Sonia Valentin Fernandez is a proud mother of two daughters who have followed in her footsteps by becoming community activists. Sonia is truly humbled to be recognized for doing what she wholeheartedly loves. Helping others, says Sonia, fills my soul.
Sonia has been a volunteer and community activist for over 30 years. Her extraordinary compassion was triggered by an experience she had as an eight-year-old. Kids were receiving Christmas gifts from strangers, and their benefactors turned out to be police officers from the 42nd Precinct. These tall, tough Irish cops turned into gentle giants as they happily distributed toys, recalls Sonia. I still remember the warmth I felt inside, and being impressed that others cared.
Her community involvement spans a wide gamut, from entertaining sick children at hospitals, to petitioning for increased funding for the Brooklyn Public Library, to coordinating a food pantry, as well as filling out tax forms for the elderly, and volunteering at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College’s Student Affairs events.
Following 9/11, Sonia jumped in to help those affected by this national tragedy. She pitched in at the Race Against Violence, and also at Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz’s summer concerts, and Senator Golden’s community events. Sonia and dedicated volunteers crochet blankets for veterans at the New Utrecht Library. She serves on Community Board 11. She secured a Love Your Block grant as well as founding the Friends of John J Carty Park, who recently distributed Valentine cards to veterans and seniors.