Palmer Award Finalists: Silvia Araoz

As we continue with our Palmer Award finalist highlights, we are pleased to introduce you to Silvia Araoz. Silvia is from Salt Lake Community College and participated in the Latinx session of the Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

Silvia’s vision is to ensure that low income populations who are struggling with immigration issues have confidential and convenient access to legal issues. One of the ways in which Silvia is working toward her vision is through the Salt Lake City Mexican Consulate, where works in the Education Window helping immigrants obtain information on how to get education to improve their lives. She has also given presentations about the requirements to become an American citizen at local churches and libraries.

Mariflor Medina, a friend who also attended the Institute, is partnering with Silvia on this work as well. Both Silvia and Mariflor hold a paralegal certificate and are working toward their degrees in social work. Together they have a created a business plan to create a mobile legal aid resource and are actively meeting with community members for coaching and support. With access to a vehicle such as a van or a bus, Silvia and Mariflor will have the ability to connect with immigrants in person throughout Utah and provide information on American citizenship, the fight to vote, education, legal aid, and more!

It is clear to see that Silvia and Mariflor are staying in action when it comes to their vision for the Latinx community, and we are eager to see where their work goes from here.

You can learn more about  this year’s Palmer Award recipient TahLea Wright here.

Palmer Award Finalist: Kimberly Elmendorf

071D8A58-A682-4D47-8073-B94CB1AF6270Now that we’ve announced this year’s Palmer Award recipient, TahLea Wright, we are excited to share more LeaderShape goodness by highlighting the finalists for this year’s award. We have three Institute graduates to tell you about, starting with Kimberly Elmendorf from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Kimberly cares deeply about suicide prevention and campus sexual assault prevention. And she has demonstrated a commitment to her vision in so many ways this past year.

As a volunteer with the Crisis Textline, Kimberly participated in 34 hours of training and now serves as a Crisis Counselor for the organization. Through this training, she has learned how to talk with a person who is feeling suicidal, assess their risk, and connect them to resources that will help them where they are at in their lives.

At UCO, Kimberly is a Peer Health Leader. In this role, Kimberly has contributed to a weeklong sexual assault prevention campaign, helped to provide events that teach students to recognize the signs of suicide,  promoted counseling as a mental health tool, and is working to break the stigma of getting help.

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Kimberly is also a part of the Institute of Hope. As a member of this organization, Kimberly puts on programs to provide hope to sexual assault survivors, such as a sponsoring a panel of that included their title IX coordinator, an employee from the YWCA, and two survivors. The program provided a safe space to have open and honest discussion with the option to anonymously text questions to the panel.

Please join us in thanking Kimberly for the work she has done on her vision and in the areas of suicide prevention and campus sexual assault prevention so far.

Reading & Lifelong Learning

At LeaderShape we believe in the power (and responsibility) of being a lifelong learner. And reading is a particularly meaningful way to expand our knowledge by exposing us to perspectives, ideas, and experiences beyond our current understanding.

National Book Month has inspired us to reflect on what we have learned from our own experiences reading books – and we want to share those lessons with you! Is there anything below that you relate to? What have books taught you?

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Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

Mary Kate Kaufman
Books have taught me to think creatively and have provided me a new perspective on the world. They have given me my own personal space where I can wind down and take time for myself. It has taught me so many life lessons and overall how to live a happy life.

Sarah Kelsick
I have read many books about something I don’t know about or I have a strong opinion about and have seen it from another side. Books have taught me to look deeper and be more understanding.

Abby Prince
What have books taught me? As a lifelong reader, I can’t recall a day that I didn’t make time to read, even if just for 5 minutes. Books have taught me the value of habits and making time each day for what’s important. Books have also taught me that even when you don’t seem to have anything in common with the characters from the outset, you are very likely to relate to them throughout the course of the book. I think of Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Liesel from The Book Thief; Mark Watney from The Martian; or Amar from A Place for Us. Their lives in Williamsburg, Nazi Germany, Mars, and California are nothing like mine. Yet I feel forever connected to them through their loves, plights, ideals, and dreams. And isn’t it like that in our real lives? When we can find what we have in common with the people we meet, it’s easier to understand them and perhaps even like them.

Sundas Shahid
Books have and continued to stretch my perspective and worldview. They allow me to simply be part of the stories, history, and in places that in realty would be impossible for me to be part of. Books not only deepen my knowledge around certain topics but also transport me to that world.

Vernon Wall
I rarely read for pleasure. I read to be a better educator. I love hearing about cutting edge research and theories that help us better understand the college student experience. I do like narratives though where I can hear of someone’s life experience.

Kristen Young
How to escape my current reality and come back refreshed and ready to face the day.
That everyone’s lived experiences are different and there is great value in truly listening to the story of another person.
That crying can bring healing.
That laughter is good for the soul.