my unidosnow story Archives | UnidosNow

My UnidosNow Story: “Retirement With Benefits” for Sandy Chase

When Sandy Chase read the UnidosNow placard her husband, Gary, had brought home from a local exposition several years ago, she knew she wanted to learn more about the organization. 

“This card, a little larger than a bookmark—with three words:  Educate, Elevate, and Integrate, and quotes like ‘I have found my own path to success,” and a list of such programs as Future Leaders Academy, UnidosNow Clubs, and College Prep Workshop Series—motivated me to explore volunteer opportunities.”  

Since that time, Sandy has been collaborating with the Dream Team and Future Leaders Academy (FLA) Barancik scholars to help bolster the UnidosNow mission—whether as a writing coach or part of the newsletter team, led by Beatriz Paniego-Béjar, an experienced communications director.  Most recently, Sandy has also been working with Cintia Elenstar, program manager, on her important alumni e-newsletter.

Sandy says, “My role at UnidosNow intrinsically rewards me, especially when high-school seniors reach and often times exceed their goals—graduating with honors, being accepted to the college of their choice, and receiving scholarships to fund that educational experience.”

Sandy further explains how editing the newsletters—with her “eagle eye” and relentless “red pen”—is win-win. 

“Even if I’m not involved in all UnidosNow programs, I’m learning firsthand how this organization helps students and parents embark on their journeys to success—whether it’s the FLAG ‘Mighty Queso Coders,’ parent-leaders at Gocio and Tuttle Elementary schools, or Peer Buddies, alumni giving back to the community.”

As an UnidosNow EDITOR, Sandy’s life has been:

  • Enhanced by
  • Dedicated staff who are
  • Intelligent
  • Tenacious 
  • Organized and
  • Respected in Sarasota and Manatee counties for furthering the goals of the Latino community

Sandy summarizes her appreciation: “Gracias por la oportunidad de disfrutar de mi jubilación.”

My UnidosNow Story by Rey Claro

Back in the start of freshman year in high school, sweets and a well-lit room welcomed me. And there he was: Hector Tejeda was sitting there, smiling looking at everyone and asking their names. That is when I knew: this club is The One. 

I got to understand UnidosNow’s vision and what they wanted us to grasp from them: presentation skills, communication skills, and most importantly, loyalty. 

UnidosNow showed me the ins and outs of college, starting with New College, all the way to talks with an admissions officer at UPenn. These skills were fully grasped with the Future Leaders Academy program. 

With special training and dedication from the UnidosNow team, they helped me succeed in my college journey. I can’t be grateful enough for the whole team starting with Juan Arcila, who was funny, but got serious when he wanted to, to Hector and Luz, who started this whole connection together. 

FLA helped me step out of my comfort zone by hosting classes at Mote Marine with a professor from USF showing me new scientific instruments I had never seen. With this being only one of the many things they provided me with all along the way. 

There are two days I will never forget from FLA and those are the days that I first heard of Vassar College and when Robin gave me the final push to making my college essay amazing. For the first day, Robin was calling out students and giving them clear cut matches on what schools they should be looking at according to their criteria. She calls me out and she reads me off a list of schools that I would like, and then I sat down. Paula, one of my classmates, came back and we compared lists; she had a school that I didn’t get, Vassar. That was then the day I first learned about Vassar and also the day I applied to their fly-in program. The second day, Robin was going around giving college essay help, and she gave me the final boost to help perfect my application. 

All in all, I’m very grateful for FLA and the UnidosNow program for all that they’ve done for me and for all they have continued to do!