2014 Latino Heritage Month Heroes - KPBS
Towards Moving Independence
Myra Curiel is a job coach for Towards Moving Independence, an organization that helps individuals with developmental, mental and physical disabilities be part of their community.
She entered the foster system when she was 14 years old. In 2010, she graduated from San Pasqual Academy, a residential education campus in Escondido which was her home until she emancipated from the foster care system. After graduation she enrolled in Casa de Amparo’s New Directions transitional housing program.
The day she moved into her apartment, she received a gift basket that had the essentials to set up a new home and create a fresh start: shampoo, washcloths, laundry detergent and kitchen supplies. This gift inspired her to create “Move-In Kits” which are being distributed through Power of Change to foster youth moving into their first homes
She served as a peer mentor for Extended Foster Care at the San Diego County Foster Youth Mentor Program. Her work with foster youth led to her selection as a Keynote Speaker for Casa de Amparo's 2014 Champions for Children event.
Ms. Curiel is working on her Bachelor’s Degree at San Diego Mesa College, where she is majoring in Human Resources.
La Maestra Community Health Center
Carmen Kcomt is an asylee from Peru in 2014 she became a United States citizen. She is a legal advocate at La Maestra Community Health Center in City Heights.
Ms. Kcomt began her legal career in 1984 and initially worked as a professor of human rights, family law, and children’s rights at two universities in Peru. She also volunteered with the United Nations, enforcing prisoners’ rights. She later served as a Superior Magistrate in Peru, and experienced persecution due to an unpopular legal decision against a political candidate. Fearing retaliation for her decision, she fled to the United States in 2003 and was granted asylum in 2008.
Ms. Kcomt holds a Master’s Degree in International Law of Human Rights, and has served as a guest professor at the University of San Diego. As a victim advocate at the Center for Community Solutions assisting victims of domestic violence, she was recognized for her work with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program. Additionally, Ms. Kcomt served as the Victim Services Coordinator for the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition serving victims of human trafficking.
Ms. Kcomt also served as a delegate to the 2013 United Nations Refugee Congress. She lives in San Diego with her husband and three sons.
View past Latino Heritage Month Honorees