Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Leading together, at La Alianza

Group seeking to promote cross-cultural alliances

Express Staff Writer

Rebecca Hornbach is the new, and first, executive director of La Alianza. Photo by Dana DuGan

Rebecca Hornbach is beginning her life in the Wood River Valley with the bang that comes after a year of turmoil, grand gestures, moves and changes.

A little more than a year ago, she returned to the United States from Bolivia, where she was with the Peace Corps, to help care for her ailing father. She became engaged, got married, moved to Ketchum and skied her first Boulder Mountain Tour.

Last week, Hornbach completed her reinvention by accepting a position as the interim executive director for La Alianza. The year-old, nonprofit organization was established to build cross-cultural alliances and improve the quality of life for Latinos in the Wood River Valley through education, advocacy and direct services.

Hornbach was hired by the organization's eight-member advisory committee, consisting of Ruben Rivera of the Blaine County School District; Hector Ocampo of Padres Latinos; Tricia Swartling of the Advocates; Penny Thayer, a community member; Sarah Michael of the Blaine County Board of Commissioners; Jenny Emery-Davidson, executive director of the College of Southern Idaho, Blaine County; and Erin Pfaeffle and Laura Zambrano, both of St. Luke's Center for Community Health.

"We are delighted that Rebecca has agreed to serve as interim executive director and to use her numerous skills to launch this important community program," co-chairs of La Alianza, Rivera and Ocampo, said in a joint press release.

Hornbach, who is fluent in Spanish, spent two years in Bolivia as a volunteer, and then in community outreach as a volunteer coordinator for another year.

Her immediate objective is to create a multi-cultural center at the Community Campus in Hailey to address the needs of the Hispanic community.

"We're hoping to open the center in mid-March," she said. "The idea is that this will be the one place people can go to if they're interested in doing something for or with the community. We want to transform it into a center everyone can use, where we'll celebrate differences and diversity.

"I'm a newcomer, so first I want to get to know people and organizations that are already working on diversity, such as the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and The Community Library."

The organization has a wish list of needs including furniture, office and art supplies, toys and computer items.

"I am very excited about La Alianza's mission and goals," Hornbach said. "I hope to work with a variety of local organizations and community members to make the Wood River Valley an even better place to live--for all our residents."

La Alianza is funded through grants from the Wood River Women's Charitable Foundation, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, public contributions and private donations.

For more information, call 578-5408.

Information in Spanish

La Alianza, una nueva organización sin ánimo de lucro establecida para formar alianzas culturales en el Wood River Valley, esta semana anunció el nombramiento de Rebecca Hornbach como directora ejecutiva interina.

Como la primera directora de La Alianza, el objetivo inmediato de Hornbach es crear un centro multi-cultural que afronte las necesidades de grupos en desventaja y forme relaciones positivas entre las culturas.

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