Idalia Zavala-Mejia, DC 2018

Idalia Zavala-Mejia’s plans for the future radically changed after joining Urban Alliance. She never saw herself attending college, but now wants to pursue at least an associate’s degree after graduation. During her internship at People.Animals.Love (PAL), she has also discovered a passion for social work.

Idalia joined Urban Alliance after hearing a lot about it from friends and teachers, but never expected it to change her path so much. At PAL, she has gotten the chance to work with elementary school students and is now looking forward to a career doing social work focused on children. Speaking with her mentor and UA program coordinator has also given her insight into how to pursue that career, and changed her mind about attending college.

More than just shaping her future direction in life, Urban Alliance has also helped Idalia grow as a person.

“The most valuable thing I learned from Urban Alliance is to be confident in myself,” Idalia said. “Before Urban Alliance, I did not have a lot of confidence in professional settings. Before Urban Alliance, I had always relied on my family members for money and support. Now that I am making my own money, I can depend on myself. It has taught me how to be independent because I used to rely on my family for transportation, but going to the workshops and to my internship has really made me come out of my comfort zone and to rely on myself.”

“I do not think I would be in the same place I am now, because being in Urban Alliance has really shaped who I am,” Idalia continued. “I would recommend this program to other students because this program will not only help them obtain the soft and hard skills they need get employment anywhere, but they will also receive connections and opportunities they would not be getting if they do not do this program.”