By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – Annette Marzan has contributed extensively to the Latino community. Whether it’s as a role model, mentor, or volunteer, for many decades she has been unselfishly giving. Friday night, she revealed her main motivator.
“What really matters to me is making a difference in the life of anyone in our community,” said an emotional Marzan, one of two of the night’s honorees. “It’s the most rewarding experience I could ever have.”
Possessing a decorated career with Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley (PPMHV), including positions as a Bilingual Case Aide, working with pregnant and parenting moms throughout Orange County as well as Senior Director of Community Engagement, Marzan, whose background also includes volunteering for the Open Space Program for young girls as well as Chairman of the Board for Newburgh Girl Power, is now a teacher for Newburgh Enlarged City School District. For all of those contributions and so much more, Marzan was selected as one of the honorees at Friday night’s Latinos Unidos 16th Annual Hispanic Heritage Cultural Celebration, held at Newburgh’s Powelton Club.
The oldest non-profit bilingual group in the Hudson Valley, Latinos Unidos acts as a powerful bridge. Whether it’s holding English classes, pro bono translation services, supporting scholarships for local high school students or a host of other uplifting gestures, Latinos Unidos is centered upon uplifting the Latino community, helping them successfully merge into the community.
Friday’s celebration, which included a cocktail hour, buffet dinner, plenty of dancing and a lively auction of multiple items, was a salute to two special individuals who symbolize the very mantra that Latinos Unidos lives by and encourages each and every day. In addition to Marzan being recognized for her tireless dedication, so too was Martha Barrera. Working in the banking industry for the past 35 years, Barrera, who is from Guatamala, presently holds a position as Bank Branch Manager at Walden Savings Bank, where she manages the Merchant Services Program.
“We have been able to help immigrants with getting vaccines, learning how to open and manage their bank accounts and many other helpful things, said Barrera, who pointed to the many sacrifices her immigrant parents made for her and her siblings- many of whom were present- to enjoy the success they do today. “I’m grateful for all of the opportunities, and will continue to help as much as I can.”
Marzan as well pointed to the people in her life, many of them also on hand to celebrate the special occasion. She credited them with helping shape who she is today.
“Without all of you in my life, I would not be up here today; I couldn’t do this alone,” said Marzan as she looked over at the tables where many of those people sat. “What truly warms my heart is when I walk into a local business, and I see a former teen mom from our Program, who is now happily employed at that business, or when I go and get my COVID Booster, and a former teen mom is the provider and does a great job of giving me my shot, and when I’m at a local event, and a former teen mom is serving food from her own food truck; these are the things that really matter.”
Reflecting further, Marzan added, “Let’s all keep doing the work that we do to make a positive difference in the lives of folks in our country.”