Meet Katya & Karen – Scholar/Coach Spotlight
At the end of her junior year, Katya was nominated by her school counselor, accepted into the Latino U Scholars program, and paired with her volunteer College Coach, Karen. Katya will be the first in her family to attend college and is inspired to become a role model for her eight-year-old sister.
Although this is Karen’s first time coaching a Scholar, she has quickly adapted to her new role thanks to her background as a retired middle school librarian and the extensive training she received from LUCA. “Being a coach allows me to continue working with adolescents and using my skills as an educator. The training I’ve received from LUCA has been exemplary, and I feel very well supported.”
Katya’s main focus right now is finding a liberal arts school in the northeast that has a strong sense of community. In the future, Katya dreams of becoming a lawyer who specializes in human rights cases related to women and children. “I would love to be able to see how I can directly change someone’s life for the better,” said Katya.
Katya and Karen have only been working together for a few months, but as time goes on, their relationship continues to grow. Working with Katya has opened Karen’s eyes to the challenges that many first-gen Latinx students go through. “I have no doubt that Katya has a bright future ahead of her. The journey may not always be easy, but Katya has the skills and support systems to navigate her way through”
When asked about the benefits of volunteering with LUCA, Karen’s words echo the sentiments of so many volunteers. “From the very beginning, I’ve been highly impressed with the dedication and professionalism of LUCA; the staff and volunteers are knowledgeable and extremely passionate about what they do. As a Coach, I find the opportunity to work closely with just one scholar to be very gratifying. I feel I can make a difference and have a significant impact on an individual. I’m only in the beginning stages, but I can anticipate how meaningful it will be to work with Katya through the entire process. There will no doubt be both ups and downs, but it’s very rewarding to be available to her as a coach, mentor, and friend. This experience is giving me the opportunity to broaden my cultural awareness, get to know some wonderful people, and continue to give back to my community despite being retired.”