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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Sandra Calderón-Huezo

This Hispanic Heritage Month, we are reminded of the contributions of local individuals like Sandra Calderón-Huezo, who have dedicated their lives to profoundly impacting their communities. Calderón-Huezo, whose family sought asylum in Kalamazoo when she was just 9 years old, wears many hats in the realm of community service.

Sandra Calderón-Huezo is a Kalamazoo community advocate. She works as an independent contractor with local nonprofits. Calderón-Huezo believes that “the work continues,” emphasizing the importance of identifying gaps in the nonprofit sector and filling them. For her, working independently provides the autonomy she needs to make a meaningful impact. Calderón-Huezo explains, “If you’re going to be a leader, you have to be involved in action. Community service goes beyond simply occupying a seat; it’s about bringing your best self and voice to drive positive change.”


Calderón-Huezo’s journey is rooted in her upbringing and the influences that shaped her. Her mother, a strong matriarch, taught her the values of perseverance, hard work, and staying connected with others. “My mom is the one who brought me into volunteer work… She was probably just trying to keep me out of trouble as a kid,” she laughs. “She wanted to show me that there were amazing things happening around me and that I could be a part of it.

Additionally, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph has played a significant role in Calderón-Huezo’s life. These resilient women, dedicated to transformative work in Kalamazoo, left a lasting impact on Calderón-Huezo. Their commitment to women’s and children’s rights and anti-racism initiatives have inspired Calderón-Huezo to continue to pour into her community.

People don’t realize how much I receive from staying so busy. I need it. It’s a part of me. Sandra Calderón-Huezo


Calderón-Huezo’s motivation to contribute to Kalamazoo stems from her family’s move to the area when she was just 9 years old, seeking asylum. “Being involved is about my duty to give back to the community. To be met in a welcoming city with individuals who were committed to keeping us safe and thriving means so much,” she reflects, smiling.

Sandra’s commitment to giving back is reflected in her involvement on boards and committees. She’s been a part of BBBS’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake committee for five years. Her role as the President of the Foundation for Excellence in Kalamazoo, where she collaborates with philanthropists and the city government to stabilize budgets and fund aspirational projects, showcases her dedication to radical change. She also serves on the board of El Concilio, an organization that seeks to help Latinx residents support their families by providing access to a Spanish immersion preschool, economic empowerment opportunities, and more. Further, as a board member of the Disability Network of Southwest Michigan, Sandra works to raise awareness of disability rights and inclusivity. 


Reflecting on her journey, Sandra offers advice to her younger self, encouraging authenticity while also celebrating her Hispanic heritage. She emphasizes that being different- particularly as a refugeedoesn’t equate to being wrong and that there’s beauty in imperfection. “I wish I had found ways to give back sooner and develop myself, rather than conforming to what other people thought I should be doing,” she explains.

Most importantly, she would reassure her younger self, saying, “You are good enough.


Sandra believes true legacy lies in the impact we have on the lives of those around us. “It’s about what you pass down,” she explains. “It doesn’t have to be material. It’s about the things that you did, while you could still do them.

Calderón-Huezo’s legacy is a collage of intentional acts of goodness and kindness. She is convinced that her journey is leading her to her true calling, and she is determined to continue making a difference.


During Hispanic Heritage Month and every day, Sandra Calderón-Huezo encourages everyone to get involved and prioritize what’s important to them. She emphasizes the profound impact of kindness and encouragement on individuals and communities. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of dedication, authenticity, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of society, all while honoring her Hispanic roots. Sandra Calderón-Huezo is a beacon of hope and inspiration, reminding us that by working together, we can build a brighter future for all.