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Hi, I’m Kathryn López! Founder of Empower Youth Latinx.

To share my story, I am a first-generation student from Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. I moved to Oregon when I was 8, knowing little to no English. On my first day of school, my 3rd-grade teacher greeted me with a bilingual dictionary in her hand, frantically flipping through the pages whenever I spoke to figure out what I was trying to say. My first ever year of school in America was consistently filled with bullying. As a consequence of it, I grew to hate my culture and who I was. Years passed, and in 2016, I was sitting in my English class with a classmate speaking in Spanish. Another classmate I have known since elementary school tells me and my friend that in America "we speak English". I sat stunned as my friend told him off. These are just two instances of many.

Now, I am not sharing this to be pitied but instead to empower those who have gone through similar experiences. I'm sure that as a Latinx/Hispanic student, you can relate to my story in one way or another. But I want to encourage you to take pride in who you are and your heritage. If you decide to apply to this program, you will learn invaluable skills to help you in your future endeavors.

My Passion for Kids and Leadership

I have loved working with kids for as long as I can remember. My earliest experience with kids was working with a summer program called Camp Invention. I was the lead counselor and was in charge of opening up, check-in, check-out, lunch, etc. This is where I fell in love with working with elementary-age kids. Their creativity, intelligence, and sweet personalities showed me the potential and love kids have. Kids can go from good to exceptional with the right teachers and mentors. From then on, I aspired to be that person for kids, in whatever position that may be in. My dream was to create a safe place where every kid felt comfortable making mistakes and being themselves. I wanted to be the person I wish I had when I was their age. And that's precisely what I get to do every day! I am highly honored and privileged to be in my position.

I created this internship program under Adventures in Spanish to attract students with the same passion I had when I was your age—students who dream of making a change but don't know where to start. Kids are the future, and we have the opportunity to help them grow, learn, and eventually lead.

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I would love to hear from you.

971.320.5340 • kathryn@adventuresinspanish.org

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