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John Quiñones with ABC-TV stresses education at Mattie Rhodes Center benefit

John Quiñones, anchor with the ABC show “What Would You Do?”, appears with sisters Rebeca (left) and Angelica Nunez before his keynote speech Thursday at the 120th Anniversary Benefit Dinner for the Mattie Rhodes Center at the Downtown Marriott Hotel.
John Quiñones, anchor with the ABC show “What Would You Do?”, appears with sisters Rebeca (left) and Angelica Nunez before his keynote speech Thursday at the 120th Anniversary Benefit Dinner for the Mattie Rhodes Center at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. The Kansas City Star

Cathy Hiersteiner was honored Thursday night with the 2014 Mattie Rhodes Center Service Award.

She received the honor during the 120th Anniversary Benefit Dinner for the Mattie Rhodes Center at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. In giving out the award before an audience of hundreds of people, John Fierro, president and chief executive of the Mattie Rhodes Center, said Hiersteiner had been a career social worker for at risk children, adults and families.

She has served on the board of the Mattie Rhodes Center for six years and was board chair in 2008. She helped bring the Chimayo Rug Exhibit to the Mattie Rhodes Art Center and served on the planning committee for the opening of the Mattie Rhodes Northeast Office, which has expanded service into the community.

Hiersteiner also has been a founding committee member of the Mattie Rhodes Center annual golf tournament. The Mattie Rhodes Center provides youth services, community development, family services and support, cultural arts and health and wellness programs in Kansas City.

John Quiñones, anchor with the ABC-TV show, “What Would You Do?” was the keynote speaker. He explained that the show creates situations, involving violence, racism and injustice in which real people have to decide with hidden cameras rolling whether they should step in or step away.

Quiñones said he grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and was punished in school for speaking Spanish instead of English. However, being bilingual later helped him in his broadcast journalism career in covering stories in Latin America.

He showed segments of TV programs he has done and told the audience — particularly young people — that the way out of poverty for him and other poor persons of color was through education. Education helped feed his love for broadcast journalism and enabled him to use the camera and his skills to “give voice to people who don’t have a voice.”

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