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Sarahid Rivera Vazquez of Legal Aid of Napa Valley is this year's winner of the CanDo Spirit Award, sponsored by the Napa Valley Vintners.

The a $1,000 prize celebrates outstanding work by a young professional for a Napa County nonprofit.

All county nonprofits were invited to nominate an employee age 30 or younger. 

"Compassionate, patient and extremely caring" with a "never quit attitude" are just a few of the ways Legal Aid's executive director, Diana Dorame, described Rivera Vazquez

As a bilingual paralegal , certified domestic violence counselor and Board of Immigration Appeals representative, Rivera Vazquez sensitively assists clients who are often anxious about their legal issues. Many have been the victims of violent crimes including domestic violence and sexual assault.

In addition, she conducts education programs for immigrants through organizations such as Napa Emergency Women's Services, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Migrant Education.

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A single mom and full-time professional, Rivera Vazquez maintains balance in her life by participating on a voluntary basis with the Suscol Inter-Tribal Council and performing throughout the Bay Area with a Native American dance group.

Of her commitment to the nonprofit sector, Rivera Vazquez says, "The rewards in working at a nonprofit are always rewards for the heart, never the wallet."

And yet, the services provided by Rivera Vazquez and the attorneys of Legal Aid reward clients by helping to ease their confusion as they learn their rights and navigate the complex legal system. Sarahid's goal is clear. "I want to continue to be part of change in my community, one family at a time."

Napa Valley CanDo, the Napa Valley Vintners, and representatives of the 2014 Give!Guide's 40 featured nonprofits will honor Rivera Vazquez at the Give!Guide kick-off party Nov. 6 at Napa Valley College. The event is free and open to the public.

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