20 Under 40: B Torres, Steamboat Springs School District
B Torres (the “B” stands for Berenice, a name she is not particularly fond of) has a long track record of standing up for members of minority groups. Her devotion to people who face challenges in their daily lives simply because of who they are is certain to be renewed in her new job as the interpreter and community liaison for the Steamboat Springs School District.
The admirable work Torres, 29, has already done as executive assistant for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and her courageous volunteer work at Steamboat Springs High School as co-leader of the LGBTQ Inclusion Group, made her a clear-cut choice for this year’s 20 Under 40 compilation.
Torres is a lesbian, herself, and, yes, she wants you to know that she is proud of her sexual orientation. It’s her frankness, in part, that allows her to help young adults at the high school discover how they can feel just as proud of themselves, sometimes in the face of rejection by their own families.
“I, and two women from Mindsprings, go to the high school every week during the school year to talk about ways students can improve their lives and their community,” she says. “I’m proud of my minority identities. The biggest thing I have in any job is that service back to the community. I saw my parents struggling as a kid and working harder than anybody I know. I see that, in this community, people who left to escape violence in their home country. Their resilience is mind-blowing. They have so many talents and skills.”
Torres was only 1-year-old when she came to the United States from Mexico with her parents. She grew up to earn a degree in sociology from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. After college, she did volunteer work in Mexico. Torres and her wife, Lauren, relocated next to Dallas, where Torres worked in a shelter for battered women before the couple decided to move to the Yampa Valley.
Yampa Valley Housing Authority executive director Jason Peasley says Torres helped ensure that minority households were among those who were successful in finding life-changing housing opportunities at the newly opened The Reserves at Steamboat affordable apartments.
“Her connection to the Latino community helped ensure that some families with dire housing needs had access to this new supply of affordable housing,” Peasley says.
Her volunteer and professional work in Routt County should ensure that she is successful in her new job at the school district, according to friend Meaghan McNamara.
“B has worked as a Spanish language interpreter at Integrated Community and the Yampa Valley Medical Center since 2013,” McNamara says. “She has also lent her bilingual talents to Partners in Routt County, and the Routt to Work program. In every position, she has used not only her talents, but also her unique experiences in life to connect with individuals and families to ensure their understanding and to promote their success.”
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