1. Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised here in El Paso, Texas and graduated with my Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). While attending UTEP I participated in the Disney College Program as an intern, at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. After I graduated with my BSW, I joined AmeriCorps and served in New York City for a year working with the Department of Education and the Office of Community Schools. After my year of service, I worked with other New York based nonprofit organizations as a student advocate and as an afterschool group leader for elementary and middle school children. Some of my hobbies are reading, watching movies, playing sports, hanging out with my nephew, and traveling. I’ve visited Argentina, Spain, and France and have lived in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, and Florida.
2. Give us a description of what you do for United Way.
As the AmeriCorps VISTA Academic Success Coordinator, I support the work of the Healthy Kids Backbone Organization and the United Way’s Grade Level Reading Initiative. Healthy Kids is an initiative of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and coordinated by the United Way, that seeks to improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth with high quality out of school time programs. In my role, I support the Borderland Out of School Time Network, a network of out of school professionals from the region, by assisting the Network in planning quarterly meetings, coalescing data that the Network members can use to support their work, and implementing mechanisms that ensure communication between the Network’s leadership and members. In addition, I will assist in developing community wide engagement for United Way of El Paso’s Vello online reading tutoring program.
3. Why is this work so important to our community?
Studies indicate that youth who participate in afterschool programs are more likely to perform better academically and have better school attendance records. The work we do as the Healthy Kids Backbone Organization will impact the access to quality educational opportunities that will positively impact their lives. It’s a united effort to provide support to our youth in our region, and improve their health and educational opportunities within our community.
4. What is the most surprising thing you have learned about the community and yourself in your time at United Way?
I was happily surprised to see how much progress had been made in identifying and addressing the health and educational needs of the youth in our community. From community schools being implemented, to United Way coordinating the Healthy Kids Initiative. It’s great that professionals from El Paso nonprofits are collaborating to support the future of El Paso by supporting our youth.
5. Share a quote that motivates you as a person and as a member of the United Way team.
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”
― Kurt Vonnegut