WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains resident Isabel Villar was named a 2013 state Senate Woman of Distinction at the state capitol in Albany for her work as the co-founder and executive director of El Centro Hispano, state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D – 35th District) announced.
Like the Democratic Conference Leader, each of the other 62 state senators chose a Woman of Distinction from their district to be honored Tuesday for their work to enrich the quality of life in their communities.
“Isabel Villar embodies the virtues of leadership, compassion and service,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
Villar, who is also a founder of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, was born in Cuba. As a young adult she moved to the U.S. with her family in 1966 and enrolled in White Plains High School. At the time, there was no English as a second language (ESL) program. When the school began its first ESL program the next year, she enrolled on the advanced level.
Villar went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in political science/Latin American studies from Manhattanville College and several graduate degrees from New York University, Iona College and Long Island University. El Centro Hispano is a community organization that offers Hispanic students the opportunity to earn college scholarships, bilingual Boy and Girl Scout troops and computer classes for children, adults and seniors at its state-of-the-art Technology Center.
“Thirty nine years ago, she saw an unmet need in the community and has devoted her professional life to addressing it,” Stewart-Cousins said in the statement. “The organization she co-founded, El Centro Hispano, has created countless opportunities for Latino families to achieve the American dream and is a true asset to White Plains and Westchester County. She is a genuine woman of distinction whose tireless work on behalf of others has made a real difference. I am proud to call Isabel my friend and happy to pay tribute to her today.”
Villar was inducted into the Westchester County Senior Hall of Fame Class of 2012 in December last year.