By Hayley Hervieux
Leticia Goodrich of Amarillo may be many things: an intrepid pioneer, a community leader, a force to be reckoned with, and an ambassador for social change, just to name a few. But no matter what she is doing—and there is plenty to keep her busy—one thing is certain. Her heart is in the right place.
A lifelong volunteer, there was never a time when Leticia was not giving of herself for others. She has always been a champion for the elderly, and a champion for women’s health and rights. After receiving degrees in sociology and communications, Leticia established a Meals on Wheels programs serving around 50 needy elderly in Amarillo and in Portales, New Mexico.
She served as an AARP volunteer, working on health advocacy issues, for seven years. And she continued her advocacy work as she built a business—a home healthcare agency, which grew to be the largest in the Panhandle area.
At the same time, Leticia helped found the Senior Ambassadors Coalition in 1998, served as president of the Panhandle chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association's board of directors, and conceived of an idea that would vastly change the way that breast cancer was combated in her area. She sold the home healthcare business in 2000 and retired, which only served to increasd the amount of time that she could spend volunteering.
In 1994, Leticia wanted to create a coalition of breast health organizations, community leaders and breast cancer survivors to promote awareness and integrate services across the Panhandle.
The Amarillo Area Breast Health Coalition, born out of a $10,000 AARP grant, now serves hundreds of people in the Panhandle through a variety of programs. Now funded by grants, scholarships and contributions, the organization has grown enormously under Leticia’s leadership—work that she performs completely on a volunteer basis.
She works tirelessly, always trying to come up with new and better ways to help people. In founding the coalition, Leticia recognized that her community could do a better job coordinating across organizations and programs. She began meeting with people in the city—casting ideas as to what the coalition could be. And it spiraled outward from there.
The Amarillo Area Breast Health Coalition provides everything from education and prevention to screenings and mammograms. One program, Project Hope, is an educational outreach and awareness program that provides free mammograms for uninsured women. Another, Bra Talk, enables survivors to express their journey through art and storytelling. "WISE Women" us a grassroots program that prepares women to be teachers in their communities. There are now 17 trained WISE women in the Amarillo area and two high schools where junior WISE women spread the message that “Early detection saves lives.”
In 19 years, under Leticia Goodrich’s guidance, the coalition has grown. Today, an auxiliary group called the Champions of Breast Health helps with fundraising and volunteering efforts.
Leticia continues to inspire those she leads. She never asks anyone to do something that she would not do herself, and the energy she puts into her work has had a huge impact. The difference she has made in her community is huge—and they wouldn't have it any other way.
Leading up to the June 1 Andrus Award nomination deadline, we’re profiling some of 2012’s amazing nominees. Every single person nominated deserves recognition for the incredible work they do in their local communities. If you know someone like this, be sure to nominate them before June 1!
Have you met these folks yet?