Padres to honor third 2014 Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Award winner

The San Diego Padres tonight will honor the recipient of the third Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Award for 2014. Ricardo Lopez, a teacher at Mueller Charter School, has been selected by the Padres' Hispanic Community Advisory Council (HCAC) to receive the award for his dedication to improving the lives of families and youth, specifically in the area of youth fitness (PLAY).

Lopez teaches fourth and fifth graders at Mueller Charter School, where 50 percent of students are English language-learners. Known as the "go-to" teacher for sports and physical activity, Lopez developed a partnership with the Copley Family YMCA for students to participate in their soccer and football programs. He also developed a partnership with Parkway Pool in Chula Vista for his students to receive free weekly swimming lessons.

In addition, Lopez has coached the school's football and soccer teams, sometimes using his own money to purchase sports equipment for the teams. A participant in Big Brothers Big Sisters "Sports Bigs" program for six years, Lopez has helped raise thousands of dollars for the program.

The Padres' Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Award series was established in 2012 to recognize and pay tribute to individuals or organizations whose work makes a positive impact on those who live and work in San Diego's Hispanic community. In support of the Padres Foundation's community vision, four awards will be given throughout the year, one each in the areas of children's health (LIVE), children's education (LEARN), youth baseball/ softball or youth fitness (PLAY) and supporting our law enforcement and military communities (SERVE). To submit a nomination, visit www.padres.com/community or www.padresbeisbol.com/comunidad.

Earlier this season, 13-year-old Jose Montaño became the first recipient to be honored posthumously, in the area of children's health (LIVE), while La Maestra Health Clinic and Foundation received the award in the area of children's education (LEARN).

All Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Award winners will be honored together on the field before the Padres game on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, as part of a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.