Juan Arcila, Volunteer of the Month

juan_arcilaJuan, originally from Colombia, graduated from East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs and went on to complete his BS in public health from the University of South Florida, where he is now an admissions counselor at the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Fortunately for UnidosNow, he found us on campus this year while we were holding our Future Leaders Academy (FLA), which our partner, USF Sarasota-Manatee, graciously hosts every summer.

After connecting with the FLA scholars, he gave them individual appointments and let them know what USF has to offer them.  He was so impressed with our program, and saw the value of empowering low income, first generation college students, that he signed up as a volunteer to mentor our scholars. This fall, when UnidosNow decided to participate in the Millennial Challenge, as part of the 2016 Giving Challenge, Juan stepped up to spearhead the efforts of our Millennial Volunteer Committee.

Working as an enthusiastic team player, he coordinated strategies with his fellow committee members and Unidos staff, for encouraging young professionals and philanthropists to get involved with UnidosNow through giving, as well as volunteering/mentoring. Juan launched a Facebook campaign featuring and targeting Millennials to promote the Giving Challenge and spread awareness of UnidosNow and its mission. He connected with youth groups and young professional groups and networked with other Millennial leaders to talk about their passions for community service and brainstorm ideas for future collaborations. Through these experiences, Juan also shared success stories from UnidosNow, and how these young community leaders can partner with Unidos to expand our impact.

But Juan, didn’t stop there! He also reached out to Latino professors and student clubs at universities. As a result, the Millennial Volunteer Committee was able to recruit college students as volunteers to help out with programs and build relationships where they can become mentors for our students.

In addition, Juan and the committee were instrumental in garnering Millennial participation in the community event – an Hispanic Heritage Month celebration – we held during the Giving Challenge.

Thanks to Juan’s leadership, and the active role of the committee, in carrying out a hugely successful Millennial Challenge, UnidosNow will receive a $5,000 grant from the Manatee Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.