Camino al Exito creates, celebrates opportunities with local Hispanic community

Published 12:28 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

Camino al Exito started five years ago in Port Arthur to spotlight numerous success stories of local Hispanic residents taking different paths while providing help for others looking to follow in their footsteps.

The name means “Way to Success,” and the growth over the last half-decade is the best part, organizers said.

The event returns at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Club 60, 4863 60th St. in Port Arthur. Tickets are $10 per person, but go to $15 after Sept. 17.

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Last year’s event was especially nice due to a change in layout from presentation seating to banquet style. The fun included a bigger space, more scholarships awarded and lots of door prizes.

“This event really is a celebration for us in a sense that we see people come back year after year and with a new success story,” Raquel Ochoa said.

The Hispanic Business Association of SETX co-founder noted attendees in year 1 came in without knowledge of what type of business they wanted. Now they have their own legally established business.

Organizers are keeping all of the great things that worked in the past, but this year are adding a business grant for a small business.

“They submit their application before the deadline and a committee gets together to approve and verify,” Ochoa said. “All approved businesses go into a drawing for a $1,000 business grant at Camino al Exito.”

Association co-founder Erika Banda-Meza stresses Camino al Exito is a great opportunity for nonprofits and businesses to share information with Spanish speakers.

“We have seen people benefit from some great local resources that they didn’t know were available until they spoke to them at this event,” she said. “This year we are also allowing people to sell. Items must be pre-approved.”

Another highlight in 2023 includes Wendler Law Group honoring of Daisy Estrella, Victor Johnson Jr., Dania Sanchez and Elianna Escareno.

“Kristy Wendler from Wendler Law Group is an amazing member that is always looking for ways to help our community and HBA,” Banda-Meza said. “With the passing of Fernando Ramirez, she decided she wanted to honor him in some way. We came up with the idea of doing the scholarships and business grant under his name, since he was a great supporter of education and local businesses.”

Organizers were able to honor Ramirez personally in 2022 with recognition for his key role in the organization.

“This year, seeing the recipients of the scholarship and business grant will remind us of the legacy that Fernando left in this area,” Ochoa said. “Winners were very happy to get this award, and one even said this was a blessing and will allow her to graduate on time since she needed the financial help.”

Those seeking more information on how to attend or present are welcome to call 409-293-6839 or 409-444-3535.

“Everything about Camino al Exito is exciting, but I think for this year I am really excited to see who the winner will be for the business grant,” Banda-Meza said. “We also have amazing stories that will be shared from our speakers.”