Dreamer Spotlight: Elda Sawyer

“I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles Dreamer alumni are often inspired not only to succeed for themselves but to give back to others in their Los Angeles community. Elda Vallecillos Sawyer represents that type of accomplishment and generosity.

On June 6th at the national “I Have A Dream” Foundation’s Annual Spring Gala in New York City, our very own Elda Vallecillos Sawyer was awarded the “Spirit of the Dream” Award.

Elda has been with the IHADLA family since 1989, when she was sponsored as a Dreamer in Program 8. She later worked at the Executive Office and then became a Program Coordinator for Program 14 in Boyle Heights in 2001. In 2013, after Program 14 Dreamers graduated from high school, Elda became the Mentor and Volunteer Coordinator for all IHADLA Programs. In May 2015, Elda transitioned to become one of the two Program Coordinators for our newest Program 19 in Boyle Heights. 

Elda continues to support IHADLA when she can. Her husband, Derrick, who was in the same IHADLA cohort (Program 8) as she was, remains very passionate about IHADLA’s work. Both have dedicated years of giving back to our organization, which they refer to as “their second home”. Their commitment and dedication to IHADLA has and continues to impact the lives of many Dreamers.

I have a Dream Foundation National praised Elda Vallecillos Sawyer saying, “Elda truly embodies what it means to be a Dreamer and a ‘Spirit of the Dream’ Award honoree, and continues to give back to her community through her work with underserved youth. We were humbled to hear Elda say, ‘I have a beautiful life thanks to I Have A Dream and their long-term commitment.'”

Elda Sawyer with her Spirt of the Dream award at NYC IHDF gala June 2017
Elda with her Spirit of the Dream award at NYC IHDF gala June 2017

Our heartfelt congratulations to you, Elda! We are so proud and thrilled for you and your family for this prestigious and well-deserved award!

Elda Sawyer with Carol McGuire, sponsor of Programs 12 and 15 and IHADLA CEO Debra Fine
Elda with Carol McGuire, sponsor of Programs 12 and 15 and IHADLA CEO Debra Fine
Elda with her family in NYC visiting for her to be honored at National I Have A Dream Foundation dinner
Elda with her family in NYC visiting for her to be honored at National I Have A Dream Foundation dinner

Elda has a starring role in our 30th anniversary video shown at our March Dream Dinner this year.

Elda Sawyer at March 2017 Dreamer Dinner
Elda at March 2017 Dreamer Dinner
Elda and Dreamers at skating rink
Elda and Program 14 Dreamers at skating rink
Elda Sawyer with program 14 Dreamers
Elda Sawyer with program 14 Dreamers
I Have a Dream Foundation – Los Angeles ‘s Elda Villecillos-Sawyer with Eugene Lang at IHDF’s National Convention in 2008
Elda Sawyer with IHADLA mentor and board member Laurie Zaks and Laurie's mentee, Marina Mejia and Marina's mother at Marina's graduation
Elda with IHADLA mentor and board member Laurie Zaks and Laurie’s mentee, Marina Mejia and Marina’s mother at Marina’s graduation
Elda Sawyer at 2015 Dreamer Dinner
Elda at 2015 Dreamer Dinner
Elda Sawyer and Lupe Camberos, program coordinator at Sunset Elementary.
Elda Sawyer and Lupe Camberos, current Program Coordinator at Sunset Elementary.

Would you like to give back to your Los Angeles community?

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