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Since March of 2001, The Extraordinary Woman Award has been the only event in the Latino Community that recognizes the outstanding work and accomplishments that women contribute in a multitude of areas within our community, contributing everyday to the improvement of the State of Rhode Island.  This event is unique because it involves women from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, regardless of economic status, creed or religion. It is hosted by Woman Development Institute, a Nonprofits organization 501 (c) (3)

We have chosen to celebrate this event on March 8th each year because this date also commemorates International Woman’s Day.  We consider this an important and historical day because from the beginning of humanity women have been limited to assuming caregivers roles.  As a result, women have been perceived as playing a “secondary” role in the development of our society.

Over the years women have also demonstrated their intelligence, great strength and ability to also contribute to the changes and the development of our communities.  Such contributions have been remarkable in the economic and social fields, as well as while women began to hold elected office.

During the past fourteen years we have recognized a hundred distinguished women, including Patricia Martinez, Director for DCYF;  Myrth York, past governor RI candidate; Representative Grace Díaz; Melba Depeña, Executive Director RI Human Services, Deborah Ruggiero, Director of  Community Development for Citadel radio and host of Amazing woman; Juana Horton, Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Business;  Pat Mastors, Anchor, channel 12;  Adriana Dawson, Small Business Development; Rep. Anastasia Williams; Dr. Patricia Flanagan, Pediatrician at Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Clare Eckert, Elizabeth Burke-Bryant, Executive Director of RI Kids Count; Gertrude Jones, Director of Diversity Department of Lifespan; Doris Blanchard, senior representative for the division of community division of Sovereign Bank; Ana Novais, Executive Director of RI Department of Health among others.  We have also had very exciting keynote speakers such as Cynthia García-Coll, The Hon. Elizabeth Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island;  Milagros Ortiz Bosch, Former Vice President of the Dominican Republic; Teresa Paiva-Weed, Senate president of Rhode Island and Senator for Illinois Yris Martinez, Dra. Margarita Cedeño de Fernandez, First lady of de Dominican Republic, RI Governor Gina Raimondo, Anadiris Rodriguez NBC’s RI Journalist, RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, to name a few.

The Woman Development institute provides a variety of programs to fulfill the needs of women, youth and families as follows:

Because I am a Woman Conference was created in March of 2010 with the objective of promoting unity and solidarity among women.  A second purpose of the Institute is to prepare and strengthen women to contribute to society through information, presentations and discussions of pressing issues. It is our hope that by preparing women for leadership roles they can best serve their families and their communities. 

Single Mothers: Reality and Challenges, consists of an annual conference aimed at this segment of the community in order to orient them in the emotional, educational, and economic aspect so that they can improve their current condition and improve their quality of life and of their children.

“Love is paid by Love: Strengthening the emotional ties between mothers and daughters”, this is an educational and recreational activity to promote good relations and communication in the family.

Empowered Youth: this program include: Extraordinary Women for the Future is a program was created by the Woman Development Institute on 2012, to empower young Latinas by helping them to build essential personal, social and leadership skills. For of 8 consecutive weeks the participants 12-19   are trained to be future community leaders, equipped to help address the community issues that are presently affecting Rhode Island’s Latino community. As a requirement to be graduate they discuss with elected officials, candidates, and community members those issues through a public forum. In 2015 we are offering this program for young men too.

Inspiration Youth consists of the presentation of outstanding young people who have graduated from college or are attending college. Showing the new students that dreams and self-improvement can be achieved.

Rally for Peace, in partnership with RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, this event has the objective of display information about organizations and individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds affected by violence, and include educational and recreational activities for the whole family. Additionally, offer several workshops driven by expert speakers covering family violence, gang violence, substance abuse, bullies, weapons, and other related topics.

Extraordinary Women for the Future and Young Men of Value

Partnering with the Central Falls and Providence School Districts, this critical initiative will empower young Latinos by helping them to build essential personal, social and leadership skills.  Following the intensive program, participants will be well positioned to be community leaders -- equipped to help address the community issues that are presently affecting Rhode Island’s Latino community.  The program will be driven by experienced Latino professionals who will share their personal and professional experience to help these young women and men reach their potential, while also helping them to begin building the professional network they will need to effect transformative community change/improvement. 

Elder of Grace

The purpose of this program is to strengthening the relations between youth and elderly through educational and recreational activity.  As part of this activity we recognize Great women and great men in the building for their solidarity and human relations and encourage the elder to support each other when it is any need. Also we discuss with them about “Opportunities and Benefit for Elder”. The event include music and refreshment for the attending.

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