenges and learned valuable lessons. The most important lesson is the language barrier I faced and how I managed to overcome it by being persistent and never giving up," Espin shared.
"The gala is an opportunity for all of us to come together and go beyond highlighting the cultural contributions of the immigrant community, and sincerely celebrate their determination in the pursuit of their American Dream above all else," said Celia Bacelar-Palmares, TNADF President and Founder. "We are so proud to honor these community organizations and support the next generation of immigrants to reach their American dream."
Ticket proceeds will support The New American Dream Foundation programs and Mission Health Day - a day of free health screenings and other community services for the uninsured and the income challenged, hosted by Nuvance Health and TNADF. Tickets are limited and only sold in advance. To purchase tickets, tables, and ads in the event booklet, visit www.americandreamgala.com.
TNADF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2016 by the Bacelar-Palmares Family. It serves as the philanthropic branch of the Tribuna Newspaper, a trilingual publication founded by the family in 1999. The TNADF's mission is to celebrate, support, and inspire immigrants of all generations, committed to providing opportunities that enhance access to education, health, and civic engagement.
The New American Dream Scholarship Awards - Since 2016, The New American Dream Foundation has provided scholarships to immigrant youth regardless of their legal status and honored inspiring community members through its American Dream Awards gala. To date, over $70,000 has been awarded in scholarships to students.
TNADF Senior Hot Meal Program provides 650 seniors living in tax-credit communities in Danbury with a monthly hot meal prepared by the Amber Room Colonnade and purchased by the foundation at cost. Over 30 volunteers serve the meals. Through the program, community members can volunteer and give back to the descendants of the previous immigrants, on whose shoulders every new community stands. Since 2020, over 22,000 meals have been served to seniors. TNADF Senior Hot Meal project is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $50,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS.
The New American Dream Center (TNADC) is a free in-person resource center to guide and support immigrants. In the Newcomer's Program, the Center connects immigrants with existing resources in our community through partnerships with local organizations. It streamlines their access to these resources by helping them gather all the appropriate paperwork and documents needed to access health care, education, and other services.
In the New Americans Program, the Center helps immigrants determine their eligibility for citizenship. We will support those eligible by removing the financial barriers to the application process with grants for low-income families to cover the application fees.
The Center is a partnership between The New American Dream Foundation and the Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc. Since its opening in the spring of 2023, TNADC has served over 200 families.
For more information on The New American Dream Foundation, Inc., visit www.thenewamericandreamfoundation.org.