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Ricky Vides – June 2013 Scholar of the Month

CHCI-United Health Foundation Scholar Intern

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Degree: M.A., Counseling

School: Saint Mary’s College of California

My name is Ricky Vides, I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1987. My mother immigrated from Santa Tecla, El Salvador in the early 1980s. The ongoing spiritual journey with higher education and direct service is a mere reflection of the built-in value system my mother organized as a visionary. Education and service to others were essential components of my early development. I am a first-generation college graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. After college, I served our country as a Lasallian Volunteer, a national volunteer organization rooted in principles of community, service, and faith. The organization is an operating branch of AmeriCorps, which awarded me the Segal AmeriCorps Educational Award for my commitment. As volunteer, I served as a caseworker for court-adjudicated youth returning home from Rhode Island’s correctional facilities for two years. The experience marked a transformation as a lifelong learner and advocate for community empowerment. The youth and families I mentored were of Afro-Latino Caribbean backgrounds. Having lived in California the majority of my life, the experience was cross-cultural.

In 2011, I returned to Berkeley and carried on my passions with community involvement and worked with ninth-grade youth as an academic- adviser at Berkeley High School. The program I worked for was appropriately called RISE, which stood for Respect, Integrity, Strength, and Empowerment. RISE has on-site advisers and counselors who lead a summer bridge, helping young people adjust into the upcoming high school setting. I mainly worked with included students who were new to the country and participated in English Language Development programs, student from neighboring middle schools who were struggling academically, and students who traditionally did well in the classroom, but need social support. RISE is designed to merge a diverse population of young people in a setting that will mutually empower academic achievement. The experiential wisdom I have acquired in my recent history requires that I frame my gratitude and accomplishments in the context of acknowledging all the youth I have served. I also find it necessary to pedestal the dedicated mothers and fathers who invest in their children’s future. In addition, I want to thank all my dedicated colleagues who harden the character of our country by converting educational investments into future profits for our society.

As of June of 2012, I enrolled in a counseling program at the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California. My recent plan of study includes a specialization in college student services and marriage and family therapy. I am also working as an ambassador of the Lasallian Volunteer program on campus. My goals for the future is to build strong connections with our local, state and federal governments in hope of one day expanding the agency I volunteered for in Rhode Island into a national network. The process will involve a tremendous effort from social engineers who will design a public policy platform that fits the evolving needs of a shifting society. I want to thank CHCI for the opportunity to stand side by side with the current and future leaders of our country.