Zorytza Rodriguez, right, was selected as an “Unsung Hero” by the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues.
The Newsletter of Access Living
Zorytza Rodriguez, staff associate for the Youth Community Development at Access Living, is a recipient of the 2012 Cook County Unsung Heroine of the Year Award. She will be honored at an award ceremony on March 15, 2012 at the Chicago Cultural Center.
In recognition of Women's History Month each year, the Cook
County Commission on Women's Issues presents the Unsung Heroine Award to 17 women from across Cook County. The Commission on Women's Issues honors women who, either in a professional or volunteer capacity, have made significant contributions to their community for which they have not received widespread recognition.
Zorytza has certainly earned her recognition. She has been working as a staff associate at Access Living for the past three months. Prior to that, Zorytza volunteered with Access Living and participated in the Youth Leadership Program, the Youth Advocacy Group, and the Empowered Fe Fes. She recalled that, when she first started, Access Living opened up her eyes to having a disability. Zorytza said she saw a lot of herself in the youth that she collaborated with at Access Living. The youth that she works with have challenged her as well as motivated her to empower people with disabilities.
While she worked and participated with Access Living, Zorytza said she continued to grow not only as a person with a disability, but as a responsible team member of Access Living. She acknowledged that her parents, especially her mother, are the people she thanks for believing in her aspirations and accomplishments. Zorytza remembered a time when she doubted herself and the accomplishments she could achieve.
Zorytza said she was in shock when she heard about receiving the Unsung Heroine award. “If I looked backed two years ago, when I first started volunteering at Access Living, I would have never believed I would be able to receive this award,” she said. “But now, I am more motivated and inspired to partner with Access Living and people with disabilities.”