SOURCE: Colorado "I Have a Dream" Foundation

Colorado

October 01, 2013 15:45 ET

Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation's Annual Gala Set for October 17

Alvarado Family to Receive McHugh Award as CIHAD Celebrates 25th Anniversary

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Oct 1, 2013) - The Alvarado family will be honored with the McHugh Award during the Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation (CIHAD) annual gala Thursday, October 17 at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center in Denver. The event also celebrates CIHAD's 25 years of helping some of Denver's most at-risk youth achieve their dreams by providing a long-term academic and social mentorship program for youth who live in economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods and/or attend underperforming schools in Metro Denver.

The McHugh Award, established in 2010, honors individuals for their exemplary efforts to level the playing field in education, as exhibited by Jerome and Anabel McHugh. The Alvarado family has deep roots in Colorado where Robert Alvarado is President of Palo Alto, Inc. a family owned business that operates Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants in Colorado and other states. Linda G. Alvarado is president and chief executive officer of Alvarado Construction Inc. and co-owner of the Colorado Rockies baseball team. The family continues to embrace the philosophy of Linda's mother -- empieza pequeño, pero piensa grande ("start small, but think big"). Inspired in part by Linda's humble beginnings as a laborer for a groundskeeper in college, the family continues to build on this foundation by serving as role models in their support of organizations across Colorado and beyond. The Alvarados and their children -- Heather, Jennifer and Rob -- believe in the importance of education and strive to support organizations that work with children who also have humble beginnings. Through their tireless contributions -- including Rob Alvarado's commitment as a long-time board member of the organization -- the family gives of their time, talents and treasures which enables CIHAD to continue providing a multi-year program of mentoring, academic assistance, life-skills development, cultural enrichment and scholarships to hundreds of students.

"The Alvarado family's deep commitment to education is a model not only for the City of Denver but for our nation," says Rachael Gazdick, CIHAD executive director. "If everyone went the extra mile like the Alvarados to ensure that every child has an opportunity to thrive we would have a world-class education system."

The Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation believes that every child deserves a quality education and that every child has a fundamental right to reach his/her highest potential. Over the last 25 years, the foundation has developed and fine-tuned a 10-year "hands-on cohort model" for its participants, who are affectionately called Dreamers. Prudence Flores and Corey Wilson have been selected to receive this year's CIHAD Summit Awards, presented to participants who have overcome even more obstacles than most of the Dreamers to achieve success.

Flores has been a member of the Helen M. McLoraine class of Dreamers since its inception in 2004 and will be graduating from CEC Middle College of Denver in May 2014. Ranked seventh in her class, Flores maintains a 3.86 grade point average while taking several college-level courses at the Community College of Denver and competing at the varsity level on North High School's volleyball, swimming and track teams. Flores' dream since she was a young girl is to be a member of the armed forces and she has always hoped to attend the United States Air Force Academy -- where she will be applying this fall. She also will apply to the United States Naval Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, Colorado School of Mines, Regis University and Metro State University of Denver. Unfortunately, Flores is no stranger to adversity and loss; her father committed suicide the summer before her sophomore year in high school. She and her family, which includes four brothers -- Daniel, Forrest, Stone and Riverz -- and her mother Crystal, share an incredibly close bond.

A scholar and athlete, Wilson has been a valued member of the McHugh Class since 2004. He is captain of Skyview High School's varsity basketball team and plays on competitive travel leagues outside of school -- all while consistently earning A's and B's. Wilson attended a pre-collegiate program at CU Boulder, as well as numerous CIHAD ACT preparatory and college workshops, and, using tickets donated by Southwest Airlines, he visited UNLV's kinesiology program last fall, which, at this time, is his expected major of study for college. Wilson plans to apply to both in-state and out-of-state colleges. Through the Colorado "I Have a Dream" Work IS Success summer internship program, Wilson earned an internship at Guaranty Bank, where his supervisors noted his professionalism and maturity. In addition to his natural gifts, Wilson is strengthened by his loving and supportive parents -- Alisha and Miguel -- who make sure he works hard and takes advantage of opportunities afforded to him.

Since its founding in 1988, CIHAD has impacted the lives of 630 Dreamers through mentoring, academic enrichment services, social-emotional supports, global cultural exploration activities, experiential learning, community service projects, internship and corporate networking experiences, collegiate coaching, and tuition assistance for higher education. Dreamers are selected and adopted in the third grade and are provided these services up and through post-secondary pursuits. To learn more about CIHAD visit http://www.cihadf.org/.

CIHAD's 25th Anniversary Gala will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/rsvp/rsvp.cfm?eventcode=%29%3F92%3A%27%25%27Z%20P%40A.