Friends honor Hispanic heritage through volunteerism

As we honor Hispanic Heritage Month, we're highlighting the story of two friends who work together to improve their community.

Odette Figueruelo and Aileen Rodriguez take great pride in showing off their Hispanic culture.

Rodriguez is the president of Hispanic Heritage, Inc. and Figueruelo is the vice president. Together, they lead the charge for promoting volunteerism and good works in the Bay Area Hispanic community. 

"To me it's quite an honor to be able to do this," said Figueruelo.

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This year, the organization is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

"It has a very long history. To me, it is really amazing to be a part of that and continue to move that forward so that this organization is here for our future generations," Rodriguez said.  

The group's main purposes are to preserve their culture and provide college scholarships for Hispanic students.

"We are able to help other folks and other kids get their education and also realize the American dream," Figueruelo said.

"These students are getting their education. They are going to go on and be successful be productive successful members in our community," explained Rodriguez.

Aileen and Odette also have a special bond with the organization.

"Alieen and I met 20 something years ago at USF when we were recipients of Latino scholarships at the University of South Florida," said Figueruelo. 

Now they are returning the favor to help other Hispanic teens and young adults.

Rodriguez said, "We're very passionate about what we do to give back to the community, because both of us are products of other people helping us."

The pair is volunteers and gives back to the organization that gave so much to them.