My name is Karissa Garcia. I am a sophomore at Metropolitan State College of Denver and I am a Criminal Justice Major and a Chicano/a Studies Minor. I was born and raised in Denver, CO and I transferred to Metro from Red Rocks Community College. My expected date of graduation is unknown, I am still thinking of either getting my Bachelors degree or pursuing a Masters degree.
I work with the non-profit organization, Sisters of Color United for Education in Denver. This organization was started back in 1990 by two women, one is Belinda Garcia. She is the chair of the organization and co-founder. These women recognized the staggering economic, cultural, political and social barriers that increased people of colors’ health risks, such as poverty, lack of formal education, unequal family power dynamics, and community stigmas associated with illness. For nearly twenty years Sisters has been sustaining programs to help the community. They have focused on providing a safe and supportive environment to the community (SOCUE.org).
My work at SOCUE lets me experience different types of individuals and be there first hand to help them with what they need. I have overseen meetings with other organizations and have helped out at events and parenting groups. The staff and volunteers at this organization have worked tirelessly to bring community closer and to be there as a helping hand and place of support. I have learned how to be a better leader from Belinda Garcia. She started her dream in 1990 and it still thrives to this day. The website for Sisters of Color is www.socue.org.
Along with my non-profit, I work with South High School students. Since this is my first year working with JTOH I picked South High School because of the vast diversity of students. I have the pleasure of working with two students, Amodj Manga and Ruth Nadia. Both of these girls are from Africa and are fluent in French and their native African languages. I also work with their ELA teacher Jessica Robles in her fifth period class on Fridays. I love working with an ELA class because of the diversity and how the students are much more eager to learn. There are students of all different backgrounds and come from different countries. I was anxious at first because of the language barriers, but as I grew to know the students it has been an amazing experience. I am so proud of my girls because they came in second place out of eleven schools at the Cultural Expression Competition. When I am at South I usually help the students with homework, take them to the library or I take them down individually if they need help. I hope to work with the same students for the rest of the time I work with JTOH.