As a single mother from Venezuela, Monica Blendowski used to work multiple jobs, cleaning houses, waitressing and cake decorating to support her children. Now, as a deputy sheriff for Tulsa County, she uses her position to touch lives in the Hispanic community through her police work.
“I know people sometimes find themselves in tough situations,” Blendowski says. “I want to let the community we serve know that the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is here to keep them safe and help them in any way we can, especially the youth.”
A Sunday school teacher and volunteer for the Young Marines, Brownies and Girl Scouts, Blendowski believes in helping youth succeed and inspiring them to work hard and do their best in life.
“I always tell the young people that I come in contact with that an education is something no one can take from you,” she says. “You can have a very fancy car, but you can crash it, or it can be stolen — and then you have nothing. Education will open multiple doors for you.
“Every obstacle you encounter in life is a step to success. Have the courage to admit that the choices that you make — whether to make yourself better or to sit in a corner and feel sorry for yourself — are your own, and do not blame others for your choices.”
Blendowski is one of four Hispanic Tulsans to receive Orgullo Hispano Awards from local nonprofit MITA’s Foundation at its 10th anniversary charity banquet this month. The annual awards honor individuals who invest their time carrying out the organization’s work in Peru to fund a children’s clinic and school-building projects and to provide educational and health-related supplies.
Also being honored are Daniel Chaboya, director of the English as a Second Language Program for Tulsa Community College; Elian Hurtado-Jarve, director of client services for Tulsa Habitat for Humanity; and Rodrigo Rojas, director of community relations for Gathering Place.
The Foundation is named for Mita Peña, who had a big heart and open hand for people in need, recalls her daughter, Tina Peña, the foundation’s president.
March 14, 6 p.m.
Renaissance Hotel, 6808 S. 107th E. Ave.
Awards ceremony, refreshments, music and dancing. $100; sponsorships available. Benefits MITA’s Foundation.