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Sesame Street's Maria To Speak At Danbury United Way Event

Sonia Manzano
Sonia Manzano Photo Credit: Contributed

DANBURY, Conn. -- The United Way of Western Connecticut will hold its third annual Hometown Heroes Benefit Dinner at The Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury on Saturday and the keynote speaker will be author and actress Sonia Manzano.

Manzano has inspired, educated, and delighted children and families as Maria on "Sesame Street" for more than 30 years. A first generation American of Latino descent, Manzano's story is one of perseverance and courage as she overcame countless obstacles to become one of the most influential Latinas in television.

Named among the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever” by Latina Magazine, Manzano broke ground as one of the first Hispanic characters on national television. Throughout her career, she has continued to contribute to enriching diversity on television, on the stage, and in the educational realm. A first generation American of Latino descent, Manzano’s tale is one of perseverance and courage as she overcame countless obstacles to become one of the most influential Latinas in television.

She won 15 Emmys as part of the "Sesame Street" writing team, and also wrote for the Peabody Award-winning children's series "Little Bill." Continuing to inspire children off screen, Manzano’s children’s book, "No Dogs Allowed," was selected by the General Mills initiative "Spoonfuls of Stories" to become a children’s musical to encourage childhood literacy.

UWWC will honor local businesses and community members from northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield Counties who distinguish themselves through philanthropy and volunteerism. This year’s award recipients include:

  • Corporate Philanthropy Award to Kimberly-Clark Corporation for exemplifying corporate social responsibility and demonstrating a strong commitment to giving back to the community.
  • Corporate Volunteer Award to Savings Bank of Danbury in honor of their leadership in promoting volunteerism as a part of their corporate culture.
  • Small Business Hero Award to Ralph McIntosh, Del-Tron Precision, Inc. in recognition of his leadership, commitment and generosity to the greater Danbury community.

In addition, nine Hometown Hero Awards will be presented to the following individuals and non-profit agency in appreciation and recognition for giving back to towns from within UWWC’s service area including: Bethel New Fairfield Brotherhood In Action; John and Amy Pendergast, Bridgewater; Frank Kelly, New Milford; Helen Barksdale, Brookfield; Susan Ludwig, Newtown; Peter D’Amico, Danbury; Jackie Morrison, Ridgefield; Allison Stockel, Ridgefield; and Bill and Catherine Bachrach, Kent.

The event will include dinner and dancing, as well as silent and live auctions. The evening will be emceed by NFL stadium announcer John Heffernan. Proceeds from this event will benefit UWWC’s work in support of ALICE families throughout northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield Counties.

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