A Participant’s Experience

Reyna is a college freshman who began coming to Caminar Latino programs at the age of 11.

At first “it was scary” but then she “just kinda started talking.” Once she started talking she didn’t stop and now it’s to audiences far beyond her peer group. 

Like many 18-year-olds Reyna worries about what she’ll study in college and like many of her peers she loves pop music, especially One Direction. She also likes biking and collecting stray animals.

The safe haven she provides for furry critters, like her dog Churro isn’t unlike the safe haven she found at Caminar Latino.

As a child the police came to her home so frequently she lost count. At Caminar Latino she found a respite from that turbulence and a community that both challenged and supported her.

In the beginning, Reyna tagged along with her family to Caminar Latino but now she comes on her own. She’s part of a group of young adults, 16-22, who “talk about everything.” They share a common experience with domestic violence but the diversity of viewpoints in their weekly discussions has “taught me to be more open minded.”

It’s also given Reyna some serious research chops.

Reyna works with other Caminar Latino young adults on research projects. They conceive of questions, do field work and compile reports. They present their work all over. “It makes me feel so nervous,” Reyna says.

But before she knows it she’s convinced a judge to change the way law enforcement interacts with children on domestic dispute calls. “It’s an overwhelming feeling to be recognized,” she says.

Despite her awe in being recognized for her work many others are taking notice of Reyna’s incredible accomplishments.  In Spring of 2014,  Reyna was awarded The Goizueta Foundation Scholars Fund to Georgia State University.  This scholarship, that is only awarded to one or 2 individuals a year, covers all costs during the student’s four years.  She also was the recipient of Telemundo’s “Todos Somos Héroes” Champion Fighter Hero Award that was is awarded to an individual who against all odds, overcame an insurmountable challenge in their life.