When I was 28 years old, I came to the United States from Colombia in South America with big dreams. With patience, a lot of classes and an American husband, I learned the English language with what some say is a charming accent. My dream of getting a college degree led to a BA in journalism and my first career as a reporter and photographer.
But in my 30s, a tragedy struck my heart and changed my life forever. My only son died in an accident at the age of 21. My life needed a new direction and I trained in energy healing as a Reiki Master. For 18 years, I have been working with health clinics providing Reiki healing to complement traditional treatments for HIV and cancer patients.
In midlife, I realized I wanted to help in another way, working with young people. For two years I taught Spanish and Drama at a local charter school. I love working with kids but traditional teaching was not the right fit.
I found the right fit at an after school and experiential education company known as arc. In my opinion, arc has the best after school programs for elementary, middle and high school students. At the end of each semester, the results are the same, students shine with confidence, with a different outlook on life and a new set of friends. At arc, we try to make learning as fun as possible. The mission is to empower youth and give them tools to be successful in life and school.
arc emphasizes experiential learning, life skills acquisition, and team building, as well as engagement with the natural world and community. arc’s programs reinforce what students learn during the school day and help children and young people succeed academically and socially.
And while I still work in the health profession, I also now work with arc as a program facilitator. To be of service is wonderful and I get to do it in two fields.
As I look back on my life’s journey I recognize I’ve made mistakes—some big and others small; I’ve made bad decisions with terrible consequences. If I’d had the proper life experience tools when I was younger, I wouldn’t have run away from home when I was 15 years old and had a son at 16. Surely life was difficult at times, especially as an underage single mother. That is why I like to share my experiences with young people, because if I made it, the take away is anyone can overcome anything in life.