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Former Executive Director of Black Child Development Institute of Greensboro, Inc. (BCDI-G, June Swanston Valdes trained hundreds of volunteers to work as tutors and mentors with children throughout the Greater Greensboro community through her work with BCDI-G. As a visionary, June’s advocacy on behalf of the marginalized children and youth challenged the community to embrace the philosophy of Anna Julia Cooper, of which Valdes was a firm believer: “When and where I enter, my race enters with me.”
Born in New York, New York, Mrs. Valdes obtained a Bachelors of Arts Degree in African American History specializing in African American female history from City College of New York (a public senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY)). Her professional career began with the City of New York Correctional Facility in Rikers Island, New York where she met her late husband, Paul Valdes, Sr. She and her family relocated to Greensboro, NC in 1986 where she served as the legal assistant to former District Court Judge Elreta Alexander Ralston. During this tenure, her passion to serve the community was reignited.
Her commitment to her community was first identified when she volunteered as the President of the City Section for the National Council of Negro Women where she was mentored by Dr. Dorothy I. Height. Mrs. Valdes then became Assistant Executive Director of the National Black Child Development Institute (1989-1991) where she co-developed and implemented a model tutoring and mentoring program. She was known as a passionate advocate for children, and dedicated herself to the mission of BCDI-G where she served as Executive Director from August 1991 until her retirement in 2012.
Her commitment to serve the community continued through her participation in Canterbury School (Founders Council), Community Readers of Greensboro (Charter Member), Epilepsy Association of Greater Greensboro (Board Chairman), Greensboro Association for Educating Young Children, Greensboro Public Library (Board of Trustees and Vice Chairman), Greensboro Education and Development Council (Class Leader), Learning Disabilities Association, and the Lilly Endowment Foundation (Consultant), to name a few.
In her spare time, she was a philatelist with an award winning collection (the largest African American stamp collection in the United States) entitled, “African Americans Leave their Stamp on the World”. She was also co-incorporator of the Salt of the Earth, Inc. where she marketed ethnic art. Through this business, in 1990 she co-authored “Lady Justice: Pioneering African American Females in Search of Justice and Equality,” a history of African American female attorneys in North Carolina.
Several awards were presented to Mrs. June Swanston Valdes in her lifetime, including the Greensboro News and Records’ Children’s Champion Award. She will forever be remembered as an admirable child advocate.
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