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Valley woman teaches communities how to live healthier

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 22:17:04-04

In this busy classroom, they're not solving math problems, there are no spelling tests, and no one's getting graded for their handwriting.

Instead, what these kids are learning won't just extend their lives, but also save them.

"Our main focus in the domestic program is to provide preventative health education in the realms of preventing chronic disease and illness for the most vulnerable communities," explains Maria Valenzuela, who has worked for the non-profit group Esperança for the past two decades.

The group works to improve health conditions in under-served communities around the globe and right here in the Valley.

For Maria, it's deeply personal.

"I understand what it's like to be one of the kids we are servicing. I come from the community, so I understand what it's like to lack access to the care and lack the resources I needed when I was their age."

Maria has also helped create a program called "Salud con Sabor Latino" or "Health with Latin Flavor." It's a program that teaches people how to celebrate the delicious food that comes with Latin culture but also shows them ways to eat healthier.

"I believe the passion for public health comes from the heart."

And Maria Valenzuela, that's why you're one of Nick's Heroes!

All around us in the Valley, people go above and beyond to help make our community even better. We want to know who they are! Nominate someone today and tell us why they should be one ofNick's Heroes. They could win a $500 gift card from our friends at Valley Toyota Dealers.

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