Zelenne L. Cárdenas


Zelenne Cárdenas (she/her/hers) is the director of prevention services for Social Model Recovery Systems, Inc, a human services organization. She works diligently on behalf of people who face the most devastating manifestations of poverty in the downtown Los Angeles area known as Skid Row. She has been an activist for the past 20 years, helping to build multi-ethnic coalitions and increase civic participation. Cárdenas has served as a consultant to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as to several counties throughout the State of California. She received The California Wellness Foundation’s (TCWF) Community Leader Fellowship to support her violence prevention work. In 2004, Cárdenas was named a Local Hero of the Year by KCET-TV and Union Bank of California during Hispanic Heritage Month and honored with California Peace Prize for her work in Skid Row by TCWF. In 2007, she was awarded La Opinión’s, a leading Spanish-language daily newspaper in the U.S.), the Mujeres Destacadas/Outstanding Woman award for her leadership. In 2008, Bank of America, through its Neighborhood Excellence initiative, named her a Local Hero for work in the skid row community.

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