Family and Consumer Sciences alumna Faviola Armendariz (B.S., ’17) was recently awarded the Tia White Memorial Award from the Denver Area Labor Federation.
Through her role as an organizer for the Equity and Possibilities in Construction program of Colorado Jobs with Justice, Armendariz works to influence the lives of women and people of color every day.
“I want to share this award with all the other women who are building this world and are changing it one day at a time,” said Armendariz. “In all honesty, receiving this award was hard because Tia was a fighter for workers. I have a lot of work to do to stand next to Tia, but I know she’ll be guiding me through everything.”
The Tia White Memorial Award was created in honor of Tia White, an organizer who worked for the DALF-affiliate Service Employees International Union Local 105 in Denver. In honor of White’s passion for social justice and work for the Colorado labor movement, the award highlights an organization or individual who has done extraordinary work in the areas of racial and economic justice in the Denver area. Armendariz is the first recipient.
Working for the common good
While preparing to graduate in 2017, Armendariz didn’t think she would find her post-graduation job in the nonprofit advocacy world, despite past experience working as an advocate.
“I thought I was going to be somewhere doing sales, because all of my friends were doing that,” she said. “I didn’t actually want to go back into the nonprofit world of advocacy because it was a lot of emotional work – but, somehow, I still ended up in an advocacy role. It’s perfectly ironic because I like what I do.”
Her brother-in-law suggested she apply for an open position with Denver-based nonprofit, Colorado Jobs with Justice. Her experience in the FCS program and in her previous advocacy work set her up for immediate success.
In her role with the Equity and Possibilities in Construction program, Armendariz works to recruit and retain more women and people of color into the building and construction union. Working with different construction unions, women and people of color, Armendariz hosts events and fundraisers, advocates for policy changes, supports apprenticeships and women’s groups, and introduces the construction trade to high school students.
“It’s honestly amazing,” she said. “I love it. Every day you get to walk out with a smile on your face. You get to change other people’s lives and you get to really make the change that we need for working people. We come together to bargain for the common good.”
Leading change from the beginning
Armendariz started her advocacy work in high school, canvassing in the Denver area for voter registration. Her love of helping those around her led her to apply to Colorado State University as a political science major, planning to become an immigration lawyer. While exploring her major, Armendariz realized her true passion lay in other classes.
“I went into the Human Development and Family Studies program, which I really liked but found that it wasn’t enough,” she said. “It wasn’t until Dawn Mallette came in to talk about the Family and Consumer Science program in one of my classes that I fell in love with the program.”
The interdisciplinary, interdepartmental program appealed to Armendariz.
“I love the variety of classes and how they are very applicable to real life,” she said. “’Til this day, I always look back and know that I chose the right program.”
While attending CSU, Armendariz was involved in several clubs and programs. As a member of key communities, Chi Omega, and the Student Outreach and Undergraduate Leadership program, she expanded her ability to help and work with people.
Working as an intern at the Youth Employment Program in the Office of Economic Development gave Armendariz the opportunity to learn how to provide jobs and internships to youth.
“I always knew I wanted to help people,” she said, “And everything I’ve learned at CSU and the Family and Consumer Sciences program has allowed me to do that, as I use the information I learned in my daily life.”
Looking to the future
Looking forward, Armendariz wants to continue her work with women’s rights. Inspired by Colorado Jobs with Justice, she hopes to pursue a future that allows her to see women succeed for themselves.
“I think CJWJ is just the beginning,” she said. “I’ll always be an advocate for Colorado Jobs with Justice, but moving forward, I’ll look into more policy-changing for women.”