November 2019 Newsletter

Categories: News


farmworkers in fieldProteus 40th Anniversary Celebration

Event generates $41,350!


Thank you to everyone who joined us for I’m Thankful for Farmworkers Dinner: Proteus, Inc. 40th Anniversary Celebration on November 6 at the River Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

The name, “Proteus” comes from the Greek god, Proteus, who could transform himself into whatever the person praying needed. Transformation is at the core of our mission.

Founded in 1979 to implement the National Farmworker Jobs Program, the program has grown to meet the expanding needs of Iowa farmworker. Today we still oversee the jobs program but we also provide health care, health education, free legal resources, food assistance, and on-site pesticide and heat stress training to Iowa farmworkers.

Farmworkers are some of the most hard-working and grateful people.They pick our fruits and vegetables or take care of the animals so that we have food on the table. Without farmworkers, we would not have food on the table during Thanksgiving.

With your help, we raised over $11,000 during the event, surpassing our goal of $40,000 for 40 years of Proteus. The grand total for our event was $41,350!

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re grateful for the many supporters of the work we do to support farmworkers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

View event photos on our Facebook page.

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Congratulations Award Honorees

Farmworker of the Year

Luis Uribe

Luis is the embodiment of the National Farmworker Jobs Program. As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student, he was left to finish high school on his own after his parents had to return to Mexico for medical treatment. He graduated high school, enrolled at Northeast Iowa Community College, and with the assistance of Proteus, graduated in two years with an associate’s degree. Luis works in Des Moines putting his training to work. Prior to enrolling in school, Luis would wake up at 3:30 am to milk cows, go to school, participate in athletic events, and return to the farm for evening chores.

Josefina Calles

Josefina has faced – and is still facing – many life and health obstacles, but continues to take great strides to take care of herself and make the most out of her situation despite the unfortunate circumstances she’s faced. Josefina always keeps a joyful attitude and a smile on her face that’s contagious. She has always expressed sincere gratitude for the services Proteus provides her and continues to be a perfect example of why we do what we do.


Partner of the Year

Iowa Lakes Community College

Proteus works to develop and sustain partnerships like Iowa Lakes Community College to help our clients. The faculty at Iowa Lakes Community College has been willing to work with us. They are a true champion for the National Farmworker Jobs Program and Proteus. Iowa Lakes offers many programs that benefit our clients with high wages and a career education including construction technology, diesel technology, automotive collision repair and welding.

Iowa Primary Care Association

Proteus is a member of the Iowa Primary Care Association. The Iowa PCA provides technical assistance and other support to community health centers in Iowa. They have been an instrumental partner to Proteus, especially this past year with helping recruit for positions and championing the services provided by community health centers across Iowa. The Iowa PCA has expertise that benefits Proteus as the agricultural health program.

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Thank You to Our Sponsors

Grand Sponsors

Polk County Board of Supervisors

Promoter Sponsors

Mike Simonson & Jaliesky
Jorge Zapatier and Susana Maya

Supporter Sponsors

Kent Rosenberg, Jason Jodlowski, & Al Mataloni
Charles & Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel

Partner Sponsors

Dallas Sanders
Jessica Taylor Erwin & James Erwin
Rosemary Pratt
Latino Heritage Festival
Alyssa Dempsey
Des Moines University
Delta Dental
Eddie Mauro

Friend Sponsors

Joe Gonzalez
Shellie Mackel
Theresa Kehoe
Carol Phillips
Family Planning Council of Iowa
Brad and Lisa Anderson
Toby O’Berry
Rob Sand
Carla Beste

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Determination Shows

Hallie doesn’t let accident slow her down



Yanni Arango, is a case manager in Nebraska.

Before Hallie Zitek enrolled in college, her father contacted Proteus for assistance to support her post-secondary education plans. Because of her experience working at an organic beef and grain farm, she receives financial assistance to help her while in school. She is currently a sophomore and pre-health major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hallie Zitek

Hallie is a very responsible and intelligent student who has not let challenges get her in way.

In July, 2018, Hallie was involved in a terrible car accident and hospitalized for several weeks. As a result of the accident, she suffered brain injuries and lost mobility, including her right hand. To gain function back Hallie had to do a great deal of physical rehabilitation. After the accident, returning to school was very challenging for her.

A year later, Hallie still struggles to write with her right hand and has had to learn to write with her other hand. Yet, she hasn’t let that slow her down. During the summer of 2019, she volunteered at the hospital where she was once a patient. She worked with young patients who are in the same situation she was in just a few months ago.

Hallie is a very responsible and intelligent student. With many of her health issues behind her, she’s getting more involved in school and on campus. She even joined a sorority where they pride themselves for the philanthropic work they provide.

With her determination to succeed, Hallie has a very bright future ahead of her in the medical field and all areas of her life.

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Certification Program Offers New Opportunities

A new home is around the corner


Jesusa Rivera

Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Belen Salinas, along her four children, has been coming to Goshen, Indiana, longer than she can remember. It hasn’t been easy for Belen – saving enough money from working in the orchard to return to Texas for the winter months.

Belen tells her story as many others who live in Hidalgo County tell. She works hard to make ends meet; too proud to seek food stamps or other assistance. Instead, she travels thousands of miles to Elkhart County, Indiana, each year to work as a migrant farmworker.

This year was different. In May, Jesusa Rivera, a Proteus case manager, who Belen had met years ago, asked her, “Do you want to do this for the rest of your life?” Jesusa had asked Belen this question many times, but this year the answer was different. This time Belen told the case manager, “No,” but with a smile. She said she was tired and wanted something better for her and her family.

With support from Proteus, Belen has a new career and is looking forward to finding a new home.

With support from Proteus, Belen has a new career and is looking forward to finding a new home.

Jesusa and Belen developed a plan. Belen started a healthcare certification program and began looking for full-time employment and housing.

Through hard work and persistence, Belen can proudly say she now has a full-time job as a quality control clerk making $14.00 an hour. And she’s looking for her next home, which will take a bit of patience and assistance.

Proteus has been with Belen every step of the way and will continue to work with Belen and her family until she becomes self-sufficient – which is sure to be in the not-very-distant future.

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