Added: Tatianna Milburn - Date: 03.10.2021 05:57 - Views: 34696 - Clicks: 9930
For Forest Grove High School graduate Yolanda Diaz-Salgado, community involvement has been part of her life since elementary school. Yolanda first ed Adelante Mujeres' Chicas program in the third grade and participated through high school.
The Forest Grove-based nonprofit works to empower Latinas in society and runs a program that works with over Latina students in Washington County. I used to be so shy, and I didn't want to volunteer or do anything because I didn't want to be around people. Once Yolanda became more open to talking to other people, she began volunteering at the Cornelius Library in middle school. The teen would volunteer at events, read for children or rearrange books throughout the building. More recently, she helped facilitate sessions for the library's emerging Intercambio bilingual program. The program teaches Spanish and English to community members in the area.
But at the beginning, we struggled because there were some days that only three people showed up. She adds that the goal of the program was to have a safe environment where people could practice their Spanish or English.
For Yolanda, the Chicas program was her safe space to be around people while helping the community. Chicas' program manager, Leticia Aguilar, says Yolanda is a great example of a student willing to commit her time to helping others.
For most students, sleeping in on Saturday mornings is a routine. But Aguilar says Yolanda committed to a two-year project with the program that required early morning meetings on the weekends. Yolanda says that being exposed to different careers made her interested in Teen Flight. The two-year project teaches teens to build a light-sport aircraft from start to finish. The Forest Grove alumna remembers being intimated by the program at first because of the few of girls participating, but then realized her fears were far from the truth.
Apart from finding her own voice, Yolanda also has helped people in her community find theirs. The teen participated in Cornelius' Youth Advisory Council for three years, while serving as co-chair for two. She says that participating allowed her to give a voice to the Latino and Hispanic community that raised issues in the area.
As for the future, Yolanda will attend George Fox University on a full-ride Act Six Scholarship and study mechanical engineering this fall. You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money.
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