Editor: Ruben Medina has a proven track record of being a servant-leader. A servant-leader is someone who focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of the communities to which they belong. They share power, prioritize the needs of others, and help people develop and perform at the highest level possible.
Traditional leadership — what we usually see in politics — involves the accumulation and exercise of power by someone at the “top of the pyramid.” That has never been Ruben’s goal.
Ruben started an ambulance service in his hometown of Walsenburg, CO, when he was only 20 years old. He was the first EMT in the country to do anything similar to this. Already a servant-leader at 20, he organized medical resources, trained others in his community, and even set up a system of volunteers in remote rural communities who assess and prepare patients to be picked up by Walsenburg ambulances. 41 years later, Walsenburg still has a fleet of ambulances that also serve the surrounding rural communities.
Ruben has lived here in Aurora for 28 years, working to find solutions with a community organizing method he calls “Circles”. This is how it works: he asks one community member to invite 20 or more neighbors to their home to discuss solutions to challenges they see in their community. As an example, when he managed the Moorhead Recreation Center, Aurora’s smallest recreation center (5,000 sq. ft.), he used that method to increase the attendance from 12,000 to 40,000 per year. He also started a program at Moorhead to feed kids for free, and helped disband a local gang by offering its young members free workout passes and job skills training.
Ultimately, his organizing efforts led to the construction of the new 41,000 sq. ft. Moorhead Recreation Center, Aurora’s first new recreational center in 40 years. He did all of this despite hearing “no” every step of the way — and these are just a few of Ruben’s accomplishments as a servant-leader.
After managing three of the city’s recreation centers, Ruben Medina became a Project Manager with the Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities, doing community engagement work in Northwest Aurora, Montbello, and Africa.
Aurora is Colorado’s most diverse city — about 53% of the population is people of color — and Ruben Medina would increase representation for a great many people in Aurora as a City Council Member. His maternal grandparents immigrated to Colorado from Mexico, and his paternal family was among our state’s earliest Spanish and Mexican settlers.
I have known and seen Ruben in action for over 20 years. This included having him as active Board Member on a 501(c)(3) non-profit of which I am President. It is called Recreational Opportunities for Aurora Residents Foundation (ROAR) and provides 100% financial assistance to any youth living, or attending school, in Aurora on free or reduced lunch so that they can participate in and benefit from the recreational programs offered by the city’s Recreation Division. Ruben has both referred youth to ROAR and has also played a major role in assisting ROAR in obtaining grants and contributions from individuals.
Now, Ruben Medina is ready to work with you and for you to build a more resilient and resourceful Aurora. His to–do list includes livable wages for all workers, a community policing program, a teen wellness and job center, and a major entertainment center within Ward III.
I ask that when those of you who live in Ward III in Aurora receive your ballots, mark them for Ruben Medina to be your servant-leader as your City Council Member. If you don’t live in Ward III, but have friends who do, please let them know what Ruben has done and plans to do for all who call Aurora their home.
— Arnie Schultz, via [email protected]