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Kassidy Arena

 

Kassidy Arena is a new graduate from the University of Missouri. She came to Iowa for a reporting job with Iowa Public Radio through Report for America. She chose to volunteer her time with Latinos Unidos Of Iowa to give back to students in her community.

Juan Oscar Rodriguez

 

In the 15 plus years since emigrating from his native Colombia, Juan Oscar Rodriguez learned to speak English, became a licensed independent insurance agent and launched four small businesses. Juan comes from humble beginning growing up poor with 13 siblings on his family’s small farm in Colombia.

Juan Oscar has a Wife, Laura and 4 kids, Maria Paula 19 years old, Juan Pablo is 15 years old, Oscar Anibal is 10 years old and Danica Jorlem is 6 years old.

Helping people without expecting anything in return is a principle he learned from his mother. Rodriguez taught himself the ins and outs of running an insurance agency, a radio station, and a Mexican restaurant.

He persevered after being fired from his first American job and later rebuilt his first business after a tumultuous breakup with his partner. Most important, he says, he has always made time to help others, which goes a long way toward explaining why he has become a respected leader in the Latino business community.

Today, Mr. Rodriquez owns various businesses: Diversity Insurance Inc., La Reina 1260 AM and 96.5 FM, La Ley 105.5 FM, 5 de Mayo Mexican restaurant, El Malecon Event Center and La Reina Magazine. He and his nephew also founded the Iowa Latino Cycling Club. The Radio Stations La Reina and La Ley, broadcasts a variety of public service programs as an information resource for the Latino community, also spends a lot of his time assisting other immigrants who want to become citizens or to start their own businesses.

“My idea is to continue to work with the community as I always try to help the community to educate because the information is powerful,” said Rodriguez, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008. “At the same time, I know that it’s paid off. When customers know about you and that you are doing good things for the community, they will support you.”

Juan has always helped Latinos Unidos of Iowa providing a Public Announcement spot and many times over adjusting the time period for our participants. I have heard his clients and friends say, “He has a heart of gold” and “I don’t know where I would be without his assistance.” They drive 100’s of miles to get personalize attention and help. “ That’s how trust worthy Juan is”.

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