Illinois Migrant Council Workshop: In July 2013, I volunteered as a student leader for the Illinois Migrant Education Program, which was a day-long workshop for immigrant parents and their children. I worked mainly with the high school students, sharing my experiences as a college student and encouraging them to aim for higher education. These students learned about their various options after high school, including universities, community colleges, technical schools, and certification programs. I led the campus tour for these students to give them an idea of what a university is like. These students came from Spanish- and French-speaking households, which was a way for me to practice a little more of my Spanish skills because I have a limited working proficiency. I had learned about the council through my professor, Dr. K. Aaron Smith, who wrote a letter explaining what I did at the program, which can be viewed here.
Recipe Editor, 100 Men Who Cook: My mom volunteers at The Literacy Council in Rockford, Illinois, and each summer, the organization puts on a fundraiser titled 100 Men Who Cook. She became a larger part of the team in the summer of 2013 when she started looking at the recipes and editing them as chefs submitted them, since the event provides attendees with a copy of each recipe cooked. I assisted her in the process of copy editing the recipes, making sure that they were worded well in addition to checking consistency as far as abbreviations used. This challenged me to put my technical editing skills to use because I had to make sure that attendees would be able to duplicate the recipes exactly if they so desired.
Petfinder Team, Wish Bone Canine Society: I joined the Wish Bone family in January 2014 because I wanted a way to help the dogs there. Wish Bone is a no-kill shelter, and I support its mission in trying to find good homes for the dogs, but I knew I would get too attached to spend time with the dogs regularly. Alternatively, I decided to update the Petfinder and Pet Portal websites to make people aware of new dogs brought to the shelter and to celebrate when dogs are adopted. This has also given me the opportunity to work in HTML while giving dogs the families they deserve.
Everyday Adoption Center Assistant, The Anti-Cruelty Society: I have always been passionate about helping animals, and when I moved to Chicago in August 2014, I knew I wanted to find somewhere to volunteer. I began at The Anti-Cruelty Society that following November as a Canine Enrichment Program volunteer, through which I socialized with the dogs to help them feel more comfortable at the shelter. I changed locations to assist at the Everyday Adoption Center in the South Loop, where I worked mostly with dogs but help with cats when needed. This was one of the best decisions I have made since moving to Chicago because it provided me with an opportunity to give back and socialize with dogs to help them find forever homes. Upon starting graduate school, I stopped volunteering with The Anti-Cruelty Society and got involved in other ways throughout the city.
Advancement Committee Chair, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH): I got involved with ICAH as a member of the communications committee in December 2016, and that following September, the committee name changed and I ran for committee chair. I work closely with the Director of Advancement on ways to grow ICAH and ensure consistency in branding and marketing. The committee and I meet regularly to discuss ways to bring in more revenue and increase the ICAH name.
Board Member, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH): After being introduced to ICAH as a committee member, I was inspired to take the plunge even further into governance in September 2017 by joining the Board of Directors. With my background in nonprofit management, I felt that I would be able to help ICAH achieve its strategic plan, launched in August 2017, feeling most connected to the goal of making ICAH the name of reproductive justice throughout the Midwest.
Auxiliary Board Member, Safe Humane Chicago (SHC): I conducted my capstone for my graduate school program during the summer of 2017, working closely with Safe Humane Chicago to highlight the benefits of the human/animal bond. This research led me to fall in love with SHC’s mission and recognition that Chicago cannot be safe or humane without focusing on both its animals and people. I joined the first-ever SHC Auxiliary Board in November 2017, and I look forward to what is to come.