Karen Wilson volunteers through a principle which she refers to as her ‘three E’s.’ She wants to encourage UCAN students with hope and to dream bigger. She wants to embrace youth and support them in any challenges they may face. Finally, she wants to enlighten them with knowledge and understanding on how to build the blueprint for their life.
While working her way into a community outreach role for JP Morgan Chase, Karen discovered that she had a knack for delivering presentations. Through this experience, she found a passion for public speaking and transferred this into volunteering her time with young people at UCAN.
Karen’s first volunteer experience with UCAN was approximately five years ago when she began speaking to teens in UCAN’s one-year internship program, Striving To Achieve Realistic Success (STARS). She worked closely with youth in this program to discuss interviewing skills and self-confidence.
Recently, Karen volunteered with high school students in the Diermeier Future Leaders Now (DFLN) program. Typically she works with five to seven youth at a time, conducting mock interviews and asking questions about their future goals. Karen explained that it is important to her that the youth she works with take away the importance of education. “Furthering your education is the key to success. Whatever the past has presented to you, there is purpose over pain,” stated Karen.
Speaking fondly on the youth she has worked with throughout the years, she described her deep-rooted connection to the youth, “UCAN is part of my family, it is part of me,” stated Karen. Due to this connection she explained that she has an interest in the youth’s lives after they leave the program. She defined her work as being more like a mentoring relationship to ensure success. “The reason I volunteer at UCAN is to be a catalyst and help move the youth forward, so that they can not only succeed locally but globally,” stated Karen.
“I would tell other people that UCAN is a great organization and the focus in on building strong youth. These young people deserve a chance.” She continued, “UCAN is reaching out to young people to make sure they are not left behind. UCAN can put many different programs in place to make sure that youth are successful in their transition into adulthood.”
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