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Honoring Delia P. Sanchez

Rep. Kathy Castor

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Mr. Speaker, in recognition of her recent honor, the 2011 Sydney & Thalia Potter Civic Leadership Award from the League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County, I rise to herald the achievements of Delia P. Sanchez, a champion for children in Florida. Ms. Sanchez is a wonderful example of the power of women to shape future generations and make a difference in their communities. Ms. Sanchez is a lifelong learner. She obtained her bachelor's degree from Florida State University in Social Work with minors in Education and Spanish in 1945 and went on to get her Master's in Social Work at Columbia University in 1947. Until 1991, nearly fifty years later, she took graduate level courses in areas such as Pupil Personnel Services, Education, and Rehabilitation.

All the while, Ms. Sanchez was affecting enormous change in lives of hundreds of children in the Tampa Bay area. One of the greatest services that Delia Sanchez provided to the Tampa community was to work with Congressman Sam Gibbons to bring the first Head Start initiative to Hillsborough County. She began her career as a Child Welfare Worker for the Florida State Welfare Board. From there Ms. Sanchez went on to work for the School Board of Hillsborough County as a School Social Worker and a Case Work Consultant, working her way up the ranks to eventually serve as the Administrative Supervisor for Head Start for nine years. Then, in the last three years of her career, she went into private practice to counsel troubled children.

Throughout her career and in her retirement, Ms. Sanchez has served as a board member or local representative to a number of community organizations. The list is too large to mention them all, but they range from the University of South Florida's Latin Community Advisory Committee, the Citizen's Advisory Council, the Child Abuse Council, the Ybor City Museum Society, to the National Association of Social Workers.

For all of her hard work in education and the lives of children, countless organizations have recognized her. To name a few, Ms. Sanchez is the recipient of the US State Department Fellowship Award, the American Red Cross Service Award twice, the Retired Social Worker Outstanding Achievement Award, the Hillsborough County Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, the National Head Start Association Lifetime Achievement Award and now the Sydney & Thalia Potter Civic Leadership Award. She is also a member of Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society, was named Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers by the Tampa Bay Unit and then again by the Florida Chapter, received an honorary Doctorate from the University of South Florida School of Social Work, and in 1993 she was Hispanic Woman of the Year.

Mr. Speaker, Delia P. Sanchez is a woman of the highest regard who has dedicated her life to helping others. I am proud to call her my neighbor, and I join many others to applaud her lifetime contribution to the Tampa Bay community.