Intern Spotlight: Paola Sanchez Valdez

September 5, 2016


Paola_Sanchez ValdezHello, everyone! My name is Paola Sanchez Valdez and I am a third year from Lynchburg, Virginia. I am Youth and Social Innovation major at UVa’s Curry School of Education. When I am not working on homework or research, I like to spend my time volunteering and engaging with the Latino Charlottesville community through youth programs. In addition, I like to *attempt* to cook vegan recipes, watch movies with friends, and hike!

I first learned about YWLP during the summer before my first year. I had worked in mentoring programs in high school, so I knew this program would be right for me. Within a couple of weeks, I fell in love with YWLP and it’s mission to empower young girls to be competent, connected, and autonomous. From then on, I have whole-heartedly dedicated my time to this program by being a Big Sister my first year, a facilitator my second year, and now, my third year, being an intern. This year I am eager to learn how YWLP works “behind the scenes”, and to also be helping hand in the 20th year anniversary of the program!

A really awesome opportunity I had this summer was to establish a new YWLP sister site in Quito, Ecuador! When I was a first year/Big Sister, I was fascinated by the YWLP Nicaragua team and their hard work to develop and sustain an international sister site. Therefore, last year the director of YWLP, Edith “Winx” Lawrence, and I got together and brainstormed ways to start a sister site in Ecuador. After being awarded the Jefferson Public Citizens Grant in the spring, my dream of having YWLP in my beloved home country became a reality! Throughout this school year, I will be working alongside my four dedicated teammates to create a curriculum specifically tailored to girls in Quito. I am not only so excited to investigate how we can help my Ecuadorian community, but I am also extremely thankful to have gotten this opportunity through YWLP.

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