CWEE is the best thing that could have happened to me.”

Alicia Ramirez, CWEE 2014 Outstanding Alumnae Award Recipient

Alicia Ramirez is endearingly bashful. She doesn’t want to share about herself, especially in a boastful way. But, she does not hesitate to credit The Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE) for dramatically changing the course of her life. She was one of three 2014 Outstanding Alumnae Award Recipients who shared their stories at CWEE’s Annual Awards Luncheon and Fundraiser. The gathering, aptly titled Act. Aspire. Achieve., inspired all of its nearly 300 guests.

Award honoree Effie Henderson shared how CWEE helped her step on a path of sustainable self-sufficiency and home ownership. She radiates grace and gratitude as she talks about being able to buy her home. And she is ready for whatever life deals her. Her motto: “Every obstacle in your life prepares you for greater things.”

Honree Kathy Mojica courageously revealed that “being poor wasn’t the worst of it. It was watching my children experience it.” Today, she lights up as she talks about how well her children and grandchildren are doing and she credits CWEE for helping her put the pieces in place for that success. She spoke about an exercise she had to do when she first enrolled in the program. “We had to look in the mirror and say ‘I love you’ to our reflection. That seemed so weird. I didn’t want to do that. The other women and I looked at each other, all thinking ‘What did I get myself into?’ And yet, what a difference it made! Little did I know I would learn so much more than just about employment. I learned I had value.”

Becca Treece summed up the emotion of the day. “To hear firsthand the strides these women made to achieve self-sufficiency in sustainable ways is inspiration to us all.”

Brandi Miller put it another way. “These women are warriors, powerful, triumphant and action-oriented. CWEE’s participants are not ordinary. They have a hunger, a drive to succeed. I believe our participants can accomplish anything. Then, they move further forward by giving back to their community.”

The Honorable Elbra Wedgeworth, Chief Government and Community Relations Officer at Denver Health And Hospitals Authority, inspired everyone in attendance as she spoke about her journey, which includes being the only person who has served in all three branches of city government: City Council, City Auditor’s Office and the Mayor’s Office. “I never thought the world would be waiting for me, but it is. And it’s waiting for you too.”

Other honorees included Volunteer of the Year: Chamber Connect Leadership Program; Employer of the Year: Christian Living Communities; Community Partner of the Year: WorkLife Partnership; Corporate Partner of the Year: KeyBank; Foundation Partner of the Year: Season To Share, A Campaign of Denver Post Charities, A McCormick Foundation Fund

Since 1982, The Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE) has been fostering personal and professional transformation for low-income individuals through integrated services designed to build confidence, develop customized skills, and facilitate career advancement. CWEE’s program combines services such as: adult literacy, intensive case management, family support, job readiness training, and job placement: to remove barriers to becoming successfully employed, and to place individuals in jobs long-term. CWEE’s holistic program is a solution that reduces generational poverty in our community through cultivating an educated and skilled workforce and self-sustaining families.