Sandigo is honored for her work advocating for the rights of immigrants and their families

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated December 18, 2014 10:45 PM
Credit: Kevin Winter/PMA2014/Getty

Nora Sandigo, whose work has a real impact on the lives of families across the nation, was named Hero of the Year at the PEOPLE Magazine Awards on Thursday.

As she accepted her award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, Sandigo, the founder and executive director of American Fraternity Inc., said, ” I humbly ask each and every one of you to uplift the hearts of those around you who have lost hope and to help bring back their laughter and the innocence of childhood.”

Puerto Rican-born Roselyn Sànchez, star of Devious Maids, presented Sandigo with her award.

“For the lucky ones, they have Nora Sandigo. Without her, they would have no future and no hope,” said Sànchez.

At American Fraternity Inc., Sandigo advocates for and guides immigrant families as they adjust to their new lives in the U.S. Her special focus on “immigration orphans” – American-born children of illegal immigrants who face deportation – has led to her becoming the legal guardian to more than 800 kids.